Disability Support Services (DSS) is the campus entity charged with balancing two ethical realities:
- The needs of faculty/staff as they protect the integrity of Southern’s academic programs and
- The needs of students with disabilities, assured equal access protected by state and national laws.
The mission of DSS includes partnering with faculty and staff to achieve that balance.
- Faculty/staff need not be experts on disability laws but should feel free to contact DSS with questions or concerns about the impact of these laws on higher education.
- Faculty/staff should refer students to DSS as needed.* Referral form and information.
- Include a statement in each course syllabus, giving information on where and how students with disabilities can access support services.
- Information about students with disabilities is confidential. It should never be available to anyone else—including “readers” and other faculty—without the student’s permission.
- If a student self-identifies to you as having a disability, you are responsible for that information. Do not assume students have gone to DSS. Use of a referral form will help protect you.
- Do not provide accommodations for any student unless he/she has provided you with a “Letter of Accommodation” (LOA) from the DSS. (See FAQ to learn about risks.)
- Accommodating a disability means ensuring “equal access,” not “success.” The student must be “otherwise qualified” to perform “essential components” or meet “technical standards” of a program.
- If a student has taken the proper steps, you will receive a “Letter of Accommodation” that lists the approved accommodation(s). You and the student will negotiate the manner in which they are provided. Unless you have received an LOA, do not assume that any accommodations have been approved by DSS.
*Referrals can be made for several reasons: a student identifies to you as having a disability, a student has a temporary disabling condition (e.g. surgery or broken bone), or a student's efforts do not seem to match his/her grades.