department menu

Faculty Handbook

Table of Contents

Faculty Handbook (PDF)

Introduction

This Faculty Handbook was designed to provide you with information on CSUSM's legal obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, various types of disabilities you are likely to encounter in the classroom, as well as commonly prescribed accommodations for each disability category covered.  Additionally, you will learn about the various types of support services available to students with disabilities through the Office of Disability Support Services (DSS).

Legal Justification for Providing Reasonable Accommodations 

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are the two primary pieces of federal legislation which mandate that reasonable accommodations be provided to qualified students with disabilities. In addition, the California State University Policy for the Provision of Accommodations and Support Services to Students with Disabilities clearly details the types of support services to be provided on each campus.

Return to Table of Contents

Rehabilitation Act of 1973

In 1975, several civil rights regulations were added to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. These provisions can be found in Section 504 (Equal Opportunities) which specifically states: "No otherwise qualified individuals with handicaps in the United States, as defined in section 7(8), shall, solely by reason of the handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance or under any program or activity conducted by any Executive agency or by the United States Postal Service" (The Rehabilitation Act of 1973).

Section 504's primary effect upon post-secondary institutions is summed up by the concept of program accessibility to students with disabilities. Accessibility includes the elimination of policy barriers, the provision of auxiliary aids such as readers and interpreters, and the provision of equal educational services and programs to disabled and non-disabled students, as well as the traditional physical access to the campus (Johns, CAPED, Vol. 1 (No. 1), p.7). Furthermore, 504 states, "In its course examinations or other procedures for evaluating students, academic achievements, institutions shall provide such methods for evaluating the achievements of students who have disabilities that impairs sensory, manual or speaking skills as will best ensure that the results of the evaluation represent the student's achievement in the course, rather than a student's impaired skills (except where such skills are the factors being measured)" (Section 504, Subpart E, 104.44 c). An instructor, in some cases, may be required to modify test arrangements for students with disabilities. For example, a student with a learning disability may be given the option of completing an orally given exam rather than an essay type exam. The modified format of a standardized exam will depend upon the nature of a student's disability and the best way to measure the student's knowledge of the subject.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 defines handicapped individuals covered in Title V as "any person who (i) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities (i.e., caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working), (ii) has a record of such impairment."

Return to Table of Contents

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act has had a dramatic impact upon program and physical accessibility for students with disabilities. Section 36.309 of ADA (Title III) specifically states that "Any such authority that is covered by 504, or Title II, because it is a function of a State or local government, must make all of its programs accessible to persons with disabilities, which includes physical access as well as modifications in the way the test is administered, e.g., extended time, written instructions, or assistance of a reader." Furthermore, "a public entity offering an examination must ensure that modifications of policies, practices, or procedures or the provision of auxiliary aids and services furnish the individual with a disability an equal opportunity to demonstrate his or her knowledge or ability..." The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a person with disability as: (A) A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; (B) A record of such impairment; (C) Being regarded as having such an impairment. In summation, ADA has adopted the same definition of disability as is defined within the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and in the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988. However, ADA does not recognize the following conditions as being a disability: transvestitism, transexualism, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments, other sexual behavior disorders, compulsive gambling, kleptomania, pyromania, and psychoactive substance use disorders resulting from current illegal use of drugs (Note: the above conditions except transvestitism, are not necessarily excluded as impairments under Section 504). Both the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 regulations state that a university shall provide academic accommodations unless: 

  1. the university can demonstrate that the accommodations are not necessary to ensure nondiscriminatory participation by a handicapped student, or
  2. the university can demonstrate that the academic requirement for which an adjustment is requested is essential to the program of instruction being pursued by (the) student.

Legal References: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
1990 Americans with Disabilities Act , Title II.

Return to Table of Contents

California State University Policy for the Provision of Accommodations and Support Services to Students with Disabilities

The CSU Policy for the Provision of Accommodations and Support Services to Students with Disabilities was developed in response to Senate and Federal resolutions and legislation regarding the provision of services to students with disabilities in postsecondary education. These include Assembly Bill 746 (1987), ACR 3 (1985), ACR 201 (1976), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

The California State University is committed to providing opportunities for higher education to students with disabilities in its student enrollment, and to make its programs, activities and facilities fully accessible to persons with disabilities (California State University Policy for the Provision of Accommodations and Support Services to Students with Disabilities.

The CSU Policy for the Provision of Accommodations and Support Services to Students with Disabilities clearly states that a "qualified handicapped person (in a postsecondary setting) is defined as ...a handicapped person who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the recipient's education program or activity".

All CSU campus faculty and staff share the responsibility for maintaining a campus environment conducive to the fulfillment of the CSU's teaching and public service mission. In attempting to make appropriate academic adjustments, faculty members, the staff in services to students with disabilities, and students with disabilities should work together to develop reasonable accommodations that meet the individual educational needs of qualified students with disabilities while not altering the fundamental nature of the service, program, or activity and without creating undue financial or administrative burdens.

Return to Table of Contents

Disability Category & Instructional Tips

Each student brings a unique set of experiences to college, and a student with disabilities is no exception. While many learn in different ways, their differences do not imply inferior capacity to learn. Course requirements for students with disabilities should be consistent with those for other students. However, special accommodations may be needed as well as modifications.

Determining that a student is disabled may not always be a simple process. Visible disabilities are noticeable through casual observation, for example an immediately recognizable physical impairment, or the use of a cane, a wheelchair, or crutches.

Other students have what are known as hidden disabilities which may include hearing impairments, legal blindness, cardiac conditions, learning disabilities, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease and psychiatric or seizure disorders.

Finally, some students have multiple disabilities caused primarily by conditions such as muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, or traumatic brain injury. Depending on the nature and progression of the condition or injury, it may be accompanied by a secondary impairment in mobility, vision, hearing, speech or coordination, which may, in fact, pose greater difficulties than the primary diagnosis.

Some students with disabilities will identify themselves as such by contacting the Disability Support Services Office and their instructors before or early in the semester. Others, especially those with ¿hidden¿ disabilities, may not identify themselves because they fear being challenged about the legitimacy of their needs. Such students, in the absence of instructional adjustments, may experience problems completing course requirements. In a panic, they may identify themselves as disabled just before an examination and expect instant attention to their needs. If that happens, the faculty member should send the student to Disability Support Services where they will meet with a Disability Counselor to document their disability in order to receive academic accommodations.

Faculty members are encouraged to make an announcement at the beginning of the term or put a statement in the syllabus inviting students with disabilities to schedule appointments with them. It is also a good idea to state, or say, that reasonable accommodations which are approved through Disability Support Services will be provided to students with disabilities.

Return to Table of Contents

Visual Impairments

Included in this category are disorders in the structure and functions of the eye as manifested by at least one of the following: (1) visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye after the best possible correction, (2) a peripheral field so constricted that it affects the student's ability to function in an educational setting, (3) a progressive loss of vision which may effect the ability to function in an educational setting. Examples of visual impairments include, but are not limited to, cataracts, glaucoma, nystagmus, retinal detachment, retinitis pigmentosa, and strabismus.

Students with visual impairments often benefit from the following accommodations: special testing arrangements, access to classroom materials in alternate format (i.e., audiotape, large print or Braille), a test proctor for reading exam questions and writing down answers, access to specially adapted equipment (i.e., talking calculator, talking spellchecker, special computer), notetaking assistance, tape recorded lectures and priority registration.

Instructional Tips

  • Make lists of required readings available before the first day of class. Visually impaired students often need to have standard printed information reformatted (i.e., Braille, tape or large print). This takes a considerable amount of time to do (up to 6 months).
  • Make sure that you send a copy of your syllabus to DSS in advance of the start of your class (preferably one month).
  • Provide students with chapter outlines or study guides that cue them to key points in their readings.
  • Read all information that is written on the chalkboard or overhead transparencies.
  • Make sure when students are working in groups with a visually impaired student that information being used to complete an assigned task is read out loud.
  • Talk in a normal tone of voice when speaking and face the class.
  • If requested, assist the student in finding a volunteer notetaker, tutor or reader.
  • Provide copies of lecture notes.
  • Some visually impaired students may require time extensions on assignments.
  • Plan field trips and internships in consultation with DSS staff.
  • Be prepared to assign a student to work with a visually impaired student in a lab setting.
  • In-class assignments will likely need to be completed out of class.
  • Don¿t be afraid to consult with the student on determining what additional assistance they might require to complete your course.
  • It is important to keep in mind that it costs Cal State San Marcos a substantial amount of money to convert textbooks into either electronic or audiotape format. Faculty can greatly assist DSS by checking with the publisher of their chosen textbook to determine if it is available from the publisher in electronic format for print impaired users. The potential cost savings from utilizing formatted textbooks from the publisher can then be used by DSS in other needed areas to support the academic mission.

Return to Table of Contents

Physical Impairments

Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders, as well as neuromuscular disorders, are physically disabling conditions which may require adaptation of the physical environment or curriculum. Examples include, but are not limited to, cerebral palsy, absence of some body member, clubfoot, nerve damage to the hand and arm, cardiovascular aneurysm (CVA), head injury and spinal cord injury, arthritis and rheumatism, intracranial muscle disorders.

Students with physical impairments may benefit from the following accommodations: special testing arrangements, a test proctor for writing down exam answers, access to specially adapted equipment (i.e., special computer), notetaking assistance, tape recorded lectures, special seating arrangements (i.e., accessible table and chair), and priority registration.

Instructional Tips

  • Do not use accessible classroom furniture for other purposes if you know that a student needs it.
  • Be prepared to have your classroom changed if it is held in an inaccessible location.
  • If your class involves laboratory work, make sure that students with physical impairments have an accessible lab station.
  • Students with severe physical impairments may need to be teamed with another student to complete assigned laboratory work.
  • Students with certain physical impairments may need to stand up or temporarily leave the room to stretch their muscles.
  • In-class assignments may need to be completed out of class.
  • Some students with physical impairments may need extensions for assigned work.
  • Always consider the accessibility of a field trip or internship site. Inaccessible locations should be avoided. However, if you have no choice on the location of a field trip or internship, consult with DSS for some creative solutions.
  • Students using wheelchairs or other mobility aids may experience some delays in getting to class on time due to barriers encountered on campus.

Return to Table of Contents

Hearing Impairments

A loss of hearing of 30 decibels or greater, pure tone average of 5000, 1000, 2000 Hz unaided in the better ear constitutes a loss significant enough to be considered a disabling condition. Examples include, but are not limited to, conductive hearing impairment or deafness, sensorineural hearing impairment or deafness, high or low tone hearing loss or deafness, and acoustic trauma hearing loss or deafness.

Students with hearing impairments may benefit from the following accommodations: notetaking assistance, assistive listening device (i.e., comtek unit), sign language interpreter, seating in the front of the class, and priority registration.

Instructional Tips

  • Front row seating for hearing impaired students is very important in most cases.
  • Keep your face within view of the student when speaking.
  • If a student is using an interpreter talk directly at the student. Recognize that there is a slight lag on the information being translated to the student from the interpreter.
  • Repeat the questions and remarks of other people in the room
  • Use visual aids and the chalkboard to reinforce spoken presentations.
  • If requested, assist the student with finding a notetaker.
  • When possible, provide students with class outlines, lecture notes, lists of technical terms and printed transcripts of audio material.
  • It is highly advisable to use videos that are closed-captioned. There are several ways to determine if a video is captioned. It will indicate directly on the video cover if it is captioned, and if the video is being checked out from Media Services, they will be able to tell you if it is captioned. If the video you need is not captioned and there is no other viable alternative, please consult with DSS right away. It is possible for a video to be captioned at a cost range of $4.00 to $25.00 per minute of video play. In light of this potential cost factor, it is obviously the best budgetary choice to use videos, whenever possible, that are already captioned, which will allow University funds to be utilized in other areas of need in support of the academic mission.
  • Do not obstruct the student's view of the interpreter.
  • You might be asked by a student to wear an assitive listening device.
  • Don't be afraid to ask the student what additional assistance they may need to complete your course.

Return to Table of Contents

 Specific Learning Disabilities

"Learning disabilities" is a generic term that refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, writing, reading, reasoning, mathematical abilities, or social skills.

Examples include dyslexia, dysgraphia, dysphasia, dyscalculia, and other learning disabilities in the basic psychological or neurological process. Such disorders do not include learning problems which are due primarily to visual, hearing, or motor handicaps, mental retardation, emotional disturbance, below average aptitude or environmental deprivation.

At CSUSM, any student with a suspected learning disability must present assessment results that are current and which meet the CSU's Learning Disability Eligibility Criteria.

Students with learning disabilities may benefit from the following accommodations: notetaking assistance, special testing accommodations, use of a test proctor for reading test questions and writing down answers, extended time for both in-class and out-of-class assignments, access to books on tape, use of a special computer, seating in the front of the class, and priority registration.

Instructional Tips

  • Clearly separate items when spacing them on the exam sheet. For a student with perceptual deficits, for whom transferring answers is especially difficult, avoid using answer sheets, especially computer forms. Allow them to write answers on the test or even dictate their responses.
  • Make lists of required readings available well before the first day of class to allow students to begin their reading early or to arrange to obtain books on tape.
  • Read aloud material that is written on the chalkboard or overhead transparencies.
  • Repeat or reword complicated directions.
  • Provide clear photocopies of your notes and overhead transparencies.
  • Consider alternative test designs. For example, some students with learning disabilities may find essay formats difficult. A student with a visual perceptual impairment may have trouble with tests requiring them to visually search and match different items.

Return to Table of Contents

 Speech Impairment

These impairments include disorders of language, articulation, fluency, or voice which interfere with communication, preacademic or academic learning, vocational training, or social adjustment. Examples include, but are not limited to, cleft lip and/or palate with speech impairment, stammering, stuttering, laryngectomy, and aphasia.

Students with speech impairments may benefit from the following accommodations: substitution of projects in lieu of classroom presentations, audiotaping or videotaping of a presentation in place of live speech, and in some cases an interpreter.

Instructional Tips

  • Give students the opportunity, but do not compel them to speak in class.
  • Permit students the time they require to express themselves without unsolicited aid in filling in gaps in their speech.
  • Address students with a regular tone of voice.
  • Consider course modifications such as one-to-one presentations, written scripts in place of presentations, audiotape or videotape presentations.

Return to Table of Contents

 Other Impairments

Cardiovascular and Circulatory Conditions:

Such conditions include, but are not limited to, congenital heart disease, rheumatic fever and chronic rheumatic heart disease, arteriosclerotic and degenerative heart disease, other diseases or conditions of the heart, other hypertensive diseases, varicose veins and hemorrhoids, and other conditions of the circulatory system.

Students with cardiovascular and circulatory conditions may benefit from the following accommodations: allow for missed exams to be made up, extensions on class assignments and priority registration.

Instructional Tips
  • Students may miss classes due to illness and therefore, may need extensions on class assignments, exams and projects.
  • Students may need to get up and move around the classroom.

Return to Table of Contentss

 Psychological Impairments:

Individuals with a psychological impairment must have a DSMIV Axis I diagnosis to warrant the need for support services through DSS. Examples include, but are not limited to, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder.

There is a considerable amount of variation amongst students with this type of disability. For example, not all students with depression will need special accommodations through DSS. In fact, many do not. It is very important to keep in mind that the majority of students with psychological impairments are under treatment and quite functional.

Students with psychological impairments may benefit from the following accommodations: allow for missed exams to be made up, extensions on class assignments, special testing accommodations and priority registration.

Instructional Tips
  • Students may benefit from extended time on classroom assignments when their condition warrants it.
  • Discuss inappropriate behavior with the student privately. Clearly discuss what is considered acceptable classroom conduct. Feel free to consult with Counseling & Psychological Services.
  • If abusive or threatening behavior occurs, contact the Dean of Students Office.
  • All students are held to a Student Conduct Code (no exceptions). Consult with the Dean of Students Office for further information.

Blood Serum Disorders:

Typical disorders include hemophilia, sickle-cell anemia, and disorders where the cause is unknown. Students with this type of medical condition are likely to miss classes due to hospitalization or the need for bed rest.

Students with blood serum disorders may benefit from the following accommodations: makeup exams for missed classes, extensions on classroom assignments and priority registration.

Instructional Tips
  • Assist students in getting copies of classroom notes for classes missed due to illness.
  • Be prepared to provide reasonable time extensions on assignments.

Return to Table of Contents

 Respiratory Disorders:

These are debilitating disorders which may include, but are not limited to, asthma, tuberculosis of the respiratory system, emphysema, pneumoconiosis and asbestoses, bronchiectasis, chronic bronchitis and sinusitis, other diseases of the respiratory system.

Students with respiratory disorders may benefit from the following accommodations: makeup exams for missed classes, extensions on classroom assignments and priority registration.

Instructional Tips
  • Assist students in getting copies of classroom notes for classes missed due to illness.
  • Be prepared to provide reasonable time extensions on assignments.

Return to Table of Contents

 Environmental Illness (EI):

Students with EI may have adverse reactions to environmental pollutants such as solvents, volatile organic chemicals, smoke, perfume, paint, carpet or pollen. Serious health problems may result from exposure to certain pollutants. DSS determines on a case-by-case basis how to best accommodate students with this type of illness.

Instructional Tips
  • Students may approach an instructor and request that they make a request to the class to please refrain from wearing artificial scents. This is acceptable. Though students cannot be made to stop wearing artificial scents they can be requested to do so.
  • Be prepared to have the class moved to another location if a student simply cannot function in a certain room due to carpeting or paint.

Other conditions that necessitate administrative or academic adjustment and that do not fit into any of the above categories may also qualify.

*Contact Disability Support Services for consideration of services for disabilities not listed here.

Return to Table of Contents

Confidentiality

Whatever information a student shares with faculty regarding a disability is highly confidential and needs to be treated as such. Under no circumstances should a student's disability situation be discussed in front of the class or in the presence of other students. Information on a student's disability should not be shared with other faculty or staff unless there is an absolute need for them to be informed.

In order to receive accommodations, students must disclose to you that they have a disability and have a need for academic accommodations authorized through Disability Support Services. However, students are not required to disclose specific information on their disability to a faculty member since this information has already been obtained through DSS.

Return to Table of Contents

Faculty Responsibilities

The majority of support services required by students with disabilities are provided through Disability Support Services. However, the full cooperation of faculty is the key to the timely delivery of approved academic accommodations. In fact, as faculty members, you are legally required to ensure that reasonable accommodations are provided to students with disabilities enrolled in your course(s).

In order for DSS to continue to provide the level of services available, the following is needed from members of the faculty:

  • Faculty will cooperate with DSS in providing authorized accommodations and/or support services for the student in a fair and timely manner.
  • Faculty will ensure that copies of classroom exams are given to DSS in a timely manner (two working days prior) to enable administration of special testing accommodations.
  • Faculty will provide handouts and classroom materials to DSS in a timely manner (three weeks prior) for students who need this material reproduced in an accessible format.
  • Faculty will consult with a representative of DSS if there is any question regarding how to implement authorized academic accommodations.
  • Faculty will provide a classroom atmosphere which is harassment-free in nature and nondiscriminatory on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, handicap, marital status, sexual orientation, and national origin.
  • Faculty will respect the confidentiality of students with disabilities and will not disclose information on any student's disability without prior consent. This includes even mentioning to fellow classmates that a particular individual has a disability.

Return to Table of Contents

Return to Table of Contents 

Background on Disability Support Services

The CSU Policy for the Provision of Services to Students with Disabilities was developed in response to State and Federal resolutions and legislation regarding the provision of services to students with disabilities in postsecondary education. These include Assembly Bill 746 (1987), ACR 3 (1985), ACR 201 (1976), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

The California State University is committed to providing opportunities for higher education to students with disabilities, to increase the representation of persons with disabilities in its student enrollment, and to make its programs, activities and facilities fully accessible to persons with disabilities (California State University Policy for the Provision of Services to Students with Disabilities).

The CSU Policy for the Provision of Services to Students with Disabilities clearly states that a qualified handicapped person (in a postsecondary setting) is defined as "...a handicapped person who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the recipient's education program or activity".

California State University San Marcos opened its doors for its first class of students in August of 1990. The Dean of Student Affairs anticipated there would be a need for a student services professional to work directly with the disabled student population. As a result, a Coordinator was hired to develop services for students with disabilities, as well as to act as an advocate for their highly individualized needs. Presently, the Office of Disability Support Services is staffed with a Director, Office Manager, Testing Scheduler and a Psychologist & Learning Disabilities Specialist.

Services were developed to ensure that qualified students with disabilities would have equal access to the educational programs and activities offered at Cal State San Marcos.

Return to Table of Contents

Mission Statement & Goals

The Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) is committed to providing opportunities for higher education to students with disabilities and to making the programs, activities and facilities at Cal State San Marcos fully accessible to students with disabilities.

  • To ensure that campus policies address the needs of students with disabilities.
  • To ensure that students with disabilities have full access to campus facilities and programs.
  • To improve the campus community's awareness and understanding of students with disabilities.
  • To ensure that educational policies and curricula are accessible for students with disabilities.
  • To interact with other agencies in the community who provide services to individuals with disabilities to ensure the availability of all resources.
  • To provide appropriate support services for students with disabilities to ensure their participation in the full range of campus programs and activities.
  • To involve students in assessing current needs, recommending new services, and expanding existing services as needed.
  • To ensure the campus remains physically accessible by providing valuable input to those individuals responsible for future campus construction projects and the maintenance of the existing site.
  • To collaborate with other campus units in providing outreach and retention services to all CSUSM students, including students from diverse populations.

Return to Table of Contents

Roles and Responsibilities of the Office of Disability Support Services

The Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) is committed to providing opportunities at Cal State San Marcos for higher education to students with disabilities, to increasing the representation of enrolled students with disabilities, and to making its programs, activities and facilities fully accessible to students with disabilities.

In compliance with the CSU Policy for the Provision of Accommodations and Support Services to Students with Disabilities, DSS has the responsibility of providing the following services to students with a documented need: disability related counseling, interpreter services, reader services, test taking facilitation, transcription services, and notetaker services (all of these services are contingent on available funding and verified need). Aside from the required support services listed, each university is responsible for providing the following: access to, and arrangements for, adaptive educational equipment, materials, and supplies required by disabled students; liaisons with campus and community agencies; registration assistance; special parking; supplemental specialized campus orientation; consultation with faculty to ensure that the special needs of students with disabilities are appropriately met; and acting as a liaison with campus outreach personnel to increase the representation of students with disabilities. In addition, students who suspect that they have an undiagnosed disability are eligible to meet with a DSS counselor for a comprehensive screening. If indicated, the student will then be referred to an appropriate outside professional for evaluation and treatment at the student's own expense.

Return to Table of Contents

Student's Roles and Responsibilities

Students with disabilities are responsible for contacting DSS to secure support services prior to each semester. DSS encourages and provides opportunities for all students to learn as much about their disability as possible. Students must be knowledgeable of their individual disability to become successful advocates. In an effort to dispel the many negative stereotypes that exist regarding individuals with disabilities, students with disabilities are encouraged to integrate themselves into the campus community and to take an active part in the various opportunities for interaction at Cal State San Marcos. It is hoped that students with disabilities will also take an active part in ensuring that the academic programs as well as the physical site of the campus are as physically and programmatically accessible as possible. Continuous feedback from students is essential for the success of this University.

Return to Table of Contents

Initial Student Contact

Once accepted to the University, the student needs to notify DSS so that a packet of information can be either mailed or picked up by them. The information packet includes: The Office of Disability Support Services Student Handbook, DSS Informational Brochure, Disability Verification Form, Application for Support Services, and the Director's business card.

The Disability Verification Form and Application for Support Services are completed and returned to DSS. Once both forms are received by DSS, an intake interview is arranged for each eligible student to meet with a DSS professional. During the intake interview each student is asked specific questions about their disability, information is gathered on the types of support services that the student has received from any previously attended academic institution(s), and the specific support services that will be provided at Cal State San Marcos are discussed. Support services are not implemented until verification of the student's disability is received and an intake interview has taken place.

Return to Table of Contents

Verification of Disability

A professionally verified disability is a condition that significantly impairs major life activities and is certified by a licensed physician, psychologist, audiologist, speech pathologist, or other appropriate professional. A student's disability, if it is obvious (i.e., amputee, blind, quadriplegic), can be verified by a DSS professional. Students with learning disabilities must submit recent comprehensive evaluation results including cognitive and achievement test scores.

In accordance with the Chancellor's Office guidelines, students with disabilities who transfer from community colleges in California where they received services because of a learning disability may be eligible to receive services through the Disability Support Services program at Cal State San Marcos. However, the Office of Disability Support Services will determine the specific support services provided at Cal State San Marcos, and students with learning disabilities must meet the CSU Guidelines for the Assessment and Verification of Students with Learning Disabilities in order to qualify for services.

Before a student can receive support services from Disability Support Services, he/she must have an appropriate professional complete the Disability Verification Form. Once this form is completed, it is immediately placed into the student's file, an intake interview is conducted, and appropriate services are arranged.

Return to Table of Contents

Student File

A student file is made for each student with a professionally verified disability who requests support services through Disability Support Services. The following information is kept in each student's file: Application for Support Services, Disability Verification Form, Evaluation of Disability Documentation and Reasonable Accommodation Request, Approved Support Services form, case notes, diagnostic test results, and other relevant information. Inactive files are destroyed after five years. A student's file is confidential. No information shall be released without written authorization from the student. Likewise, the nature of a student's disability will not be released to anyone without written authorization from the student.

Return to Table of Contents

Service Animals

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal is defined as "any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals to an impending seizure or protecting individuals during one, and alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders, or pulling a wheelchair or fetching dropped items". If an animal meets this definition, it is considered a service animal regardless of whether or not it has been certified through a recognized training program. In compliance with the ADA, service animals must be permitted to accompany a person with a disability on campus.

A therapy animal is one that has reliable, predictable behavior, and is selected to visit with people with disabilities or people who are experiencing the frailties of aging as a therapy tool. A therapy animal may be an integral part of therapy treatment. The therapy animal does not accompany a person with a disability at all times. Thus, laws protecting service animals do not cover therapy animals.

It is expected that the partner of a service animal will maintain strict control of the animal at all times. Service animals may be asked to leave locations on campus when the animal behaves in an unruly fashion (i.e., barking, biting, running around or bringing attention to itself). In addition, it is expected that all service animals be well groomed and kept away from public areas of the campus if they are sick. There may be certain parts of the campus where a service animal cannot be allowed because of potential risk to the animal or laboratory specimens. However, DSS personnel should always be consulted in advance regarding these types of issues.

The service animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal and all vaccinations must be current. Service animals (depending on type) must be properly licensed and must wear a leash. The care, supervision and cleanup of the service animal are the sole responsibility of its partner. Individuals with disabilities who physically cannot clean up after their service animal should contact DSS to make other arrangements. When in the presence of service animals, please observe the following:

  • Allow a service animal to accompany the partner at all times, except where service animals are prohibited.
  • Do not pet a service animal without the permission of its partner.
  • Do not feed a service animal.
  • Do not startle a service animal.
  • Do not separate a service animal from its partner.
  • Service animals housed in university housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian.

Return to Table of Contents

Purchasing Books & Supplies

Students in need of assistance (non-financial) in buying their text books and school supplies at the University Store are strongly encouraged to contact Customer Service at (760) 750-4730 to make appropriate arrangements.

Return to Table of Contents

Course Substitutions

DSS will work closely with an appropriate member of academic affairs in deciding the appropriateness of course substitutions for students whose disability prevents them from completing an academic requirement. Presently, substitution policies are in place for the foreign language and general education mathematics requirements. Under no circumstances will a course substitution be granted if doing so will substantially alter essential elements of an academic program.

Return to Table of Contents

Disability Access and Compliance Committee (DACC)

The Disability Access and Compliance Committee (DACC) meets several times a semester to address disability issues of concern to the entire CSUSM community. This committee is comprised of student, faculty, staff and administration representatives. Students interested in learning more about DACC are strongly encouraged to meet with the Director of Disability Support Services.

Return to Table of Contents

Grievance Policy

Students who are denied appropriate academic accommodations by one of the faculty are encouraged to meet with the Director of Disability Support Services. The Director will meet with the student's instructor to try and resolve the problem informally. If the instructor still refuses to allow the accommodations recommended by DSS, the student will be encouraged to file a complaint with the Dean of Students. If the student files a complaint, the Dean of Students will initiate a formal investigation of the student's grievance. Until the situation is resolved, the student will receive the accommodations suggested by DSS. Additionally, any student may file a grievance alleging that he or she has been discriminated against as the result of an action taken by any department or unit of the University, including DSS. Grievances can include, but are not limited to, denial of accommodation, delay and/or denial of services or auxiliary equipment, unequal treatment, program and architectural inaccessibility, or failure to be reasonably accommodated in the employment setting (campus positions only). Students wishing to file a grievance are encouraged to consult with the Dean of Students who is located in Craven Hall 5306 and can be reached by phone at (760) 750-4935. Finally, students do have the right to file a grievance directly with the Office for Civil Rights (Region IX) if they choose to do so.

** This handbook can be made available in alternate formats upon request **

Return to Table of Contents