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 postsecondary 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 a disability 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”.
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 by 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 an 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, transsexualism, 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:
Legal References: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, Title II.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
The availability of support services for students with disabilities is dependent upon the needs of students as well as available funding and resources. It is entirely up to the student whether or not to access services. However, no student shall receive support services without proper verification of their disabling condition. DSS will determine which support services a student is eligible for based on all available documentation and information on the student’s disability. However, interim temporary support services may be approved for students whose disability documentation is inconclusive and are in the process of being reevaluated. In addition, it is important for students to understand that the accommodations authorized by Disability Support Services apply only to Cal State San Marcos. Students who ask for a specific accommodation, which is denied by the Disability Support Services Office, can appeal the decision directly to the ADA Appeals Officer (see Grievance Policy section of this handbook for more details).
Campus tours are normally provided through the Office of Enrollment Services. However, students with disabilities may request a tour of the campus from the Office of Disability Support Services to learn about the accessible features of the campus.
Priority registration is given to those students using wheelchairs, requiring interpreting/captioner services, requiring access to information in alternate format and to those who are currently receiving special medical treatment that requires them to be available at specific periods of the day. If a student believes they are need of priority registration for disability related reasons, they need to speak with their DSS counselor.
Students in need of special parking privileges due to a permanent or temporary disability need to contact Parking Services at (760) 750-7500. Students with long-term mobility limitations (over 6 months) are encouraged to apply for a DMV Parking Placard. All students are required to purchase and display a valid Student Parking Permit each semester. However, students with a DMV Placard or (DV) License Plate may be eligible for a student parking fee waiver if the Financial Aid Office determines they are financially eligible.
Students who have a documented cognitive disability (i.e., psychological disorder,
ADD, learning disability or acquired brain injury) that substantially limits one or
more areas of major life functioning are eligible for services through DSS. Psychoeducational
assessment, as needed to determine current level of functioning, is provided by DSS
for students who have a documented cognitive disability. The assessment will be used
to help determine the most appropriate academic accommodations based on the student’s
functional limitations, and to provide the student with feedback about his/her strengths
Students seeking an evaluation for a cognitive disability from a professional outside of DSS are strongly encouraged to ask the outside professional to consult with DSS prior to completing the evaluation. CSU systemwide policy provides guidelines for interpreting results from previously completed assessments of cognitive disabilities. Prior verification of an existing cognitive disability may be used when: (1) documentation is submitted by a professional qualified to diagnose the disability (i.e., neurologist, psychologist, psychiatrist, learning disabilities specialist); (2) documentation includes the appropriate testing and evaluation procedures and test results used to make the diagnosis; (3) documentation adequately addresses alternative explanations (other than a disability) which might cause or contribute to academic difficulties (i.e., motivational, social, educational and language factors); and (4) testing and evaluation results were completed when the student was an adult and are recent enough to provide information on a student’s current level of functioning (usually within the past five years). DSS reserves the right to reassess or deny services to any student who does not meet the CSU eligibility criteria for disability services.
Comprehensive screening is available through DSS for students who are experiencing academic difficulties and suspect that they may have an undiagnosed cognitive disability. During the screening process, the student will be asked to complete a psychoeducational screening questionnaire and will meet with a DSS professional. Students whose academic difficulties appear to be due to an undiagnosed disability will be referred to an outside professional, either on campus or in the community, for an evaluation, treatment, and/or documentation of the disability. Please note that DSS does not provide diagnosis or treatment of disability related conditions and is not responsible for payment of services provided by a non-DSS professional. Students who are experiencing academic difficulties due to factors other than a disability will be referred to other available services and/or useful resources on campus and in the community.
Students with disabilities are provided with counseling for concerns related to their disability. Please note that disability related counseling is not meant to take the place of treatment for a mental illness. Students in need of evaluation or treatment for a psychological disorder will be referred to a qualified professional in the community. Academic advising is provided by the faculty with supplemental advising provided by the Office of Disability Support Services.
Interpreter services include manual and oral interpreting for students with documented
hearing impairments that necessitate services. Interpreters will be provided in the
following priority: classroom use (earliest requests are given first priority), classroom
required activities, student/professor meetings, approved campus activities, and Associated
Student sponsored activities
Real time captioning services are available to those students with significant hearing impairments who prefer this service rather than sign language interpreting. Students utilizing this service must attend class in order to obtain a copy of the printed transcript.
It is the responsibility of the student to meet with DSS well in advance of each semester to make arrangements for interpreter services / captioning services. Once interpreter / captioning services have been set up, the following rules apply:
The Library and Information Services staff is strongly committed to providing equal
access to students with disabilities. Students in need of assistance in utilizing
the services offered are encouraged to contact Library and Information Services at
least five working days in advance to schedule an appointment for assistance.
DSS will provide lab assistants for students whose disability prevents them from freely taking part in the laboratory experience. However, prior notice to DSS of at least a month is required for planning purposes.
Library Services for Users with Disabilities: The Library provides services and resources to users with disabilities, including expert research help.
Special testing accommodations are approved and provided on a case-by-case basis to
students with documented disabilities. Either the DSS Director or the DSS Psychologist
& Learning Disabilities Specialist will determine if testing accommodations are required
for each individual student, and which specific accommodations will be allowed. Only
students with appropriate documentation from a recognized professional will be considered
Prior to the first day of each semester, students who are approved for testing accommodations will receive one Testing Accommodation Packet for each class in which they are enrolled. The packet consists of a general cover letter for the professor, an approved accommodations information sheet, and a blue-colored Testing Accommodation Request Form. The student is responsible for filling in the first two lines of personal information at the top of each blue accommodation request form before giving the packet to the instructor.
If the student decides to use special testing accommodations for a class, the packet should be given to the instructor during the first week of class along with a verbal indication that exams will be taken through DSS. The instructor will complete the remainder of the form and should return it directly to DSS within one week. To ensure the integrity of information on the form, the instructor, not the student, should return the accommodation form to DSS. One week after giving the packet to the instructor, the student should check with either the instructor or DSS to find out if the form has been completed and returned to DSS. Testing accommodations cannot be arranged until this form has been received by DSS.
If the student decides that testing accommodations will not be needed for a class, the packet should not be given to the instructor since DSS will not be involved in administering exams for that class.
A test date and time are not automatically scheduled for the student. The student must personally contact DSS, located in Craven Hall #4300, to complete a Testing Accommodation Reservation form for each individual exam throughout the semester. Accommodations must be set no less than two (2) weeks prior to each exam. Accommodations will not be able to be guaranteed with shorter notice unless there are specific circumstances to justify the situation.
If exams are being administered by the instructor on a “to be announced” basis, the student is responsible to contact DSS as soon as the exam date is announced in class. If the instructor changes an exam date, the student should inform DSS right away and reschedule the previously set testing accommodation.
A testing accommodation will be set between the student and DSS using the following policy:
It is the responsibility of the student to remind the instructor in advance of each
exam that the test will be taken in DSS, and to inform him/her of the scheduled start
time to ensure that an exam copy will be made available to DSS before that time.
Once an accommodation reservation has been established for a student’s exam, it is binding. Rescheduling will be allowed only with permission of the instructor and/or the Director of DSS.
If the student misses an exam due to disability related reasons, a makeup exam must be allowed by the instructor. The student is responsible for contacting the instructor to determine when the makeup exam must be completed by. The instructor must personally inform DSS of the parameters agreed upon with the student. As soon as an agreement is reached with the professor, the student must contact the DSS Testing Scheduler to set a testing accommodation reservation for the makeup exam. If an instructor requires proof that an absence was disability related before a makeup exam can be administered, the student must provide DSS with documentation from an appropriate treating professional substantiating that the absence on the original test date was disability related.
The student is expected to check in at the DSS office at least five minutes before the scheduled starting time for the exam. With the exception of emergency situations, a student who arrives late for an exam will not be given additional time to compensate for testing time missed due to tardiness.
If a student is suspected of cheating, a DSS staff member will immediately address the situation. The circumstances will be thoroughly documented and any evidence will be confiscated. This information will be given to the professor who will decide whether or not the student should be allowed to complete the exam and what further actions will be taken.
An alternate testing format shall be provided to any student whose disability prevents them from completing the normally formatted class exam. These situations are handled on a case-by-case basis to determine the best possible testing format to measure the student’s knowledge of the course information.
If a problem should arise between the instructor and the student regarding the implementation of testing accommodations, the student should inform DSS immediately. DSS will then intervene on the student’s behalf.
Students requiring classroom materials in alternate format (i.e., Braille, audiotape, large print and electronic format) will need to work very closely with DSS in order to ensure timeliness in the delivery of the needed materials. Students requiring course materials in Braille or in large print should contact DSS well in advance of each semester. Materials will be provided in alternate format if they are not available from other sources (i.e., Library of Congress or Braille Transcribers Guild). Only materials needed for a particular course in which the student is enrolled will be made available in alternate format. Students requiring information in audiotape form do have the right to select a reader who is not already on payroll through Disability Support Services.
Tutoring is not a required accommodation under either the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. However, tutoring services that are provided to the general student body must also be equally available and accessible to students with disabilities. The following academic support labs are open to any enrolled student: The Writing Center, The Math Lab, The Accounting Lab, The Computer Consulting Center and The Language Learning Center. All of these labs have proven to be of great assistance to students with specific subject matter needs and more information on them can be found on the CSUSM homepage (www.csusm.edu).
Students who are approved for notetaking services are responsible to recruit their
own notetakers for each class in one of two ways: 1) personally approach a classmate
one-on-one; or 2) have the instructor read a DSS generated recruitment announcement
in class, which directs interested notetaking candidates to meet with the student
at the end of the class period.
The student will need to direct the notetaker to DSS to fill out paperwork and pickup the notetaking packet. If the in-class announcement is the preferred recruitment method, the announcement letter is also obtained at the DSS office. DSS will provide each notetaker with a special two-part self-carboned notetaking paper that will allow both the DSS student and the notetaker to be provided with notes at the end of each class.
Only CSUSM enrolled students are eligible to serve as stipend paid notetakers. Notetakers are paid a stipend for each class in which they successfully provide one semester of notetaking services. A prorated stipend is provided for a partial semester of services. In addition, each notetaker receives one semester of priority registration for each completed semester of notetaking services. In very specific cases, DSS may approve for a notetaker to be paid on an hourly basis.
In order to receive notetaking services, the DSS student is expected to attend class on a regular basis and meet with the notetaker at the end of each class period to secure a copy of the class notes. The only exception, other than emergencies, will be in cases where a student misses class meetings due to documented disability related reasons. In such cases, DSS will require current documentation from a treating professional to verify the legitimacy of the student’s absences.
Should any notetaking questions or problems arise during the semester that cannot be answered or settled directly between the DSS student and the notetaker, are both encouraged to contact the DSS office for assistance and solutions.
The following items are available for student use in the academic setting: four-track
and two-track tape recorders and players, spellcheckers, Perkins Brailler, talking
calculators, assistive listening device and a TDD (for in-office use only). These
items, except for the TDD, are available on a case-by-case basis and must be checked
out and returned each semester. Students who fail to return loaned equipment will
be referred to the Judicial Affairs Officer for appropriate action.
Additionally, DSS has two mobility scooters for students with mobility impairments to use on a short-term basis. These scooters can be reserved for one semester at a time on a first-come-first-served basis. It is important for mobility-impaired students to remember that they are responsible for providing their own scooters, canes, wheelchairs and other individualized pieces of equipment.
There is a small Adapted Technology Lab in Kellogg Library Rm. 3404 which has specially adapted computer equipment and software. However, this is a restricted use lab only and access is controlled through DSS. Please check with your DSS counselor for additional information on how to access this lab. Please also keep in mind that this lab will always be given first priority use to students taking DSS proctored exams as well as to those undergoing authorized training on the use of specific adapted computers and/or software.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Students who are denied appropriate academic accommodations by one of the faculty areencouraged to meet with the Director of Disability Support Services. The Director will meetwith the student’s instructor to try and resolve the problem informally. If the instructor stillrefuses to allow the accommodations recommended by DSS, the student will be encouragedto file a complaint with the Dean of Students. If the student files a complaint, the Dean ofStudents will initiate a formal investigation of the student’s grievance. Until the situation isresolved, the student will receive the accommodations suggested by DSS. Additionally, anystudent may file a grievance alleging that he or she has been discriminated against as theresult 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 denialof services or auxiliary equipment, unequal treatment, program and architecturalinaccessibility, or failure to be reasonably accommodated in the employment setting (campuspositions only). Students wishing to file a grievance are encouraged to consult with the Deanof Students who is located in Craven Hall 3600 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 CivilRights (Region IX) if they choose to do so.
Disability Support Services
Cal State San Marcos
333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd
San Marcos, CA 92096-0001
Craven Hall 4300
(760) 750-4905 (voice)
(760) 750-4909 (TTY)