CODI: Cornucopia of Disability Information

 

Forwarded message:
> The following was sent to me by Jef Senge who received permission to use this
> information.  It is a most sweeping support for a visually impaired person
> getting quality and fast access to all print materials vaguely related to an
> educational program.  This includes specifically access to computers and
> electronic texts.
>
> I think the implications here are what many of us thought the ADA ought to be
> about but that too often it is not yet being taken seriously.
>
> Norman   NRCGSH@rit.edu
>
>
>
>
> From:   IN%"JSENGE@CCVAX.FULLERTON.EDU"  3-MAY-1994 19:09:23.82
> To:     IN%"NRCGSH@ritvax.isc.rit.edu"
> CC:
> Subj:   OCR LETTER
>
> UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
> OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS
>
> April 21, 1994
>
> REGION IX
> Old Federal Building
> 50 United Nations Plaza.  Room 239
> San Francisco, California 94102
>
> Dr. Queen F. Randall
> Chancellor
> Los Rios Community College District
> 1919 Spanos Court
> Sacramento, CA 95825-3981
>
> (In reply, please refer to Docket Numbers 09-93-2214-I,
> 09-93-2215-I, 09-93-2216-I.)
>
> Dear Chancellor Randall:
>
> On September 22, 1993, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), U.S.
> Department of Education (Department), received the above referenced
> complaints filed against the American River College (hereinafter
> ARC), Cosumnes River College (hereinafter CRC), and Sacramento City
> College (hereinafter SCC).  The complainant alleged that these
> colleges discriminated against her on the basis of her disability
> (visual impairment) in that their campuses are allegedly not fully
> accessible to visually impaired students with regard to written
> materials, the computer laboratory, the library, physical education
> courses, and student employment services and opportunities.
>
> OCR has the responsibility under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation
> Act of 1973, and its implementing regulation at 34 C.F.R. Part 104,
> to ensure that a recipient of Federal financial assistance through
> the Department does not discriminate against persons participating
> in its programs and activities, such as students, on the basis of
> disability.  OCR also has jurisdiction as a designated agency under
> Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and its
> implementing regulation at 28 C.F.R. Part 35, over complaints of
> disability discrimination filed against public educational
> entities, including public elementary and secondary systems and
> institutions.  The Los Rios Community College District (District)
> campuses at ARC, CRC, and SCC, receive Federal funds through the
> Department and are public educational entities; OCR therefore has
> jurisdiction to investigate these complaints pursuant to Section
> 504 and Title II.
>
> Under Section 504 and Title II, as to a recipient of federal funds
> and a public entity, respectively, no qualified individual with a
> disability shall, on the basis of disability, be excluded from
> participation in or be denied the benefits of the services,
> programs, or activities, or be subjected to discrimination.
>
> Under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 28
> C.F.R. SS 35.160, a public entity shall take appropriate steps to
> ensure that communications with applicants, participants, and
> members of the public with disabilities are as effective as
> communications with others.  A public entity shall furnish
> appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to afford
> an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate
> in, and enjoy the benefits of, a service, program, or activity
> conducted by a public entity.  In determining what type of
> auxiliary aid and service is necessary, a public entity shall give
> Primary consideration to the requests of the individual with
> disabilities [emphasis added].
>
> The Department of Justice (DOJ) interpretive guidance accompanying
> section 35.160 states that "Deference to the request of the
> individual with a disability is desirable because of the range of
> disabilities, the variety of auxiliary aids and services, and
> different circumstances requiring effective communication.".  The
> DOJ guidelines are clear that printed materials are within the
> meaning of "communication."  In describing the auxiliary aids and
> services that are appropriate, the DOJ guidelines recognize the
> critical role that modern technology now plays in providing program
> access to persons with disabilities.
>
> OCR provides the following technical assistance.  Due to the "range
> of disabilities" and the "primary consideration" accorded the
> individual's preference in the manner accommodation is offered, the
> post-secondary public institution should be prepared to deliver in
> a reasonable and timely manner the printed materials relied upon in
> its educational program in all of the following mediums: auditory,
> tactile (Braille), and enlarged print.  Although there may be
> circumstances when the student's preferred medium is not, on
> balance, the medium selected by the post-secondary institution to
> provide the student appropriate aids and services, the institution
> may not categorically refuse to provide accommodation through a
> particular medium (e.g., Braille).  Rather, the post-secondary
> institution must be prepared to timely offer access to its printed
> materials in all three mediums, with the particular medium used for
> the student's request dependent on a case by case analysis.  It
> should be noted that if the student with the visual impairment
> prefers, and the public entity is willing to provide, access
> through "E-text" (electronic text in a digital format read by
> computer), such method may be used in lieu of access through
> another medium.
>
> In most instances, "timely" will mean within a reasonable number of
> days from the student's request, with materials for which "time is
> of the essence" being made available sooner, and other more
> voluminous printed materials (e.g., textbook) taking longer.
> Materials that the public entity is on notice that the student with
> the visual impairment will need, such as course
> handouts/examinations in a class the student is enrolled, are to be
> provided to the student with the visual impairment on the same day
> as they are made available to nondisabled students.
> The importance and consequences of student comprehension is a
> critical factor in determining whether to honor the student's
> preferred medium.  Thus, for example, there is a strong presumption
> that examinations will be provided in accordance with the student's
> request, whereas there is more latitude with regard to a student
> events/activities calendar.  The term "printed materials" includes
> (but is not limited to) post-secondary publications such as student
> handbooks, admissions applications, class schedules, financial aid
> information, as well as publications from other sources relied upon
> by the post-secondary institution in its educational program, such
> as textbooks.  Provided that under the circumstances the method is
> timely and effective (e.g., voice quality, correct pronunciation,
> convenience, etc.), auditory access may be accomplished through a
> variety of methods such as audio-tapes, personal readers, or
> synthesized speech.
>
> At any point in an OCR investigation prior to a determination, OCR
> may administratively close the case if the recipient indicates a
> willingness to resolve all issues raised by the complaint, and
> provides OCR a written commitment specifying actions that will
> appropriately resolve each issue.  During the investigation of
> these complaints, the District expressed a willingness to resolve
> the issues raised by the complaints by providing OCR with a written
> commitment that specifies the action to be taken to ensure an
> appropriate resolution of the issues involving ARC, CRC, and SCC.
>
> On April 18, 1994, the District provided OCR with a voluntary
> resolution plan (copy enclosed) which addresses the issues raised
> in the above referenced OCR case docket numbers.  In its voluntary
> resolution plan, the District assured OCR that, by specified dates,
> it would 1) develop written procedures by which students with
> disabilities may request academic adjustments/auxiliary aids, and
> obtain assistance in resolving any problems with instructor
> provision of the adjustments/aids, 2) make its printed materials
> and computers fully and timely accessible (via auditory,
> tactile/braille, and enlarged print) to its visually impaired
> population, and 3) make its physical education courses, its
> library, and its student employment services and opportunities
> accessible to students with visual impairments.  Certain specific
> provisions of the District voluntary resolution plan addressed
> issues pertaining to the complainant in particular.
>
> OCR has concluded that the District voluntary resolution plan
> resolves the issues in these cases.  The cases are therefore being
> administratively closed as of the date of this letter.  OCR is
> concurrently advising the complainant of this action.  The closure
> of these complaints is not intended to signify any findings by OCR
> concerning the compliance or noncompliance of the District campuses
> with regard to the specific allegations raised by the complainant.
> Rather, these cases are being closed based upon the District
> assurance that it will be implementing the terms of its voluntary
> resolution plan.  OCR will monitor implementation of the agreement
> and, if the District does not complete its commitments as
> scheduled, OCR will immediately reopen the case and resume its
> investigation.  Thus, any future failure by the District to
> implement its voluntary resolution plan may, upon completion of an
> OCR investigation, result in OCR finding the District in violation
> of Section 504 and/or Title II.
>
> Under the Freedom of Information Act, it may be necessary to
> release this document and related records on request.  If OCR
> receives such a request, it will seek to protect, to the extent
> provided by law, personal information which, if released, could
> reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of
> privacy.
>
> OCR would like to thank you for your cooperation during the course
> of the resolution of these cases.  If you have any questions
> regarding the closure of these cases, please contact Mr. Charles R.
> Love, Director, Compliance Division I, at (415) 556-7025.
>
> Sincerely,
> John E. Palomino
> Regional Civil Rights Director
>
> Enclosures
>
> cc:  Mr. Max McDonald
>      Interim President
>      American River College
>
>      Dr. Robert M. Harris
>      President
>      Sacramento City College
>
>      Dr. Marc E. Hall
>      President
>      Cosumnes River College
>
>
> ****
>
>
> LOS RIOS COMMUNITY COLLEGE
>
> Sacramento City College
> American River College
> Cosumnes River College
>
> April 18, 1994
>
> John E. Palomino
> Civil Rights Director, Region IX
> Old Federal Building
> 50 United Nations Plaza, Room 239
> San Francisco, CA 94102
>
> Reference:     Docket Nos:    09-93-2214I
>                               09-93-2215I
>                               09-93-2216I
>
> Dear Mr. Palomino:
>
> In order to resolve the allegations contained in the above
> referenced complaints, the Los Rios Community College District
> agrees voluntarily to the following resolution plan:
>
> The Los Rios Community College District (the District) assures the
> U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) that by
> August 15, 1994, the District will develop written procedures by
> which students with disabilities may seek academic
> adjustments/auxiliary aids and that it will make arrangements
> (e.g., student handbook, registration materials, etc.) for
> notifying students with disabilities that assistance with obtaining
> access to the District's educational program is available by
> contacting a designated staff person (one) on each campus.) The
> designated staff person will have responsibility for clarifying
> documentation needed from the student requesting academic
> adjustments and/or auxiliary aids, and for coordinating
> implementation of the aids/adjustments with course instructors.
>
> In particular, by the start of the Fall 1994, semester, the
> District assures OCR that it will be fully and timely accessible
> (via auditory, tactile/braille, and enlarged print) to its visually
> impaired population with regard to printed materials and with
> regard to access to its computer facilities.
>
> The District will document its plan for accessibility by that date
> through the following three stage process:
>
> 1)   By May 13, 1994, the District will submit to OCR for approval
>      its plan to provide timely access (auditory, tactile/Braille,
>      enlarged print), including the specific District policies and
>      procedures, and equipment, necessary for implementation.  In
>      this plan, the District will indicate which policies and
>      procedures need to be drafted, which equipment needs to be
>      purchased, and which persons are responsible for completing
>      these tasks.  In creating its plan, the District will consult
>      with experts in relevant modern technology, with staff having
>      experience in successfully providing access to persons with
>      visual impairment (such as other schools), and with persons
>      who are visually impaired.  The District plan will state the
>      basis (summary of research steps taken and information
>      obtained) on which the research steps taken and information
>      obtained) on which the District has concluded that its plan
>      will timely provide access to students with visual impairments
>      vis-a-vis mediums that are auditory, tactile/Braille, and
>      enlarged print.
>
>      Also, by May 13, 1994, th District will provide OCR with a
>      list of qualified individuals appointed to be members of a
>      "library team" assigned to examine the District's library
>      facilities to determine the appropriateness of services
>      available to accommodate visually impaired students.  The team
>      will include one individual who is visually impaired.
>
> 2)   By July 1, 1994, the District will submit to OCR for approval
>      its proposed draft of District policies and procedures, and a
>      description of arrangements made to purchase equipment needed.
>      It is the District's understanding that OCR will provide
>      sample policies for our review and use.  The District will
>      also designate a staff person on each campus to whom
>      individuals with visual impairments may go and who has the
>      authority to promptly resolve difficulties the individual with
>      the visual impairment may encounter in obtaining access to the
>      District's programs.  In addition to the foregoing plan to
>      provide individuals with visual impairments access to the
>      District's printed materials and computers, the District
>      assures OCR that individuals with visual impairments will have
>      an opportunity to participate in physical education that is
>      comparable to that afforded nondisabled individuals.  By July
>      1, 1994, the District will submit to OCR a list of physical
>      education courses that are open to students with visual
>      impairments, and a brief description of how the course may be
>      modified as to the visually impaired student to reasonably
>      accommodate his/her disability.
>
> 3)   By August 15, 1994, the District will submit to OCR copies of
>      final District policies and procedures, to be submitted to the
>      Board of Trustees for adoption, and of materials that will be
>      used to notify appropriate staff, faculty, and students.
>      Also, by August 15, 1994, the District will provide OCR with
>      a copy of the Library Team's accessibility report and a
>      summary of steps Taken/to be taken to make its research
>      resources accessible to individuals with visual impairments.
>      The District also assures OCR that by August 15, 1994, its
>      restrooms will be "gender identified" to visually impaired
>      persons through a tactile marking that meets the standards of
>      either UFAS (Section 504) or ADAAG (ADA).
>
> Finely, the District assures OCR that its student employment
> services office will be accessible to students with visual
> impairments.  By August 15, 1994, this includes a method by which
> job opening notices are made accessible upon request to visually
> impaired students on the same day as such notices are posted for
> nondisabled students.
>
> With respect to the complainant in this case, by May 6, 1994, the
> District assures OCR that it
>      will:
>
> a)   Offer the complainant an opportunity to reenroll in the
>      Business Office Machines (Electronic Calculator) and
>      Transcription courses at no additional fee.  Ensure that the
>      equipment utilized for these courses has the adaptations
>      necessary to reasonably accommodate her disability.
> b)   Schedule a meeting with the complainant and staff of the Job
>      Placement Center to review her concerns about employment on
>      the Campus or with outside agencies.
>
> C)   Provide the complainant with appropriate forms and assistance
>      in order to petition to remove any failed or negative grades
>      received by her which resulted from the unavailability of
>      adaptive equipment.
>
> Should you need any additional information from the District or if
> this proposed resolution plan needs modification, please contact
> Mary Jones, Director, Personnel Services at (916) 568-3101.
>
> Sincerely,
> Queen F. Randall
> ChancelLor