Access Services

We’re here for you

Our mission is to coordinate services to empower students with disabilities to participate and excel in every aspect of academic and campus life at WSU Tri-Cities.

Reasonable accommodations are available for students who have a documented disability.

All accommodations for disabilities must be approved through Access Services. Complete the online Application for Access Services to initiate the process.  Once that application is submitted, an Access Services representative will schedule an appointment to review your documentation and needs.

Some services and accommodations available on an individually determined basis include the following:

  • Accessible facilities
  • Alternative educational media
  • Testing accommodations
  • ASL interpreters
  • Priority registration
  • Specialized equipment

Once accommodations are put in place by Access Services, your instructor(s) will receive an email notification of accommodation(s).

Contact us

Gretchen Hormel
Access and Support Services Coordinator

g.hormel@wsu.edu

509-372-7352

Book an appointment online with Access Services

Process

Providing equal access is a university-wide responsibility in which Washington State University faculty, staff, and students play important roles. The following guidelines help to clarify the different roles of those involved in the provision of accommodations and other services to students with disabilities.

What the student needs to do:

  • Confirm that all required documentation has been received and evaluated by Access Services.
  • Come in each semester that you are a Washington State University Tri-Cities student to inform us of any concerns or additional needs related to your accommodations and to request your accommodations.
  • Be willing to discuss your accommodation needs and academic concerns with your instructors as needed. Many instructors prefer to work closely with you and are genuinely interested in your success — communicate early and often!
  • Promptly request accommodations as far in advance as possible so Access Services can work with faculty, staff, and other university and community offices to provide the most effective (and timely!) accommodations in accordance with your needs.
  • Check in with the Access Services Coordinator if there are changes to your disability which may require updated documentation.
  • Inform the Access Services Coordinator as soon as possible about any concerns you may have about receiving your accommodations; we will work with you to clarify questions and resolve the matter in a timely way.

What instructors need to do:

  • Work collaboratively with the student and Access Services to provide the approved accommodations, consistent with the accommodations email notification.
  • Contact the Access Services Coordinator if you feel additional accommodations may be needed, if you have questions about how to provide certain accommodations within your course format, or with any concerns you may have related to the process.
  • Know the essential elements of a course or program so that accommodations can be provided consistent with academic standards.

What Access Services will do:

  • Maintain student records in the MyAccess system, including meeting documentation requirements.
  • Work closely with students to identify accommodations that meet their needs in the university setting.
  • Assist student development of self-advocacy skills.
  • Work collaboratively and positively with students and instructors to resolve questions, concerns, and needs for accommodations in an expedient manner.
  • Update student accommodations each semester for each student who receives accommodations from Access Services.
  • Maintain student information confidentially and sensitively, according to state and federal privacy laws.
  • Inform a student when additional documentation is needed or has become outdated.
  • Explore with you how you’re impacted by your disability and provide further information and/or referrals to other student services who can assist you.
  • Demonstrate professional respect, clear and timely communication, and courtesy in the provision of services to students, faculty, and staff.

Guidelines for documenting disabilities

Reasonable accommodations are available for students who have a documented disability. This documentation serves three purposes:

  • To establish that the student can be considered a person with a disability, and therefore eligible for protection against discrimination on the basis of disability.
  • To supplement information from the student regarding the impact of the disability.
  • To support and inform the development of reasonable accommodation (auxiliary aids and services) designed to facilitate equal access to university environments on a case-by-case basis.

The final determination for providing appropriate academic adjustments and auxiliary aids rests with WSU Tri-Cities Access Services.

What should my documentation from a qualified healthcare provider include?

Documentation should include:

  • Provided on letterhead with contact information
  • Date of diagnosis and most recent care
  • Health care providers title and license number
  • Signature or electronic signature
  • Diagnosis of the disability/health condition.
  • A description of the current impact or limitations of the disability/health condition, focusing on barriers in the student’s educational environment.
  • If the condition is episodic, please help us understand the impact by including:
    • Triggers and warning symptoms of onset
    • Symptoms experienced during an episode
    • Frequency and duration of episodes
    • Care plan for management
  • Side effects of medication on the student’s ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment (physical, perceptual, behavioral, or cognitive).
  • A description of the expected progression or stability of the disability over time.
  • Optional: Suggestions of academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids with supporting evidence may be included.

What if my existing documentation does not meet the above guidelines?

Submit what you have for review to the Access Services Advisor. You may be able to receive provisional accommodations while additional documentation is being obtained. If additional documentation is needed, the Access Services can work with you and the diagnostician to clarify what information is needed. If you do not currently have a health care provider that can update documentation, the coordinator can help you identify local providers who may be able to help.

What if I do not have any documentation for my disability and/or health condition?

If you do not have documentation, schedule a meeting with the Access Services coordinator to learn more about relevant assessments and where to obtain them. Access Services is good a source of advice on what assessments may be helpful.

Additional information

Confidentiality

You have a right to services and reasonable accommodations, which allow you to compete on an equal basis with non-disabled students, as long as you meet the basic requirements to perform activities of the program or occupation.

Information regarding a student’s disability is confidential. Medical information will not be released unless there exists a clear and imminent danger to self, others, and/or the university.

Grievance policy

Students

Students registered with the WSU Access Center who believe they have been negatively impacted by Access Center staff, policies, or procedures, or who believe that an assigned accommodation is not being appropriately provided, should first contact their Access Advisor. If the concern is about your Access Advisor, please contact the Director of the Access Center Matthew Jeffries at matthew.jeffries@wsu.edu or 509-335-3417. Students who believe they have been discriminated against due to a disability may file a report or formal complaint with WSU Compliance and Civil Rights office or contact the ADA Coordinator:

Kiara Drake
ADA Coordinator
Compliance and Civil Rights
French Administration Building, Room 225
ccr@wsu.edu
509-335-8288

The Access Advisor or the Director of the Access Center will inform students if their concerns may fall under Executive Policy 15, WSU’s policy prohibiting discrimination and discriminatory harassment, and must be forwarded to Compliance and Civil Rights (CCR). The Access Center will inform the student that they have a right to file a complaint with CCR at any time.

A student, who is not satisfied with this first-level response or whose grievance is against the director of the Access Center, has a right to file a formal grievance. This grievance should be made as soon as possible after the action that triggers the concern, and the grievance will be timely resolved based on the procedures stated herein. As stated above, some concerns may be routed to Compliance and Civil Rights.

Procedures

Students who want to file a formal grievance should complete the Access Center grievance form. This form is not a report or formal complaint to CCR. After this form is submitted, three Access Center staff members from across the WSU system will review the grievance. Students will be notified of resolution or with follow-up questions within a reasonable timeframe. If a student is not satisfied with the outcome, they will be provided the supervisor’s information for any possible follow-up.

If students are not satisfied with any outcome or wish to file a complaint or grievance with applicable federal and/or state agencies they may contact the following at any time:

Washington State Human Rights Commission

The Commission enforces Washington State’s Law Against Discrimination (RCW49.60). (http://www.hum.wa.gov/).

U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights

The Office for Civil Rights is within the U.S. Department of Education and responds to alleged civil rights violations.  Information can be found here.

Office for Civil Rights, Seattle Office
U.S. Department of Education
915 Second Avenue, Room 3310
Seattle, WA 98174-1099
Telephone: 206-607-1600
Fax: 206-607-1601
Email: OCR.Seattle@ed.gov

Faculty

Faculty members may raise questions and concerns about disability services/accommodations, especially when they believe a requested accommodation may be a fundamental alteration to their course. If a faculty member reasonably believes an accommodation constitutes a fundamental alteration of their academic requirements or program, the faculty member should contact the student’s Access Advisor (the person listed in the faculty notification letter) and not to the student seeking the accommodation. If communication between the faculty member and the Access Advisor does not resolve the concern of a fundamental alteration, an ad hoc committee will be formed. The ad hoc committee may include: the faculty member, department chair, associate dean, Access Advisor, ADA Coordinator, and/or others with knowledge of the academic area, related licensing requirements, applicable accreditation standards, the student’s disability, and accommodation methods. This committee will decide whether the requested accommodation constitutes a fundamental alteration of the academic requirements or program. This committee is considered a part of the interactive process, which is required by law. In the meantime, faculty members are still obligated to provide all uncontested accommodations as stated in the faculty notification letter until resolution is reached. If the ad hoc committee decides an accommodation is not a fundamental alteration, the accommodation will be provided retroactively to the date of the faculty notification.

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