Frequently Asked Questions

What are some examples of common accommodations?
How do I register for accessible or handicap parking?
How do I request a Foreign Language Substitution?
How do I request housing accommodations? How do I request a meal plan exemption?
Are personal services provided?
How do I request an accommodation for the physical education requirement?
What if I have a service or assistance animal?
Is there a student group for students with disabilities?
What assistive technology is available on campus?
What about confidentiality? Who has access to my information?

What are some examples of common accommodations?+

Absence Accommodation
Audio Recording
Books in Alternative Format
Test Proctoring
Interpreting and CART Services
Note Taker
Personal Attendant
Reader Services

Absence Accommodation

“One of the most vital aspects of a residential university experience is attendance and punctuality in the classroom. The classroom is the place where each student contributes to the learning experience of his or her classmates; therefore, the value of the classroom academic experience cannot be fully measured by testing procedures alone. Class attendance policies are established by each school at the university, and specific attendance requirements are indicated in the syllabus of each class.”—Samford University Student Handbook

While class attendance is very important, students with disabilities affecting class attendance may be eligible for an absence accommodation. The absence accommodation allows consideration for a reasonable number of absences beyond what is required unless the absences create a fundamental alteration of the essential function of the course or program. Students who are eligible for an absence accommodation are responsible for the following in the event such student is absent from class because of disability related issues:

  1. At your earliest convenience, inform your instructor that you are absent due to disability related symptoms. Disability Resources (DR) recommends you e-mail your professor, save a copy of the message for your records and send a courtesy copy to DR. Contact your professor by phone if you do not have access to e-mail. It is imperative that your professor is aware of your absence as soon as possible.
  2. If you visit a physician or other type of care-giver, please obtain a signed excuse to give to your professor.
  3. You are responsible for any work or exams you miss due to an absence. Arrange to complete missed assignments and/or exams with your professor in a timely manner.
  4. The student must comply with these procedures for each absence related to his/her disability. Failure to communicate with the appropriate persons in a timely manner could result in loss of consideration for absences.

Audio Recording

Students that are eligible to audio record class lectures must agree to the following terms in order for Disability Resources (DR) to request this accommodation.

I agree to abide by the policy of audio recording lectures as established by DR as well as any other applicable course, department, school, or University policy. I will not copy, distribute, sell, or share audio recording with other students or non-students. I understand that failure to abide by the audio recording policy may result in academic misconduct.

On the final day of the term or before, I will erase audio recordings from all my classes.

Books in Alternative Format

Many students with learning and/or physical disabilities are interested in obtaining their textbooks in alternate formats as an auxiliary aid to assist them with their reading and coursework. Although most alternate formats may be acquired within weeks, requests for customized alternate formats such as Braille can take considerably longer. Once the accommodation has been approved, you must meet with a Disability Resources staff member to obtain additional information concerning specific policies and procedures, as well as how to make effective use of this accommodation.

Test Proctoring

The Test Proctoring Center is provided as a service to assist faculty in their efforts to provide testing accommodations for students with disabilities. While it is preferable for students to take tests within close proximity to professors, Disability Resources is available to assist when this is not possible. The center proctors tests only for students registered with Disability Resources.

Location

Ralph W. Beeson University Center, Room 205

Hours

Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–12 p.m. (exams must be finished by 12 p.m.); 1 p.m.–4 p.m. (exams must be finished by 4 p.m.)

Student Responsibilities

  • No later than one week prior to the date of the test student must return the completed proctoring form to Disability Resources and schedule the test time. Exceptions are possible for tests/quizzes announced with less than one week’s notice. (Testing space is assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis.)
  • Fill out the student information section on the proctoring form and sign. Present the form to faculty member before the exam and discuss specific test proctoring needs and plans.
  • Student must present the faculty member with an accommodation letter for the current semester.
  • Must show student I.D. at the testing site prior to taking exam.
  • Must abide by the Samford University Academic Integrity Statement.
  • Only approved instruments/materials allowed in the testing area. No coats,backpacks, purses, cell phones, or other electronic devices are allowed in the testing room.
  • Must be on time for the test. (Exam will not be administered if arrival time is 15 minutes after the instructor’s stated start time.)

Faculty Responsibilities

  • Discuss with the student specific test proctoring/accommodation needs and plans
  • Complete Test Proctoring Form, including specific guidelines and test routing procedures
  • Hand deliver/fax/email the test to Disability Resources no later than 12 p.m. the business day before the test.
  • Failure to abide by the policies and procedures set for by the Test Proctoring Center indicates that you will be responsible for providing testing accommodations for the student.

Interpreting and CART Services

The goal of Disability Resources (DR) in the area of interpreting services is to facilitate the process of providing high quality interpreting services to deaf and hard-of-hearing clients (D/HH). DR will serve in a mediator capacity to ensure appropriate accommodations are provided to D/HH students as mandated by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Procedures for Securing Sign Language Interpreters for Non-Academic Events and Programs

The Office of Disability Resources provides services free of charge for departments and currently enrolled students as they fulfill their academic requirements. The office is available to assist the campus in providing accommodations, including sign language interpreters, for events involving the general public and invited guests. Please contact Disability Resources as soon as you are aware of the need for such services. Disability Resources will provide the names and contact information of interpreters, and assist in locating appropriate services.The department requesting services is responsible for the cost of professional interpreting services.

The Interpreter’s Role

An interpreter is a professional communication facilitator between D/HH individuals and hearing individuals. The purpose of an interpreter is to provide a meaningful communication exchange equal to that of a hearing individual. The interpreter uses a specific sign language to communicate the spoken word to D/HH clients. Interpreters will use their voice to communicate sign language to hearing clients. Some D/HH individuals however, prefer to voice for themselves. The interpreter is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the environment is appropriate and conducive for interpreting.

The Transcriptionist Role

The transcriptionist is a professional communication facilitator. The transcriptionist will provide transcribed notes of class communication.The interpreter/transcriptionist is not a tutor, instructor, note-taker or counselor and should not engage in these roles.

Requesting an Interpreter/Transcriptionist

It is critical that D/HH students notify DR of their communication needs and preferences as early as possible to ensure appropriate accommodations. Requests for interpreter services must be submitted as soon as classes are scheduled. DR will require a copy of the student's schedule to enlist interpreters. DR will review the request and make a determination regarding the requested accommodation. The goal of DR is to provide qualified interpreters and allow students access to programs. Consideration will be given for student preferences. However, due to scheduling conflicts or other matters the preferences may not be honored. Interpreters should be impartial and services should not be provided by a family member or friend.

DR will arrange interpreting services for a variety of Samford activities outside of class. Students should request interpreters immediately upon determining a need for an interpreter and no later than at least 48 hours in advance of the event to ensure appropriate interpreter services. Note: This does not apply for emergency situations.

Students should inform DR immediately when any changes are made in the class schedule (adding or dropping a class, room change, day/time change). This will allow DR to coordinate interpreters appropriately.

Students that experience problems with interpreting services should attempt to address their concerns with the interpreter and/or professor. If no resolution can be reached, the student should contact the DR office as soon as possible.

Note Taker

I understand that I am still required, if possible, to attempt to take notes in class and may use the note taker’s copies as confirmation for accuracy and completion. I recognize that any notes acquired through the designated note taker should not be distributed, shared, or sold under any circumstances. Failure to abide by this policy may result in academic misconduct.

Personal Attendant

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Samford University recognizes that Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) may be necessary to address the personal needs of a student with a disability in order for that student to fully participate at the University. Students who require personal care attendant services who wish to have the same independent experience as all other college students are encouraged to hire an impartial PCA, who is not a family member or close friend. Students who require such services must contact and register with Samford University’s Disability Resources. Samford is committed to reviewing all requests for reasonable accommodations on a case-by-case basis.

The University does not provide personal care assistants to assist with eating, toileting, or dressing, nor does it assume coordination or financial responsibilities for personal attendant services. An otherwise qualified student with a disability who requires personal attendant services is responsible for making arrangements to provide for his/her own personal care attendant service.

Definitions

Student with a Disability: A student with a disability is identified as an individual who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, as specified according to the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act (2008).

Personal Care Attendant (PCA): A personal care attendant is a person hired by a student with a disability to perform activities of daily living duties in Samford University sponsored residence halls, classrooms, programs, and activities.

Reader Services

Readers are offered to students that are eligible for reader services. Typically readers are secured for texts that are unavailable through Learning Ally, the publisher, or too difficult to scan. Reader services for exams are seldom used as students may be able to access exam materials via assistive technology.

Eligible students should notify DR in a timely manner if reader services are needed. Students should not acquire reader services on their own without prior approval from DR, which is not responsible for compensating unapproved readers.

Role of a Reader: The purpose of a reader is to provide access to print materials. Readers are not available to offer interpretations or explanations for documents read. Students should consult their professor for clarifications.

How do I register for accessible or handicap parking?+

Accessible parking areas are available to students who are certified for disability parking by display of their state issue hang-tag or tag. Contact Transportation Services at 205-726-2762 for further information.

How do I request a Foreign Language Substitution?+

Some of the schools at Samford University have a foreign language requirement. It is our experience that students with disabilities who come to Samford often have developed strategies to compensate for their difficulties with specific learning and/or content areas. Many of these students meet the foreign language requirement. Students who have a documented disability that significantly impacts their ability to fulfill the foreign language requirement can petition for a substitution. The following procedures should be followed:

  1. Contact Disability Resources for academic adjustments in foreign language study.
  2. Provide current documentation of a disability to substantiate the need for a course substitution. No course substitutions are granted without appropriate documentation.
  3. Disability Resources determines if the student is eligible for foreign language substitution. Eligible students are provided a Foreign Language Substitution (FLS) contract signed by the director of DR.
  4. Students who are determined eligible must meet with their advisor to plan their course of action. Students select substitute courses and/or activities from the approved substitution courses listed on the FLS contract. A substitution course/activity may not be used to fulfill another requirement.
  5. If an Experiential Learning Project is chosen as an option, the student must receive prior approval/signature from the Coordinator of Experiential Learning in World Languages and Cultures.
  6. After full completion of the substitution courses/projects the student's academic advisor must sign the Foreign Language Substitution contract.
  7. As a final step the student must submit the completed FLS contract to the chair of World Languages and Cultures for his/her signature. Students may request a copy of the signed document for their records. The chair forwards the completed FLS contract to Academic Services signifying that the student has completed requirements for foreign language study at Samford University.
 

How do I request housing accommodations? How do I request a meal plan exemption?+

The Residence Life office provides a variety of housing options. The majority of rooms in the residence halls are double occupancy and a few are equipped to meet the needs of students with disabilities. Students requiring single room occupancy may request a private room. Students with disabilities should request housing needs as soon as they are admitted to the university.

Living and dining on campus are an integral component of the Samford University undergraduate experience. Through the Office of Residence Life the student application for housing states that students who live in campus housing must also purchase a meal plan. Students with disabilities may require residential and/or meal plan accommodations in order to fully participate in campus life. Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis and are to allow for equal access to university programs and services. Dietary preferences not relating to the corresponding disability should be addressed with Dining Services.

Decisions regarding reasonable accommodations in meal plans are made by committee. The meal plan committee meets once per month.

Students requesting housing accommodations for the fall semester must have completed all processes through DR by June 1. Students submitting information after the deadline will receive housing accommodations only if space becomes available.

  1. Contact Residence Life requesting considerations for housing and/or a meal plan.
  2. Contact Disability Resources (DR) to register for services and begin the process to determine reasonable accommodations.
  3. You may provide DR professional documentation addressing specific dietary restrictions and/or functional impairments requiring housing adjustments.
  4. Students who are determined eligible by DR for meal plan adjustments should meet with Dining Services to determine available dietary options.
  5. Students who are determined eligible by DR for housing adjustments should contact Residence Life to determine available housing options.
  6. To complete the accommodation process for housing and/or meal plans, students must schedule a follow-up appointment with DR.
  7. If determined eligible for housing and/or meal plan accommodations students must submit an accommodation memo provided by DR to the Office of Residence Life.
 

Are personal services provided?+

Services that are provided to all students of the university will be made available and accessible to students with disabilities.  Common examples of services that may not be available to all students and therefore may not be provided by Disability Resources include tutoring, transportation, and personal attendant care.

How do I request an accommodation for the physical education requirement?+

In the core curriculum of Samford University undergraduate students are required to take the course 'Concepts of Health and Fitness.' The course requires physical activity that may be impacted by a disability. If academic adjustments are required for physical education students should contact DR.

DR recommends that students meet with appropriate physical education staff members in the Department of Kinesiology, School of Health Professions for assistance with course planning

  1. Contact DR to request academic adjustments for physical education requirements.
  2. Provide DR appropriate documentation of your disability from a qualified professional.
  3. Students determined eligible for accommodations in physical education are given a Physical Restrictions form to submit to the qualified professional for completion.
  4. Students should submit completed Physical Restrictions form to DR.
  5. Upon completion of all processes required for accommodations, DR provides students an AccommodationMemo, which includes physical restrictions recommended by the qualified professional. Students must submit the Accommodation Memo to their professor in order to receive academic adjustments in physical education.
 

What if I have a service or assistance animal?+

In accordance with the revised Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations (2011), service animals are permitted in university facilities for persons with documented disabilities. The ADA defines a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability (including physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability). The work or tasks must be directly related to the handler’s disability. Examples include, but are not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, or pulling a wheelchair. Service animals that meet the ADA definition are permitted to accompany an individual with a disability to class, services, activities, programs, field trips, or residences. However, service animals must be under the handler’s control at all times, be housebroken, in good health, and current with all appropriate vaccinations. In addition, service animals may wear a harness, identification tag, or other gear that readily identifies its working status. The service animal may be licensed from an approved training program or have a current license and tags from local authorities. Handlers are held responsible for any property damage. The handler is also responsible for clean-up of animal waste.

Any service animal may be removed from campus either temporarily or permanently if it becomes disruptive, unruly, or in ill health. For example, a service animal that displays aggressive behavior towards people may be excluded. Service animals whose sole function is “the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship” are not considered service animals under the ADA. Questions related to the student use of service animals on campus should be directed to the Office of Disability Resources, 205-726-4078. Questions related to the visitor or employee use of service animals on campus should be directed to Human Resources, 205-726-2809.

Is there a student group for students with disabilities?+

DiversABILITY is a student-run disability advocacy organization created to provide a stronger voice for the disability community at Samford. DiversABILITY is open to all currently enrolled Samford students who are interested in disability-related concerns. This group seeks to raise awareness for local and international disability concerns, to minimize accessibility barriers on Samford’s campus, and to engage the disability community at Samford with disability advocacy organizations in the greater Birmingham area.

What assistive technology is available on campus?+

The University Library Lab is located on the lower level of the University Library. Hours of the lab are the same as library hours. Assistive technology provided in the lab includes text scanning, screen magnifiers and text magnifiers. Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 is available on all 42 computers in the lab to listen to PDF files. Students should bring their own head phones or check out a pair at the circulation desk of the library. Students who are registered with DR are strongly encouraged to use this lab. Students who need access to assistive technology not listed above are encouraged to contact DR.

What about confidentiality? Who has access to my information?+

Students that wish to see their file should make a request to DR.

An appropriate DR staff member will review the student's file with him/her. Any questions regarding disability documentation will be answered to the best of the staff member's ability. Students are encouraged to contact the author of their disability documentation to discuss questions, comments, or concerns.

Release of Information

Disability Resources operates under (FERPA) Federal Family Education Right to Privacy Act. Students are not required to sign a release of information to access reasonable accommodation requests. Students may receive a copy of their records when transferring to another institution. Students requesting a copy of their records from Disability Resources are responsible for forwarding the information.