Disability Laws and Guidelines
At Accessibility Services, we follow a number of laws, policies, and guidelines set forth by the federal government, state of California, and CSU system. We've summarized the most commonly referenced policies here for your review.
The Rehabilitation Act
The Rehabilitation Act took effect in 1973 and was the first federal law to list the rights and protections of people with disabilities and to prohibit discrimination based on disability. The Rehabilitation Act has been amended twice since its original publication (1993 and 1998). It is a lengthy document, broken into hundreds of sections - over 750 in the latest version.
Sections 504 and 508 may be the most familiar. Section 504 describes the civil rights of people with disabilities and contains the following statement: "No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States shall, solely by reason of...disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." Section 508 requires that electronic and information technology be accessible to people with disabilities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the civil rights guarantee for persons with disabilities in the United States. The ADA upholds and extends the standards for compliance set forth in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to employment practices, communications, and all policies, procedures, and practices that impact the treatment of students with disabilities. Find out more about this law on the ADA homepage.
The California State University Policy on Disability Support and Accommodations (EO-926)
The Chancellor's Office describes this policy as a compilation of statewide policies and procedures for disability support and accommodations. It requires that all CSU campuses make their programs, services, and activities accessible to all students, faculty, staff, and visitors with disabilities. Specific guidance is given to academic affairs, business and finance (including information technology, physical access, and parking/transportation), and human resources. Read more about the EO-926 Policy here.
The CSU Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI)
This initiative requires CSU campuses to provide all students, faculty, staff, and the general public with access to information resources and technology. Find more information on the ATI website.
The CSU Center for Alternative Media (CAM)
The Center for Alternative Media is a CSU-wide program that helps expedite the requesting and distribution of instructional material in e-text form. (Alternative media or electronic text is an accommodation used by eligible CSU students with disabilities.) The CAM memo (AA-2004-25) describes the workings of CAM and sets guidelines for alternative media staff and students.
The CSU Policy for the Provision of Accommodations and Support Services to Students with Disabilities (Policy AA-2009-27)
The Chancellor's Office created a systemwide advisory committee to study disability and accommodation issues among CSU campuses. This policy is the culmination of their work. It provides guidance to CSU disability offices on how to support and provide accommodations for students with disabilities. Specifically, the policy categorizes disabilities, describes the need for documentation and maintenance of confidentiality, and provides guidelines for accommodations and evaluation of disability services. It also includes a section on guidelines for the assessment and verification of students with learning disabilities.
The CSU Policy also provides the definitions we use for disability:
An individual with a disability shall refer to (1) any person who has a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual, (2) any person who has a record of such impairment, or (3) any person who is regarded as having such impairment.
A qualified individual with a disability shall mean an individual with a disability who (1) meets the academic and technical standards requisite for admission or participation in the education programs of the CSU campuses. This includes students with disabilities participating in clinical or field placements that are offered as part of a program's field of study. And (2) meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or the participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity regardless of reasonable modifications to rules, policies, or practices; the provision of auxiliary aids and services; and the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers.
Interested in learning more? Read the entire AA-2009-27 Policy here.