Smith College is committed both philosophically and legally to assuring equal access to all college programs and services and complies with state and federal disability nondiscrimination requirements. The college pursues the goal of equal access through proactive institutional planning and barrier removal, as well as though the provision of reasonable and appropriate accommodations to students, staff and faculty with documented disabilities.
The college's Office of Disability Services coordinates accommodations and facilitates the provision of services to students with documented disabilities. A student may voluntarily register with the Office of Disability Services by completing the disability identification form and providing documentation of her disabilities, after which proper accommodations will be determined and implemented by the college.
Registered students with disabilities who need academic accommodations or disability-related support services are asked to make their needs known and to file timely request forms each semester with the Office of Disability Services.
Students are bound to Smith's honor code and must follow other relevant deadlines when making requests for accommodations. Like all Smith students, those with disabilities should select courses that take into account their own particular strengths and weaknesses.
Foreign Language Requirements
Students with disabilities must complete language requirements for their major as appropriate. Students with language-based learning disabilities wishing to obtain Latin honors may petition the administrative board for language course substitution with the support of the Office of Disability Services.
Students with disabilities may petition the Administrative Board for use of AP credits to compensate for credit shortages due to reduced course load allowances with the support of the disability services office and their class dean.
Support Services and auxiliary aids, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA]), provided by the college may include: readers, sign language interpreters, note takers, scribes, assistive listening devices, typists, adapted computing software and hardware and print materials in alternative formats. Writing counseling (more and/or longer appointments) and peer subject tutoring (more and/or longer tutoring sessions) are provided through the Jacobson Center. All support services are provided to students with documented disabilities to help them perform according to their intellectual abilities and meet their academic and community responsibilities.
Smith is a residential campus that requires all students to live on campus throughout their entire time at the college. Housing accommodations will be made for students with documented disabilities or significant medical conditions to the extent feasible. Students' preferences for specific houses will be considered, but may not always be met when the unique character and age of particular residence halls limit access. Students needing housing accommodations must apply through the typical housing process and submit their request for accommodation to the Disability Services Office with supporting medical documentation by the appropriate deadlines. Failure to submit complete information by the deadlines may delay or prevent the college from meeting the request.
Responsibilities & Limitations
Under state and federal civil rights laws the college is responsible for providing that, within certain limits, students are not denied the opportunity to participate in college programs on the basis of a disability. The college does not provide such support services if providing them would create an undue burden for the college. The college is not required to and does not:
- Make accommodations or provide support for services which fundamentally alter the academic requirements for the degree, course requirements or basic pedagogy;
- Normally alter consistently applied academic policies which are based on academic standards;
- Guarantee success or bear responsibility for making students succeed in their courses;
- Pay for or provide items or services of a personal nature such as personal care assistance; personal purchases; personal medical, adaptive or computer equipment; private transportation; or educational supplies used by all students (pens, paper, computer supplies, etc.). These are the responsibility of the student.
- Professional tutoring or clinical evaluation or intervention service, as well as professional services or tutoring aimed at remediation, personal or academic coaching and case management is not provided by the college.
The college will provide support services to students for whom the college has evaluations and documentation that are current and support the accommodation or services requested. Accommodation and services requests will be reviewed upon receipt of appropriate documentation, and determinations will be made in a timely manner. The college cannot make retroactive accommodations. The college will consider the student's preferred accommodation requests but has the right to offer an equally effective alternative. Students are expected to participate responsibly and actively in using accommodations they have requested and which have been approved by the college. Students who may have a disability and need accommodations or support services should contact or be referred to the Office of Disability Services for consultation and advice.
Students may appeal decisions of the college related to disability accommodations and services, as well as other disability civil rights complaints to the Office of Institutional Diversity & Equity.