Smith College is committed both philosophically and legally to ensuring equal access to all college programs and services. The college complies with state and federal disability nondiscrimination requirements, while pursuing the goal of equal access through proactive institutional planning and barrier removal, as well as by the provision of reasonable and appropriate accommodations to disabled individuals.
The Office of Disability Services (ODS) coordinates accommodations and facilitates the provision of services to students, staff and faculty with documented disabilities. A student or employee may voluntarily register with ODS by completing the disability identification form and providing documentation of her disabilities, after which appropriate accommodations will be determined and implemented by the college.
Registered students with disabilities who need academic accommodations are asked to make their needs known by filing a request form with ODS on a timely basis each semester.
Students are bound by Smith's honor code and must follow all relevant deadlines when making requests for accommodations. Like all Smith students, those with disabilities should take into account their own particular strengths and challenges when selecting courses.
Foreign Language Requirements
Students with disabilities must complete language requirements for their major as appropriate. Students with language-based learning disabilities who wish to be eligible for Latin honors may petition the administrative board for language course substitution with the support of the Office of Disability Services.
With the support of ODS and the Dean's office, students with disabilities may petition the Administrative Board to allow the use of AP credits to compensate for credit shortages due to reduced course load allowances.
As defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), support services and auxiliary aids provided by the college may include: readers; sign language interpreters; notetakers; scribes; assistive listening devices; typists; adapted computing software/hardware; and print materials in alternative formats. Writing counseling and peer subject tutoring are provided to all Smith students through the Jacobson Center. Support services in this area may include more and longer appointments for both. All support services are provided to students with documented disabilities with the goal of helping them perform to the best of their intellectual abilities and to meet their academic and community responsibilities.
Smith College is a residential campus that requires all students to live on campus throughout their entire enrollment at the college. To the extent feasible, housing accommodations will be made for students with documented disabilities or significant medical conditions. Students' preferences for specific houses will be considered, but may not always be met in situations where the unique character and age of a particular residence hall limits access. Students needing housing accommodations must apply through the standard housing process, while also submitting their request for accommodation to the Disability Services Office with supporting medical documentation by the appropriate deadlines. Failure to submit complete information by these deadlines may delay or prevent the college from meeting the request.
Responsibilities & Limitations
State and federal civil rights laws require the college to be, within certain limits, responsible for ensuring that 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 in cases where this would create an undue burden for the college. Specifically, 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;
- Provide professional tutoring or clinical evaluation or intervention service, as well as professional services or tutoring aimed at remediation, personal or academic coaching or case management.
- 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, including pens, paper, computer supplies, etc. These are the responsibility of the student.
Smith 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. Retroactive accommodations cannot be made. The college will consider the student's preferred accommodation requests, but has the right to offer an equally effective alternative. Students are expected to responsibly and actively use those accommodations they have requested and that have been approved by the college. Students who may have a disability and need accommodations and/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 submit other disability/civil rights complaints to the Office of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity.