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Disability Rights & Policies

Admission Criteria

Students with disabilities are evaluated for admission according to the same criteria and high standards as all other applicants. Information shared with the Office of Disability Services is confidential and will not be shared with anyone involved in the admission process. Similarly, the Office of Admission does not share health services information with ODS.

Smith's philosophy and approach to accommodating students with disabilities is one that emphasizes independence, self-reliance and self-advocacy. While the college has an important role in meeting the needs of students, it is expected that students will take an active role in the accommodation process.

Before admission, students with disabilities are advised to talk or meet with the disability services director to discuss any questions or concerns about disability accommodations or services needed.

Disability is Not a Consideration in Admission

No inquiries will be made about disability, and your disability need not be disclosed before admission. If you have questions about disability and admission policies, please contact us or the Office of Admission.


Events and Meeting Access Guidelines

There are four essential requirements that should be addressed proactively, as well as some additional accessibility guidelines that will make events more accessible, and that should be considered in the planning process and incorporated to the greatest extent possible. All individually requested accommodations must be arranged for and provided, unless there is a specific reason this is not possible. Contact the Office of Disability Services (ods@smith.edu) with questions.


Smith College Employees with Disabilities

Smith College strives to create a positive work environment that can accommodate employees with diverse needs. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, otherwise qualified faculty and staff may request job accommodations for a documented disability or serious medical condition. An employee must be able to perform the essential functions of a job, either with or without accommodations. To request accommodations, you must complete a Job Accommodation Form. Employees are welcome to come first to the Office of Disability Services to confidentially explore their concerns and discuss possible accommodations that may be appropriate to their particular position.

Prospective Employees

If you need acccommodations during the job application process, please complete the Employment Accommodation Request Form with the Office of Human Resources. Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis, considering an individual's challenges, the demands and responsibilities of the position, and the needs of the college.


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 and computer supplies. These are the responsibility of the student.

Exclusions

Although Smith College does not provide testing for learning disabilities or ADHD, Smith's student health insurance offers coverage for some of these costs. Please consult the student health insurance provider. The college also does not provide specialized LD tutors, personal coaching or case management. Individuals who need this type of support will be referred to appropriate resources in the community to the extent that they are available.


Disability Documentation Policy

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.

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. All support services are provided to students who have registered with ODS with documented disabilities.

Registered students with disabilities who need academic accommodations must file a request form with ODS each semester.


Academic Policy

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. Like all Smith students, those with disabilities should take into account their own particular strengths and challenges when selecting courses.

Academic Honor Code

All students are bound by Smith's honor code and must follow all relevant deadlines when making requests for accommodations. All students should take into account their own particular strengths and challenges when selecting courses.

Foreign Language Requirements

Students with disabilities must complete language requirements for your major as appropriate. If you have a language-based learning disability and wish to be eligible for Latin honors, you may petition the administrative board for language course substitution with the support of the Office of Disability Services.

Credit Shortages

With the support of ODS and the class dean's office, you may petition the Administrative Board to allow the use of AP credits to compensate for credit shortages due to reduced course load allowances.


Grievances

If you disagree with the final decision of the disability director or with a faculty member about your accommodations, please contact your class dean to see if an informal resolution can be achieved. If you wish to file a formal grievance about decisions or treatment by any staff or faculty member, you may contact the Office of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity at 413-585-2141 and follow the college's procedures as outlined on their website.