Harris Family Center for Disability & Health Policy (CDHP)

Rights & Responsibilities

Western University rights and responsibilities regarding students with disabilities are also included in the AARC Student Handbook.

Authority and Responsibility of AARC


  • To evaluate and/or identify functional limitations stemming from the student’s disability in order to determine appropriate academic adjustments and accommodations needed for courses, programs, services, and college activities
  • To request and receive from the student current documentation that supports requests for reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary services
  • To deny a request for reasonable accommodation, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary services if the documentation demonstrates that they are not warranted, or if the individual fails to provide appropriate documentation
  • To select among effective reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary services
  • To deny a request for an unreasonable accommodation, adjustment, and/or auxiliary service or one that imposes an undue hardship or fundamental alteration on a program or activity of the College


  • To ensure that qualified students receive academic adjustments and accommodations for courses, programs, activities, and services in necessary setting
  • To provide information to students with disabilities in accessible formats upon request
  • To evaluate students on both their abilities and disabilities
  • To maintain appropriate confidentiality of records and communication, except where permitted/required by law

Responsibility of Student to Request Accommodations Sufficiently in Advance, and of AARC to Notify Student of Deficiencies

It is the responsibility of the student to request accommodations sufficiently in advance of the time the accommodation is required, to provide AARC with a reasonable period of time to act on the request. The student should keep in mind that accommodations may only be provided after AARC verifies (a) that the student has a disability, and (b) that the requested accommodation is a reasonable accommodation for the disability.

AARC has the responsibility to inform the student within five (5) working days if, in the judgment of AARC, the documentation submitted by the student is insufficient to support the accommodation requested by the student. AARC will either notify the student in writing or will meet with the student to explain what additional information or documentation is required to be submitted.

Rights and Responsibilities of Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act provide certain benefits and rights to the student who has a qualifying disability, but the student must assume certain responsibilities to qualify for and receive the maximum benefits of the law.

Students with Disabilities have the right to:

  • An equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from courses, programs, services, or activities offered through the University
  • An equal opportunity to work and to learn, and to receive reasonable accommodation, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services
  • Appropriate confidentiality of all information regarding the disability and to choose who the information about their disability will be disclosed to, except for disclosures that are required/permitted by law

Students with Disabilities have the responsibility to:

  • Provide documentation from a qualified professional that verifies the nature of the disability, functional limitations, and the need for specific accommodations
  • Contact the Assistant Director of AARC if reasonable accommodations are not implemented in an effective and timely manner
  • Meet qualifications and maintain essential institutional standards for courses, programs, services, or activities
  • Self-identify as an individual with a disability when an accommodation is requested and to seek information, counsel, and assistance as necessary
  • Demonstrate and/or document (from a licensed professional) how the disability limits participation in the course, programs, services, or activities
  • Follow published procedures for obtaining information, services, and reasonable accommodations

It is the obligation of AARC to comply with the spirit and the provisions of the ADA Law, but it is not the obligation of AARC to seek out the students needing its services. The student must cooperate with the University and AARC in obtaining reasonable accommodations.

University Obligation

The University has an obligation to confirm that students receiving accommodations have verified disabilities according to state and federal law. We request disability documentation and develop accommodation and service recommendations based on this information. Accommodations and services may not be provided if the student does not provide documentation of a disability, does not have a diagnosed disability, or does not follow AARC and University policies and procedures. Disability documentation is maintained in a confidential student file and does not become a part of the student’s academic record.

Signing the Registration Agreement Form

  • The purpose of signing the Registration Agreement form is to maintain a record that the student understands our procedures and protocols on disclosure of disability.
  • What if a student does not sign the Registration Agreement form? Signing the Registration Agreement form acknowledges that the student understands our disclosure procedure; it is not a request for permission. Students requesting that AARC not disclose disability at any level must submit their request in writing, specifically describing what level, if any, of disclosure they are authorizing. Students are not required to sign the Registration Agreement form. If a student asks that we do not discuss his or her situation with faculty or staff, the request will be honored. However, students need to understand that if they are requesting AARC to provide accommodations, and if they prohibit the individuals responsible for implementing accommodations from discussing critical components of the situation (such as the relationship of the disability to the course and the requested accommodations), it may not be possible to implement an accommodation.

Accommodations: “It’s Not Working” Process

Clear communication between students, their service providers, and AARC staff is vital to utilizing the AARC program effectively. Occasionally, there are problems and when these occur, we want to engage in problem solving with the student to resolve the problem. Students who are having difficulties with their service providers, i.e. faculty, or who want to address issues regarding access and/or accommodations should contact the Assistant Director of AARC.

Students with disabilities at the university are responsible for notifying the Assistant Director of AARC of any problems. To the extent possible, problems will be acted upon within 48 hours. Resolution of a problem is dependent on the nature of the problem.


Students with disabilities are required to set up an appointment with the Assistant Director of AARC to discuss the problem. This appointment should be made as soon as possible after the problem has been identified.

Possible Performance Issues:

  • Note taker is continually late with notes
  • Note taker takes incomplete and sloppy notes
  • Alternative test arrangements are not ready at the appropriate time

Students who are experiencing difficulties in class or with their instructors must notify the Assistant Director of AARC or the appropriate CAL. Do not wait until the end of the term or after receiving a final grade to make contact.



Appeals Process

Any appeal regarding an academic matter, such as grading, must be conducted in accordance with the appeals process described in the University’s Catalog.

  1. Should a student choose to appeal a decision made by AARC regarding reasonable accommodations, the following steps must be taken:
    1. A student who disagrees with AARC’s determination on any accommodation request, including any decision on a request for a modification of an academic requirement, may appeal in writing to the Vice President of Student Affairs within five (5) business days of the accommodation decision. The written appeal shall include copies of both the original written request and the decision made by AARC, and shall state the student’s reasons for disagreeing with the decision.
    2. The Vice President of Student Affairs, or his/her designee, will convene a Student Accommodation Appeals Committee consisting of the Vice President of Student Affairs or his/her designee (chair), a faculty member, and a member selected by the Director of CDHP. The chair of the Student Accommodation Appeals Committee will schedule a meeting to consider the appeal. The student filing the appeal will be notified of the meeting and will be entitled to attend.
    3. The student filing the appeal may request permission to have a mentor present at his or her appeal. Requests must be made in writing and are approved at the discretion of the Chair of the Student Accommodation Appeals Committee.
    4. The Student Accommodation Appeals Committee will review the appeal and inform the student of its determination within five (5) business days following the conclusion of the hearing on the appeal.
  2. The Student Accommodation Appeals Committee will only consider issues raised in written appeals, and its decision is typically limited to the following considerations:
    1. Were the proper facts and criteria brought to bear on the decision or, conversely, were improper or extraneous facts or criteria brought to bear on the decision that substantially affected the decision to the detriment of the student?
    2. Were there any procedural irregularities that substantially affected the outcome of the matter to the detriment of the student?
    3. Given the proper facts, criteria, and procedure, was the decision a reasonable one?
  3. If the student is dissatisfied with the outcome of the appeals process, he or she may submit a written appeal to the Provost within five (5) days of receipt of the Committee’s decision. This request must be accompanied by copies of relevant documents including committee decisions.
  4. The Provost will render a decision within seven (7) working days of receipt of the student’s appeal. If good cause exists, the Provost may extend the deadline for rendering the decision. The Provost’s decision is final.
  5. For the duration of the appeals process, an interim accommodation will be provided pending the final outcome of the appeal.