Policy #73 Accomodation for Students with Disabilities
Proposed amendments to Policy #73 (Accommodation for Students with Disabilities) and associated procedures were approved by the Board on December 4, 2018, the Vancouver Senate on December 12, 2018, and the Okanagan Senate on January 31, 2019.
The approved amendments are intended to modernize the Policy and ensure a more effective and accountable process for accommodating students with disabilities at the University by providing additional guidance for students, faculty and staff in terms of the process by which accommodations for students with disabilities are made at the University. The key elements of the amendments do the following:
- remove the word “academic” from the title of the Policy so that it is clear that the Policy applies beyond academic considerations;
- explain the purpose of accommodation in the learning environment and the University’s responsibility and commitment to providing accommodation;
- expand upon and clarify the scope of the Policy;
- define key terms used in the Policy;
- clearly set out the responsibilities of those key members of the University involved in the accommodation process;
- distinguish disabilities from temporary health issues, which are addressed through the process set out in the Senate Regulation on Academic Concession in the University’s academic calendars;
- bring the Policy into alignment with the University’s existing practices and lay out the process for creating accommodation, step by step;
- outline the key principles to be considered when determining and implementing accommodations, including guidance as to how reasonable and appropriate accommodations will be made and what factors are considered, such as explanations surrounding the “undue hardship” limitation to the duty to accommodate and the essential requirement component of this limitation. In this respect, Access & Diversity and the Disability Resource Centre are posting Frequently Asked Questions on their websites that provide further guidance to persons wanting to better understand the concepts of undue hardship and essential requirements for the purposes of Policy #73; and
- establish streamlined procedures that are consistent across the two campuses, including new and refined appeal processes where a student or an instructor or other University employee disagrees with a recommended accommodation, allowing for more prompt resolution.
Of particular note is the new mechanism for instructors or other University employees seeking review of an academic accommodation decision to determine whether undue hardship would be incurred. The purpose of this mechanism is to ensure that this review process is timely and allows for a decision to be made by a qualified, well-informed decision-maker, without causing unnecessary delays to the parties affected by such decision.
A copy of the approved Policy #73 is available here.