Laws, Policies, and Processes: Tools for Postsecondary Student Accommodation

Book cover for "Laws, Policies, and Processes"

Edited by: Mary Lee Vance and Tom L. Thompson

This book is a Swiss Army Knife for disability professionals, including disability rights history, basic to advanced legal principles, direct advice to disability professionals, an eloquent presentation of the student perspective by Haben Girma, and tips for building a more inclusive academic environment. After years of presenting their highly popular and well-attended disability law trainings, Jamie Axelrod and Paul Grossman have put their legal guidance into writing, thoroughly covering legal concepts such as who is a “qualified student with a disability,” when a reasonable accommodation is “necessary,” and determining whether a requested or proposed accommodation is “reasonable” on its face. This is followed by a discussion of the “affirmative defenses,” including fundamental alteration, undue burden, and direct threat to health and safety, and when it is appropriate to assert these. This book is a must for college administrators, disability office professionals, ADA Coordinators, faculty, and anyone else who works with students with disabilities in higher education.

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Table of Contents

Preface | The Intersection of Race and Disability: History and Relevance Today

  • Disability Rights Are Civil Rights
  • The Tools You Need Are in This Book
  • Resources


Chapter 1 | The Legal World of Students With Disabilities

  • A Familial Introduction to Disability Rights in Higher Education
  • Equal Access
  • Degree of Deference
  • Establishing the Presence of a Disability
  • Types of Accommodation
  • Benefits to the Entire Academic Community
  • References

Chapter 2 | The Definition of Disability

  • The Changing Interpretation of “Substantially Limits” and “Major Life Activities”
  • Impairment: Major Life Activity and Spectrum
  • The Three Prongs
  • Conclusion
  • References

Chapter 3 | Tool One: Three Paradigms

  • Two Foundational Paradigms: Disparate Treatment and Disparate Impact
    • Disparate Treatment
    • Disparate Impact
  • The Third Paradigm: Qualified Student with a Disability
  • Applying the QSD Paradigm
    • Qualified Student With a Disability?
    • With or Without Accommodation?
    • Necessity of Accommodation?
    • Was an Accommodation Requested?
    • Burden and Order of Proof in Court Proceedings
    • Common Defenses Regarding the QSD Paradigm
    • The Question of Fundamental Alteration
    • The Question of Undue Burden
    • Conduct and Misconduct
    • Direct Threat to Health and Safety
  • Summary: The Relationship Between QSD, Fundamental Alteration, and Undue Burden
  • In Addition to the Standard Paradigms
  • References

Chapter 4 | Tool Two: A Process

  • The Answer Will Not Always Be Clear
  • Process Guidance Derived from Judicial Precedents
    • Wynne v. Tufts
    • Guckenberger v. Boston University
  • The Wynne I Process Precedent Spreads
  • Regulatory Guidance on Fundamental Alteration and Undue Burden Processes
  • A Model Wynne Deliberative Process
  • Combining Tools to Achieve Compliance
  • References

Chapter 5 | Haben Girma, Harvard Law’s First Deafblind Graduate

Chapter 6 | Accommodation Case Studies

  • Case Study One
  • Case Study Two
  • Case Study Three
  • Case Study Four

Chapter 7 | Managing Up to Strategically Position Disabled Resources

  • Why Managing Up Is Critical for DR Directors
  • Aspects of DR Departments to Proactively Explain to Administrators
  • Budgeting
  • Compliance and/or Student Support
  • Techniques for Managing Up
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Resources

Chapter 8 | Managing Up Case Studies

  • Case Study One
  • Case Study Two
  • Case Study Three

Chapter 9 | The QSD Paradigm and (Internal, External) DR Evaluations

  • Three Pillars, or Strands
  • The (Internal, External) Evaluation and the QSD Paradigm
    • How Does an Evaluation Contribute to Skill in Applying the QSD Paradigm?
    • What Are the Other Benefits and Outcomes of Doing an Evaluation?
  • References

Chapter 10 | Enhancing the Practice of Disability Resources Through Universal Design

  • Reference


  • How to Get the Most Out of This Book
    • DR Staff
    • Administrators
    • Faculty
    • Students