Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Information from the Office of the General Counsel

Resource Title:

Information from U-M Counsel's Office, updated September, 2015

Do I need to make accommodations for students with disabilities?

Instructors are obligated by law to provide reasonable accommodations to students who have a verified disability.

What does that mean? 

Instructors should be prepared to provide reasonable accommodations for their students who have disabilities so long as those accommodations are not an undue financial burden to instructors and do not jeopardize the integrity of the course.  Minimal accommodations required will be listed in the Verified Individualized Services and Accommodations (VISA) letter.  Retroactive accommodations are not required.

When will I know if a student needs a particular accommodation?

It is the responsibility of the student to provide the instructor or whomever your academic unit has designated to receive initial disclosures from students with a VISA in advance of the need for the accommodation.  SSD recommends advance notice of least two weeks prior to the need for the accommodation.  Faculty are strongly encouraged to establish a reasonable timeframe for notification in their syllabus. 

What about graduate students with disabilities?

Graduate students are treated the same way for the academic portion of their program (i.e., coursework); however, when employed as a GSI or GSSA by the University, the accommodation process is governed by the GEO contract and points of contact are identified through Rackham.

Services for Students Who Have Disabilities (SSD)

What is SSD?

Experts in the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) are available on campus to help instructors and students with issues related to disability and serve as an ally to students with disabilities. 

What will SSD do?

SSD determines the validity of a disability, addresses any issues verifying documentation, recommends accommodations, and advises instructors and students regarding reasonable academic accommodations.  They also provide the student with a VISA Form which verifies the student’s need for an accommodation.

See also: Teaching Students Who Have Disabilities: What Faculty Can Do