Requesting and Receiving Disability Accommodations
Revised August 2020
Brigham Young University is fully committed to complying with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prevents students with disabilities from being excluded from BYU’s programs and activities, and which requires BYU to provide reasonable accommodations to students so they can enjoy equal access to the benefits available to other students. University Accessibility Center (UAC) staff, university faculty, and others work together to accomplish these goals.
The UAC encourages all BYU students who have a disability, or who believe they have a disability, to contact the UAC and begin the interactive process of requesting and receiving academic accommodations. To initiate this process and determine eligibility for accommodations, students should proceed with the following steps and procedures.
Initial Meeting Form
The first step is to complete the UAC online Initial Meeting Form.
In order to qualify for a reasonable accommodation, a student must present reliable medical documentation that verifies he or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. Please see the Documentation Guidelines for guidelines specific to your situation.
Meeting with a UAC Coordinator
Because each accommodation should be made after an individualized assessment, the student will meet with a UAC coordinator who will assess the following factors in determining appropriate accommodations:
- The nature of the student’s disability.
- Accommodations that have worked for that student in the past, if any.
- Whether the requested accommodations will allow the student to have equal access and effectively participate in the course or program.
- Whether the accommodation can be reasonably implemented by the faculty member.
- Whether the requested accommodations will alter the essential requirements of the course or program.
Appropriate and Reasonable Accommodations
While physicians, mental health practitioners, and/or other evaluators may submit recommendations regarding academic accommodations, the UAC coordinator who is familiar with the educational environment at BYU determines the extent to which the recommended accommodations are appropriate and reasonable. In making that determination, the UAC coordinator will engage in an interactive dialogue with the student and, if appropriate, the student’s professors, and program/school administrators. The purpose of this dialogue is to ensure that the student is granted equal access to all programs and educational opportunities at the university. However, while that is the UAC’s aim, it is important to note that academic accommodations cannot alter the essential functions of any course at BYU or impose an undue burden. Essential functions are defined as tasks or responsibilities that are central (not marginal) to the purpose of the course. Accommodations which alter a course’s essential functions or impose an undue burden will not be considered reasonable and will not be granted. Please note that just because an accommodation may be inconvenient or require some effort does not mean that it is unduly burdensome. It is only unduly burdensome when it requires significant difficulty or expense, or if it alters the fundamental nature of the program or activity. Additionally, accommodations are not retroactive.
While BYU follows federal disability law that requires that we provide students with disabilities reasonable accommodations, the law does not dictate what those accommodations should be. Rather, as explained above, accommodation decisions are based on what is reasonable. To help BYU determine what is reasonable and to help ensure compliance, the university has developed a disability policy and procedures. The university also looks to the best practices and standards at other institutions across the country for ideas and guidance. However, notwithstanding what other schools do or what students want, we must still ensure that the accommodations we grant are reasonable, and we welcome an interactive dialogue with the student’s professors in this regard.
The UAC coordinator will explain to the student and emphasize the importance of the proper use of accommodations and how to work effectively with their professors. Typically, the coordinator will also provide the student with written instructions. UAC coordinators encourage students to discuss their accommodations with their professors. Students and professors are welcome to contact UAC staff at any time to discuss issues related to accommodations.
The UAC reserves the right to change this policy at any time. If a policy change is made, BYU students, faculty, and administrators will be alerted through the UAC website. For information regarding temporary medical conditions, housing accommodations, animals on campus policy and animals on campus procedures, follow the appropriate link.
Student Disability Grievance Procedure
The UAC strives to operate in accordance with disability law and BYU policy. BYU’s grievance procedures can be found in the Accommodation of Persons with Disabilities at BYU Procedures. Additional information may be found in the Discrimination Complaint Procedures.
Where to report a grievance:
- For concerns about the accessibility of physical or virtual BYU campus, see (link to UAC homepage> Accessibility Concerns)
- For concerns about the implementation of academic accommodations, contact your UAC coordinator at (801) 422-2767
- For concerns about an academic grievance, see the Academic Grievance Policy
- To file a formal disability discrimination grievance, contact the Equal Opportunity Manager D-295 ASB, 801-422-5895, email@example.com.
Individuals may also submit Reports through EthicsPoint, the university’s 24-hour hotline provider, by telephone at 888-238-1062 or by submitting information online at https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/en/default_reporter.asp
- For further clarification on who to contact, see the Grievance Decision Tree or contact your UAC coordinator who can review options with you.