The Americans with Disabilities Act defines an individual with a disability as someone who (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the individual's major life activities; (2) has a record of such an impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.

Accessing Services

Registration with the Office of Student Affairs is on a voluntary, self-identifying basis. Services are available only after a student has presented certified, current documentation of the disability from an appropriate medical or educational specialist, and this documentation has been reviewed and accepted as complete.

Documentation should describe the impairment adequately for CalArts to be able to determine the degree of resulting limitation on a major life activity and the relevant accommodations. Generally, the documentation should be based on an evaluation done within the past three years. An Individualized Education Program (IEP) from secondary school is not considered sufficient. If a student needs an evaluation, the Student Affairs office will make referrals to appropriate licensed professionals. CalArts does not conduct or pay for this testing. Some health insurance companies may pay for all or part of the evaluation, and some of the referrals offer a sliding scale for payment.

After documentation has been received by the Office of Student Affairs, it will be reviewed by the Dean of Students. It is necessary for the student to meet with the Dean of Students each semester, preferably after the student has signed up for courses and before classes begin. At this meeting the Dean of Students will interview the student and together they will make a plan for accommodating the student's disability. The Request for Services form will be completed at this time. It must be renewed each semester.

Examples of Accommodations

In determining reasonable accommodations, the Dean of Students will consider recommendations made in the student's documentation as well as assistance received by the student in past educational settings. It is important to note that colleges are not required to waive or substitute essential elements of programs. Colleges are required to provide reasonable accommodations to assure reasonable access to persons with disabilities for all institutional programs and services.

Examples of accommodations include but are not limited to: alternative testing accommodations, such as extended time on tests, testing in a room free of distractions or tests administered orally; permission to tape record lectures; extra time on major assignments; note taking assistance; use of a calculator; alternative assignments; services of a sign language interpreter; and access to close-captioned equipment or specialized software.

Rights and Responsibilities of Students

Students with disabilities have the right to timely, reasonable accommodations of that disability in order to provide them with the same opportunity for success as students who do not have disabilities. They have the right to: equal access to courses, programs, services, jobs, activities and facilities at CalArts; reasonable and appropriate accommodations, academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids determined on an individual basis; appropriate confidentiality regarding their disability; and information reasonably available in accessible formats.

Students are responsible for: providing appropriate documentation of their disability; meeting with the Dean of Students each semester to request services; maintaining the academic and institutional standards
required of all CalArts students; attending all classes; contacting other agencies for services for which they may be eligible; and arranging for personal attendants, if needed, whether paid for by an agency or personally.

It is important for students to recognize that not attending a class may result in the loss of a particular accommodation for that class.

Rights and Responsibilities of Faculty

Faculty members at CalArts are valuable participants in the development and delivery of accommodations for students with disabilities. They have the right to: determine the curricula for their courses; evaluate students' progress and assign grades; give feedback to the Dean of Students regarding the accommodations used in their classrooms; and challenge accommodations that would jeopardize the academic standards of integrity of their courses.

Each member of the faculty has responsibilities including the following: to provide an atmosphere in which all students can learn the course material; to notify students that accommodations are available and coordinated through the Office of Student Affairs; to refer students to Student Affairs when they identify themselves as disabled or request services; to provide accommodations in a fair and timely manner; to grade students based on their performance, without counting off for reasonable accommodations; and to allow accommodations such as interpreters or note takers into the classroom.

Grievance Procedures

CalArts has established a grievance procedure to address rights and concerns unique to disabled students. Students with grievances shall appeal first to the Dean of Students, who will investigate the matter to determine whether the grievance is substantial and will attempt to have it corrected by informal means. If informal resolution is not possible, the student may initiate a formal grievance by submitting a signed grievance statement to the Dean of Students.

The grievance statement must describe the nature of the grievance; the practice, policy, rule or law that the student claims has been violated; and the remedy or relief requested. The Dean of Students or designee shall investigate the grievance and provide a written response within 10 days of receipt of the grievance unless additional time is required to complete the investigation. If not satisfied with the response to the grievance, the student may, within 10 days of the date of the response, file a written request for review with the Dean of Students. As soon thereafter as practical, an Appeals committee shall be formed consisting of three current members from the faculty, staff or student body. One member of the committee shall be appointed by the student, one member by the Associate Provost and one member by the Dean of Students. Together these members of the Committee shall decide who from among them shall serve as chairperson. No person shall participate as a member of the Appeals Committee who has been involved in the events upon which the grievance is based or who is biased.

Within 10 days of the date the Appeals Committee is formed or as soon thereafter as practical, the Appeals Committee shall meet in closed session to consider the grievance. At the completion of its review the Appeals Committee shall prepare a written advisory report consisting of findings, conclusions and recommendations and submit it to the Provost. The Provost or designee shall consider the report and, at his or her discretion, take whatever action he or she deems appropriate. The decision of the Provost shall be final.