Bridgewater State University is committed to ensuring all individuals have equal access to its programs, services, and community. Should a student experience a barrier to full participation related to a documented disability, they should collaborate with the Student Accessibility Services to explore what accommodations they may be eligible for.
Determining Eligibility for Accommodations
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act (ADAAA) of 2008, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 shape how Bridgewater State University ensures that students with disabilities have the same access to the comprehensive college experience as students without disabilities. In the classroom, for example, accommodations are meant to guarantee that a student is able to access all learning requirements for the course in a manner that is equivalent to their peers. Accommodations are not a guarantee of success, should not give a student with a disability an advantage over their non-disabled peers, nor should they fundamentally alter the core learning objectives of the program or experience. To determine what, if any, accommodations a student is eligible for, an interactive process between the student and Student Accessibility Services is utilized.
Establishing Student-Specific Reasonable Accommodations
Students seeking accommodations must first self-disclose the nature of their disability or need for accommodation to the Student Accessibility Services. The student must provide specific documentation that evidences the need for accommodations. Guidelines for Documentation are based on national standards, and are meant to promote a comprehensive and current understanding of the students needs. Once all required documentation is submitted to the Student Accessibility Services, it is reviewed by a qualified member of the team. The student must set up and attend an appointment with an appropriate team-member based on the nature of their disability to engage in further discussion of how their disability/disabilities impact their unique experience. Informed by the student’s description of need and the supporting documentation, eligibility will be determined. If found eligible, the student and Student Accessibility Services team member will then collaborate to create a Letter of Accommodation as well as identify additional resources as needed. Please note that accommodations granted may be different than services/supports provided in High School via the students IEP or 504 plan. Additionally, once accommodations are granted, if a student continues their enrollment at Bridgewater State University with no changes to their diagnosed disability/disabilities, supporting documentation does not need to be re-submitted for continuation of accommodations.
Once a student receives their Letter of Accommodation, they are responsible for communicating those accommodations to their professor(s) and other members of their community as needed. For classroom accommodations, students should meet with their faculty members during office hours to discuss how the specific accommodations will be implemented in each class. For accommodations within the Residence Halls, it may be appropriate for students to schedule time with their Area Coordinator, Resident Director or Resident Assistant to discuss accommodations. Students must individually disclose their accommodations in the areas they are granted and wish to receive those accommodations in. The Student Accessibility Services team will assist students to understand their responsibility for and best approach to communicating their accommodations with others.
Timeframes for Requesting Accommodations
Over one-thousand students at Bridgewater State University request and receive accommodations. While requests for accommodations are considered on an ongoing basis, it is important to note that accommodations are not retroactive and should therefore be requested as early as possible. Additionally, some accommodations must be requested within certain timeframes to promote the most successful implementation.
- Accommodations within this category must be requested each semester, as they should reflect the unique experience of the specific classes in which the student is enrolled.
- Students should submit their request for classroom accommodations by mid-July for Fall Semester, mid- December for Spring Semester, and mid-May for Summer session.
Classroom and Campus Environmental/Physical Accommodations
- Accommodations within this category must be requested each semester, as the implementation of these accommodations often requires modifications to classroom locations or equipment, or the attainment of services outside of the Bridgewater State University community.
- Students should submit their request for Classroom and Campus Environmental/Physical Accommodations as soon as they have enrolled in their courses. Note that late enrollment in courses may delay the successful implementation of these accommodations. As such, the opportunity to participate in early registration is available in many cases. This must be pre-arranged with the Student Accessibility Services.
On-Campus Residential Accommodations (e.g., Emotional Support Animal Accommodations)
- Students should submit their request for On-Campus Residential Accommodations by end of June for Fall Semester, mid-December for Spring Semester, and mid-May for Summer session.
- To promote successful implementation of accommodations for the start of each semester, the above timeframes should be followed. Situationally specific accommodations may be accepted at other times/on an ongoing basis. Speak with a member of the Student Accessibility Services Team or Office of Residence Life and Housing for additional guidance.
University Community/Experiential Accommodations (e.g., Reduced Enrollment Accommodations)
- Timeframes for requesting accommodations in this area are situationally-specific. Students should speak to a Student Accessibility Services team member to discuss their unique case, or see existing policies/procedures as applicable.