Student Disability Services


Legal Guidelines

What is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973?

Passed by Congress in 1973, this is a civil rights statute designed to prevent discrimination against individuals with disabilities. It provides that:

"No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States…shall, solely by reason of…disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or be subject to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

A"person with a disability"includes "any person who (i) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person's major life activities; (ii) has a record of such an impairment, or (iii) is regarded as having such an impairment."

Section 504 protects the civil rights of individuals who are qualified to participate and who have disabilities. A "qualified person with a disability" is defined as one who meets the requisite academic and technical standards required for admission or participation in the postsecondary institution's programs and activities.

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What is the A.D.A.?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (A.D.A.) of 1990 is the civil rights guarantee for persons with disabilities in the United States. It provides protection from discrimination for people with disabilities in the areas of employment in the public and private sectors, transportation, public accommodations, services provided by state and local government and telecommunication relay services.

A "person with a disability", as defined in the ADA, is anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working. This definition includes people with a range of invisible disabilities. These include psychological problems, learning disabilities or some chronic health impairments such as epilepsy, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, cardiac problems, HIV/AIDS, and more.

A person is considered to be a person with a disability if he/she has a disability, has a record of a disability or is regarded as having a disability.

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What is the impact of these laws on higher education?

Section 504 states that colleges and universities receiving federal financial assistance must not discriminate in the recruitment, admissions, or treatment of students. Students with documented disabilities may request modifications, accommodations or auxiliary aids which will enable them to participate in and benefit from all postsecondary educational programs and activities.

The ADA upholds and extends the standards for compliance set forth in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to include employment practices, communications, and all policies, procedures and practices that impact on the treatment of students with disabilities. Title I of this Act covers employment issues. For all activities, public institutions are covered under Title II; private institutions are covered under Title III.

The increased enrollment of students with disabilities in our colleges and universities is bringing renewed attention focused on disability access. This focus includes the whole scope of activities here at the College of Southern Idaho including facilities, programs and employment.

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