Students with Disabilities Policy

Emerson College is committed to providing equal access to its academic and social activities to all qualified students. While upholding this commitment, Emerson will also maintain the high standards of achievement which are essential to the integrity of the College’s programs and services. In advancing these aims, the College will ensure that its policies, practices and procedures conform to Federal and state statutes and regulations.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 established the rights of individuals with disabilities. The Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) defines a person with a disability as any individual who (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) has a record of such an impairment; and (3) is perceived by others as having such an impairment. In the context of colleges and universities, the most common disabilities include specific learning disabilities, visual and hearing impairments, physical challenges, and medical or health conditions that interfere with learning.

The ADA applies to colleges and universities as places of public accommodation and/or as employers. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“ß 504”) states that no “otherwise qualified person” with a disability can be excluded from, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity within an institution that receives Federal financial aid.

Rights and Responsibilities of Students with Disabilities

Students with Disabilities at Emerson College have the right to:

  • Equal access to programs, activities and services of the College;
  • Reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services;
  • Appropriate confidentiality of all information concerning their disability except as disclosures are required or permitted by law;
  • Information, reasonably available in accessible formats.
  • Students with Disabilities at Emerson College have the responsibility to:
  • Meet the College’s qualifications and maintain essential technical, academic and institutional standards;
  • Inform the College when a known disability makes an accommodation necessary to perform successfully in a particular course or program;
  • Provide appropriate professional documentation that indicates how the disability limits participation in programs, activities and services of the College;
  • Follow specified procedure for obtaining reasonable accommodation, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and service.

Rights and Responsibilities of Emerson College

Emerson College has the responsibility to:

  • Provide information to students with disabilities and assure its availability in accessible formats upon request;
  • Ensure that programs, activities and services of the College, when viewed in their entirety are available and usable in the most integrated and appropriate settings;
  • Work with students who request accommodations to identify the most feasible and effective accommodation for each student’s needs within the context of the essential elements of the course or program in question;
  • Provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids for students with disabilities upon a timely request from the student;
  • Maintain appropriate confidentiality of records and communication except where permitted by law.

Emerson College has the right to:

  • Maintain the College’s academic standards;
  • Request and receive appropriate professional documentation that supports requests for accommodation, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aide and service;
  • Suggest the most cost effective accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services which are responsive to a particular situation;
  • Defer action on a request for accommodation until completed documentation supporting the existence of the claimed disability and appropriateness of the requested accommodation is provided;
  • Decline to provide an accommodation when to agree would require a waiver or alteration of an essential element of a course or program; provided that no such decision shall be valid until the essential element in question has been identified and its academic or programmatic importance confirmed by an appropriate administrative decision maker;
  • Refuse to provide an accommodation, adjustment, and/or auxiliary aid and service, the provision of which would impose an undue financial burden on the institution.

Students with disabilities seeking consideration for services or accommodations should contact the Disability Service Coordinator at 617-824-8415 or at dso@emerson.edu.