Vol. 23, Iss. 8
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What it means: While institutions have a duty
to grant reasonable disability requests supported
by documentation without charging students for
those accommodations, students have a responsi-
bility to request the services needed.
Summary: A student at the University of Wisconsin-
Richland claimed that a professor failed to provide her
with a tutor as an academic adjustment, and that the in-
stitution failed to provide her a single dorm room, which
she claimed she needed as an accommodation, until
March 2015, and then charged her extra for the room.
She was assigned to a room with a roommate.
She provided the assistant dean for campus and
student affairs, who served as the disability services
contact, with documentation to support a request
for preferential seating, testing in a separate room,
and a note-taker. There was no mention of her need
for a tutor. The director of student accessibility ser-
vices granted all requested services. Despite that,
she did poorly academically and was placed on aca-
demic probation for the second semester.
In January 2015, the student emailed the as-
sistant dean, asking for a change to her roommate
situation, and for help navigating the online grade/
assignment tracking system. She claimed she had
initially requested a single room in the spring of
2014, due to her depression and social anxiety.
However, she did not provide supporting documen-
tation and did not receive a single room.
During a meeting with the assistant dean, she
stated that she took responsibility for not asking for
help when needed. Despite that, OCR sided with the
university on this claim, since the student never ac-
tually requested a tutor, and she never made a re-
quest for this accommodation.
In late February 2015, she was granted a double
room with no roommate, and was charged extra.
The university entered into an agreement to resolve
this matter. As part of that agreement, it reimbursed
the student the extra amount charged for the use
of a double room as a single room. The institution
also agreed to revise its policies regarding housing
accommodations and room-rate structure to ensure
students weren’t being ﬁnancially penalized for their
disability-related need to live alone. ■
Dismissed veterinary student claims
college failed to accommodate
Case name: Letter to: University of Florida, No.
04-15-2415 (OCR 04/20/16).
Ruling: The University of Florida’s College of
Veterinary Medicine entered into a voluntary agree-
ment with the Ofﬁce for Civil Rights to resolve sev-
eral concerns related to a student’s dismissal.
What it means: Institutions must engage in an
interactive process with students to provide them
with reasonable accommodations without funda-
mentally altering the nature of their programs.
Summary: A student with attention deﬁcit hyper-
activity disorder, anxiety, depression, and a sleep dis-
order who was enrolled at the University of Florida’s
College of Veterinary Medicine claimed the university:
(1) wrongly denied her accommodation requests from
the fall of 2014 through the spring of 2015, (2) re-
fused to excuse absences and tardiness in her clini-
cal rotation as an accommodation, (3) dismissed her
from the program on the basis of her disability, and
(4) treated her differently when it unduly delayed is-
suing a decision to her dismissal appeal.
The student’s accommodation requests included a
reduced caseload and extended deadlines on assign-
ments. She followed the Disability Resource Center’s
process for requesting accommodations in January
2013. She received time and a half for exams and a low-
distraction environment. She was placed on academic
probation when her GPA fell to 1.83 in May 2013.
The former associate dean for students and in-
struction received notice of her sleep disorder but
the university did not furnish evidence that it con-
ducted an interactive process related to that dis-
ability at that time. Following difﬁculty with atten-
dance, the associate dean suggested that she take
a medical leave, but she ended up being dismissed
because she missed an exam before completing her
medical leave paperwork.
OCR found that while the school provided the
student with certain accommodations, it was un-
clear whether it had considered all of the speciﬁc
accommodations requested by the student. How-
ever, certain concerns came up, including whether
her requests were reasonable or would have lowered
the program’s essential requirements or altered the
fundamental nature of its courses. Another concern
identiﬁed by OCR was the requirement that she
provide a note from her doctor stating that she was
“fully ready to engage in a typical, rigorous sched-
ule” prior to being allowed to start her ﬁrst clinical.
The institution claimed that the appeal process
was delayed because of the volume of her educa-
tional record and the complexity of her case. OCR
could not determine if she was treated differently
than similarly situated students without disabili-
ties because it was unable to identify other stu-
dents who had been dismissed from the program
and who appealed their dismissal.
Before OCR could conclude its investigation,
the university expressed an interest in a voluntary