The Academic Access (AA) Letter, which is sometimes known as a letter of accommodations, is a confidential document that provides a written statement of the academic accommodations and services to which a student who is registered with the DRC is entitled. The accommodations are intended to equalize the opportunity of students with disabilities in meeting essential program and/or course requirements. The student has a right to receive these accommodations unless the accommodation modifies a course objective.
When students give instructors their AA Letter from the DRC, instructors:
- Are responsible for providing the accommodations listed.
- Are not required to compromise the academic integrity of their course by giving passing grades to students who have failed to demonstrate the required level of understanding or performance competency. Contact the DRC Coordinator (not the student) immediately with any concerns.
- Are not responsible for providing retroactive accommodations. Accommodations become their responsibility only after faculty have received the AA Letter.
- Are not obligated to provide any other accommodation not identified in the AA Letter, or otherwise made available to any other student in their class. Avoid making informal accommodations arrangements with DRC students.
- Have the right to raise concerns with DRC about any accommodation that interferes with the objectives of their course.
Responding to Students Disclosing Disabilities Without AA Letters from DRC
Occasionally a student may request informal disability accommodations without presenting instructors with a Academic Access Letter from DRC or outside of an existing Letter. To protect the instructor, the student, and the University, please have the student contact DRC to request accommodations and an AA Letter. Please do not make informal accommodations agreements with students with disabilities.
Objecting to a recommendation in DRC’s AA Letter
Please contact the Coordinator who sent the accommodation letter to resolve any logistical or other concerns instructors may have. Coordinators know that their recommendations can occasionally inadvertently compromise the purposes or standards of a class, and they are ready to discuss such concerns with the instructors. Instructors are not obligated to fundamentally alter the objectives of their course. Please do not discuss concerns with the student, but instead reach out to the student’s assigned Coordinator directly.
Setting Deadlines for Accommodation Requests and Late AA Letters
Sometimes it is mid-quarter or later before students affiliate with DRC and are authorized for DRC services. In this event students cannot provide instructors with AA Letters earlier in the quarter, even if they have invited them to do so in their syllabus. Efforts must be made to provide the accommodations within a reasonable time frame throughout the quarter.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, DRC must conduct intakes and assessments and initiate reasonable accommodations and services for students with disabilities whenever they apply for services or request new accommodations. We (as a university) cannot set time limits for when students can request disability accommodations. That said, sometimes it is difficult to accommodate last-minute requests, particularly for exam accommodations. If an instructor has difficulty accommodating a last-minute request, they can reach out to the student’s assigned Coordinator, and DRC will assist whenever possible.