Office of AccessABILITY

Office of Accessability Services logo

As the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, the health and well-being of our campus community is a priority. Our top priority is to support our students and the Guttman community through virtual delivery of services and accommodations.

The Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) works collaboratively with the college community to facilitate equal access for students with disabilities to educational programs, services, and facilities of Guttman Community College. In addition, OAS is a resource for students, faculty, staff, and community services to provide education, consultation, and guidance regarding disability issues.

This mission goes well beyond the legal requirements, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and supports the University’s commitment to creating an accessible and welcoming environment for all students. Our goal is to provide reasonable accommodations and a supportive, well-resourced environment for students with disabilities in order to promote student success in a college environment.

Early planning is essential for many of the resources and accommodations provided. Please contact us at the earliest possible date in order for us to assist you with your needs.

To enroll in the Office of AccessABILITY Services, please review our requesting services tab and schedule an assessment with one of our friendly staff members.

Sincerely,

Office of AccessABILITY Services

Contact

Office of AccessABILITY Services
Tel: (646) 313-8833
Fax: (646) 664-3907
Email: accessabilityservices@guttman.cuny.edu

Students requesting accommodations should ask their doctor or diagnostic center to provide the School with documentation of their disability and specific recommendations for accommodations. They should also submit all student assessment forms. The documentation must be current, follow documentation guidelines, and should be sent four weeks in advance of the term to allow sufficient time to prepare. Documentation will be held in confidence. Once this documentation is received, the Office of AccessABILITY Services will determine the reasonable accommodations to be provided, issue an accommodation card to the student, and arrange for these accommodations to be made within the context of the student’s academic journey at Guttman Community College.

Documentation Guidelines

Unlike high school, where students are automatically provided with testing and accommodations services, on the college campus it is the student’s responsibility to self-disclose to the office of disability services  and to provide documentation in order to receive accommodations. The laws that govern the K-12 environment are not the same as those that govern the college environment.

In general, documentation must be provided by a physician or other appropriate licensed professional. This documentation must consist of a current report or evaluation prepared by the appropriate professional, along with a completed intake form.

The documentation must:

  • Specify the diagnosis, including when the diagnosis was made and the likely duration of the condition if not ongoing.
  • describe in detail the student’s functional limitations created by the diagnosis; and
  • Indicate accommodations that are recommended for the student, along with explanations as to why these accommodations would be useful.
  • Individual Education Programs (IEPs) can be provided with an appropriate psychological/educational report or medical documentation. However, IEP’s are not sufficient documentation of disability.

Students who are diagnosed with a disability and interested in registering for accommodations and services from the Office of AccessABILITY Services are encouraged to provide medical documentation of their disability in order to determine the best and most appropriate accommodations.

In order to receive academic adjustments, students are required to submit documentation and schedule an assessment/intake session with a representative from AccessABILITY Services. During the session, a unit staff member will review documents and discuss academic adjustments.

Students who register with the Office of AccessABILITY are given accommodation cards to present to faculty regarding the accommodations they should receive in class and for testing. Students must present their card to their instructors in order to receive the accommodations to which they are entitled.

Please be advised it is at the students’ discretion and responsibility to discuss their accommodations with their academic advisor and instructional team.

The purpose of academic accommodations is to assure that there is equal access to and the opportunity to benefit from all educational programs within Stella and Charles Guttman Community College.  Guttman Community College acts in accordance with two relevant laws: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

It is the student’s responsibility to identify himself/herself to the Office of AccessABILITY Services and to provide documentation of a disability. Strict documentation guidelines exist for different types of disabilities and require a current diagnosis, prognosis, and explanation of how the disability may impact the student’s academic performance. Accommodations are based on a case-by-case basis.

Once appropriate documentation has been submitted, the student then meets with an AccessABILITY Liaison, who determines appropriate and reasonable accommodations after reviewing documentation prepared by a licensed professional and meeting with the student to discuss the impact their disability is having on their academics. There must be a direct connection between the functional impact of their disability and the accommodation that is approved. (See to Reasonable Accommodations and Student Accommodation/ Intake Forms for additional information). 

Student Responsibilities

  • Provide the Office of AccessABILITY Services with appropriate documentation
  • Request accommodations within established time frames
  • Provide faculty with your Academic Accommodations Card
  • Discuss accommodation needs with faculty and suited parties who provide support services
  • Inform your AccessABILITY Liaison of concerns or questions related to accommodations or disability-related issues
  • Meet all essential qualifications and standards for courses and programs

Students who register with the Office of AccessABILITY are given access cards to present to faculty regarding their approved accommodations. Students who require testing accommodations are required to submit their requests via Starfish 5 business days (Not Including Saturday or Sunday) prior to the exam date. For more information, please see Reasonable Accommodations and Student Accommodation/ Intake Forms.

The Office of AccessABILITY Services provides a variety of reasonable accommodations and services in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Reasonable accommodations are modifications or alterations intended to provide equal access or improve accessibility to physical, programmatic, and academic areas of the university and to “level the playing field” for students with disabilities. Accommodations are based on a case-by-case basis.

Examples of reasonable accommodations include:

  • Extended time on exams
  • Assistance obtaining class notes (from instructor or classmate)
  • Assistive technology (Livescribe, portable scanner, portable cctv, etc…)
  • Course materials and books in an alternate format
  • Preferable seating

Additional information on reasonable accommodations in postsecondary education is available on the U.S. Department of Education website.

How to Obtain Reasonable Accommodations and Support Services

  1. Students who self-identify for accommodations are required to complete the online application to requesting accommodation. Once complete, an AccessABILITY Liaison will review your request and supporting documentation.
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  2. Students are required to submit documentation of their disability pursuant to CUNY Documentation Guidelines. Students should fax or scan their documentation to Attn: New Fall 2020 Student to accessabilityservices@guttman.cuny.edu Fax number: 646-664-3907.
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  3. CUNY LEADS (Linking Employment, Academics Disability Services) is a unique program designed to prepare CUNY students with disabilities to make realistic academic and career choices and develop the skills that will result in successful career outcomes. The program provides services for eligible students including:
    • Academic advisement and career counseling
    • Resume and interview preparation
    • Internship preparation
    • Job search and placement assistance
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  4. ACCES-VR referrals
    Students who are interested in the LEADS and LEADS Plus program, are required to submit a Guttman LEADS Interest Form.
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  5. Assistive Technology
    The Assistive Technology program at Stella and Charles Guttman Community College brings together academic and technological resources to complement student classroom and computing needs, particularly in support of students with physical or learning disabilities. Assistive Technology may include, but is not limited to, text-to-speech and speech-to-text software, which are offered on both Windows 7 and Mac OS machines at Guttman Community College. While the program is designed primarily to work with students facing disabilities, there are several features that all students and faculty may find useful.
    For additional information, submit an assistive technology interest form.
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  6. Students are required to submit their testing request via Starfish 5 business days (Not Including Saturday or Sunday) prior to the testing date.
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  7. If approved, a notification of Academic Accommodations Card will be issued to the student, which informs them of the approved accommodation.

 

Register to VoteThe Office of AccessABILITY Services (OAS) is an agency-based voter registration site. Students will be offered the opportunity to register to vote. There is no obligation to register to vote and the student’s decision will have no effect on accommodations offered by the Office of AccessABILITY Services. For additional information, please submit your responses to Voter Registration Interest Form.

If you need assistance, schedule an appointment via Starfish or email accessabilityservices@guttman.cuny.edu.

For more information go to State Board of Election (SBOE) home page.

Scholarships provide funds to qualified students who require additional financial support. Students who are awarded scholarships are often based on academic merit. Some scholarships are designed to assist students in their academic journey, others are awarded as they progress within the student’s area of study. Click the link below for additional information.

List of scholarships for students with disabilities.

Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) starts with the presumption that all individuals with disabilities can benefit from vocational rehabilitation services and should have opportunities to work in jobs integrated within their communities.  Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors guide individuals through service programs they need to reach their employment goal.

CUNY LEADS

CUNY LEADS (Linking Employment, Academics Disability Services) is a unique program designed to prepare CUNY students with disabilities to make realistic academic and career choices and develop the skills that will result in successful career outcomes. The program provides services for eligible students including:

  • Academic advisement and career counseling
  • Resume and interview preparation
  • Internship preparation
  • Job search and placement assistance
  • ACCES-VR referrals

This exciting program is free of charge for all eligible candidates and available on all CUNY campuses.

For more information, please contact us at  accessabilityservices@guttman.cuny.edu or submit a Guttman LEADS Interest Form.

The Office of AccessABILITY Services has been designated by the University to assist students with diagnosed and documented disabilities, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), with accessing and participating in the educational, social, and professional opportunities available at Stella and Charles Guttman Community College in accordance with federal laws and University obligations.

Stella and Charles Guttman Community College recognizes that a diverse campus community is essential to enriching intellectual exchanges and enhancing cultural understanding and, as such, values equality of opportunity, mutual respect, and an appreciation for diversity. Therefore, the University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to our students with disabilities in support of all students’ educational goals, personal growth, and professional development.

Prior to receiving accommodations, a student obtains an accommodation card from the Office of Accessibility. It is important to discuss appropriate accommodations with students; however, asking questions about a student’s disability, such as the diagnosis, must be avoided. Students have the legal right not to disclose the diagnosis; they need only discuss how reasonable accommodations assist them in their academic environment.

Below please find some helpful materials that can guide you in assisting our neuro-diverse population.

Teaching Strategies:

Designing An Accessible Website:

Faculty Roles:

  • Make Reasonable Accommodations
  • Provide Access to Classroom & Materials
  • Maintain Confidentiality

While it is the instructor’s responsibility to ensure that the learning environment is accessible, students with disabilities must request accommodations, when needed. Instructors will find it useful to include a statement on their syllabus which informs students about the steps they need to take to receive classroom accommodations through the Office of AccessABILITY Services.

In certain situations, reasonable accommodations may require modification of standard classroom approaches. The following are examples of accommodations that may be necessary to ensure equal access to education:

  • Provide necessary accommodations for exams where the student can receive the accommodations needed.
  • Provide alternative ways to fulfill course requirements.
  • Allow assistive technology such as audio recorders, electronic note-takers, and laptop computers to be used in the classroom.
  • Consider alternate ways of assessing student’s knowledge of the course content which allows the student’s academic abilities to be measured.

Confidentiality in the accommodation process must be maintained by all parties. An Accommodation Card should be provided by the student. Faculty should refrain from discussing students’ disabilities and necessary accommodations in the presence of fellow students or others who do not have an “educational need to know.”

The Office of AccessABILITY Services staff is always available to answer questions and serve as a resource for faculty seeking assistance in providing accommodations to students.

Faculty Rights:

Faculty members have the right to:

  • Maintain academic standards for courses
  • Determine course content and how it will be taught
  • Confirm a student’s accommodations and ask for clarification about a specific accommodation (listed on the student’s accommodation card)
  • Deny a request for accommodation – if the student has not been approved for such accommodation or if the student does not provide their accommodation card to the instructor
  • Award grades appropriate to the level of the student’s demonstration of mastery of the material
  • Fail a student who does not perform to passing standards

Faculty members do not have the right to:

  • Refuse to provide approved accommodation for a documented disability
  • Challenge the legitimacy of a student’s disability
  • Review a student’s documentation, including diagnostic data

Faculty Responsibilities:

Faculty members have the responsibility to:

  • Understand the laws and university’s guidelines regarding students with disabilities
  • Refer students to the Office of AccessABILITY Services when necessary
  • Provide requested accommodations and academic adjustments to students who have documented disabilities (and provide their accommodations card to instructor) in a timely manner
  • Maintain appropriate confidentiality of records concerning students with disabilities except when disclosure is required by law or authorized by the student
  • Provide handouts, videos and other course materials in accessible formats upon request

Student Disability Accommodations:

The City University of New York and Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, CUNY in compliance with sections 503 and 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, New York State legislation [Executive Law 296] and the New York City Human Rights Law does not exclude qualified individuals with disabilities, solely by reason of their disability, from participation in programs, activities, or employment. In addition, CUNY and Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, in compliance with Title IX of the Education amendments Act of 1972, does not discriminate against any student on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

Therefore, students needing assistance for fulfilling academic program requirements due to a disability or while experiencing pregnancy or a medically-related condition can make a request for an accommodation from the Office of AccessABILITY within the Office of Student Engagement unit by following the procedures outlined herein.

 

The Office of AccessABILITY Services makes every effort to reasonably accommodate students with disabilities to have the same access to school programs and educational opportunities that other students receive.[1] The Office of Accessibility Services will determine whether to grant a reasonable accommodation based on presented documentation, including medical documentation, as well as student-described strengths and limitations. Prior accommodations granted for the same type of disability will be taken into consideration.

The Office of AccessABILITY Services may consult with appropriate College officials to determine the feasibility of granting the requested accommodation consistent with University and College policy. Such consultation shall be confidential, and limited to those officials having a need to know, such as the instructor for a course in which the accommodation is needed or Academic Affairs officials when there are faculty or academic issues involved, as well as the CUNY Office of Disability Services to consult on best practices.

At times, students may request accommodations that are not reasonable, as described under the law, or cannot be justified by the documentation presented. In the event that the accommodation requested is denied, the Office of AccessABILITY Services will explore and seek to establish alternative accommodations or services.

Appeal of a decision denying a student accommodation:

If the proffered accommodation is still unacceptable to the student, the student may contact the College’s 504/ADA Coordinator in order to informally discuss the matter in an effort to resolve the situation. The 504/ADA Coordinator will make recommendations in an attempt to resolve the matter. The student may also formally appeal, in writing, addressed to:

Linda Merians
Interim Chief Diversity Officer
Stella and Charles Guttman Community College
50 West 40th Street
New York, NY 10018
Phone: 646.313.8023
Linda.Merians@guttman.cuny.edu

The complete written appeal request should identify the specific accommodation that was originally requested and explain the circumstances that justify why the Office of AccessABILITY Services should have granted the requested accommodation.

The 504/ADA Coordinator will review the written appeal, which includes the student’s justification for the requested accommodation, will consult with the Office of AccessABILITY Services to review the records and information the Office of Accessibility Services had available related to the request for a reasonable accommodation at the time the decision to deny the specific requested accommodation was made. [2]

The 504/ADA Coordinator will issue the decision by sending a written response via email to the student at his or her Guttman email address, if the student does not request to be contacted elsewhere, with a notification to the Office of AccessABILITY Services. The decision will be issues as soon as possible with an estimated time of seven (7) to 10 business days from the date the student submitted the complete written appeal to the 504/ADA Coordinator.

If the original request is approved, the Office of AccessABILITY Services will implement the accommodation as per the decision of the 504/ADA Coordinator. If the appeal is denied, the Accessibility Services Office will work with the student to establish alternative accommodations or services to support their academic progress.

For additional information, please see the CUNY Procedures for Implementing Reasonable Accommodations.

[1] The Office of AccessABILITY Services establishes and registers all official reasonable accommodations in the College for students with disabilities to access academic programs. It cannot enforce informal arrangements made outside of its purview.

[2] In the event that the student submits new information to the 504/ADA Coordinator that the Office of AccessABILITY Services did not have at the time the decision was made to deny the accommodation request, the 504/ADA Coordinator will submit that new information to the Office of Accessibility Services to review and consider in light of the original accommodation request. If the Office of AccessABILITY Services still denies the request for accommodation and the student request to appeal that decision, the 504/ADA Coordinator review the appeal.

“Nothing Without You” is a project by CUNY School of Professional Studies Master of Science in Disability Services in Higher Education student Erin Trendler intended to highlight the voices of individuals with disabilities.