DSS Resources for Faculty

Faculty members play a critical role in helping students with disabilities succeed in college.

Faculty members may:

  • Discuss adjustment plans in a private location with identified students in their classes.

  • Check on the validity of a student’s registration for services by contacting the Office of Disability Support Services.

  • Help students whom they suspect have a disability by suggesting that the student seek support from the Office of Disability Support Services.

Faculty members may not:

  • Violate student privacy. Faculty members should not single out students in class or mention any academic accommodation to them in front of their peers. These actions breach privacy.

  • Receive or review a student’s documentation of a disability unless given written consent by the student. Likewise, faculty members cannot request information about the student’s disability from DSS.

  • Allow the right to academic freedom to affect the types of accommodations permitted in the classroom.

  • Refuse a request for an academic accommodation. If an issue arises, such as a safety issue, the faculty member should contact DSS to discuss the accommodation request.

  • Ask the student if they have a disability, if the student is experiencing difficulty in class. The faculty member can suggest that the student seek support services and direct them to schedule a meeting with DSS by emailing disability.services@fredonia.edu.


Important Information for Faculty

Legal Mandates

The Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) must meet the mandates set forth in the laws: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Amendments Act (ADAAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. These laws set specific parameters in which DSS needs to conduct work, and guide actions and interactions with students, staff and faculty on campus.

Process Involved in Requesting Accommodations

The Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) works with students who choose to self-identify and request accommodations. DSS engages in an interactive process with each individual student who makes a formal request for accommodations, and accommodations are reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis. Accommodations cannot be implemented should they compromise the integrity of the course curriculum or alter program outcomes.

While this process most often occurs prior to or at the start of the semester, by law, students can choose to request new or additional accommodations at any point in the semester, or at any point during their college career. It is important to note that accommodations are not retroactive and should only be implemented upon notification. Accommodations can only legally be approved through DSS.

Students also must choose to renew their approved accommodations each semester that they are at Fredonia. This process is student-initiated and student-driven as per legislation. Once accommodation(s) are approved and notifications are sent, it is the responsibility of all faculty and staff at the college to ensure that accommodations are being implemented.


Timeline for Notification of Accommodations

Once students are approved for an accommodation(s), letters are sent to professors listing the accommodation(s). The timing of letters is based on the timing of the request from the students. Again, this is usually at the start of each semester; however, students can choose to reactivate accommodations at any time. There is a timeline that dictates when these letters must be sent, based upon when the student initiates that process. DSS sends renewal reminders to students at the start of each semester, often resulting in professors receiving a great deal of correspondence from DSS in a relatively short time period. While DSS understands that this influx of notifications can be overwhelming, it is important that the information in each letter is carefully reviewed.

DSS is available to address any questions related to the implementation of accommodations.

Outreach and Communication Regarding Students

When a phone call or email regarding a student concern is received, DSS staff can listen, make note of the concern, and provide general information pertaining to resources that might be helpful in mitigating the challenge at hand. Per ADAAA, DSS cannot legally disclose the nature of the disability or the student’s needs specific to their diagnosis, and cannot implement behavioral or classroom management plans. Students may choose to share disability/diagnosis information with professors, and on very rare occasions, when there are extenuating medical circumstances at play, might provide written permission for DSS to assist in this disclosure. However, students cannot be required to disclose, as that decision is for them to make as they see fit.

Faculty should work directly with students to identify concerns pertaining to academic standing, classroom behavior, or any other course related issues. Conversation should take place between the faculty member and the student of concern as a first step toward a resolution. Taking this step will help to ensure that students with and without disabilities are treated equally.



Faculty members are responsible for discussing any concerns with the Office of Disability Support Services related to the accommodation(s) that have been requested by the student.

If a student requests that an instructor provide accommodations for a disability and the faculty member has had no official notification of the student’s need for accommodation from DSS, the instructor should assist the student in contacting us.

Faculty members are responsible for assuring that appropriate accommodations are provided, either by providing the accommodation themselves or by making appropriate arrangements with DSS.

Faculty are not able to refuse to provide required accommodations, to question whether the disability exists when accommodations have been authorized by the college, or to request to examine the students’ documentation without a written consent signed by the student. However, faculty members can have input and should arrange with students the means for providing accommodation in a particular class.

Professors who believe that providing these accommodations would fundamentally alter a course or impact a student’s ability to demonstrate the essential skills required of the course should contact our office as soon as possible at 716-673-3270 or disability.services@fredonia.edu.

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