Disability Awareness

The University of Iowa Disability Protection Policy

The University of Iowa, as authorized by Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, shall take affirmative steps to employ and advance the employment of qualified individuals with disabilities and qualified disabled veterans and veterans of the Vietnam Era at all levels of employment. The affirmative action policy applies to, but is not limited to, the following employment practices:

  • Hiring
  • Upgrading
  • Demotion
  • Transfer
  • Recruitment
  • Recruitment advertising
  • Layoff
  • Termination
  • Rates of pay/other forms of compensation
  • Selection for training (including apprenticeship)

The University of Iowa endeavors to make reasonable accommodations for the functional limitations of applicants, employees, and students with disabilities and disabled veterans pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.

Applicants, employees, and students with disabilities at The University of Iowa are protected from coercion, retaliation, interferences, or discrimination for filing a complaint or assisting in an investigation of a complaint under the aforementioned Acts. All complaints will be handled confidentially.

Disabled applicants, employees, disabled veterans, or veterans of the Vietnam Era desiring more information should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity by phone at 319/335-0705 (voice) or 319/335-0697 (text) or by e-mail at affirm@uiowa.edu.

Definition of Terms

The ADA defines an individual with a disability as a person who:
• has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities,
• has a record of such an impairment, or
• is regarded as having such an impairment.

Major life activities include caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):
The ADA gives individuals with disabilities the same civil rights protections provided others on the basis of race, gender, national origin, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, education, public accommodations, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.

As a recipients of federal contracts, the University is required to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities in employment and education unless such accommodations impose an undue hardship or would substantially alter an academic program.

Reasonable accommodations:
Modifications made to the academic or work environment that help create equal employment or educational opportunities.

The University is committed to creating a campus that is fully accessible to everyone.

What To Do

Listed below are some things you can do to be sensitive to people with disabilities:
• Use the word disability instead of handicap. A disability may not be a handicap.
• Sit at eye level when you are talking to a person who is in a wheelchair and speak directly to that person.
• Ask first before assisting a person with a disability. Wait for acceptance and instructions before you help.
• Be considerate of the extra time that it may take a person with a disability to walk, talk, write, or take an exam.
• Apologize if you offend someone.

What Not To Do

Avoid the following behavior that may suggest a negative attitude toward people with disabilities:

• Do not refer to individuals by their disability. A person is not a condition.
• Do not block ramps, curb cuts, or disability-designated parking spaces.
• Do not emphasize disability over other characteristics when describing a person with a disability.
• Do not use "normal" to describe someone who is not disabled, implying that someone with a disability is not normal. Say that the person is "non-disabled."
Disability Awareness
How often do you:
• Challenge others who tell derogatory jokes about people with disabilities?
• Accept and reinforce the fact that not everyone has to act or look a certain way to be successful or valuable?
• Take responsibility for helping new people feel welcome and accepted?
• Empower people with disabilities, assigning responsibility to them as often as to others?
• Disregard physical characteristics when making decisions about competence or ability?
• Get to know people with disabilities?
• Follow and reinforce University policies regarding equal treatment?
Educational Programs

The offices of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, Student Disability Services, and Faculty & Staff Disability Accommodation Services offer educational programs on disability awareness and compliance. Please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity for more information by phone at 319/335-0705 (voice) or 319/335-0697 (text), or by email at affirm@uiowa.edu.

Education can help prevent violations which may lead to disciplinary action ranging from verbal warning to separation or termination from The University of Iowa.


Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity
The assistant to the president and director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator at the University. The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity also handles complaints of discrimination, including those based on disability and denial of disability accommodation requests. Copies of the complaint procedures are available upon request. The Office provides educational programs on the ADA and disability awareness.

Faculty and Staff Disability Services
Faculty and Staff Disability Accommodation Services is a resource service for the implementation of the ADA. Services are available to assist faculty, staff, departments, and applicants in need of accommodations and in matters related to University employment. Services include University ADA procedure assistance, identification of  essential job functions, and accommodation resources.

Office of Student Disability Services
The Office of Student Disability Services (SDS) provides support services and coordinates academic accommodations for students with disabilities. SDS provides direct services such as alternative testing arrangements, counseling, and support groups for various disability populations. SDS also coordinates many indirect services with other University offices and departments.

Additional Resources

Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity
202 Jessup Hall
319/335-0705 (voice)
319/335-0697 (text)

Office of Student Disability Services
319/335-1462 (voice and text)

Faculty and Staff Disability Services
319/335-2660 (voice)
319/335-3495 (text)

UI Human Rights Committee

Office of the Ombudsperson
C108 Seashore Hall