The University of Iowa is required by federal law to inform the public of their rights and protections under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). This includes access to reasonable accommodations such as auxiliary aids, interpreters or other reasonable accommodation requests while attending University-sponsored public events.
Using the Accessibility Statement in Printed Materials
The University is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to inform the public of their rights and protections under the ADA, which include access to reasonable accommodations such as auxiliary aids, interpreters, or other reasonable accommodations while attending university-sponsored public events. Therefore, all department publications describing or inviting public participation in programs at the university must also inquire whether participants will need reasonable accommodations in order to participate. The Accessibility Statement should be included on publications that invite public participation.
You should be advised that before an accommodation request can be modified or denied, the department must review with the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity its reason for believing the request should be modified or denied, and the alternatives the department considered in making its assessment. This is to ensure that the university carefully assesses various options before declining to provide accommodations and to ensure consistent application of the law. The Disability Accommodation Request Form (E-forms) is to be used for this purpose by department administrators who receive requests for accommodations, or by staff members requesting accommodations. The purpose of the form is to record requests for accommodations, and the university's response thereto, as well as to provide a means of reviewing such requests.
Public entities with 50 or more employees are required to designate at least one responsible employee to coordinate ADA compliance. The ADA Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the efforts of the government entity to comply with Title II and investigating any complaints that the entity has violated Title II. At the University of Iowa, the person filling the role of ADA Coordinator is the Compliance Specialist and ADA Coordinator in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity.
University of Iowa ADA Coordinator
The University of Iowa ADA Coordinator is housed in and reports to the director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. The ADA Coordinator has a variety of responsibilities on campus, including:Being responsible for assuring the university’s compliance with the American’s with Disabilities (ADA) Act (including the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and other federal and state laws and regulations pertaining to persons with disabilities.)
Guiding the university’s efforts to move beyond compliance toward seamless access. As the university’s focal point for disability related initiatives, the ADA Coordinator collaborates with university offices and administrators, governmental agencies, and advocacy groups to inform decision-making and ensure university compliance with state and federal mandates.
Being a referral point for disability related information, services and resources; provides consultation on policy reviews and facilities planning; conducts workshops and training on disability related topics; serves as a clearing house for disability related complaints; and develops disability related initiatives.
Serving as the principal planning coordinator for university programs, policies and procedures relating to university compliance and the promotion of university opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Ensuring that appropriate processes are in place to provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints and inquiries from university employees and students, as well as the public regarding compliance with the ADA and other applicable federal and state laws regarding discrimination on the basis of disability.
Making determinations regarding allegations of discrimination and non-compliance under the ADA and other applicable federal and state laws regarding discrimination on the basis of disability.
Ensuring that university-related information is readily available on services, accommodations, policies, and demographics relating to persons with disabilities.
Americans with Disabilities Act - Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) makes it illegal to discriminate against a qualified person with a disability in the private sector and in state and local governments. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business.
Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act
On September 25, 2008, the President signed the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 ("ADA Amendments Act" or "Act"). The Act emphasizes that the definition of disability should be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA and generally shall not require extensive analysis.The Act makes important changes to the definition of the term "disability" by rejecting the holdings in several Supreme Court decisions and portions of EEOC's ADA regulations. The effect of these changes is to make it easier for an individual seeking protection under the ADA to establish that he or she has a disability within the meaning of the ADA.
Assisting Students with Disabilities: A Guide for Instructors
What is equal access to education?
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that "no otherwise qualified handicapped individual shall, solely by reason of the handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." Compliance with this law requires that academic institutions like the University of Iowa provide the same opportunity for students with disabilities to achieve success in the classroom that it provides to other students.
In other words, equal access to education is achieved when physical and instructional barriers to learning are removed and the student is allowed to compete on the basis of his or her academic abilities alone. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) reinforced the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act by requiring that all public facilities, services, and communications be accessible to persons with disabilities and that auxiliary aids and services be provided unless an undue burden would result.
What is reasonable accommodation?
Reasonable accommodation is the term used by the ADA for modifications made to the learning environment that help to create equal educational opportunity. It does not require that students with disabilities be given special advantages in order to help them pass nor does it require that they be graded on a scale different from their classmates.
On the contrary, it refers to steps that can be taken without significant difficulty or expense to allow otherwise qualified students to fulfill course requirements by limiting as much as possible the effects of their disabilities on their performance. If reasonable accommodations are not obvious, effort must be made to look for possible effective accommodations.
Student Disability Services is responsible for assessing a student's eligibility for reasonable accommodation and recommending specific accommodations based on information provided by the student's health care provider.
Who qualifies as a disabled individual under the law?
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 of that person,
has a record of such an impairment, or
is regarded as having such an impairment.
Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, lifting, bending, learning, and the operation of a major life activity, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions. This definition can cover a broad range of disabilities. Instructors should seek guidance from Student Disability Services (SDS) regarding any question about the effect of a student's disability on the student's academic performance.
What are your responsibilities as an instructor?
If a student identifies as having a disability and requests accommodation by providing a Letter of Accommodation (LOA) from SDS, it is the instructor's responsibility to ensure that the learning environment is accessible. Due to the personal and private nature of some disabilities, it is important that instructors create an atmosphere in which students feel comfortable about coming forward to discuss any accommodation requests they may have. It is also imperative that instructors safeguard the confidentiality of students who disclose having a disability and/or request reasonable accommodation for a disability.
Instructors can demonstrate their openness and willingness to help students by including on their syllabi a statement encouraging students to make an appointment with the instructor if they need accommodations, if they have any emergency medical information of which the instructor should be aware, or if they need alternate arrangements in the event the building must be evacuated.
It is strongly recommended that the instructor make arrangements to meet privately with students who choose to identify themselves as having a disability. When a student discloses a disability and has not registered with SDS, an instructor should refer the student to SDS to register and request an accommodation. If SDS determines that the student is eligible for a reasonable accommodation, the instructor will receive an LOA from the student noting the student's approved accommodations. If the instructor has any concerns or questions about the recommended accommodations, the instructor should contact SDS to discuss those concerns and should not approach the student directly. An instructor should also look to their academic department for assistance in providing accommodations.
What are the responsibilities of the student with a disability?
Although it is the instructor's responsibility to create an accessible learning environment, the student has the following responsibilities:
registering with Student Disability Services
contacting Student Disability Services regarding alternative formats for textbooks and exams,
requesting alternative testing procedures in advance, and
providing a Letter of Accommodations to their instructor(s) each semester.
More information about providing reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities is available from Student Disability Services.
Authorized by Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, the University of Iowa shall take affirmative action 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.
Discrimination Complaint Procedures
The University of Iowa Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity investigates complaints of discrimination pursuant to the University's Policy on Human Rights, which provides, in part:
The University of Iowa brings together in common pursuit of its educational goals persons of many nations, races, and creeds. The University is guided by the precepts that in no aspect of its programs shall there be differences in the treatment of persons because of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, service in the U.S. military, sexual orientation, gender identity, associational preferences, or any other classification that deprives the person of consideration as an individual, and that equal opportunity and access to facilities shall be available to all. Among the classifications that deprive the person of consideration as an individual are those based on associational preference.
Any student, staff member, or faculty member may file a complaint of discrimination with the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity against any other member of the university community who is believed to have violated the policy. Where appropriate, such complaints may be filed against units, departments, or other organizational components of the University.
Persons who believe they have been subjected to discrimination in violation of the policy may file either informal or formal complaints with the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity.
An informal complaint is a request that the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity seek to reach an informal resolution of the complainant's concerns. The procedures for such complaints are designed to be very flexible so as to enable the Office to be able to address an individual's situation in the most effective and expeditious manner possible. Resolutions of informal complaints are accomplished with the assistance of other offices or administrators on campus in the area relevant to the complaint.
In the case of an informal complaint, the accused party normally will not be informed of the complainant's action or identity without the consent of the complainant unless circumstances require. No disciplinary action can be taken against the accused party on the basis of a complaint of which the accused party has not been informed.
A formal complaint of discrimination involves an impartial investigation of the complainant's allegations by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. The investigation begins when the Office provides written notice to the respondent of the filing of the complaint, the identity of the complainant, and the general allegations of the complaint. The respondent is then interviewed regarding the specifics of the allegations and given an opportunity to respond fully to the allegations. The Office may also interview other persons believed to have factual knowledge relevant to the allegations. The purpose of the investigation is to establish whether a reasonable basis exists to believe that the Policy on Human Rights has been violated as alleged.
The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity will issue written findings outlining the basis for its conclusions. The written finding normally will be issued within 60 days of when the complaint was filed. When it is not reasonably possible to issue the finding within that time, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity will notify the alleged victim and the respondent that the finding will be delayed and indicate the reasons for the delay. This report is provided to the administrative official responsible for the area in which the respondent is involved and the chief administrative officer in the unit (i.e., the Provost in a complaint filed against a faculty member; the Vice President for the unit in the case of a staff member; or the Vice President for Student Services and Dean of Students in the case of a student). Both the complainant and the respondent also receive copies of the finding.
If the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity concludes that a complaint of discrimination is founded, the administrative official to whom the finding has been forwarded is responsible for determining whether a sanction is appropriate. Appropriate sanctions may range from verbal reprimand up to and including separation of the respondent from the University, in accordance with established University procedures.
If the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity concludes that the complaint is unfounded, the complainant may appeal the finding on the grounds that the decision was arbitrary and capricious or that the investigating office did not follow procedures resulting in prejudice to the complainant. Appeals must be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity will then assign the appeal for response according to the following guidelines:
the Executive Vice President and Provost if the respondent is a faculty member or fellow;
the Vice President for Human Resources if the respondent is a staff member (organized or non-organized professional and scientific, organized or non-organized merit staff), graduate assistant, or post-doctoral appointee;
the Vice President for Student Life if the respondent is a student, including medical residents.
If the respondent is not a member of the university community, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity will examine the facts and circumstances of the underlying complaint and assign the appeal for response accordingly.
Appeals pursuant to this section must be made electronically or in writing and submitted together with all supporting documentation to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity within ten (10) university business days of the receipt of the finding. Generally within two university business days, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity will assign the appeal for review and transmit the notice of appeal and the case record to the appeal officer. The appeal officer, or the appeal officer’s designee, will issue a written decision on the appeal to the complainant and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity within twenty (20) university business days of the receipt of the appeal. All deadlines contained herein may be modified where the complexity of the case or the severity of the allegations warrant variation from the normal appeal process timelines.
In cases where the appeal is denied, such action constitutes final university action on the matter, subject to appeal to the Board of Regents. In cases where the appeal is successful, in whole or in part, the appeal officer will advise the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity regarding appropriate measures to address the issues of concern raised in the appeal.
For complaints that conclude in a finding that there is a reasonable basis to believe that a policy violation has occurred and sanctions have been imposed, respondents may appeal such findings through the disciplinary grievance procedures applicable to them. The respondent may challenge any sanctions imposed as a result of a finding through available grievance procedures.
The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity treats as confidential information received in connection with the filing, investigation, and resolution of complaints. It is anticipated and expected that the parties to a complaint will observe the same standard of strict confidentiality. This practice is in the best interests of all parties to the complaint. Failure to respect confidentiality may be regarded as retaliation.
In keeping with this practice, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity will obtain the complainant's written authorization to collect and discuss information relating to the complaint with other appropriate individuals, either witnesses or administrators who need to be informed of the allegations of the complaint in order to cooperate with the investigation or to implement any resolution of the complaint.
The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity will provide general information about the complaint procedures upon request. However, if an individual wishes to discuss a specific incident confidentially without filing a complaint, he or she should contact the Office of the Ombudsperson, C108 Seashore Hall, 319-335-3608.
III. COMPLAINTS WITH EXTERNAL AGENCIES
In addition to filing a complaint with the University of Iowa, individuals who believe they may have been the subject of discrimination prohibited by state and/or federal law(s) may contact one or more of the following agencies for advice, assistance, and explanation of filing deadlines.
Iowa Civil Rights Commission (ICRC) 400 E. 14th Street, Grimes Building Des Moines, Iowa 50319 Tel. (515) 281-4121, 1-800-457-4416 Fax (515) 242-5840 Website: https://icrc.iowa.gov/ (link is external)The ICRC enforces Chapter 216 of the Code of Iowa, as amended, (The Iowa Civil Rights Act), which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, age (18 and older), creed, national origin, color, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, disability or religion.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) 500 West Madison St., Suite 2000 Chicago, IL 60662 Tel. 1-800-669-4000 or 312-869-8001 (TDD)The EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), genetics, national origin or retaliation; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which protects persons age 40 or older; and disability, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance:
Title VI Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, related statutes and regulations provide that no person shall on the ground of race, color, national origin, gender, or disabilities be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal funds.
Title IX Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities which receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits or, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
Section 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability in employment and education and require affirmative action in employment for persons with disabilities.
If you believe you have been discriminated against in a program of any institution which receives Federal assistance, you may contact the Federal agency providing such assistance.
Federal Contracts or Subcontracts Applicants to and employees of organizations with a Federal government contract or subcontract are protected under Federal law from discrimination on the following bases.
Race, Color, Religion, Sex, National Origin Executive Order 11246, as amended, prohibits job discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, and requires affirmative action to ensure equality of opportunity in all aspects of employment.
Individuals with Disabilities Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, protects qualified individuals from discrimination on the basis of disability in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment. Disability discrimination includes not making reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, barring undue hardship. Section 503 also requires that Federal contractors take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities at all levels of employment, including the executive level.
Disabled, Recently Separated, Other Protected, and Armed Forces Service Medal Veterans The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, 38 U.S.C. 4212, prohibits job discrimination and requires affirmative action to employ and advance in employment disabled veterans, recently separated veterans (within three years of discharge or release from active duty), other protected veterans (veterans who served during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized), and Armed Forces service medal veterans (veterans who, while on active duty, participated in a U.S. military operation for which an Armed Forces service medal was awarded).
Retaliation Retaliation is prohibited against a person who files a complaint of discrimination, participates in an OFCCP proceeding, or otherwise opposes discrimination under these Federal laws.
Any person who believes a contractor has violated its nondiscrimination or affirmative action obligations under the authorities listed above may contact:
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) U.S. Department of Labor 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20210 Tel. 1-800-397-6251 (toll-free) or (202) 693-1337 (TTY) The OFCCP may also be contacted by e-mail at OFCCP-Public@dol.gov (link sends e-mail), or by calling an OFCCP regional or district office, listed in most telephone directories under U.S. Government, Department of Labor.
Violations of these university policies are investigated by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. Copies of these policies including complaint procedures are available upon request from: Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity 202 Jessup Hall Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1316 (319) 335-0705 (voice) (319) 335-0697 (TDD) E-mail: email@example.com (link sends e-mail)
From the Operations Manual:
8.2 Statement on Diversity
The University of Iowa values diversity among students, faculty, and staff, and regards equal employment opportunity and affirmative action as tools to achieve diversity. The University believes that a rich diversity of people and the many points of view they bring serve to enhance the quality of the educational experience at The University of Iowa.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing the federal laws that make it unlawful to discriminate against employees or job applicants because of their race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
Harassment Prevention Education Guidelines
The Guide to Administration of the University of Iowa's Policy on Sexual Harassment assists University of Iowa employees in understanding and carrying out the administration of the university's Policy on Sexual Harassment.
Enforces civil rights through compliance, mediation, advocacy and education as well as support safe, just and inclusive communities. The Commission’s primary duty is to enforce state and federal statutes that prohibit discrimination in employment, public accommodations, housing, education and credit by investigating and litigating civil rights complaints.