Office of Disability Services

Policies and Procedures

Federal Laws and Legal Precedents | Confidentiality | Responsibilities | Accommodation Policies| Grievance Procedure

Federal Laws and Legal Precedents Related to Disability Services

Two primary federal acts affect the provision of services for students with disabilities at colleges and universities. They are: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990. In addition to these federal acts, continuing legal opinions and interpretations of the law may establish precedents which also affect the provision of services. Disability services providers also use the findings of the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to develop services.

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The Office of Disability Services preserves the confidentiality of student records as provided in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Information concerning students who receive disability services is kept confidential unless a release of information is signed by the student.

Upon registering with the Office of Disability Services, a student is asked to sign a Release of Information Form giving ODS permission to speak with those offices and individuals which are most appropriate in the process of providing accommodations. Additional offices and individuals are included on the Release of Information Form on an individual case-by-case basis. A student may amend the Release of Information Form and ODS may also ask the student to sign an amended form as circumstances require.

Exceptions to the confidentiality provisions will be made in situations involving harm to self or harm to others or as provided in state law.

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Student Responsibilities:

Self-identifying a disability and asking for accommodation are personal decisions. If a student requests accommodations at the University of Miami, he or she is responsible for completing the process of registering with the Office of Disability Services. It is up to the student to take the initiative and remain actively involved in the accommodation process. If there are concerns about this process, ODS encourages students to call or stop by for a confidential review of the options available. Students seeking reasonable accommodations should :
  • Register with ODS to make appropriate requests for accommodations. Submit supporting clinical documentation (Documentation Requirements link) to ODS in advance of the semester to determine appropriate services and accommodations. For students registering with a cognitive disability, a complete and current psychoeducational assessment must be submitted.
  • Promptly Notify ODS whenever there are concerns, questions or a change in needs.
  • Expect all ODS decisions and correspondence via e-mail. E-mail is the official form of communication for all ODS correspondence. Please check your UM e-mail account routinely. Correspondence will be sent to your UM e-mail account for current students or the specified alternative e-mail account listed on your accommodation request form for incoming freshman. It is the student's responsibility to forward e-mails to private accounts via MyUM to avoid missing pertinent information and deadlines. Decisions regarding accommodations requests will be sent via U.S. mail to the address listed on the request form as a courtesy. Appeal deadlines are based on the official e-mail correspondence date.
  • The Deadline to request notetaking accommodations is the last day to drop without a 'W'.
  • Requests for exam accommodations must be filed each semester by the deadline posted by ODS (5 business days prior to the date of the exam).
  • Schedule final exams no later than two weeks before the first day of final Exams.

Once a Student is registered with ODS:
  • Students must pick up "Accommodation Letter" from ODS at the beginning of each semesterl. These Letters must be provided to each instructor to receive accommodations. Any questions or concerns may be referred to ODS.
  • Students should note on their course syllabi the dates of tests, exams, or quizzes. Students must inform ODS of all of these dates if they expect to take the exams at ODS.
  • Students must notify their professors and ODS five (5) days in advance if they expect to use testing accommodations at ODS. ODS may not be able to provide accommodations if less than five (5) days is given.
  • Students must arrive on time for exams. Late arrivals for testing appointments will reduce the allotted time for an exam.
ODS Responsibilities
  • ODS will provide Accommodation Letters for students at the beginning of each academic year.
  • ODS will provide testing accommodations as appropriate and when the instructor cannot provide the accommodations.
  • ODS will schedule a student's exam provided that sufficient advance notice,( i.e. five business days in advance) has been received from the student.
  • ODS will contact the instructor prior to the exam date to obtain instructions on how the exam is to be obtained, administered, and returned to the instructor.
  • ODS will provide testing accommodations according to teacher's instructions.
  • ODS will not allow students to bring books, backpacks, notes, calculators, hats, or cell phones into testing rooms. ODS will provide any scratch paper which may be necessary for an exam and will collect the scratch paper after the exam and return it with the exam to the instructor.
  • ODS will return the exam to the instructor as soon as possible following the completion of the exam.
  • ODS will report to instructor any variances in exam administration.
  • ODS will monitor all testing sessions via closed circuit cameras.
Instructor Responsibilities
  • Instructor will respond to ODS phone calls or e-mail as soon as possible when a request is made for testing accommodations.
  • Instructor will deliver the exam to ODS or make arrangements to have the exam picked up by ODS.
  • Instructor will direct any questions or concerns regarding testing accommodations to ODS.

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Accommodation Policies

Extended Time
Exams proctored at ODS will be administered on the same day and time as the exam will be taken by the regular class unless:

    A) The class is held in the evening or on the weekend, in which case ODS will ask the instructor how the accommodation may be provided during ODS business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Usually this is arranged prior to the evening class (e.g. from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.)
    B) Prior arrangements have been made between the student, the instructor and ODS.
Quiet Testing Location
Instructors may provide this accommodation by allowing a student to take an exam in the instructor's office or in another room within the department which is reasonably free of distractions. ODS will provide a quiet testing location if an instructor is not able to do so. ODS has a limited number of private testing rooms and access to them is provided when sufficient notice has been given by a student to schedule their use. The responsibilities of students, ODS and instructors are the same as those listed above for extended time. If a student feels that a testing location is not reasonably free of distractions, the student should notify ODS or the instructor immediately so that adjustments can be made.

Use of a Computer
ODS may provide secure computers for a student. Instructors may also provide this accommodation within the department. This accommodation requires advance scheduling with ODS.

ODS may provide a scribe to write a student's answers or type them on a word-processor. Scribes are instructed to write only what is dictated by the student. This accommodation requires advance scheduling with ODS.

Reader For Exams
ODS may provide a reader. Readers for exams will read only the material on the exam. Readers may not provide any additional information or guidance to a student during an exam. The instructor may choose to provide this accommodation . This accommodation requires advance scheduling with ODS.

ODS may provide this accomoodation through access to instructor outlines, notes, powerpoint slides or Blackboard class handouts. Students allowed this accommodation are responsible for notifying ODS if they do not receive notes. ODS students are responsible for retrieving their notes at least once each week. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain his / her own noteteaker. ODS will assist the student by identifying and contacting notetakers, however the securement of a notetaker by ODS is not guaranteed. Students should ask the professor for additional assistance, if needed. ODS students are responsible for attending their classes. Receiving class notes is not a substitute for attending class.

Recorded Textbooks
Students who use books on tape should register with Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D). ODS may provide students information on how to register if a student has not already registered with RFB&D. Since it may take 8 weeks or more to obtain a recorded textbook, students are encouraged to contact RFB&D with sufficient time to obtain services.

All students using recorded books are strongly encouraged to plan ahead for recorded materials for the next semester. ODS advises students to consult with their Academic Advisor and their Faculty Advisor at the middle of the current semester to discuss what courses the student may need to take in the next semester.

Grievance Procedure

The University of Miami, through the Office of Disability Services, has adopted a grievance procedure providing for prompt resolution of complaints by persons who believe they have been subjected to discrimination based upon their disability.

  • All complaints must be directed to the University of Miami, Office of Disability Services, P.O. Box 249003, Coral Gables, Florida. 33124 and addressed to the Director of the Academic Resource Center.
  • All complaints must be in writing and must contain the name and address of the complainant. In the grievance, the student or individual must set forth specific facts in support of his/her complaint. All grievances must be signed by the student or individual.
  • All grievances must be filed within 90 days of the alleged discriminatory event. If the complaint involves the denial of a student's request for auxiliary aids and services or other modifications, the grievance must be filed within ten (10) days after the student receives notification that their request for auxiliary aids and services or other modifications has been denied. All additional documentation regarding your appeal must be submitted at the time of the individual's appeal request.
  • The grievance will be reviewed and adjudicated by the Director of the Academic Resource Center, or her designee (the "Director"). In no event, will the designee be the same individual who made the initial determination as to the request for auxiliary aids, services, or other modifications or accommodations.
  • An investigation, if deemed appropriate by the Director, will be conducted by the Director following receipt of the grievance. The Director may review information and documentation contained in a student's file and/or any other information an individual may submit in support of his/her grievance.
  • Within twenty (20) days of the receipt of the grievance, the grieving party will receive a written decision from the Director.
  • The decision of the Director of the Academic Resource Center shall be considered the final decision on the matter.

Retaliation against a person who files a grievance, or opposes a policy he/she believes to be discriminatory is prohibited.

Persons may contact the Assistant Director of Disability Services, who is responsible for coordinating the University of Miami's 504 compliance efforts at (305) 284- 2374 (P.O. Box 249003, Coral Gables, Florida, 33124), with any questions or concerns.

Individuals, who believe that they were subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability by the University of Miami , are encouraged to use the grievance procedure to resolve their concerns. Individuals may, however, wish to file a complaint directly with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, 61 Forsyth St., Southwest, Suite 19T10 Atlanta, Georgia, 30303, (404) 562-6350. To file a complaint with the State of Florida, send letter to: Commission for Independent Education 325 W. Gaines Street, Suite 1414, Tallahassee, FL. 32399-0400. Or E-mail: Or Fax: 850-245-3238.

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