Students With Disabilities

Welcome to the Accessibility Resource Office (ARO) page. Below you will find the answers to many of your questions. If you have further questions please let us know at aro@saintmarys.edu.

Saint Mary's College (SMC) commits to complying with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) to provide accommodations to students with disabilities. SMC strives to provide equitable access to educational resources and reasonable accommodations to support an inclusive academic community. When self-identifying, students with disabilities can be referred to the Accessibility Resource Office (ARO) by admissions counselors, advisors, faculty, or staff. The following policies and procedures outline how a student can request and receive accommodations.

Eligibility

A disability is defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.

Students with disabilities are not required to disclose their disabilities to faculty, staff, or other college entities. To receive accommodations, students must disclose to and register with the Accessibility Resource Office (ARO). The ARO determines accommodations on an individual basis through the interactive process, including a documentation request and review, intake interview, and assessment of provided information.

Rights & Responsibilities

Students with disabilities have the right to enjoy equal opportunity and access to SMC courses, programs, and services. To do so, students with disabilities have the right to request and receive pedagogically appropriate accommodations. Students who disagree with a decision or denial of an accommodation request have the right to appeal such decisions through informal or formal processes. Students can expect the confidential handling of disability information.

Students are responsible for participating in the interactive process by self-identifying to the ARO, requesting accommodations, and providing appropriate documentation. Students are also responsible for making prompt requests, notifying the ARO when an issue arises, and meeting all technical standards for classes with or without accommodations.

SMC has the right to request and receive appropriate documentation to support accommodation requests. SMC also has the right to deny requests deemed unreasonable or unfounded, including requests that fundamentally alter an academic program's nature or cause an undue burden on the institution.

SMC's responsibility is to provide equitable access to all programs, activities, and courses it offers. The ARO will advocate for students and assist in coordinating with faculty, staff, and support services in providing clear expectations and the appropriate implementation of approved accommodations.

All SMC faculty and staff are responsible for referring students who self-disclose to the ARO to pursue appropriate and reasonable accommodations.

Registering with the Accessibility Resource Office Students with disabilities can speak with someone regarding strategies and accommodations to remove disability-related barriers by following the steps below. After a registration gap of more than one academic year, returning students must contact the ARO to discuss accommodation updates and reinstatement.

New Student Registration

New students must contact ARO@saintmarys.edu with their accommodation requests and provide documentation of disability. Students should refer to the Documentation Guidelines for appropriate sources of documentation. If a student does not have documentation of a disability, they should contact the ARO to discuss the next steps.

The ARO can provide a list of possible referral agencies for students without documentation; however, students are encouraged to contact their insurance company for an appropriate diagnostic agency.

When a request is received, the ARO will reach out to the student with an invitation to set up a confidential discussion to identify educational barriers and discuss accommodations. Students should plan accordingly, as a response could take up to two business days.

The Interactive Process

After students make a request, the ARO will contact them regarding an appointment. During the meeting, the student will have a confidential discussion to identify educational barriers and discuss what accommodations would best support them. The ARO will consider all provided information when making a determination, including documentation and the student's self-report, and will contact the student with the decision. Should a reasonable request be considered unfounded, the ARO may ask for additional documentation. Students may appeal denied accommodation decisions by contacting the Director of the Accessibility Resources Office.

Housing Accommodations

Students needing housing accommodations should request them no later than May 15th for fall and August 15th for spring semester accommodations.

Requests for service or assistance animals or ESAs or other housing accommodations should be made to aro@saintmarys.edu.