SAS Student Handbook

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Notice of Non-Discrimination

Kent State University does not discriminate based on disability in its programs and activities.

Contact Information for Disability Service Coordinators

Kent State University has designated the following individuals to address inquiries regarding the University’s non-discrimination policies and to coordinate its efforts to comply with, and carry out its responsibilities under, the laws prohibiting discrimination based on disability (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act):

Ashtabula Campus 
Carol Jones
115A Library
Phone: 440-964-4232 

East Liverpool Campus
Salem Campus

Danielle Baker-Rose
Columbiana Campuses
107B Academic Center
Phone: 330-337-4214

Geauga Campus
Regional Academic Center, Twinsburg
Ben Morrison
120C Library
Phone: 440-834-3726

Kent Campus
Julie Di Biasio
Rm. 23 DeWeese Health Center
Phone: 330-672-3391

Stark Campus
Amanda Weyant
11B Campus Center
H.W. Hoover Foundation Counseling Center
Phone: 330-244-5047

Trumbull Campus
Elaine Shively
205F Learning Center
Classroom/Administration Building
Phone: 330-675-8932

Tuscarawas Campus
Laurie Donley
Founders Hall, Student Services Office
Phone: 330-308-7425

College of Podiatric Medicine
Terri Novak
Student Affairs Hallway (first floor)
Phone: 216-916-7499


The mission of Student Accessibility Services (hereinafter referred to as SAS) is to ensure that Kent State University provides qualified students with disabilities appropriate academic adjustments and auxiliary aids (hereinafter referred to as accommodations).

To reach this mission, SAS has the following goals:

  • To establish a welcoming and respectful environment in the SAS office and at the campus;
  • To strive to meet the needs of students with disabilities;
  •  To facilitate improvements in the delivery of academic programs and services to students with disabilities which promote their academic success;
  • To work toward awareness of accessibility issues by all members of the university community.

This Handbook provides answers to common questions about accommodations and services, and the procedures for obtaining them from KSU. The procedures in this handbook apply to every University program and supersede any conflicting and/or alternative policies and procedures of any University program.

Eligibility for Services and Documentation Requirements

Are you a qualified student with a disability eligible for accommodations?  What does qualified mean?

A qualified individual is an individual with a disability who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the University’s education program or activities.
What does disability mean?

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),an individual has a disability if the individual has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment.

What is a physical or mental impairment?

Physical impairment means any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems including but not limited to: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine.

Mental impairment means any mental or psychological disorder such as developmental/cognitive disabilities, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.

Physical or mental impairments include, but are not limited to, such contagious and noncontagious diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, mental retardation, emotional illness, specific learning disabilities, HIV disease (whether symptomatic or asymptomatic), tuberculosis, drug addiction, and alcoholism.

What does major life activity mean?

It means functions including, but not limited to, caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working; and/or major bodily functions including, but not limited to immune system, normal cell growth, endocrine system, etc.

What does accommodation mean?

In the post-secondary educational setting, an accommodation is any modification to the University’s academic requirements as are necessary to ensure that such requirements do not discriminate or have the effect of discriminating against a qualified individual with a disability.  An accommodation also means any auxiliary aids that the University must provide to ensure that a qualified individual with a disability is not denied the benefits of the University’s program, excluded from participation in the University’s program, or subjected to discrimination in the University’s program because of the absence of the auxiliary aids.

How does a qualified student with a disability request that the University provide the student an accommodation?

1. The student must contact the appropriate SAS office identified above to make an appointment to speak to an SAS counselor and register for services.

2. Because the University anticipates that it may need additional time to provide certain accommodations, the University encourages students to register with the SAS office as soon as possible to ensure timely provision of any SAS-approved accommodations.

3. Once the student registers with the appropriate SAS office, the SAS staff and student engage in an interactive process to determine if the student is eligible for accommodations.  At the conclusion of the interactive process, the SAS staff will determine if the student is eligible for accommodations and, if so, the accommodations the University will provide to address the student’s individual disability-related needs with respect to the program for which the University is providing the accommodations.  The interactive process may require the SAS staff to consult with appropriate faculty and other program personnel.

4. During the interactive process, the student typically provides the SAS office with supporting documentation as to the existence of a disability and the need for accommodations.  The SAS office uses the documentation submitted by the student to establish that the student has a current disability and needs accommodations.

Although the documentation requested by SAS may vary for individual students, SAS typically requests current (within three to five years) documentation from appropriately licensed professionals. Students are responsible for obtaining the necessary documentation and evaluations at their own expense.  Accommodations may not be able to be provided until SAS has received the appropriate documentation and the interactive process has been completed.

Reasonable documentation should typically address the following: Documentation of the disability and recommendations made by the diagnosing professional; the student's request for specific accommodations; the barriers resulting from the interaction between the documented disability and the campus environment; possible accommodations that might remove the barriers; and whether or not the student has access to the course, program, service, activity, or facility without accommodation (i.e., Is the student otherwise qualified for participation?).

5. If SAS determines that the documentation submitted by the student is inadequate to support the disability or the accommodations requested, SAS may require additional documentation.  In those cases, SAS will timely notify the student, in writing, of any additional documentation needed.

Note: SAS maintains informational sheets regarding documentation typically required for some of the disabilities most commonly addressed in the University setting.  Information sheets are available for learning disabilities, visual impairments, psychiatric disabilities, ADD/ADHD, and temporary disabilities.  Contact the SAS office if you would like one of the informational sheets.

6. When evaluating an accommodation request, SAS will determine whether the academic requirements related to the request are essential or whether the accommodation would fundamentally alter a course, academic program or University sponsored performance based experience.

SAS will make its determination regarding fundamental alterations through a deliberative process that ensures that a group of people, including SAS personnel, pertinent faculty, and other relevant personnel engage in a careful, thoughtful deliberation that includes a review of the program, course requirements and available alternative accommodations that would not result in a fundamental alteration. SAS will fully document any decision denying a requested accommodation as a fundamental alteration and the reasons supporting the decision.

7. If SAS determines that a student is not eligible for accommodations, or the specific accommodations requested, SAS will provide the student timely written notification of the denial and the reasons for the denial.  SAS will provide written notification of the grievance process that the student may use to challenge denial of requests. Campus specific grievance procedures can be found on the SAS websites listed above.

SAS will maintain, in the student’s confidential file, the date of the request, the nature of the request, supporting documentation for the request, the reason for the denial of the request, and documentation of the interactive process.

8. For those accommodations that SAS approves for the student, the SAS staff will provide the student a letter of accommodation that documents the SAS approved accommodation(s) applicable to the semester for which SAS has approved them.

9. If a student enrolls in a practicum, internship, student teaching, clinical experience, service learning, or other performance-based university-sponsored educational experience, SAS must review the accommodations identified in the letter of accommodation to determine whether they are appropriate and approved for those experiences.  Accordingly, the student must contact SAS prior to these experiences to engage in the interactive process detailed above to determine the accommodations that SAS will approve for the experiences.  It is the student’s responsibility to contact SAS staff as early as possible to initiate the interactive process regarding these experiences.

10. Students must request accommodation letters each semester through SAS Online Services in order to access accommodations.  Accommodation letters will be e-mailed to both the student and the student's professor(s) upon their request through SAS Online Services.  Professors are not obligated to provide students with classroom accommodations if the student has not provided their accommodation letter.  Please note that SAS is not able to require that accommodations be applied retroactively.

11. Instructors and administrators do not have the authority to unilaterally limit or deny a student an SAS approved accommodation.  Instructors and administrators do not have the right to access student diagnostic information or other specific information regarding a student’s disability.

12. Students are encouraged to contact SAS immediately to resolve any difficulties they may experience in obtaining approved accommodations.

13. If a student does not present an instructor with a letter of accommodation, the instructor is not required to provide the approved accommodations.  Similarly, the student should be aware that instructors are not required to provide accommodations that SAS did not list on the letter of accommodation. 

14. SAS is not able to require that accommodations be applied retroactively.

15. Students are encouraged to notify SAS immediately if an accommodation is not effective.  The SAS staff will work with the student to resolve the problem as promptly as possible through the interactive process.

16. Students are encouraged to notify the SAS office immediately if they are having difficulty in obtaining any agreed-upon accommodations.  The SAS office will resolve such issues in as timely a manner as possible.

17. If the student is having difficulty obtaining agreed upon accommodations, the student must contact SAS staff as soon as possible so that it may resolve the issues regarding the provision of the accommodations.

18. Only SAS may authorize approved accommodations; any informal arrangements between faculty and students may be discontinued at any time.

Temporary Accommodations and Services

The SAS office can be of assistance to students who have documentation of a temporary disability.  Services are provided only for the duration of the functional limitations associated with the temporary disability.  The eligibility process is the same for all students with disabilities.

Services for Transitioning Students

If you plan to transition to or take classes at another Kent State Campus or sites and require accommodations for your disability, your timely contact with the SAS (or SDS) office at each campus you plan to attend is important if you are to have accommodations in place.  This is especially true if you use accommodations such as interpreters, closed captioning, note takers, e-text, or residence halls at the Kent Campus, etc.

Students transitioning to or attending other campuses or sites MUST do the following:

  • Contact the SAS office for your current campus to request that your information be sent to whichever campus you plan to attend.
  • Contact the SAS Coordinator on the campus at which you are taking the course. Even if the course is online, accommodations cannot be implemented without a formal check-in, which can be completed over the phone or in person. This process should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes. It is your responsibility to establish this contact.
  • You must complete this process the first time you take a class at a different campus.  Once you have established your SAS record at a campus, your accommodations and documentation will remain on file. You only need to let the SAS Coordinator know that you are taking classes at that campus in subsequent semesters.

These procedures are designed to help students with disabilities make a smooth transition among campuses throughout the Kent State University system.  Please do not hesitate to contact the SAS office if we can assist you in any way!

Housing Accommodations

There are a variety of accessible housing options in the residence halls, including single rooms, roll-in showers, and various bathroom configurations. If special housing is required, please contact an Accessibility Specialist at the Kent campus SAS Office. The Accessibility Specialist will help students work with Residence Services to access housing accommodation needs. Students are strongly encouraged to complete this as soon as possible, as there are a limited amount of rooms and bathroom configurations available.

Personal Care Attendants/Individual Prescribed Devices

SAS does not provide personal care attendants or individually prescribed devices, such as wheelchairs, prescription eyeglasses, or hearing aids, etc., or services of a personal nature, such as assistance in eating, toileting, dressing, etc. If students require these services, they need to make their own arrangements.

Voter Registration

The SAS office can provide information about and assist students with disabilities in the process of registering to vote. Voter registration forms are available upon request in the SAS office at each Regional Campus.

To qualify to vote, you must be:

  • a U.S. citizen;
  • 18 years old on or before the general election day;
  • a resident of Ohio for at least 30 days immediately before the election;
  • registered to vote at least 30 days before election day.

Persons with disabilities may also receive assistance marking their ballots in the voting booth.  Ohio law provides that persons who tell an election official at the polling place that they need assistance are entitled to receive assistance marking their ballots.

Service Animals

Kent State University will permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability.

Kent State University will require an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises if the animal is out of control and the animal's handler does not take effective action to control it or the animal is not housebroken.  However, if Kent State University excludes a service animal for these reasons, it will allow the individual with a disability the opportunity to participate in the service, program, or activity without having the service animal on the premises.

  • (d) Animal under handler's control. A service animal shall be under the control of its handler. A service animal shall have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler's control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means).
  • (e) Care or supervision. A public entity is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal.
  • (f) Inquiries. A public entity shall not ask about the nature or extent of a person's disability but may make two inquiries to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal. A public entity may ask if the animal is required because of a disability and what work or task the animal has been trained to perform. A public entity shall not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained,or licensed as a service animal. Generally, a public entity may not make these inquiries about a service animal when it is readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability (e.g., the dog is observed guiding an individual who is blind or has low vision, pulling a person's wheelchair, or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with an observable mobility disability).
  • (g) Access to areas of a public entity. Individuals with disabilities shall be permitted to be accompanied by their service animals in all areas of a public entity's facilities where members of the public, participants in services, programs or activities, or invitees, as relevant, are allowed to go.
  • (h) Surcharges. A public entity shall not ask or require an individual with a disability to pay a surcharge, even if people accompanied by pets are required to pay fees, or to comply with other requirements generally not applicable to people without pets. If a public entity normally charges individuals for the damage they cause, an individual with a disability may be charged for damage caused by his or her service animal.

Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability.

Communication/Auxiliary Aids

The SAS office shall take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with applicants, participants, members of the public, and companions with disabilities are as effective as communications with others.

  • For purposes of this section, “companion” means a family member, friend, or associate of an individual seeking access to a service, program, or activity of a public entity, who, along with such individual, is an appropriate person with whom the public entity should communicate.

The SAS office shall furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to afford qualified individuals with disabilities, including applicants, participants, companions, and members of the public, an equal opportunity to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of, a service, program, or activity of a public entity.

  • The type of auxiliary aid or service necessary to ensure effective communication will vary in accordance with the method of communication used by the individual; the nature, length, and complexity of the communication involved; and the context in which the communication is taking place. In determining what types of auxiliary aids and services are necessary, a public entity shall give primary consideration to the requests of individuals with disabilities. In order to be effective, auxiliary aids and services must be provided in accessible formats, in a timely manner, and in such a way as to protect the privacy and independence of the individual with a disability.

A public entity shall not require an individual with a disability to bring another individual to interpret for him or her.

A public entity shall not rely on an adult accompanying an individual with a disability to interpret or facilitate communication except—

  • In an emergency involving an imminent threat to the safety or welfare of an individual or the public where there is no interpreter available; or
  • Where the individual with a disability specifically requests that the accompanying adult interpret or facilitate communication, the accompanying adult agrees to provide such assistance, and reliance on that adult for such assistance is appropriate under the circumstances.
  • SAS shall not rely on a minor child to interpret or facilitate communication, except in an emergency involving an imminent threat to the safety or welfare of an individual or the public where there is no interpreter available.

Video remote interpreting (VRI) services. The SAS office will provide qualified interpreters via VRI services and shall ensure that it provides—

  • Real-time, full-motion video and audio over a dedicated high-speed, wide-bandwidth video connection or wireless connection that delivers high-quality video images that do not produce lags, choppy, blurry, or grainy images, or irregular pauses in communication;
  • A sharply delineated image that is large enough to display the interpreter's face, arms, hands, and fingers, and the participating individual's face, arms, hands, and fingers, regardless of his or her body position;
  • A clear, audible transmission of voices; and
  • Adequate training to users of the technology and other involved individuals so that they may quickly and efficiently set up and operate the VRI.

Emergency Plans

If you have concerns about emergency evacuation because of your disability, speak with the SAS Coordinator to determine specific procedures to fit your needs.                          

Dispute Resolutions Procedures

The University and SAS office support students in their right to file a complaint when they believe they have been denied equal access to university programs, services, resources, or other university-based activities.

Disability-related Complaints (Policy register 3-01.3, and 6-02)

It is Kent State University’s policy that no qualified student with a disability is denied or excluded from the benefits of, participation in, or otherwise subjected to discrimination by any university program or activity. If students believe they have been discriminated against because of a disability, they have the right to seek review of their concerns. Specifically, they have the option of pursuing an informal complaint with the campus SAS Coordinator and/or Affirmative Action Facilitator.  It is also possible to file a formal complaint with the Office of Compliance, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action at the Kent Campus. Whenever possible, it is suggested that students first consider the informal process at the campus level, where many complaints can be resolved. If students choose to pursue the informal process, they may later pursue a formal complaint if not satisfied with the results of the informal process.

Informal Resolution Procedures

Informal resolution is not required; students may start directly with a formal resolution.

In this process, students first discuss their concerns with the campus SAS Coordinator. The Coordinator then attempts to mediate and help parties come to a satisfactory resolution.  Students will be asked to play an active role in resolving their concern while working with the campus SAS Coordinator.  In some cases, the Coordinator might encourage students to work with the campus Affirmative Action Facilitator, who may be able to help resolve the situation.

Students also have the right to appeal an eligibility or accommodation determination made by SAS. To file an appeal, students should first contact the SAS Coordinator.  The Coordinator will meet with students to discuss the issue before making a determination. Students may also contact the campus Affirmative Action Facilitator. 

Formal Resolution Procedures (Policy Register 5-16.1, and 3-01.3)

If students wish to pursue a formal complaint and/or if the attempt at informal resolution was unsuccessful, students may work with the SAS Coordinator and/or the campus Affirmative Action Facilitator who can assist them with the formal process.  Students may also choose to contact the Office of Compliance, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action at the Kent Campus. This office is located in Heer Hall, and the phone number is (330) 672-2038.

Academic or Other Complaints

Academic or other complaints not related to disability should be addressed to the Student Academic Complaint Officer at the campus.  Another avenue available for students is the Student Ombuds, located in the Division of Student Affairs in Room 250 of the Kent Student Center, phone number (330) 672-9494. Students may also contact the Office of Compliance, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action located at the Kent Campus in Heer Hall at (330) 672-2038.

Student Code of Conduct

Students with disabilities must adhere to the Code of Student Conduct.

Comparisons of IDEA 2004 and ADA/504

  IDEA 2004
(Birth to age 21)
ADA and Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act

(Postsecondary Level)
What are the
rights guaranteed
by law?
  • Free Appropriate Public
    Education (FAPE)
  • Special education and related
    services for those classified
    via Child Study Teams (CST)
  • Access as an otherwise
    qualified individual
  • Reasonable accommodations
Who is covered? Students birth through age 21
or graduation from high school,
whichever comes first, who are
CST classified
  • Students who are "otherwise
  • Students currently abusing
    substances are not protected
    under this law.
How are students
identified and
The Local Education Agency
(LEA) is responsible for the
identification, evaluation, and
cost to determine eligibility.
  • The student mus self identify
    and provide recent, appropriate
  • The student bears the cost of
    the evaluation, if recent
    documentation does not already
How are services
  • Students must be in need of
    special education and
    related services to qualify for
  • Using the results of the
    evaluation, services are
    individually determined
    through the IEP process.
  • IDEA is about success, and
    modifications to programs
    and curriculum may be made
    to encourage success.
  • Using documentation provided
    and after discussion with the
    student, reasonable
    accommodations are determined.
  • Academic adjustments that
    equalize opportunity for
    participation are required.
  • ADA/504 is about access, and
    accommodations are made for
    students who are "otherwise
    qualified". Fundamental
    modifications of programs and
    curriculum are not required.
Are personal
provided at         
the university?
Students in special education       
are provided a variety of
personal services if
indicated in the IEP, e.g.,
personal care attendants,
special transportation,
tutors, etc.  

Personal care attendants are not
provided by the university
and the student would need to
arrange/pay for these services
on their own. Tutors available
for all students are also
available to students with

What is the role
of the parent?
Teachers, counselors, and/or
parents identify students who
may need special education
services. Teachers,
counselors, and parents
monitor services.
  • Students must self-identify and
    request accommodations.
  • Students are responsible for
    informing SAS if there are
    problems with their
    accommodations and services.
What is the role
of the student?
Teachers, counselors, and/or
parents identify students who
may need special education
services. Teachers,
counselors, and parents
monitor services.
  • Students must self-identify and
    request accommodations.
  • Students are responsible for
    informing SAS if there are
    problems with their
    accommodations and services.
What is the
appeals process?
Parents have due process
rights under IDEA and
individual state law.
College students may use the
college informal and formal
complaint processes as stated
in the SAS handbook.
Complaints may also be filed
through the Office of Civil
Rights (OCR) which is part of
the United States Department
of Education (USDOE).
What types of
require a student
to use the
services of the
SAS office at
Kent State
  • Accommodations needed to
    provide access on campus
  • Academic accommodations
  • Accommodation for temporary
    medical conditions
  • Handicapped or medical

*Adapted in part from Seton Hall University 05/06

Note: All students enrolled in postsecondary courses, regardless of age, are covered by ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. IDEA does not apply in postsecondary institutions.