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Legal Requirements

The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System has recognized the mandates of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) by adopting the Guidelines for the Implementation of The University of Wisconsin System Policy on Individuals with Disabilities. Pursuant to these federal laws, no qualified individual with a disability shall, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of services, programs or activities of the University or be subject to discrimination. In accordance with System policy, each institution maintains an Office of Services for Students with Disabilities as a resource for students, faculty and staff. Students document their disability and request auxiliary aids from this office, faculty and staff should use it as a source of expertise and assistance.

To meet these legal requirements, the University must provide physical and programmatic access to students with disabilities, including auxiliary aids and services. Furthermore, faculty must make accommodations or reasonable modifications in the instructional process to ensure full educational opportunity to students with disabilities. Following are some aspects of Section 504 and ADA which institutions of higher education are required to follow:

  1. Institutions must offer the same opportunities to participate in campus programs and activities, including academic, research, occupational training, and counseling programs, housing, health services, student services, physical education, transportation, and extracurricular activities to qualified students with disabilities as are offered to all students.

  2. Students with impaired sensory, manual, language, or processing skills must be allowed to use educational auxiliary aids or services. Such aids may include but are not limited to taped texts, readers, interpreters, note takers, tape recorders, adapted classroom equipment, and other similar services or equipment. Institutions cannot impose rules limiting the use of such aids in the classroom. However, services or equipment of a personal nature or personally prescribed are not required to be provided by the institution.

  3. Modifications in academic requirements, if necessary, may include changes in the length of time permitted for completion of degree requirements, substitution of specific required courses, and accommodations in evaluation/testing procedures. Courses and requirements essential to the program of instruction (e.g. science courses for a Nursing major) or related to licensing requirements cannot be considered for substitution.

Providing written documentation of disability and requesting an accommodation is the responsibility of the student. Neither the University nor instructional staff has the responsibility to provide any accommodation which is not requested. Nonetheless, it is important for you to make known your willingness to provide reasonable accommodations. A general statement such as the following is recommended on syllabi:

Students with Disabilities:  Any student who has a documented disability and is in need of classroom accommodations, please schedule an appointment to meet with me as soon as possible.  You may schedule this appointment by (indicate preferred method here).  Please bring your current VISA (Verification of Individual Services and Accommodations) to your appointment.  To maintain the confidentiality of your request, please do not approach me before or after class to discuss your accommodation needs.  For additional information about documentation of a disability, please contact the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office at (715) 836-5800 or visit the website at

For additional information regarding students with disabilities, please contact the SSD office at (715) 836-5800.  Employees or visitors with disabilities may contact the ADA Coordinator at (715) 836-2513 or the Affirmative Action office at (715) 836-2387.