Queens University of Charlotte is committed to the principles and practices of diversity throughout the University community. Women, members of minority groups and individuals with disability are encouraged to apply for admission. Queens does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, gender, age, sexual orientation, national and ethnic origin or disability status in the administration of its educational and admissions policies, employment policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletic programs or other University-administered programs. All staff, faculty and students at Queens University of Charlotte share in the responsibility to adhere to this philosophy of equal access and opportunity.
Disability legislation protects individuals with disabilities against discrimination, as well as mandates the provision of reasonable accommodations and auxiliary services. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and most recently, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008 are the legal underpinnings of the Queens University of Charlotte Student Disability Services Policies.
Eligibility for Student Disability Services is determined by the Manager of Student Disability Services and based on review of documentation and assessment of individual student need. Students seeking accommodations and/or protection by anti-discrimination laws are encouraged to register through the Office of Student Disability Services. Qualified students with disabilities must meet the legal definition of a person with a disability and submit documentation for verification from a qualified professional. Assignment of accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis.
The 504/ADA defined many of the terms which are frequently referred to in college and university informational sources.
An individual with a disability is defined by the 504/ADA as:
- a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (including, but not limited to caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing , learning, reading, communicating, and working, and added in the ADAAA, concentrating and thinking).
- a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or
- a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.
A qualified student with a disability meets the same admissions criteria and technical standards for admissions to Queens University of Charlotte, with or without reasonable accommodations, as students without disabilities. Qualified students with disabilities continue to meet the course requirements and grade point average to remain at Queens, just like students without disabilities. The degree conferred at graduation implies the same standards are met for students with disabilities as those without, so expectations must remain equal for all students.
In higher education reasonable accommodations refer to changes or adjustments in the manner of offering, presentation, response, that allow students with disability full access to all programs, services, and benefits at Queens University of Charlotte. Generally, accommodations are needed only for those included under the first prong of the definition. Reasonable accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that, "No otherwise qualified handicapped individual shall, solely by reason of his [her] 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." Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 laid the foundation for the rights of individuals with disabilities to have the same access and freedoms as individuals without disabilities. It mandates that auxiliary aids and reasonable accommodations must be provided to individuals with disabilities. Section 504 applies to all entities that accept federal funds, which includes virtually all institutions of post-secondary and higher education, public and private. This law speaks directly to access to which individuals with disabilities are entitled. The access to which this refers includes not just access to facilities, but also access to information via a method that is meaningful (e.g. Braille, alternative text, interpreter) and a means by which the student can relay his/her learning, as well as programs, and extra-curricular activities.
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was enacted to provide a clear, comprehensive, national mandate to end discrimination for those with disabilities as well as standards for addressing discrimination. It broadened the scope served to include entities beyond those receiving federal funds and opened the possibility for litigation around failure to provide reasonable accommodations. Furthermore, the ADA increased awareness of disability rights which resulted in an increase of those served, particularly previously underserved populations: those with "invisible" disabilities. The ADA is comprised of 5 titles that specifically address employment, public services, public accommodations and services operated by private entities, telecommunications and miscellaneous provisions. Titles II and III have the most bearing on institutions of higher education.
Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008
As a result of years of judicial decisions related to the ADA, the focus drifted from protecting individuals against discrimination and resulted in a narrowed definition of disability. Not only were fewer individuals protected because of the focused scope of "major life activities," but the standard for proving how the condition "substantially limits" was high. The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008 "reset" the definition of disability, restoring it to its original and intended meaning. While the legal definition of "disability" has not changed, the interpretation of it has. In effect the ADAAA has broadened the definition to include more "major life activities," while simultaneously lowering the burden of proof of how the condition "substantially limits" the major life activity. Essentially, the ADAAA has made it easier for more individuals to 1) show that they have a condition and 2) receive protection under the law.