Welcome to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. It is our goal to provide to students with all types of disabilities the opportunity to complete a chosen curriculum by providing accessibility to each of our program offerings. The information provided here is a guide to your rights, responsibilities and procedures for obtaining and using the support services for students with disabilities. If you feel unsure about what you should do, contact the Dean of Student Services or the Disability Support Service office at the campus or center nearest you.
The ADA Law and You
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a comprehensive national mandate that ensures basic civil rights for individuals with disabilities. The ADA provides assurance of access to education programs and employment opportunities for adults with special learning needs. The ADA defines an individual with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. These major life activities include seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, learning, caring for oneself and working.
Section 504: No otherwise qualified handicapped individual shall, solely by reason of his 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.
–Rehabilitation Act of 1973
SECTION 504 AND POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION
Specific provisions of Section 504 related to postsecondary education prohibit discrimination against handicapped persons in recruitment, admission and treatment after admission. According to the regulations, colleges and universities are required to make “reasonable adjustments” to permit handicapped students to fulfill academic requirements and to assure that disabled students are not effectively excluded from programs because of the absence of auxiliary aids.
WHO IS QUALIFIED?
A person qualified for postsecondary education under Section 504 is “one who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to Admission or participation in the recipient’s education program or activity.” A handicapped person is defined by the regulations as “any person who (I) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, (II) has a record of such impairment or (III) is regarded as having such impairment.”(Note: The definition of physical or mental impairment includes specific learning disabilities.)
PROVISIONS OF SECTION 504
Subpart E of the regulations describes ways of making postsecondary education accessible to disabled students. These include the following:
- Modifications “as are necessary” to ensure that academic requirements are not discriminatory. Modifications may include changes in the length of time required for completion of degree requirements, and adaptation of the manner in which specific courses are conducted. (The regulations state that academic requirements that can be demonstrated as essential to a program of study or related to licensing are not considered discriminatory.)
- The requirement that exams given to evaluate a student’s progress actually test the student’s achievement rather than reflect the student’s impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills.
- Auxiliary aids, including taped texts, interpreters for students with hearing impairments, readers for students with visual impairments, classroom equipment adapted for use by students with manual impairments, and other similar services.
Your Rights and Responsibilities
- You have the right to confidentiality.
- You have the right to equal access to programs, classes and facilities.
- You have the right to have reasonable accommodations provided.
- You have the same rights granted to every student enrolled at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
- You must disclose your disability to receive services.
- You must provide current, within the past three (3) years, documentation of your disability from a qualified professional.
- You must request specific accommodations.
- You must complete the required paperwork.
- You must comply with all policies, codes and regulations of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. (See Student Handbook)
Steps to Obtain Accommodations
- Your first step is to identify yourself as a student with a disability and request specific accommodations to the (SS), Support Services personnel on the campus or center nearest you. “Accommodations” include a range of services, equipment and modifications, designed to allow you to do your best. Accommodations vary according to the disability. You must request specific accommodations to the Support Services personnel.
- Your next step is to obtain documentation of your disability and provide this information to the SS personnel. Because reasonable accommodations are based on the current impact of a disorder or impairment, it is necessary that all documentation and testing should be no more than three years old. The SS personnel will consider your requests based on documentation submitted.
- Once you have documentation, make an appointment with the appropriate SS personnel to discuss your particular needs and what you find meets these needs best.
These first steps should be taken at least three weeks prior to registration. However, if you are already enrolled, please see the appropriate contact personnel as soon as possible. Remember that it is your responsibility to inform the college of your needs and to request accommodations from the appropriate personnel. Whereas your instructors may note that you are having difficulty in class, they will not ask you if you have a disability and require accommodations. Failure to notify the college means that you will not have accommodations for your classes.
Once your documentation has been received and the appropriate paperwork completed, your requests will be reviewed by the SS personnel. A copy of approved accommodations will be given to you along with copies for you to give to each of your instructors. During the term, if you realize that an accommodation is not working or that you need additional support, please bring that to the attention of the appropriate personnel as soon as possible. Feel free to speak to your instructors yourself if you have questions or concerns about your problems. You do not have to wait for feedback from the Support Services personnel
For assistance, contact:
George County Center
Cheryl Bond, Assistant Dean
Susan Bounds, Support Services Coordinator
Jackson County Campus
Darla Lyons, Disability Support Services
Dr. Stephanie Messer-Roy, Dean of Student Services & Enrollment Management
Jefferson Davis Campus
Gloria Smith, Support Services Coordinator
Dr. Jason Beverly, Dean of Student Services & Enrollment Management
Vanessa Dedeaux, Special Population Coordinator
Michelle Sekul, Dean of Student Services & Enrollment Management