Faculty Rights and Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of faculty members to provide reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities and to ensure that all students adhere to the University code of conduct.

Faculty rights

Classroom behavior

SPU students must adhere to the University's code of conduct regardless of their disability. Infractions of this code should be directed to the Dean of Students for Community Life, the chief judicial officer, or their designees. If the student has been identified as a student with a disability, DSS should also be notified of the incident.

Challenge accommodations

Reasonable accommodations are based on documentation on file in DSS and provided by the student. In some situations, the requested accommodations may not be appropriate for the course.

A faculty member has the right to challenge an accommodation request if they believe the student is not qualified, the accommodation would result in a fundamental alteration of the program, the accommodation would impose an undue financial or administrative burden, or is otherwise not required by law or applicable regulations.

Faculty responsibilities

Shared responsibility

As employees of the University who have compliance obligations under federal laws, it is the responsibility of faculty members to assume a shared responsibility in providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. The University is responsible for implementation and, as employees, faculty members are required to adhere to the policies and procedures.


If a faculty member is notified by a student that they have a disability or if the student brings a medical statement to the instructor, it is the faculty member’s responsibility to refer that student to Disability Support Services.

If an instructor notices that a student is not performing up to standards, they may encourage the student to check in with the Center for Learning for an academic coaching appointment.  The instructor should not make assumptions about whether a disability exists and should not discriminate against the student on the basis of any perceived disability.

Disability verification letter

Faculty should receive a Disability Verification letter by the second week of the quarter. Faculty are not to provide academic adjustments unless there is a letter from DSS certifying that the student is qualified to receive services and the nature of the accommodations. Faculty may make additional recommendations for adjustments if they believe the student will benefit.

Syllabus statement

Each course syllabus should contain a reasonable accommodation statement. Please include one of the sample statements listed below, or similar, in each of your course syllabi:

  • If you have a specific disability that qualifies you for academic accommodations, please contact Disability Support Services to make your accommodations request. Once your eligibility has been determined, DSS will send a disability verification letter indicating what accommodations have been approved.
  • Students with disabilities must contact Disability Support Services to request reasonable academic accommodations. DSS will send Disability Verification letters out to all your professors indicating the appropriate, approved accommodations for the classroom based on your disability.

Confidentiality caution

Students with disabilities are protected under FERPA an civil rights laws. At no time should faculty make any statements or implications that the student is any different from the general student population.

Examples of behaviors to be avoided:

  • Do not ask the student for documentation other than the disability verification letter from DSS.
  • Do not discuss the student’s needs or accommodations anywhere other than in a private place.
  • Do not ask the student to come to the classroom and then leave with the test in hand.
  • Do not place the student in the hall or any other public place to take an exam because you want to be close to them in case they have a question.
  • Do not use a grading standard that is any different from the rest of the class.
  • Do not give students with disabilities an advantage or disadvantage over the rest of the class; the idea of the law is to give equal access or equal opportunity provided through reasonable accommodations.
Four students walk down a covered sidewalk with their backs to the camera.

DSS mission statement

Disability Support Services recognizes disability as an important part of diversity on campus and integral to our community and our society. We aim to provide educational access through support, resources, advocacy, collaboration, and academic accommodations for SPU students with disabilities and to support an inclusive and equitable environment.