Rights and Responsibilities

In order to ensure full access, three important areas of rights and responsibilities have to be considered:

  • the right of the individual with a disability to be included on the basis of criteria that do not unfairly discriminate because of the disability and
  • the right of the College to set and maintain standards for admitting and evaluating the progress of students.
  • the right of the faculty to maintain academic integrity and essential requirements of coursework.

To assure full consideration of these areas, this document outlines the rights and responsibilities of the College, Faculty and Students.

The guidelines that follow create a mechanism for dispute resolution for those instances in which the usual channels have not resulted in decisions that are acceptable to both the individual and the College's decision-making authorities.


Right to 

  • identify and establish the abilities, skills, and knowledge necessary for success in its programs and to evaluate applicants and students on this basis;
  • request and receive documentation that supports requests for accommodations. The College has a right to deny a request if the documentation demonstrates that no accommodation is necessary, or if the individual fails to provide such documentation. For documentation guidelines, see here, or contact the Office of Accessibility Services at (585) 245-5112;
  • select among equally effective accommodations for individuals with a disability;
  • refuse an unreasonable accommodation or one that imposes an undue hardship on the College.

 Responsibility to

  • ensure that its recruitment information and activities are available in accessible formats and facilities;
  • evaluate applicants based solely on their abilities. If an evaluation method or criterion unfairly discriminates against an applicant with a disability, the College will seek reasonable alternatives;
  • ensure that all of its programs, viewed in their entirety, including but not limited to academic offerings, housing, transportation, student organizations, counseling, and placement, are accessible and usable;
  • make reasonable accommodations (as determined by the Assistant Dead of Accessibility) for a student with a disability in the delivery, instructional method, and evaluation system of a course. Fundamental program and course evaluations are not subject to modification;
  • adjust, substitute or waive any academic requirements that unfairly discriminate against a student with a disability that are not essential to the integrity of the student's academic program and the college's mission;
  • inform students about the availability of auxiliary aids and the range of possible accommodations as well as the procedures for requesting them. If a request for accommodations is denied, SUNY Geneseo has the responsibility to inform the individual of his or her right to appeal the decision and the procedures for initiating an appeal. 


 Right to

  • encourage students to self-disclose their disability/disabilities in an appropriate and confidential time and place by making a general announcement at the beginning of the semester and/or through a statement on their syllabi;
  • check the legitimacy of a student's claim of a disability by requiring a letter from the Office of Accessibility Services specifying appropriate accommodations for the student;
  • discuss with the student, in a private meeting, the manner in which accommodations (e.g., extended time for testing, distraction-reduced environment) will be handled;
  • suggest to students, whom they suspect have a disability, that they contact the Office of Accessibility Services;
  • identify and establish the abilities, skills, and knowledge that are fundamental to academic programs/courses and to evaluate each student's performance against these standards. Fundamental program and course standards are not subject to modifications;
  • select and administer tests used to evaluate students so as to best ensure that test results accurately reflect aptitudes or competencies and do not discriminate against an individual with a disability. Tests designed to measure specific skills related to fundamental/essential course goals are allowable even when those skills are impacted by the disability;

 Responsibility to

  • understand the federal laws (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act) as they apply to students in college;
  • maintain a student's confidentiality at all times (Students should not be singled out in class or mentioned by name);
  • Discussions of accommodations such as test modifications or extended time should not take place in front of peers, or other faculty or staff;


  • set a limit for the number of authorized accommodations provided to a student during the semester;
  • refuse an authorized request for an academic adjustment, unless it would result in a fundamental alteration of the nature or goals of the course (Issues of safety should be discussed with the Assistant Dean of Accessibility);
  • ask a student if he or she has a disability if the student is having difficulty in class, but they may refer students to the Office of Accessibility Services;


An individual with a disability has a right to an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from programs offered at SUNY Geneseo.

 Right to

  • an equal opportunity to learn. They have a right to reasonable modifications in aspects of their educational experiences such as location, delivery system, or instructional methodologies that limit access, participation, or ability to benefit;
  • an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the academic community. This includes access to services, benefits, co- curricular activities, housing, and transportation, when viewed in their entirety, that are comparable to those provided to any student;
  • confidentiality of all information and have the right to choose to whom information about their disabilities will be disclosed;
  • receive authorized accommodations from each faculty member who has received notification of such from the Office of Accessibility Services;
  • information regarding the availability of auxiliary aids and possible accommodations as well as procedures for making requests for either;
  • be informed of procedures for initiating an appeal of a decision by the institution regarding auxiliary aids or accommodations;
  • be informed of procedures for initiating further appeal of an institutional decision through external channels. This typically would be done through filing a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights or filing a case through the civil court system.

Responsibility to 

  • advocate for their own individual needs and to seek information, counsel, and assistance as necessary to be effective self- advocates;
  • demonstrate or document how their disabilities limit their ability to benefit from a particular delivery system, instructional method, or evaluation criteria when they make a request for an accommodation or auxiliary aids in a timely manner;
  • notify the Office of Accessibility Services each semester of their desire to continue services;
  • deliver a letter of accommodation from the Office of Accessibility Services to faculty as early as possible in the semester in order to provide ample time for the provision of accommodations;
  • understand the federal laws (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act) as they apply in post-secondary education;
  • meet and maintain the institution's academic, behavioral, and technical standards, as any other student;
  • follow published procedures for filing an appeal.


  • require the provision of accommodations that have not been authorized, or accommodations of which the faculty has not been officially notified:
  • require retroactive accommodations;
  • require access or admission to a program or activity for which they are not otherwise qualified with or without accommodations;
  • require accommodations that result in a fundamental alteration of the course outcomes, goals, pedagogy, etc.

 Applicable Laws


New York State:

  • NY Civil Rights Law §40c and §40d & §§ 47 to 47-c
  • NY Executive (Human Rights) Law §§ 292 and 296
  • NY Transportation Law § 147

Additional Resources

United States Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section
P.O. Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035-6738
Telephone (800) 514-0301 (voice)  or (800) 514-0383 (TDD)

For guidance on complaints contact:

Coordination and Review Section
Civil Rights Division
United States Department of Justice
P.O. Box 66118
Washington, D.C. 20035-6118

New York State

New York State
Office of Advocate for Persons with Disabilities
One Empire State Plaza Suite 1001
Albany, New York 12223-1150

State Advocate
telephone (518) 473-4129
(800) 522 4369
fax (518) 473 6005

Office of the New York State Attorney General
New York State Department of Law Civil Rights Bureau
120 Broadway 23rd Floor
New York, New York 10271

Assistant Attorney General in Charge
Telephone (212) 416-8250 (voice) or (800) 788-9898 (TDD)