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Accessing Services

Accommodations Provided

ODS coordinates reasonable accommodations according to individual documentation. Academic accommodations may include: advisement, note taking, sign language or oral interpreting, alternative testing (e.g., extended time, distraction-reduced environment), relocation of a class to an accessible location, or other accommodations deemed appropriate. Examples of accommodations that we do not provide include: diagnostic testing, aids for personal study, aids for personal care, equipment of a personal nature and learning disability support programs. Final determination of accommodations to be provided will be made by the Director of the Office of Disability Services after review of the documentation and an interview between the Director and the student requesting services.

In addition to providing academic accommodations, ODS can help students register to vote. Forms and assistance are both available during regular hours.

To access accommodations, the student must present comprehensive, qualified, and current (within 3 years) documentation that specifies one or more physical, mental, or emotional impairments which substantially limit one or more major life activities (e.g., walking, breathing, learning) related to the accommodation requested. View documentation guidelines.

PLEASE NOTE: Documentation that was acceptable for K-12 may not be appropriate/sufficient for accessing accommodations in college. (An IEP/504 Accommodation Plan or a Student Exit Summary (SES) are not, in and of themselves, sufficient documentation to access services at the post-secondary level, though they may be helpful in determining past accommodations.) This is a result of the very different federal laws that regulate K-12 and post-secondary education. Under IDEA, K-12 schools are required to provide a "free and appropriate" education tailored specifically to each student's needs (as detailed in your IEP/504 Plan). Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which regulate post-secondary education, require that you be accommodated to ensure equal opportunity. Only equality of access and opportunity is ensured; we cannot ensure you a disability-appropriate education.


Auxiliary Aids

Includes but is not limited to Brailed and audio recorded material, interpreters, and other aids for persons with impaired cognitive, sensory, motor, or speaking skills.


Includes but is not limited to the use of auxiliary aids in classroom, program and activity settings; allowances for time and energy level considerations such as reduced course-loads, additional time for taking exams, etc.; substitutions of other acceptable assignments, courses, tests or test formats when necessary to ensure equal access for individuals with disabilities; also includes physical modifications such as ramps, elevators, lifts, curb cuts, etc

Mental disability

Includes: developmental disabilities such as mental retardation, autism, or any other neurological conditions; an organic or mental condition that has substantial adverse effects on an individual's cognitive or volitional functions, such as central nervous system disorders; significant discrepancies among mental functions of an individual, including any mental or psychological disorder, such as head injury; emotional or mental illness; and specific learning disabilities. The term mental disability does not include active alcoholism or current drug addiction and does not include any mental condition, disease or defect that has been successfully asserted by an individual as a defense to any criminal charge.

Major life activities

Means functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, and experiencing leisure.


Include but are not limited to academic majors and degree plans, including coursework and practica; research; occupational training; housing; counseling; financial aid; physical education; athletics; recreation; transportation; student organizations; placement; and any other programs offered by the College.

Qualified Person with a Disability

Means with respect to post-secondary services, a person with a disability who meets the academic or technical standards for admission or participation in the education program or activity given appropriate accommodations. with respect to any other program or activity, a person with a disability who meets the essential eligibility requirements for participation in, or receipt from, that program or activity given appropriate accommodations.


  • Make an appointment to speak with the Director of Disability Services.
  • Accommodations will be determined during an interview with the Director after review of documentation. Letters of Accommodation for faculty will be given to each student at the beginning of each semester upon request.
  • Re-evaluation of disability may be necessary as often as every semester depending on disability.
  • The student has a right not to disclose a disability or utilize accommodations. If the student chooses not to disclose or if a disability may be diagnosed after completion of a course or coursework accommodations will not be given retroactively.

Accommodations in Specific Courses

If a student needs accommodations in a specific course, they should discuss the need with the faculty for the course and with the Director of the Office of Disability Services. They should be prepared to provide the necessary documentation and supporting evidence for the accommodations.

If a student is unclear about what accommodations might be necessary in order to make the course requirements accessible due to the circumstances of the student's disability, they may request an appointment with the Director of the Office of Disability Services to discuss options.

It is the student's responsibility to inform individual faculty if they will need accommodations or use any auxiliary aids in the class and to supply a letter to the faculty from the Office of Disability Services outlining the approved accommodations. This is both a courtesy as well as an opportunity for the student and the faculty to discuss potential situations before they become barriers to the student's ability to perform the tasks required in the course.

The student may request a joint meeting between the faculty, themselves, and the Director of the Office of Disability Services at any time to discuss accommodations, aids, or other issues related to the interaction between the disability and the course. In this role, the Director will serve as a liaison between the student and the faculty, providing information to both and facilitating a workable agreement between the two.

Faculty are expected to make all approved reasonable accommodations to enable the student with a disability to have access to the course and all of the activities and requirements in the course. Faculty are not expected to sacrifice course expectations or quality of student work. Waivers of assignments are expected to occur only if the assignment is not essential to the course and an acceptable substitute assignment cannot be identified.

The following procedure will facilitate this process:

  • Students who believe they will need an accommodation to participate fully in the activities inherent to the programs at SUNY Geneseo should make their needs known as early as possible, preferably as soon as they have been admitted. Ordinarily to expedite the process, requests should be accompanied by documentation and a recent evaluation of the student's disability.
  • These requests may be made to the appropriate area on campus (for example, a volume control for a telephone would be made to Telecommunications, a request for an accessible residence hall or room to Housing). Requests for special materials or equipment of a more individual nature (for example, pressure sensitive paper for note takers or the provision of an interpreter) should be made directly through the Director of the Office of Disability Services. If a student is unsure how to make a more direct request, the Director should be contacted for information and direction.
  • Disability is documented (usually through an evaluation by a qualified professional)

Modifications of Major/Minor Requirements

If a student needs a modification in major/minor requirements, he/she should discuss the need with the Chair of the Department and the Dean of the College. He/She should be prepared to provide the necessary documentation and supporting evidence for the modification if it is requested. SUNY Geneseo does not guarantee that modifications will be granted.

The student may request a joint meeting between the Chair of the Department, himself/herself, the Dean of the College and the Director of the Office of Disability Services at any time to determine acceptable alternatives (e.g., course substitutions or waivers). In this role, the Director will serve as a liaison between the student and the Chair of the Department and the Dean of the College, providing information to both and facilitating a workable agreement between them.

Requests for modifications in major or minor requirements are submitted to the Chair of the Department in question. In making decisions regarding the requested modifications, Department Chairs and the Dean of the College will use the following criteria:  

  • The degree to which the student's ability to meet the requirement in question is adversely affected by the disability.
  • What equally effective courses can be substituted.
  • Whether the modification in question will fundamentally alter the academic program.

Auxiliary Aids

SUNY Geneseo seeks to ensure that an individual with a disability who can meet the academic and technical standards for admission is not excluded from full participation in the programs the College operates because of the absence of necessary auxiliary aids or reasonable accommodations.SUNY Geneseo believes that its responsibilities can best be met by assisting students with disabilities in obtaining auxiliary aids of a long-term or permanent nature from governmental units (such as state vocational rehabilitation agencies) or from private charitable organizations (March of Dimes, etc.). Students with disabilities are expected to exercise initiative in identifying and obtaining auxiliary aids and assistance through every reasonable channel available to them. The primary role of the College in this effort should be informative/supportive of active self-advocacy on the part of the student. The Director of the Office of Disability Services will serve as a resource in this process.

The student with a disability is encouraged to explore any and all avenues for assistance outside the College. Anyone who is unsure how to contact other agencies should discuss this with the Director of the Office of Disability Services or directly contact the ACCES-VR office in Albany at 1-800-222-5627 or

If the necessary auxiliary aids are not available through outside resources, the student must request assistance through the Office of Disability Services. When a request is made, the Director will evaluate the request on the basis of the following criteria:

The requested auxiliary aid is appropriate to the needs of a person with that type of disability, the aid cannot be provided by other agencies, and the person will not be able to participate fully as a student without the aid. It is the responsibility of the College to provide the auxiliary aid or find a reasonable alternative that will allow the student full participation unless the request is determined to be unreasonable or will impose an undue hardship on the College.

Every attempt will be made to ensure availability of necessary auxiliary aids at the time the student begins classes. A minimum of four weeks' notice should be given to ensure this. In any event, the College must have sufficient time to evaluate the request, determine the aid to be provided, and identify sources for obtaining it (purchasing, leasing, hiring, etc.). Late requests cannot be guaranteed but will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and provided as possible under the circumstances.

Requests for auxiliary aids and all supporting documentation are confidential information and will not be released without the individual's written consent. It is the student's responsibility to keep the Director of the Office of Disability Services informed about the need for auxiliary aids, such as timely semester-to-semester schedules for the use of an interpreter, ordering large print books and materials, or any other specific need. If the student does not keep the Director informed, the College cannot be expected to provide the auxiliary aid or accommodation. To ensure accountability, requests should be made in writing and the student should keep a copy for his or her records.

If outside agencies cannot provide the auxiliary aids that the student needs, the College has a responsibility to ensure that the student is not denied the right to participate in a program, benefit, class, or service because of the absence of an auxiliary aid that would make participation possible.