The Disability Services for Students (DSS) office is part of the Opportunity and Outreach Programs unit within the Division of Student Affairs. DSS Coordinators and support staff are available on each of CCRI’s four main campuses to meet with students and to help provide the necessary and reasonable accommodations that students need to be successful. In addition, the DSS office serves as an information resource to faculty, providing awareness and guidance for how to best ensure the inclusion of students with disabilities without compromising academic standards. The DSS office works to dispel negative and limiting stereotypes and promotes a campus environment that is sensitive, accepting and responsive to the needs and contributions of all CCRI students.
The Disability Services for Students (DSS) office at CCRI recognizes disability as a form of cultural diversity and works to foster an inclusive environment for all students in the higher education community through education, awareness, and accessibility.
The mission is accomplished by:
DSS staff and personnel strive to uphold and advance the aspirational goals outlined in the Association of Higher Education and Disability’s Code of Ethics. A DSS professional’s daily conduct and practice of disability service provision are guided by the following principles:
Commitment to facilitating the highest levels of educational excellence and potential quality of life for postsecondary students with disabilities.
Striving to achieve and maintain the highest levels of competence and integrity in all areas of assistance to adult students with disabilities. This support is guided by the consistent use of objective, professional judgment in all areas, especially when addressing the confidential nature of the student's disability.
Continually participating in professional activities and educational opportunities designed to strengthen the personal, educational, and vocational quality of life for students with disabilities. This includes the on-going development of strategies, skills, research, and knowledge pertinent to the highest quality of disability service delivery whenever and wherever it occurs.
Carrying out responsibilities in accordance with AHEAD professional standards and policy guidelines for adult students with disabilities. When certified, licensed, or affiliated with other professionals or organizations, complying with those professional guidelines as well.
Actively engaging in, supporting, and clarifying institutional, state, provincial, and federal laws, policies, and procedures applicable to the service delivery to students with disabilities. Compliance implies that professionals will seek to avoid, will not condone, and will not participate in any unethical or illegal acts discussed within these guidelines. Additionally, CCRI DSS staff and personnel will seek to resolve ethical dilemmas through consultation with appropriate professionals.
The DSS office at CCRI is committed to documenting and assessing the quality and cost effectiveness of its programs and services. DSS will maintain data on categories of disabilities represented by students, track the specific support services and types of accommodations offered on campus, and track student outcomes through annual follow-up surveys and exit questionnaires.
The Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) regulates disclosure of disability documentation and records maintained by the Disability Services for Students (DSS) office. Under this Federal act, prior written consent by the student is required before DSS may release disability documentation or records. DSS staff and personnel are committed to maintaining the confidentiality of disability documentation.
FERPA allows the release of records without consent to specific parties and under certain conditions, including compliance with a judicial order or in cases of health and safety emergencies. For more detailed information about FERPA, please refer to the following U.S. Department of Education's website at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html.
In addition to the potential release of records under certain conditions as outlined in FERPA, the DSS office, with written student consent, may communicate with others at CCRI or in the community, in order to secure delivery of disability services and accommodations. These instances could include such things as:
seeking clarification and additional information from a third party (e.g. treating clinician)
communicating with professors to establish accommodations
The amount of information that may be released is determined case by case, in the context of the service being coordinated.
After five (5) years of no contact with a student, the Disability Services for Students office will shred all documentation.
A student may request a copy of his/her records, including copies of disability documentation, at any time. The request must be made in writing, with the preferred mode of receipt and applicable address specified in the request.
Upon rare occasion, agreement about reasonable accommodation cannot be reached. In such cases, the following steps should be followed:
The student or College member should contact the DSS Coordinator on their campus to review an accommodation decision. The DSS Coordinator will attempt to facilitate a mutually acceptable accommodation agreement.
If no acceptable agreement can be reached, the request for reconsideration will be forwarded to the Program Director of Disability Services for Students. The Program Director will attempt to facilitate a mutually acceptable accommodation by discussion with the student, the professor, department chair, and the Academic Dean of the respective department as needed.
If no acceptable agreement is reached at this level, the issue will be forwarded to the Dean of Opportunity. The Dean will review the information, request additional information if necessary, and make a final decision. The Associate Dean will transmit a decision to the student, the College member and the Program Director of Disability Services for Students.
Any student who is disturbed by or experiences incidents of Bias, Discrimination or Harassment may contact Sheila Wahl, Assistant Director, Affirmative Action and Diversity, Title IX Coordinator, at (401) 825-1004 or via email at [email protected].