Faculty Obligation to Provide Approved Accommodations

The communication below, sent to faculty on January 26, 2022, serves as a reminder of obligations to provide approved accommodations for students with registered disabilities.


Sent: January 26, 2022
To: Loyola University Chicago Faculty
From: Office of the Provost & Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success

Subject: Student Disability Accommodations

Dear Loyola Faculty, 

As we begin the Spring 2022 semester, please be reminded of the following information as it pertains to faculty obligations to provide approved accommodations for students with registered disabilities. 

In alignment with our mission and as referenced in the Faculty Handbook, Loyola is committed to providing equal access to students with disabilities as required by law. To ensure University-wide compliance with applicable legal requirements, the Student Accessibility Center (SAC, formerly called Services for Students with Disabilities) is the designated office with the authority to approve reasonable academic accommodations for otherwise qualified students with disabilities. (The only exception is within the Stritch School of Medicine, for which all academic accommodations for disabilities are similarly coordinated by the Academic Center for Excellence & Accessibility.) 

With the exception of medical students, all students requesting academic accommodations based on a disability must first register with the SAC, who will verify that the student has a qualified disability and determine what accommodations will be approved. This includes accommodations requested in relation to the responsibilities of graduate, teaching, and/or research assistants. Faculty members should not request or review medical documentation from a student (e.g., a doctor’s note), nor agree to or deny accommodations on their own. If faculty choose to build flexibility into their courses, the same options should be available to all students. This faculty-determined flexibility is distinct from SAC accommodations for students with documented disabilities. 

Once the SAC has approved accommodations for a student, the SAC will provide faculty for that student with written verification of a disability and a list of approved academic accommodations (which may include, for example, additional time for exams, the use of assistive hearing devices during lectures, or the assistance of a note taker). The specific diagnosis or nature of the student’s disability will not be shared, and faculty should honor students’ privacy rights by not inquiring about any student’s particular disability. 

Faculty members must cooperate with the SAC in the provision of such accommodations. If a faculty member has any questions about the approved accommodations, including if the faculty member feels that the accommodations may present an undue burden in the context of a specific course or assignment, the faculty member should contact the SAC directly, whose staff will then facilitate an interactive process with input from the student and the faculty member as needed to reevaluate the reasonableness of the accommodations. SAC will have the final say on whether a requested accommodation is reasonable.  

Strict and consistent adherence to this protocol ensures a proper balance between the rights of students and the needs of faculty, and reduces the risk of miscommunication and unintentional noncompliance with disability law. Faculty wishing to deepen their understanding of how to comply with these procedures and support students with disabilities are invited to attend Supporting Students with Disabilities in the Classroom: Compliance Considerations for Faculty, offered through EMERGE. The date for the training session is Tuesday, February 22, at 11:00 am.  Faculty can register through HR’s Emerge website.  

As always, students who believe their disability rights have been violated, whether by an employee failing to accommodate for a disability or due to other discriminatory misconduct, may file a report or submit a complaint directly to the Office for Equity & Compliance, which will review the matter and intervene as necessary, including conducting a formal investigation when warranted. 

Thank you for your cooperation and partnership in ensuring that all Loyola students have equal access to the educational opportunities we have to offer! 

Very sincerely, 

Margaret Faut Callahan, CRNA, PhD, FNAP, FAAN
Provost and Chief Academic Officer

Paul Roberts
Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success