St. Francis Xavier University recognizes the right of students with disabilities who are academically qualified to participate fully in the life of the university.
The University promotes awareness, advocacy and learning partnerships among students with disabilities and the whole of the university community. The fundamental approach of the university stresses the development of self advocacy and independence for students with disabilities.
The University follows the definition of disability as outlined in the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act which includes visual, hearing, communication and mobility impairments, learning disabilities and other non-visible disabilities.
The University pledges to maintain a leadership role among the Province’s educational institutions in implementing inclusive accessibility strategies.
To the point of undue hardship, the University is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with identified and duly assessed disabilities.
The University affirms its commitment to the improvement of physical accessibility throughout the campus and will make this a priority in the construction of any new facilities and in the renovation of existing facilities. Where classrooms are not physically accessible, the Registrar will effect classroom changes to allow the participation of a student with a disability.
The University supports academic accommodation for students with disabilities so that they may meet the learning objectives of their courses and be given the opportunity to be fairly evaluated on their mastery of course material.
Members of faculty and instructional staff, support staff and administrative staff, share the University’s responsibility under the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act for accommodation of students with disabilities. This policy encourages dialogue between instructors and students as to how the needs of individuals can be accommodated within the terms of legislation and current University policy and guidelines in the area. All such dealings require mutual understanding and respect from the parties involved in the accommodation process.
The Senate Committee for Students with Disabilities was established in 1991.
The Senate Committee for Students with Disabilities consists of the following persons:
- Vice President of Student Services, who shall name the Chair
- Coordinator of the Program for Students with Disabilities
- Admissions Officer
- Assistant to the Deans of Arts and Science
- Vice President of the Students’ Union
- Two students with disabilities currently registered at StFX, to be appointed by the Vice President of the Students’ Union for a two year period
- One member of the Health and Counselling Centre staff, to be appointed by the Vice President of Student Services
- One Arts faculty member, to be elected by the Senate for a three year period
- One Science faculty member, to be elected by the Senate for a three year period
- Director of the Physical Plant
- The University Librarian
- Manager of Residence and Food Services
- Coordinator of Equity and Community Issues
- Other members as deemed appropriate by the Committee
The primary function of the Committee is to ensure that adequate services and supports are available for students with disabilities. The Committee reviews policy and undertakes an education program throughout the University as well as the broader community to assure wider participation by persons with disabilities in the programs of the University.
The Committee reports to the University Senate on a yearly basis.
In addition to the services provided to all students, a Program for Students with Disabilities (PSWD) has been developed. The program of support assists students in recognizing their learning needs and in becoming effective self advocates who can negotiate successfully for the accommodations necessary. The program strives to model and teach the development of effective working partnerships. This approach meets students’ needs for mainstream participation and assists them in developing life skills that will profit them beyond university.
The Coordinator of the Program has been designated as the first point of contact for Future Students with disabilities and inquiries regarding disability issues and services.
The Coordinator of the Program for Students with Disabilities advises students on learning strategies and facilitates a dialogue with instructors. The Coordinator is designated to act as consultant, facilitator and advocate in this area for all members of the University community.
Program personnel assist in the development of individual strategies and in the provision of services to implement them. This may include registration assistance, tutoring, note taking, adaptive technology or attendant care.
Program personnel also engage in educational activities for the community and assist faculty members, staff members and other students in matters regarding students with disabilities.
Applicants are not required to declare their disability on the admission application. However, they may wish to declare their disability and submit additional material to highlight their ability to participate in university studies.
Students with disabilities seeking admission to the University are expected to satisfy the normal admission requirements.
In cases where conditions for admission are not met, the Admissions Officer, in consultation with the Coordinator of the Program for Students with Disabilities and with the Dean of the relevant Faculty, will consider each of these cases on an individual basis. Additional materials describing the exceptional grounds which have prevented achievement of the normal admission standards will be required.
Students with disabilities are encouraged both on the application form and in the University Calendar to identify themselves to the Coordinator of the Program for Students with Disabilities as soon as possible.
The University is committed to maintaining confidentiality when providing academic accommodation and related support services to students.
Students with disabilities are responsible for identifying their individual needs for academic accommodation and services to the Coordinator of the Program. Accommodation is discussed with the Coordinator and provided on an individual basis in consultation with the professor of the course.
Students with disabilities who request academic accommodation must provide the PSWD with relevant professional supporting documentation from a regulated health professional practitioner (e.g., a physician, psychiatrist, registered psychologist) as determined by the University,
Students with learning disabilities must provide a summary of the results of a complete psycho-educational assessment conducted by an appropriate registered psychologist.
Students accepted into the PSWD should meet with each of their instructors as soon as possible to discuss the academic accommodations recommended and to reach an agreement on an appropriate accommodation for that course. The instructor may contact the Coordinator/staff of the PSWD for further consultation as needed.
At the student’s request, the Coordinator may formally identify the student as a participant in the Program and recommend appropriate accommodation by sending a “Letter of Introduction” to relevant professors or staff members.
Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact the Residence Office as soon as possible to request any special housing arrangements that may be required. The Coordinator of the Program may act as liaison with the Residence Office.
Several rooms in our residences have been adapted to accommodate persons with disabilities. Students without disabilities may be assigned to these rooms but they will be notified that if a person with a disability needs the room they will be required to move. In this case, the Residence Office will make all reasonable effort to reassign them to a suitable room.
Students with disabilities are expected to comply with the residence policy and procedures as stated in the University Calendar and the Residence Handbook.
In cases where students with disabilities feel that they have been unfairly treated, the Coordinator will assist them in following the usual channels of redress as outlined in the University Calendar and Policies: Section 3 Academic Regulations.
Practices and procedures in the process of accommodation are outlined in the documents:
- Students with Disabilities – Support Services Available
- How to Describe your Disability to an Instructor
- What Can an Instructor do to Support a Student with a Learning Disability
- Steps for Students Arranging Accommodated Quizzes and Exams
- The Exam Accommodation Process: A Letter for Professors
Approved by the University Senate, November 2, 2004