Gadsden State Community College has adopted an internal grievance procedure providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by the U. S. Department of Justice regulations implementing Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Title II states, in part, that “no otherwise qualified disabled individual shall, solely by reason of such disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination” in programs or activities sponsored by a public entity.
Steps to File a Complaint
- An ADA Complaint Form must be filed, in writing, to the ADA Coordinator within ten (10) business days of the alleged violation. It must contain the name and address of the person filing it, and it must briefly describe the alleged violation of the regulation.
- An investigation, as may be appropriate, shall follow the filing of a complaint. The investigation shall be conducted by the ADA Coordinator. These rules contemplate informal but thorough investigations, affording all interested persons and their representatives, if any, an opportunity to submit evidence relevant to a complaint.
- A written determination as to the validity of the complaint and a description of the resolution shall be issued by the ADA Coordinator and a copy forwarded to the complainant no later than ten (10) business days after the completion of the investigation, via certified mail, personal delivery or student email.
- If the Plan of Resolution does not result in a satisfactory resolution to the complainant, the complainant may choose to pursue a formal appeal through the DSR office by requesting that the evidence be presented to the Disability Services Committee. (A three-member committee consisting of one GSCC employee and two community members). A meeting will be scheduled for the Committee to review all evidence connected with the case and if needed to interview all interested persons and their representatives.
- The committee will submit a written determination based on their findings to the complainant, defendant, and the DSR office within ten (10) business days after the meeting.
All complaints related to disabilities should be addressed to:
ADA Coordinator, DSR Office
P.O. Box 227
Gadsden, AL 35902
Students may need to seek course substitutions on the basis of a documented disability that inhibits the ability to learn certain subjects. While tutoring and accommodations may help some students succeed in these courses, others may be unable to succeed even with the use of academic adjustments and accommodations. In such situations, students may submit a request for a course substitution.
Consideration for a course substitution is done on a case-by-case basis. To request consideration, the following procedures should be used:
1. Student must have a diagnosed disability that would prohibit his/her ability to learn the subject matter in question. Documentation of the disability must be submitted to the ADA Coordinator.
2. Student must complete the Course Substitution Request Form or submit a letter/statement to the ADA Coordinator specifically requesting the substitution as an accommodation for the educational functional limitations caused by the documented disability. This letter/statement should include:
- The student’s name, address, G number, and major
- The name of the course where the substitution is requested
- An explanation of the functional limitations related to their disability (not the specific diagnosis)
- A rationale for the substitution request
- A history of any previous attempts to complete the course in question
3. The ADA Coordinator, in coordination with the appropriate division chair, will review the student’s letter/statement, disability documentation and transcripts.
- If the course in question is considered to be an essential part of the student’s program or a requirement for certification or licensure, a substitution cannot be granted.
- If there is not sufficient data to support a request for a course substitution, the ADA Coordinator will discuss other options with the student.
- If documentation verifies the presence of a disability that would warrant a course substitution, the appropriate division chair will recommend a logical course for substitution best suited for the student’s major.
4. The ADA Coordinator will submit the recommendation of the division chair to the appropriate Dean who will either approve or reject the request for substitution.
- If the substitution is approved, the Registrar will be informed so that the student’s records can be credited with the substitution. The student will be notified of the decision.
- If the course substitution is not approved, notification to the student will include the reasons why the course could not be substituted.
5. In the event that the course substitution request is denied, there is an appeal provision in place.
- Student should obtain a Course Substitution Appeal form from the ADA Coordinator.
- Once the appeal form is received, the ADA Coordinator will schedule a Disability Services Committee meeting within seven business days.
The decision of the Disability Service Committee shall constitute the final decision with respect to the student’s request; there shall be no further appeal.
In case of fire evacuation, residents should convene across the street from Fowler Hall’s front doors on the steps leading to Inzer Hall. In case of tornado warning, residents should seek safety in the basement floor hallway. Residents who require assistance during emergency situations should report to the lobby. Staff or Security will assist you to the safety area. After an emergency or drill, all residents must stay in the designated area until they are released by the proper college authority.
Persons with mobility impairments requiring assistance will be transported to the basement using lift chairs located at the entrances to both first floor hallways. Students with hearing and visual impairments will be are given individual alert by dorm staff or security. Students with hearing impairments are also provided blinking fire alarms.
Students with Disabilities:
Students with documented disabilities should request reasonable accommodations from the Residence Hall Director before moving into the Residence Hall. Some accommodations such as minor renovations or blinking fire alarms for students with hearing impairments require substantial lead time. Reasonable accommodation requests are considered on a case by-case basis by the Residence Hall Director and the ADA Coordinator, Pamela Clough (firstname.lastname@example.org; 256-549-8462).
Transportation: Gadsden State owns a small fleet of accessible vans, mini buses and buses that are available to serve dorm students on weekends for dining/shopping trips. Students with mobility impairments may request transportation accommodations in order to access the Wallace Drive campus. The College provides general transportation using the DART system by purchasing multiple-trip passes and will supplement the DART system as needed for students to attend classes and on-campus functions. Please contact the ADA Coordinator, Pamela Clough (email@example.com; 256-549-8462) for DART passes and to request transportation to off-hour Gadsden State Events.
This policy governs the presence of Service Animals on Gadsden State’s campus and property. It applies to all individuals utilizing the assistance of a Service Animal, as well as others who may interact or come into contact with a Service Animal. Gadsden State is committed to compliance with federal and state disability rights laws and recognizes the importance of Service Animals to some individuals with disabilities. This policy sets forth general guidelines applicable to the presence of Service Animals to ensure these rights are upheld without interruption of campus functions and activities.
The ADA defines a service animal as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability. The work or tasks performed by the service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Tasks may include, but are not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, or retrieving dropped items.
Other animals do NOT qualify as service animals. Dogs that are not trained to perform tasks that mitigate the effects of a disability, including dogs that are used purely for emotional support, are not service animals. (See Definitions)
There are instances when a service animal may be restricted, excluded or removed (see below).
Overall, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure the control (and safety) of the animal. See Service Animals Procedures and Service Animals Request Form. While legal access rights are afforded to users of assistance animals, with that comes the responsibility of ensuring that the animal behaves and responds appropriately at all times.
Restriction of the Service Animal:
Under the ADA's regulations for service animals, service animals have a right to be anywhere that a human is, unless an entity can demonstrate that there would be either a direct threat or fundamental alteration in the program or activity with the presence of the service animal. Also, service animals are also restricted to entering labs unless they have the proper personal protective equipment.
- Service dogs entering laboratories must be protected while in that environment. This PPE shall be worn by the dog and purchased by the owner and include the following:
- Disposable or reusable boots to cover the feet such as commercially available products (Pawz Rubber Dog Boots)
- Disposable lab coats such as Maytex lab coat.
- Disposable plastic-backed absorbent lab paper or pet pads for the dog to lie on during lab to protect them from whatever might be on the floor.
- If appropriate PPE is not brought to the lab, then the service dog will not be permitted into the laboratory.
- Service dogs can only be excluded from the laboratory if the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or if the dog is not housebroken.
- Faculty / Lab Assistants have a right to request the needs assessment provided by the Disability Services Office of the respective campus.
Removal of the Service Animal:
Gadsden State may temporarily remove or permanently exclude the Service Animal if:
- The animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others;
- The animal’s presence results in a fundamental alteration of the college's programming;
- The animal or its presence creates an unreasonable disturbance in or interference with the Gadsden State community; or
- The Owner does not comply with this policy
In the event restriction or exclusion of a service animal is determined to be necessary, GSCC will take other actions to ensure that the individual with disabilities will still be offered the opportunity to participate in services, programs and activities provided by GSCC.
Individuals with medical issues that may be impacted by the presence of service animals should communicate with Disability Services and Resources if they have a concern about exposure to a service animal. The individual will be asked to provide documentation that identifies a disability and the need for an accommodation. DSR will facilitate a process to resolve the conflict that considers the disability-related needs/accommodations of all persons involved.
Questions not covered in this policy should be directed to the Disability Services and Resources Office.
PROCEDURES REGARDING SERVICE ANIMALS
As a general rule, The College will modify policies, practices, and procedures to permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability.
Students should contact Disability Services and Resources office to complete a Service Animal Request form. Pam Clough (256) 549 – 8462, Joe Ford Center, Room 106.
Employees may request to have a service animal as a workplace accommodation through Disability Services and Resources - Pam Clough (256) 549 – 8462. Joe Ford Center, Room 106.
Guests may be accompanied by a service animal when participating in programs and accessing services without requesting an accommodation, but are welcome to contact GSCC’s Disability Services and Resources office for information or guidance.
- New requests can be made by scheduling a meeting with the ADA Coordinator to discuss the accommodation request process. Please bring the Service Animal Request form and required documentation with you. Subsequent requests must be made on an annual basis; students submit the Service Animal Request Form with current documentation relevant for that academic year.
Individuals Using Service Animals
- Ensure that the animal is under control of its handler by means of a harness, on a leash or tether in most cases. In instances where a person’s disability or the service animal’s performance of work or tasks precludes use of a harness, leash or tether, the service animal must still otherwise be under control (e.g. by voice control, signals, or other effective means).
- Responsible for the care and supervision of the service animal; animal must be as unobtrusive as possible.
- Assure that service animals control their waste elimination.
- Comply with GSCC’s policies, rules or procedures.
Faculty, Staff, and Students
- Allow service animals to accompany the person they are assisting in all areas of campus where members of the public, participants in services, programs or activities, or invitees are allowed.
- Do not distract a service animal in any way. Do not pet, feed, or interact with the animal without the handler’s permission.
- Do not separate a disabled person from his or her service animal.
- Disability Services and Resources will contact faculty members of students who have requested and received the accommodation of a service animal. In all other cases, you may ask for clarification of an animal’s status as a service animal only when it is not readily apparent that the animal is a service animal. You may only make two inquires to establish whether the animal is a service animal:
- Is the animal required because of a disability? and
- What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?
In no circumstances can you ask questions regarding the nature of the person’s disability using the service animal.
CLARIFICATIONS REGARDING SERVICE ANIMALS
- Companion animal: In recent years, these animals have been prescribed as treatment for some disabilities for their calming influence, affections, stability or even a feeling of security. They are not trained and not afforded the legal protections of service animals. Extremely extenuating circumstances in the student’s documentation would be necessary to permit a companion animal on campus.
- A dog in training: A dog being trained; however, it has the same rights as a fully trained dog when accompanied by a trainer and identified as such.
- Partner/handler: A person with a service or therapy animal. A person with a disability is called a partner; a person without a disability is called a handler.
- Service Animal: A dog individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.
- Team: A person with a disability, or a handler, and his or her service animal. The two work as a cohesive team in accomplishing the tasks of everyday living.
- Therapy Animal: A therapy animal does not assist an individual with a disability in the activities of daily living, and historically they have not been protected by laws for service animals. The use of therapy animals for mental disorders, i.e., agoraphobia has assisted the individual to safely leave the house and participate in community and educational activities. Documentation needs to specifically address the need of a therapy animal.
TYPES OF SERVICE DOGS:
- Guide dog is a carefully trained dog that serves as a travel tool by persons who are blind or have severe visual impairment.
- Hearing dog is a dog who has been trained to alert a person with significant hearing loss or who is deaf when a sound, e.g., know on the door, occurs.
- Service dog is a dog that has been trained to assist a person who has a mobility or health impairment. Types of duties the dog may perform include carrying, fetching, opening doors, ringing doorbells, activating elevator buttons, steadying a person while walking, helping a person up after the person falls, etc. Service dogs are sometimes referred to as assistance dogs.
- Sig dog is a dog trained to assist a person with autism. The dog alerts the partner to distracting repetitive movements common among those with autism, allowing the person to stop the movement (e.g., hand flapping). A person with autism may have problems with sensory input and need the same support services from a dog that a dog might give to a person who is blind or deaf.
- Seizure response dog is a dog trained to assist a person with a seizure disorder; how the dog serves the person depends on the person’s needs. The dog may stand guard over the person during a seizure, or the dog may go for help. A few dogs have somehow learned to predict a seizure and warn the person in advance.