Disability Discrimination seminar highlights rights of students

Few students are cognizant of the policies regarding accommodations for students and those with disabilities.

The Human Resources department of Georgia State held a meeting recapping the rights for students to accommodations, and policies that employees, including professors and lecturers must follow pertaining to their needs. The American Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of a qualified disability. This includes many physical and mental disabilities and disorders.

Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development Wendy Hensel gave a refresher course to State employees on basics of rights for potential employees and students with disabilities and violations of the ADA law.

“Any disabled person should have access to reasonable accommodations on request.” Hensel said. This includes students in and out of the classroom or students applying for a job.

“A student recently requested an interpreter at a speech held on campus,” Hensel said. “The university must be able to provide these services, and so an interpreter was present.”

The challenge with Georgia State lies in our open non-traditional campus in the heart of the city. Georgia State shares much of its space with the city. As such, the city and university have an obligation to work in concert to ensure all buildings, and connected city streets are accessible to everyone.

Violations of the ADA act can be common and may even go unreported since some people do not know their rights.

Students with questions about issues dealing with disabilities can visit the Office of Disability Services in suite 230 of the Student Center or at their website http://www.gsu.edu/disability/.

Everyone, including those without disabilities, has the right to reasonable accommodations in the workplace and the classroom. Universities must offer these services. Examples of accommodations are:

  • Hearing aids and transcribers. For example, speeches given on campus can be requested to have an interpreter present.
  • Large texts, Braille, and other services for the visually impaired

Episodic impairments, such as diabetes or depression are also included in the ADA; some, like anxiety disorders or carpal tunnel syndrome, depend on the case.