Pennsylvania Highlands Community College recognizes and supports the standards set forth in Sec 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, which are designed to eliminate discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. Disabilities may include physical or mental impairments which substantially limit one or more of a person’s major life activities which necessitate modifications to the facilities, programs, or services of the College. Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is committed to making reasonable accommodations for qualifying students with disabilities as required by applicable laws. The College is also committed to making its facilities accessible as required by applicable laws. The College is not required to make accommodations that are unduly burdensome or that fundamentally alter the nature of the College’s programs.
Students wishing to request accommodations must visit the Counselor/ADA Specialist whose office is located within the Student Success Center. Students are required to fill out a form only viewed by the Counselor/ADA Specialist which describes the disability and how it will affect the student’s major life activities as relevant to Pennsylvania Highlands Community College programs. In addition, the student must include on this form the accommodations he or she is requesting from the College. A student requesting accommodation is required to provide current acceptable documentation at his or her expense. The documentation must be authored by objective professionals qualified to diagnose the disability for which the accommodation is requested. This documentation must verify the nature and extent of the disability and manner in which the disability limits major life activities relevant to the student’s participation in coursework at Pennsylvania Highlands.
All documentation is required to be submitted a minimum of two weeks prior to the start of the semester. This period is required for the Counselor/ADA Specialist to conduct a thorough review and arrange any accommodations which will be provided. Students who provide incomplete documentation will not be given consideration for accommodations. The College reserves the right to request any additional information or documentation it deems necessary to formulate a reasonable and appropriate accommodation plan.
- Be prepared by an objective professional qualified in the diagnoses of such conditions.
- Include information regarding testing procedures followed, instruments used for the assessment of the disability, test results, and written interpretation of these results as they pertain to an educational environment and/or participation in the College’s programs.
- Reflect the individual’s present level of functioning in the areas related to the particular accommodations request.
- Be prepared no more than three years prior to the initial request for accommodation.
- Educational records from one’s high school must be provided as additional verification.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 states that no otherwise qualified individual with disability “shall, solely by reason of disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Recognizing that this regulation extends to colleges and universities, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is committed to providing access to all educational programs for persons with disabilities.
Pennsylvania Highlands Community College provides reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids, and support services for students with documented disabilities that are based upon the student’s disability documentation and functional limitations. Some services which may be provided based on functional limitations include:
- Exam accommodations including extended time and use of adaptive technology.
- Alternate Media including texts on tape/CD, e-text, and Braille.
- Access to class notes.
- Access to TTY equipment and Victor Vibe Readers.
- Assistive Technology including the following programs: Kurzweil and Dragon Naturally Speaking.
- Disability counseling.
- Adaptive furniture.
Once all the documentation has been approved and an accommodation plan has been established the student is responsible for three items:
- Regular communication with faculty.
- Regular meetings with faculty and designated staff to facilitate proper implementation of the plan.
- Regular conferences with faculty and the Counselor/ADA Specialist to monitor the effectiveness of the accommodations.
Note Taker/Scribe Services
Note-takers from among other students enrolled in a course will be sought to assist students with motor, hearing, emotional, processing, or other disabilities. The services are determined by the Counselor/ADA Specialist and is done all in confidentiality.
Reader Services will be provided for students with reading, visual, visual processing, or other disabilities when deemed a reasonable accommodation. Textbooks on tape when available will be supplied from national tape lending libraries. When appropriate, students will be provided with readers for exams. Exam readers must be requested at least three days in advance.
Requests for extended time on exams and assignments are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Extensions must be requested at least two weeks prior to the start of the semester.
Disability Discrimination Section 504 Grievance Procedure
Pennsylvania Highlands Community College has adopted an internal grievance procedure providing prompt and equitable resolution of student complaints alleging any action prohibited by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulations (45 C.F.R. Part 84), implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended (29 U.S.C. 794). Section 504 states, in part, that “no otherwise qualified disabled individual…shall solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal finance assistance…” The law and regulation may be examined in the office of ADA Specialist. Students seeking information regarding compliance, accommodations, or who believe they have been discriminated against based on their disability should contact the ADA Specialist via phone (814.262.6468), via email (click here), or in-person at the Student Success Center (101 Community College Way, Johnstown PA 15904, Room Number B 125 B).
To file a complaint:
- A complaint should be in writing, contain the name and address of the person filing it, and describe the discriminatory act and the remedy or relief being sought.
- A complaint should be filed in the office of the ADA Specialist within 14 days after the person filing the complaint becomes aware of the alleged discriminatory act. The ADA Specialist will inform the Vice President of Student Services about the complaint.
- The Vice President of Student Services will assign a team to investigate the complaint. The investigation will be informal but thorough, affording all interested persons and their representatives an opportunity to submit evidence relevant to the complaint.
- The investigative team shall provide to the Vice President of Student Services a written decision determining the validity of the complaint and, where warranted, recommendations for additional accommodations, changes to procedures or processes, or other actions to be taken to remedy all discrimination. This information will be provided no later than 15 days after the initial complaint is filed. These findings will be provided to the student in writing.
- Should the student choose to appeal this decision the appeal should be in writing and submitted to the Vice President of Student Services in person at 101 Community College Way, Johnstown, PA 15904 or via email (click here) within 72 hours of the date of receipt of the investigative teams’ findings and recommendations. The appeal letter should demonstrate that:
- There is new evidence and/or
- A procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the investigation.
Given such evidence exists and the appeal is considered the Vice President of Student Services will render a final decision.
- If the alleged discriminatory act is filed against the Vice President of Student Services, that individual is to be removed from the grievance process. and the complaint should be filed with the Associate Vice President of Administration in person at 101 Community College Way Johnstown, PA 15904 or via email (click here). If an appeal is considered appropriate and is heard (see paragraph (5)), the decision regarding the appeal is to be considered final. All time frames for submission of the complaint, appeal and notices to the complainant shall apply.
- An individual who files a complaint may pursue other remedies. This includes filing with:
U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
District of Columbia Office
1100 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Rm 316
Washington, D.C. 20044-4620
Mike Lucas, ADA Specialist
Student Success Center
Email Mike Lucas