Contact Us Apply

Disability Services

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.

  • Documentation Requirements

    1. Be prepared by an objective professional qualified in the diagnoses of such conditions.
    2. 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.
    3. Reflect the individual’s present level of functioning in the areas related to the particular accommodations request.
    4. Be prepared no more than three years prior to the initial request for accommodation.
    5. Educational records from one’s high school must be provided as additional verification.
  • Accommodations

    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:

    1. Regular communication with faculty.
    2. Regular meetings with faculty and designated staff to facilitate proper implementation of the plan.
    3. 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

    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.

  • Time Extensions

    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.

  • Key Definitions & Dear Colleague Letter

    Who is an Individual with Disabilities?

    An individual with disabilities means any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment.

    A physical or mental impairment is:

    • any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive, genitor-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or
    • any mental or psychological disorder, such as intellectual disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.

    Major life activities are:

    • functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, reading, thinking, concentrating, sleeping, bowel functions, bladder functions, digestive functions, and eating.

    Has a record of such an impairment means:

    • a history of, or has been misclassified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

    Is regarded as having an impairment means:

    • has a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit major life activities but that is treated by a recipient as constituting such a limitation;
    • has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of others toward such impairment; or
    • has none of the impairments defined above but is treated by a recipient as having such an impairment.

    Examples of disabilities:

    • Communicable diseases: HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis
    • Medical conditions: asthma, allergies, diabetes, heart disease, cancer
    • Temporary conditions due to illness or accident
    • ADD/ADHD
    • Behavioral difficulties relating to diagnosed emotional problems
    • Neurological conditions: Tourette Syndrome; Autism
    • Drug/alcohol conditions (not currently using)
    • Students who have a specific learning disability or other health impairment, but function fully in general education, such as mildly hard of hearing.

    Examples of prohibited discrimination:

    • Verbal or physical abuse or harassment based on disability.
    • Obstructing entry to programs or facilities.
    • Contempt or ridicule regarding accommodations.
    • The refusal to provide reasonable accommodations.

    For additional information, please see the Office of Civil Rights Dear Colleague Letter from 6/25/2020 here: Dear Colleague Letter regarding Disability Harassment (ed.gov).

  • Disability Discrimination Section 504 Grievance Procedure

    The College has adopted the following grievance procedure which provides for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability in any program.  Any students, employees, or third parties shall have the right to file a complaint regarding alleged violations of Section 504 and/or Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  Such complaints will be addressed through the grievance procedure described below.

    To the extent reasonably practicable, the College will take reasonable, timely, and effective action designed to remediate the effects of any disabilities-based harassment confirmed by the College’s investigation on any grievant or others, to eliminate to the extent reasonably possible, any hostile environment that has been created, and to prevent the recurrence of any such harassment.  Persons found to have violated any college policy may be subject to disciplinary action.

    Any person who believes that they or someone else has been discriminated against or denied equal opportunity or that the College has inadequately applied the principles and/or regulations of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 may bring forward a complaint, which shall be referred to as a grievance, to the identified College personnel.

    The Section 504 Coordinator is responsible for coordinating and monitoring the college’s compliance with Section 504 and Title II, overseeing prevention efforts, and overseeing the grievance procedure including investigations.

    The following person shall act as the Section 504 Coordinator, hereafter referred to as the “Coordinator”:

    • Trish A Corle, Vice President of Student Services
      101 Community College Way, Johnstown, PA 15904

    To file a complaint:
    1. Submission of a written grievance is encouraged; however, an oral grievance will be accepted. The College will ask the reporting party, if known, to verify the content of oral complaints to ensure accuracy.  The grievance must contain a description of the discriminatory act, the date of its occurrence if known, and the remedy or relief being sought (see below for information on where to file a written or oral complaint).
    2. A written grievance may also be filed using the Report a Concern form, click here to access it.
    3. Assistance in filing a grievance is available.  Please contact one of the following persons for this assistance:
      1. ADA Specialist, Mike Lucas, (mlucas@pennhighlands.edu)
      2. Director of the Student Success Center, Mindy Nitch (mnitch@pennhighlands.edu)
      3. Counselor, Bridget Hall (bhall@pennhighlands.edu)

    A grievance should be filed within 60 days after the person filing the grievance becomes aware of the alleged discriminatory act.

    Investigation Process:
    •  Upon receipt of a grievance, the Coordinator shall ensure that a prompt, adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation is conducted.
    • The Coordinator may engage with other qualified and trained college personnel to assist in the investigation. The investigation will permit the grievant, and the subject of the complaint (respondent), an opportunity to submit documents and information, and identify witnesses relevant to the investigation and resolution of the complaint.  Should a grievant or respondent indicate that they are not capable of effectively representing themselves during the investigation, the grievant or respondent and the college will identify a mutually agreed upon professional advocate who may participate in the investigative process.
    • Upon completion of the investigation, both the grievant and respondent will be notified in writing of the outcome of the investigation.  This notification will be provided no more than 15 business days following the receipt of the grievance.  If the investigation takes longer than fifteen (15) business days, the Coordinator will notify the grievant in writing, and shall furnish them with the reason for the delay and an estimation of when the investigation will be completed.
    • During the investigation and resolution of the grievance, the Coordinator has the right to issue a “no contact order” to ensure that the grievant does not have to interact with the individual(s) alleged to have violated the policy.
    • If a report of disability harassment is substantiated, the Coordinator has the right to issue a “no contact order” for the remainder of the grievant’ s attendance or employment at the College.

    Filing an Appeal:
    • Both the grievant and responding party have the right to file an appeal of the outcome.  This appeal must be filed with the appropriate Administrator within 5 business days of the delivery of the written notification of the decision.  This Appeal Officer will render the final decision on behalf of the College within 5 business days of the receipt of the appeal.
    • Appeals are limited to the following grounds:
      • To consider an assertion that a procedural error or omission occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing
      • To consider new evidence, unknown or unavailable during the investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included in the request for appeal.
    • The results of an appeal can be:
      • Original findings upheld.  No further action.
      • Appeal upheld.  Return to Coordinator for correction of procedural error or review of evidence.  Fifteen (15) business day timeline for review in effect.

    Where To File a Complaint or Appeal

    Students and third parties should file a complaint with:

    • Trish A Corle, Vice President of Student Services
      101 Community College Way, Johnstown, PA 15904

    Employees should file a complaint with:

    • Susan Fisher, Associate Vice President of Administration
      101 Community College Way, Johnstown, PA 15904

    All appeals should be filed with:

    • Dr. Cindy Doherty, Vice President of Academic Affairs
      101 Community College Way, Johnstown, PA 15904

    *The College reserves the right to make appropriate adjustments to the administrators handling investigations and/or appeals should those administrators be involved as part of the investigation or other issues arise.

    An individual who files a grievance may pursue other remedies. This includes filing a complaint with:

    • U.S. Department of Education
      Office for Civil Rights
      Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building
      400 Maryland Avenue, SW
      Washington, DC 20202-1100
      202.245.8392 (Fax)
      800.877.8339 (TDD)
      Click here to file online.

Mike Lucas, ADA Specialist
Student Success Center

1.888.385.7325 (PEAK)
Email Mike Lucas