Policies and Procedures

MGA is committed to the full and total inclusion of all individuals and to the principle of individual rights and responsibilities. To this end, policies and procedures will ensure that persons with a disability will not, on the basis of that disability, be denied full and equal access to academic and co-curricular programs or activities or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under programs or activities offered by Middle Georgia State University.

This policy was developed to ensure equal access at MGA for individuals with disabilities and to ensure full compliance with all pertinent federal and state legislation, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 as amended.

Definitions

For the purpose of clarification, the following terms will have the meanings outlined below:

Auxiliary Aids - includes but is not limited to brailed and taped material, interpreters, and other aids for persons with impaired cognitive, sensory, motor, or speaking skills.

Modifications - includes but is not limited to the use of auxiliary aids in classroom settings; allowances for time and energy level considerations such as reduced course loads; additional time for taking exams; substitutions of other acceptable assignments, courses, tests, or test formats when necessary to ensure equal access for individuals with disabilities; also includes physical modifications such as ramps, elevators, lifts, curb cuts, etc.

Person with a disability - means any person who has a physical or mental condition which substantially limits one or more major life activities or has a record of such a condition.

Physical disability - means any physical condition, anatomic loss, or cosmetic disfigurement which is caused by bodily injury, birth defect, or illness.

Mental disability - includes (1) developmental disabilities such as mental retardation, autism, or any other neurological conditions; (2) an organic or mental condition that has substantial adverse effects on an individual's cognitive or volitional functions, such as central nervous system disorders; significant discrepancies among mental functions of an individual, including any mental or psychological disorder, such as head injury; emotional or mental illness; and specific learning disabilities. The term mental disability does not include active alcoholism or current drug addiction and does not include any mental condition, disease, or defect that has been successfully asserted by an individual as a defense to any criminal charge.

Major Life Activities - means functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, and experiencing leisure.

Has a record of such condition - means that one has a history of or is regarded as having a mental or physical condition that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Qualified Person with a Disability
  1. With respect to post secondary services, a person with a disability who meets the academic and technical standards for admission or participation in the education program or activity given appropriate accommodations.
  2. With respect to any other program or activity, a person with a disability who meets the essential eligibility requirements for participation in, or receipt from, that program or activity given appropriate accommodations.

Programs include but are not limited to: Academic majors and degree plans, including coursework and practical research; occupational training; housing; counseling; financial aid; physical education; athletics; recreation; transportation; student organizations; placement; and any other programs offered by the university.

The Board of Regents has established definitions and criteria for documentation of disorders which affect learning. MGA will adhere to these definitions as delineated in Section 2.22 of the Academic Affairs Handbook.

Rights and Responsibilities

In order to ensure the full translation of this policy for access of individuals with disabilities into procedures, two important areas of rights and responsibilities have to be considered: (a) the right of the individual with a disability to be included on the basis of criteria that do not unfairly discriminate because of the disability and (b) the right of the university to set and maintain standards for admitting and evaluating the progress of students.

To assure full consideration of both areas, this section of the catalog outlines the rights and responsibilities of the university and the rights and responsibilities of students who have disabilities. The procedures that follow create a mechanism for dispute resolution for those instances in which the usual channels have not resulted in decisions that are acceptable to both the individual and the University's decision-making authorities.

Rights and Responsibilities of Individuals with a Disability

An individual with a disability has a right to an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from programs offered at MGA. To ensure this right, individuals with disabilities at MGA must identify themselves as disabled to David Anderson, Director of the Disability Services Office. 

Students with disabilities at MGA have the right to:

  • Equal access to courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities offered by the university;
  • Equal opportunity to work, learn, and receive accommodations, academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids and services;
  • Confidentiality of information regarding their disability as applicable laws allow;
  • Information available in accessible formats.

Students with disabilities at MGA have the responsibility to:

  • Meet qualifications and maintain essential institutional standards for the programs, courses, services, activities, and facilities;
  • Identify to Disability Support Services as having a disability in order to receive accommodations and to seek information, counsel and assistance as necessary;
  • Provide documentation to Disability Support Services from a qualified professional about how their disability limits participation in courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities;
  • Follow procedures for obtaining reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids from the MGA disability website.
Rights and Responsibilities of the University

MGA recognizes that its basic responsibility is to identify and maintain the academic and technical standards that are fundamental to providing quality academic programs while ensuring the rights of individuals with disabilities. To meet this obligation, MGA recognizes the following rights and responsibilities:

MGA has the responsibility to:

  • Accommodate the known limitations of an otherwise qualified student with a disability
  • Provide information to faculty, staff, and students with disabilities in accessible formats upon request
  • Ensure that courses, programs, courses, services, jobs, activities, and facilities, when viewed in their entirety, are available and usable in the most integrated and appropriate settings
  • Evaluate faculty, staff, students, and applicants on their abilities, not their disabilities
  • Provide or arrange accommodations, academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids and services for faculty, staff, and students with disabilities in courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities
  • To maintain appropriate confidentiality of records and communication, except where permitted or required by law
  • To maintain academic standards by providing accommodations without compromising the content, quality, or level of instruction.
  • Adjust, substitute or waive any academic requirements within Regents' policy which unfairly discriminate against students with disabilities and that are not essential to the integrity of students academic programs;
  • Make reasonable modifications for a student with a disability in the delivery, instructional method, and evaluation system of a course;
  • Inform its applicants and students about the availability of auxiliary aids and the range of possible modifications as well as the procedures for requesting them.

If a request for modification is denied, MGA has the responsibility to inform the individual of his or her right to appeal the decision and the procedures for initiating an appeal.

MGA has the right to:

  • Identify and establish essential functions, abilities, skills, knowledge, and standards for courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities and to evaluate faculty, staff, and students on this basis;
  • Request and receive documentation that supports request for modifications. The university has the right to deny a request if the documentation demonstrates that no modification is necessary, or if the individual fails to provide such documentation.
  • Deny a request for accommodations, academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids and services if the documentation does not demonstrate that the request is warranted, or if the individual fails to provide appropriate documentation;
  • Select among equally effective accommodations, academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids and services;
  • Refuse to provide an accommodation, academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids and services that impose a fundamental alteration on a program or activity of the university.
  • Refuse an unreasonable modification or one that imposes an undue hardship on the university
 Procedures for Access Admissions

Admission to MGA is based on the requirements outlined in the university catalog. Admissions decisions are made to ensure that applicants with disabilities will not be subjected to discrimination in admissions on the basis of their disability. A prospective student who needs a modification in the admissions process should document such need when the application is requested or submitted. For those individuals who choose to identify their disabilities in the admissions process, the Admissions Office will provide assistance and accessible admissions material upon request.

Auxiliary Aids of a Long-Term or Permanent Nature

MGA seeks to ensure that individuals with disabilities who can meet the academic and technical standards for admission are not excluded from full participation in the programs the university operates because of the absence of necessary auxiliary aids or reasonable modifications.

Students with disabilities are expected to exercise initiative in identifying and obtaining auxiliary aids and assistance through every reasonable channel available to them. The primary role of the university in this effort should be informative/supportive of active self-advocacy on the part of the student. The university has a responsibility to determine the necessity of aids and ensure that students are not denied the right to participate in programs, benefits, classes, or services because of the absence of reasonable and appropriate auxiliary aids that would make participation possible.

Students who believe they will need auxiliary aids to participate fully in the activities inherent in their programs at MGA should make those needs known as early as possible, preferably as soon as they have been admitted or determined to have a disability. These requests should be made through direct contact with the Director. To expedite the process, requests should be accompanied by a written evaluation of the student's disability which must meet the criteria established by the Georgia Board of Regents.

It is important to note that accommodation requests which fundamentally alter the nature of the curriculum or a course learning objective are not considered reasonable under the applicable federal laws. In order to make such a determination, the Disability Services Office consults with appropriate officials who have expertise in the areas the student with a disability is seeking academic accommodations including individual professors, department chairs, etc., to engage in a rational review in order to determine what program/course requirements are “essential.” The Disability Services Office works with the professor and student to consider whether effective alternatives to the requirement exist which would allow the student with a disability to participate without waiving or lowering essential requirements or fundamentally altering the nature of the program.

Course Modifications and Substitutions

All students are expected to meet the essential requirements of their programs. Requests for course modifications and substitutions will be decided on a case- by-case basis. Students should contact the Director of Disability Services to obtain procedures for requesting modifications and substitutions.

Course Modifications
When the ADA supports course modifications, the DSP confer with the student to determine individualized modifications according to the student's specific disabilities and course requirements. Such modifications may require changes in the distribution and presentation of course material and in the evaluation of academic performance. The student will meet with the instructor to discuss implementation of the modifications. The Academic Advisor will assist as needed. 

Course Substitutions
Courses may be substituted when the documentation supports a determination that the disability precludes learning a specific subject, that modifications would most likely be futile, and that the course is determined not to be essential to the student's program of study. The student, in consultation with the approved adviser, will select substitute courses from the approved list of courses or may petition the dean for approval of alternative substitutes. In the absence of an approved list, the degree granting unit will provide a list of acceptable substitutions.

 Appeals Process

MGA recognizes both the wide variation in the needs of students with disabilities and the variation in course contexts as students progress through their programs. When needs arise, the Director of the Disability Services Office will, at the request of students, faculty, or staff, review the process by which the current modifications were determined and seek to revise the modifications. The dissatisfied party may file an appeal.

Basis for Appeal
Students may appeal on one of the following bases:

  1. The access plan does not represent a reasonable accommodation of their disability. The basis for such an appeal should be that their disability, in the absence of the requested alternatives or additional modifications, limits their full participation or their accurate evaluation in a specific activity, service, program, or course. The appeal must include a rationale for the requested additions or alternatives.
  2. A particular course or requirement is not essential to the integrity of the program of instruction being pursued. The basis for such an appeal should be that their disability, in the absence of the requested substitution, limits their full participation in the academic program. The appeal must include a rationale for the requested substitution.

Faculty/Department Heads/Program Coordinators may appeal a student's access plan on the grounds that the modifications represent a fundamental alteration in a course, program, or service.

Filing Appeals
Students and instructors should make every effort to work together to implement modifications determined to be reasonable and appropriate. 

Final Grade Appeals should be directed to:

Office of the Provost
Administration Building
Macon Campus
100 University Parkway
Macon, GA 31206
478.471.2730

Download a final grade appeal form

Discrimination Grievance Procedures

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act states, in part 5, "that no otherwise qualified disabled individual shall solely by reasons of such disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination in programs or activities sponsored by a public entity."  The purpose of this procedure is to attempt to resolve all types of complaints at the level where they can occur in a timely manner.

Any employee, student, or other member of the college community injured by the discriminatory behavior of an employee may file a complaint under the College's Discrimination Complaint Procedures.  Similar complaints against students should be filed with the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs under the Student Conduct Code.

Middle Georgia State College prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex (gender, sexual harassment), age, national origin, ethnicity, physical or mental disabilities, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, status as a disabled veteran, and any other group protected by civil rights laws. Discrimination means unequal treatment or harassment based upon any of these group characteristics. Retaliation against a complainant for filing a complaint, or against a witness for providing testimony during an investigation, is also prohibited and can be filed as a separate charge under these procedures.