Nov 15, 2018  
2018-2019 Law School Student Handbook 
    
2018-2019 Law School Student Handbook

Disabilities Policy



Golden Gate University School of Law is committed to equal educational opportunity and full participation for persons with disabilities. The School of Law values the inclusion of students with disabilities, which benefits not only these individuals, but the law school community and the legal profession as a whole. Enrolled students with verified disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary accommodations, including auxiliary aids and services. Student Affairs, Law School administers the disability services program, under the supervision of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Law School who is the designated ADA/Section 504 Compliance Officer for the law school.

Definitions

The following definitions apply to terms used in this section, and are based on federal law.

  1. Individual with a Disability: An individual who (1) has a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities; or (2) has a record of such an impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.
  2. Otherwise Qualified Individual with a Disability: An individual with a disability who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission and participation in the law school’s educational program and activities. The qualifications for participating in the law school’s educational program include but are not limited to the ability “to understand, analyze, apply and communicate legal concepts.”
  3. Reasonable Accommodations: Modifications of the academic program, standards, or physical environment, and auxiliary aids and services provided in the academic environment to enrolled students with disabilities to address a verified need. Reasonable accommodations do not include measures that would fundamentally alter the nature of the academic program, or would result in an undue financial or administrative burden.

Admissions

  1. Application Process
    The law school does not discriminate on the basis of disability in the admissions process, nor is information regarding disability status requested from applicants. Any disability-related information an applicant volunteers during the admissions process shall be kept in accordance with state and federal laws relating to confidentiality. When assessing the qualifications of an applicant with a disability, evaluators consider other relevant factors, including undergraduate record, educational program, work experience, and any other information that the applicant supplies.

    Prospective students and applicants with questions related to disability accommodations at the law school are welcome to contact the Student Affairs, Law School at 442-6515 or lawds@ggu.edu.
  2. Accepted Applicants with Need for Accommodations
    The law school encourages admitted students with disabilities who will be requesting accommodations to contact the Student Affairs, Law School at 442-6515or lawds@ggu.edu at the earliest possible date, and ideally no later than two weeks before the start of the student’s first term. The law school will work with the student in an effort to have reasonable accommodations in place when the student commences study. Early planning is essential for many of the resources and accommodations provided. Please refer to “Registering with Disability Resources and Academic Accommodations” below.

The Law School’s Disability Services Program

  1. Policy of Non-Discrimination Based on Disability
    In compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended in 2008, and the Unruh Civil Rights Act, no otherwise qualified individual shall be excluded from participation in, or be denied the benefits of, any GGU School of Law program or activity on the basis of disability. The law school shall provide reasonable accommodations to afford equal opportunity and full participation in all law school programs for qualified students with professionally verified disabilities. In particular:
    1. Students with disabilities shall have the opportunity to participate in law school programs and activities such as scholarly publications, interscholastic competitions, clinics, and externships for which they qualify. When necessary, the appropriate entity will provide students with reasonable accommodations to maintain access to the activities described above.
    2. No registered student organization shall discriminate in its membership practices on the basis of disability.
    3. The law school will not assist outside organizations or persons known by the law school to discriminate against individuals on the basis of disability.
    4. The law school will provide academic advising and career development services without discrimination on the basis of disability. Qualified students with disabilities will not be counseled toward more restrictive career objectives than are other students with similar interests and abilities.
    5. In providing financial assistance to qualified students, the law school may not provide less assistance, limit eligibility for assistance, or otherwise discriminate on the basis of disability.
  2. Registering with Disability Resources and Academic Accommodations 
    Disability Resources and Academic Accommodations is housed within Student Affairs. Disability Resources works with students individually to determine appropriate and reasonable accommodations. All accommodations and services are provided on a case-by-case basis. Students should NOT discuss disability accommodations directly with their instructors.

    Students who may require accommodations should contact Law Student Support at 442-6515 or lawds@ggu.edu to arrange an intake appointment. Student Affairs will conduct a personal interview to explore the student’s needs in the law school setting and explain the verification process. Documentation requirements will vary, depending on the disability and the accommodations requested, and may include:
    1. A history of accommodations received in post-secondary institutions or in places of employment, which is subject to verification; and/or
    2. Documentation from a licensed health care provider, who must be a nonrelative and not the student him/herself, who is qualified in the diagnosis of the relevant disability.
       

Student Affairs reviews the documentation and other information provided to ensure that the requested accommodations are reasonable and appropriate, given the student’s present impairment and functional limitations in the academic setting. The law school may, at its own expense, obtain outside consultation regarding the accommodations determination.

Student Affairs will notify students in writing about the outcome of the verification process and any approved accommodations.

Students who have been approved to receive accommodations are considered to be registered with Disability Resources and Academic Accommodations, but must submit a “Request for Accommodations” at the time of the determination and each semester thereafter.

  1. Procedures for Registered Students
  1. Students who are registered with Disability Resources and Academic Accommodations are responsible for submitting a “Request for Accommodations” form at the beginning of each term through an online process, identifying the classes and exams for which they will need accommodations.
  2. Students will receive a reminder email prior to the start of each term with a link to the form; however, students are responsible for complying with the established deadlines and should contact Student Affairs if they have not received the email. Late requests may not be honored.
  3. Accommodations shall be subject to review and may be terminated upon any change in the nature of the student’s disability or the student’s failure to properly utilize the services provided. Each student registered with Disability Resources and Academic Accommodations shall meet upon request with Student Affairs to evaluate the accommodations plan.
  4. Students are expected to immediately report any problems or dissatisfaction with an accommodation to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Law School.
  1. Accommodations for a Temporary Disability
    Students seeking accommodations on the basis of a temporary disability must provide documentation from their licensed health care provider, who must be a nonrelative and not the student him/herself, who is qualified in the diagnosis of such conditions. The documentation may be on the law school’s verification form (obtained by contacting Student Affairs or at http://law.ggu.edu/student-support/disability-services/) or on the professional’s letterhead. It must be signed and dated, and include the nature of the condition, the student’s current level of functional impairment, the expected duration of the condition, and recommended accommodations. The cost of obtaining the professional documentation shall be borne by the student.

    If the initial documentation is incomplete or inadequate to determine the extent of impairment and appropriate accommodations, the law school shall have the discretion to require the student to obtain a supplemental assessment, the cost of which shall be borne by the student. If impairment continues beyond the expected duration, the student will be required to submit additional documentation.
  2. Records and Privacy
    1. Student records regarding disability are maintained separately from the Registrar’s official student files, and no information disclosing disability or accommodations becomes part of a student’s official transcript.
    2. All documents produced by consultants in the performance of services for the law school shall be and shall remain the property of the law school.
    3. If necessary, disability-related information may be provided to school officials with legitimate educational interest or to other parties as required by law.
  1. Disqualified Student Appeals
    An academically disqualified student who identifies himself or herself as disabled may request in writing to Student Affairs, Law School that his or her Petition for Reinstatement be supplemented by a summary report and/or student records, which may include: the nature of the disability reported, if any; whether accommodations were provided at GGU; the date accommodations were initially granted; results of outside testing to determine the extent to which the disability affects the student’s ability to participate or perform in the academic program; and any other information contained in the student’s disability file relevant to the petition.
     
  2. Post-Graduation Policy and Services
    1. The law school will assist students and alumni in documenting accommodations received during law school; student requests for such documentation must be in writing. The law school will also provide counseling regarding the bar exam accommodations application process. Note: student records are maintained for five years after graduation or last date of attendance, after which time they generally are destroyed.
    2. Office for Career Services will aid all graduates, with or without disabilities, in developing career opportunities after the completion of studies at Golden Gate University School of Law.
    3. The law school has a policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability in all alumni activities that are a part of the official program of the law school or that involve the participation of applicants or enrolled students.
  1. Grievances
    All student-initiated grievances shall be heard according to the following procedures:
  1. Informal Resolution
    A student who believes that he or she has encountered a violation of the policies listed herein is encouraged to notify the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Law School as early as possible after the incident. In the event that the party against whom the grievance is filed is the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Law School, then the grievance shall be filed with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Law School (or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs) may dispose of the matter informally or refer it for a hearing to the Student Hearings Committee.

    If the matter is handled informally and the student agrees with its disposition, the disposition shall be final. If the matter is handled informally and the student disagrees with its disposition, a hearing by the Student Hearings Committee shall be held.

    Before final action on a grievance, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Law School (or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs) may impose any appropriate measure on an interim basis when there is reasonable cause to believe that such action is needed for the health, safety, or welfare of the student or other members of the law school community or to avoid disruption to the academic process. Notice shall be given expeditiously of action hereunder. Where interim measures are imposed, the grievance process shall proceed in an expedited manner.

    Except as provided above, the parties to the grievance shall maintain the status quo and no services shall be removed or additional obligations imposed before final action on a grievance is taken.
  1. Formal Resolution
    To institute a formal grievance, the student shall file a written grievance with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Law School (or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, if the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Law School is a party in the grievance). The grievance will then be forwarded to the Student Hearings Committee (“the Committee”).

    Within a reasonable amount of time prior to the hearing, the student and the respondent shall be given a brief statement of the factual basis of the grievance, the law school policies or regulations in regard to the matter, and written notice of the time and place of the hearing.

    The student and the respondent shall have the opportunity to present documents and witnesses and to confront and cross-examine witnesses.

    The Committee shall make an adequate record of the hearing by written memorandum, tape recording, or otherwise.

    The hearing shall be closed unless the student requests that it be open.

    The Committee shall render an expeditious written decision which shall include findings of fact, conclusions, and, if appropriate, remedies.

    The Committee shall have the discretion to prescribe its procedures for matters not addressed herein. For example, the Committee may require that oral evidence be taken only on oath or affirmation and/or that any relevant evidence be admitted if it is the sort of evidence on which responsible people are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs, regardless of the existence of any common law or statutory rule that might make improper the admission of the evidence over objection in civil actions.

    The Committee may seek independent testimony from experts whether or not the parties presented testimony from experts at the hearing.
  2. Appeal to the Dean
    An aggrieved student may appeal the decision of the Student Hearings Committee to the Dean of the School of Law in writing within 10 days of the date of the decision.

    On appeal, the Dean shall review the written decision of the Committee. The Dean may affirm or reverse or modify the panel’s decision. The Dean shall issue a written decision affirming, overruling, or modifying the decision of the Committee. A copy shall be sent to the student and the members of the Committee. If the Dean overrules or modifies in any respect the decision of the panel, his or her written decision shall include the reasons for the modification of the decision of the panel. The decision of the Dean is final.
  1. Expedited Grievance Procedures
    Expedited grievance procedures shall be utilized where there is a time-sensitive grievance, for example, a dispute over exam accommodations for a student with a disability or matters related to an impending bar examination. In addition, any grievance may be designated for expedited grievance process by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Law School or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

    The informal resolutions process of expedited grievances shall be concluded within three days of the filing of the grievance. If the matter is not resolved informally within that time, the matter shall be referred to a hearing. The Student Hearings Committee shall be convened within seven days of the referral for hearing. If, because of the timing of the appeal, the Committee members are not available, the Dean of the School of Law shall have authority to appoint alternative faculty members to the Student Hearings Committee.

    The panel shall issue a decision within seven days after conclusion of the hearing. Any appeal to the Dean shall be made within three days of the date of the decision of the Panel. The Dean shall issue a written decision within five days of the appeal.