Examples of Possible Disabilities

Physical Disability

  • Blindness or visual impairment
  • Deafness or hearing impairments
  • Mobility impairment
  • Spinal cord or traumatic brain injury
  • Speech disorder
  • Epilepsy or seizure disorders
  • Chronic illness, such as AIDS, arthritis, cancer, cardiac diseases, diabetes, multiple sclerosis or muscular dystrophy
  • Cerebral palsy 

Learning Disability

  • Specific learning disability
  • Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder 

Psychological/Mental Health

  • Drug or alcohol addiction (Section 504 covers former users and those in recovery programs currently not using drugs or alcohol)
  • Psychological disabilities

Types of Accommodations May Include

Classroom Accommodations

  • Notetakers
  • Real-time transcription services (CART)
  • Sign language interpreters

Test Accommodations

  • Extended time on tests
  • Testing in a limited-distraction environment
  • Use of computers for test-taking 

Other Accommodations

  • Audio books or other accessible media
  • Enlarged-print materials 
  • Access to adaptive technology
  • Approval for appropriate course substitutions
  • Accessible housing and classroom options
  • Changes in program locations if scheduled in inaccessible spaces
  • Consultation with faculty and staff in working with students with disabilities
  • Referrals for further assessment if necessary; collaboration with outside agencies for diagnostic service

Requesting Accommodations

Students with disabilities may request accommodations for the classroom, food service or for participation in the overall college environment by submitting a completed Accommodations Request, a Permission for Release of Information form, and documentation of a substantially limiting condition from a physician or other appropriate professionals.

1. Analyze your classes and your co-curricular activities

Look at the requirements for each of your classes and consider your particular disability related needs when determining which accommodations are appropriate. The accommodations for which you are eligible might not be appropriate or necessary for every class. Think about the type of activities you want to be involved in and consider if accommodations would assist in your ability to participate.

2. Submit the 3 completed required forms to the Office of Student Affairs

You can download and review the Accommodations Request Form Instructions

  1. PART I Student-completed form: Accommodations Request
  2. PART II Student-completed form: Permission for Release of Information
  3. PART III Student and physician-completed form: Documentation of Disability-Related Need for Accommodations. In addition to this form please attach any assessment tests used to make the diagnosis. If a meeting with a qualified diagnostician (physician, psychiatrist, etc.) is not possible, please provide the most current documentation available so that we may begin the process.

Either send completed forms in advance to the Office of Student Affairs or bring them to your appointment with the Assistant Dean of Students.

3. Make an appointment

Accommodations are made upon the approval of the Assistant Dean of Students, Robin Hart Ruthenbeck at , the designated coordinator of accommodations for students with disabilities at Macalester. 

Contact the Office of Student Affairs at (651) 696-6220 or  early in the semester to schedule an accommodations meeting. 

Either send in advance or bring to your meeting:

  • The completed documentation form (Part III)
  • The appropriate documentation

Upon discussion with you, review of the documentation, and consultation with other members of the Macalester staff or faculty as appropriate, the Assistant Dean of Students will determine the appropriate accommodations needed. The Office of Student Affairs will contact the appropriate instructors, notifying them of the accommodations for which the student qualifies.

4. Make appointments with your instructors

Request appointments with your instructors or attend their office hours early in the semester to discuss your accommodation requests. It is not advisable to discuss your disability-related needs with your instructor in front of the class or just as they are entering or leaving the class. Be specific. When meeting with the instructor, discuss your specific accommodation requests. You do not need to disclose the specific nature of your disability to your instructor. If you are uncomfortable identifying your disability, keep the conversation focused on the accommodations for which you are eligible and how your learning is impacted by your disability.

5. Maintain communication

Talk with the Assistant Dean of Students with whom you initially met and your faculty members about how often you will meet for follow-up appointments. At least one meeting per semester is required to check in concerning your progress. You may need to remind your faculty member of your accommodations as the semester progresses (e.g., extended time arrangements 10 days prior to test days).

6. Report problems

You should talk with the Assistant Dean of Student and/or your instructor if you are having difficulties with any accommodation, service or class. The Assistant Dean of Students can assist discuss with you how to talk with your faculty member or, when needed, can also attend meetings with you and your faculty member to ensure you are receiving the appropriate accommodations.

Grades that have already been posted on exams, papers, projects or in overall classes prior to receiving documentation and approval cannot be changed. Any accommodations or services provided will be in effect only after final evaluation of the disability documentation is completed.

Service/Assistance Animals

For information on service and companion animals, please refer to the Student Handbook.

Appealing Accommodations Decisions

Guidelines for Filing a Grievance or Appeal Based Upon a Disability

If a student believes they have been denied equal access in the form of appropriate accommodations, modifications, auxiliary aids, or effective communication or suffered discriminatory harassment as described in section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, they have a few options by which to file a grievance. Although the law does not require a student to first use the college’s grievance procedure before filing a complaint with The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education, both the OCR and the college encourage using internal grievance procedures before filing a complaint with OCR.

Discuss Concerns with the Assistant Dean of Students, who coordinates services for students with disabilities. Students with disabilities are responsible for contacting the Assistant Dean of Students if they feel reasonable accommodations are not implemented in an effective or timely manner. The Assistant Dean works with students to resolve disagreements regarding recommended accommodations. If students feel that a professor or staff person is not providing accommodations to which they are entitled, they should contact the Assistant Dean to discuss their concern.

If the concern is related to grade evaluations, the student should follow the appeals process for grades found in the student handbook.

Appealing Accommodation Decisions Made by the Associate Dean

Students wishing to appeal a disability determination or accommodation decision by the Assistant Dean of Students should follow the procedures outlined below:

  1. Within seven (7) calendar days after the receipt of the decision by the Assistant Dean of Students, the student may request in writing an appeal review by the Director of Academic Programs or their designee. The request to the Director of Academic Programs shall be in writing, and shall include a brief statement of the grounds for appeal. The grounds for appeal shall be that:
    a. There was a substantial failure by the Assistant Dean of Students to comply with the procedures so as to deny a fair review of the request, or
    b. The decision of the Assistant Dean of Students was not supported by the evidence.
  2. The appeal review will be based on the information and materials in the case file, the Assistant Dean of Students findings and recommendations, and the student's written request for an appeal review.
  3. The Director of Academic Programs may affirm, modify, or reverse the decision of the Assistant Dean of Students, or at their discretion, refer the matter to the Dean of Students for further review and decision. The Director of Academic Programs shall notify the student in writing of their decision within 15 working days after the appeal is received. The decision of the Director of Academic Programs shall be final and not subject to further review.

Macalester College Harassment Committee

Complains of harassment or discrimination based on a disability can be filed with the Macalester College Harassment Committee. A committee made up of faculty and administrators will listen to the complaint, investigate the concerns and render a decision. The details of the MCHC process can be found at www.macalester.edu/mchc/