Disability Policy & Procedures
Georgetown University Law Center remains committed to our longstanding policy of providing academic adjustments and auxiliary aids (“accommodations”) for students with disabilities. The faculty and staff work to provide the most appropriate accommodations for each individual student to ensure that all students have equal access to Law Center programs and activities.
The Law Center does not discriminate or deny access to an otherwise qualified student with a disability on the basis of disability.1 Students with disabilities may be eligible for accommodations and/or special services in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended (ADAAA). In accordance with those statutes and their implementing regulations, the Law Center does not provide accommodations to students who have not requested accommodations or who have not adequately documented their disabilities. The Law Center also is not obligated to make fundamental alterations to, lower, or waive programmatic, course or degree requirements considered to be an essential requirement of the program or instruction, or provide accommodations that would result in an undue financial or administrative burden or hardship on the University.
The Law Center recognizes that disability related information is sensitive and confidential and thus takes significant precautions to keep all such information secure. Documentation will be released only if the student provides written authorization to release such information or in the unlikely event that disclosure is compelled by legal process.
1 A person with a disability is someone 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 qualified individual with a disability is someone who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission to or participation in an education program or activity.
Process for Requesting Accommodation
To request a housing, co-curricular or academic accommodation due to a disability, students shall provide appropriate documentation to the Director of Disability Services in order to confirm the disability and substantiate the need for accommodation. In order to determine if an accommodation is appropriate, the Office of Disability Services will consider many factors including the nature of the disability, the student's academic history, the registration meeting with Disability Services, previous accommodations received, accommodations being requested, the unique characteristics of each course or program, and any other documentation provided. Accommodation decisions cannot be made until, at a minimum, the student has provided written documentation and met with the Director of Disability Services. Georgetown Law uses the following guidelines for documentation:
- Documentation Guidelines for Learning Disabilities and/or Attention Deficit Disorder
- Documentation Guidelines for Physical and/or Chronic Health Conditions
- Documentation Guidelines for Psychological Conditions
These guidelines are based on standards promulgated by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and are intended to provide students an overview of the type of information needed in an evaluation. However, because each student and disability is unique, every request is addressed on a case-by-case basis.
The Office of Disability Services encourages students to register before the first day of classes. At a minimum, documentation must be provided to the Office of Disability Services at least ten business days before the requested accommodation is to be implemented (and for final exam accommodations, at least ten business days before the exam period commences).
Documentation, along with any questions or concerns, shall be directed to:
Director of Disability Services
Georgetown University Law Center
600 New Jersey Avenue NW
McDonough Hall 210 Washington, DC 20001
Tel: (202) 662-4042
Fax: (202) 662-4067
Where the documentation submitted is incomplete or inadequate, the Director of Disability Services may request additional information. Once documentation has been received and approved, the Director of Disability Services will contact the student for a meeting. During this meeting, appropriate accommodations will be discussed and approved. Following this meeting, the Director of Disability Services will email a confirmation letter to the student indicating the approved accommodations.
To ensure testing anonymity, all testing accommodations are implemented by the Director of Disability Services. Most classroom accommodations (for example audio recordings and note-takers) are set up by the Director of Disability Services. If it’s helpful to involve the faculty member in implementing an accommodation, the Director of Disability Services, in consultation with the student, may encourage the student to reach out to the faculty member directly, or will help facilitate a conversation between the faculty member and the student.
After initial registration with the office, the student may request new or modified accommodations. Most of the time, new documentation is not required; however, if the current documentation on file does not substantiate the need for the new or modified accommodation, updated documentation may be requested. New documentation and all requests to change accommodations must be provided to the Office of Disability Services at least ten business days before the requested accommodation is to be implemented (and for final exam accommodations, at least ten business days before the exam period commences).
The accommodation process is an interactive and collaborative partnership between the Office of Disability Services and the student. If a student feels that one of his/her accommodations is not working smoothly or is inadequate, the student is encouraged to contact the Director of Disability Services so that the situation can be remedied. This collaboration ensures that appropriate accommodations are being provided.
A student who disagrees with or seeks clarification of any decision of the Director of Disability Services regarding accommodations may, within five business days of receiving written or oral notice of the decision, request an informal meeting with both the Director and the Dean of Students. That informal meeting will be scheduled as soon as possible and in most cases within ten business days of the student's request.
As soon as possible and preferably within five business days of the informal meeting, the Director will notify the student in writing of any changes to the decision.
If, thereafter, the student disagrees with the latest written decision of the Director, within five business days of receiving notice of the decision (s)he may appeal the decision in writing to the Law Center's Associate Dean for the relevant academic program. The written appeal to the Associate Dean should state in detail the basis for the appeal and include all relevant documentation in support of the appeal. The Director and Dean of Students also will provide to the Associate Dean any documentation or other information pertinent to the disputed decision. Additionally, upon request, the Director and Dean of Students will provide a written summary of communication with the student.
If the student is unable to provide a statement in writing due to his/her disability, the student should schedule a meeting with the Associate Dean by telephone or in person to request an accommodation to submit the appeal orally or in another agreed upon format.
The Associate Dean will review the appeal, supporting documentation, and latest decision of the Director, and then meet with the student. The Associate Dean also may review any additional information (s)he deems relevant to the appeal. The Associate Dean will then render a written decision to the student as soon as possible, preferably within ten business days of receiving the written appeal. The decision of the Associate Dean regarding accommodation is final.
While students are encouraged to resolve any disagreements as to appropriate accommodations either through informal communication with the Office of Disability Services or through the appeals process provided above, they are also welcome to bring grievances to Georgetown University's Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Affirmative Action ("IDEAA"). IDEAA reviews alleged violations of the University's NonDiscrimination in Education Policy, including allegations of unlawful discrimination on the basis of disability. The University encourages any victim of unlawful discrimination and harassment to report the incident and seek redress through IDEAA's Grievance Procedures. A student need not have exhausted the Law Center’s appeals process to report concerns to IDEAA. More information about IDEAA’s grievance process can be found at: http://ideaa.georgetown.edu/ADA/DiscriminationComplaint/.
The following person has been designated to coordinate Georgetown University's compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973:
Rosemary E. Kilkenny
Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity
Georgetown University M-36 Darnall Hall
37th & 0 Streets NW
Washington, DC 20057
Phone: (202) 687-4798
Fax: (202) 687-7778