Disability Support Services

The Disability Support Services works with each student individually to establish reasonable and appropriate accommodations for the purpose of eliminating environmental barriers impacting the student’s equitable access to the services, programs and activities at University of Detroit Mercy.

Accessibility is an essential feature of the Detroit Mercy campus and we strive to create an inclusive community for our students. Our belief in the dignity of each person, and through compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) as amended in 2008, we strive to ensure that students with disabilities are provided the tools they need to fully access all aspects of student life inside and outside of the classroom.

MISSION: The mission of Disability Support Services, is to create an accessible community where students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to fully participate in all aspects of the academic environment and University community. We serve as a valuable resource for the University of Detroit Mercy in supporting equal access of students with disability, and cultivating a campus community where recognition of student’s abilities, not disabilities is prominent.

VISION: Disability Support Services envisions an inclusive community where all students with disabilities feel seen as valued and contributing members of our society. We strive to become a program where students have opportunities to articulate their strengths and gain their independence.

VALUES:

  • Inclusion and Equity
  • Empowerment
  • Collaboration
  • Accessibility

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    Registering for Services

    Step One: Self Identify:

    Disability Support Services recognizes disability as an integral part of diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive and equitable educational environment for students with disabilities. Under the ADA, eligibility must be established to be considered for services. Students with a need for accommodations must first self-identify with the Disability Support Services (DSS). To do this a student must complete a Request for Accommodations Form.

    You will be contacted within 5 days of the receipt of their completed request form to schedule a Welcome Meeting. If you need to speak with someone sooner, email dss@udmercy.edu or call 313-993-1158.

    Process for current students with approved accommodations: 

    If you have been previously approved for accommodations, Disability Support Services has implemented the use of Accommodate, a core electronic case management system that will assist students, faculty, instructors, and staff in requesting, approving, and implementing disability-related accommodations. Please click the link to log in to your student portal to request accommodations prior to each semester.

     If you are unable to access your account with Accommodate please contact the Disability Support Office directly at dss@udmercy.edu or (313)-993-1158.

    Step 2 Providing additional information/ documentation about your disability:

    In order to adequately evaluate accommodation and service requests, Disability Support Services (DSS) needs supporting information about how your disability is likely to impact you at the University of Detroit Mercy. We ask that you have a licensed medical professional complete our Disability Verification FormDSS may request additional documentation in order to illustrate a connection between the impact of the disability, the described barrier, and the requested accommodation. Please reference our Guidelines for Documentation.

    Step 3: Welcome Meeting/ Accommodation Planning Meeting

    The intake interview is a critical step towards determining eligibility. Once you have completed and submitted your Request for Accommodations Form, someone Disability Support Services will call or email you to schedule a meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to learn first-hand from you what disability-related barriers you may be experiencing and what accommodations you will need. The interactive process allows you and the DSS Coordinator to collaboratively determine the most appropriate accommodations.

    Step 4: Evaluation of Eligibility

    DSS will review disability-related documentation and evaluate the unique attributes and requirements of the course, program, or activity in order to determine if the request for accommodations is reasonable.  Accommodations are determined to be reasonable if they do not compromise academic integrity or constitute a fundamental alteration to an essential element of a program or course activity. DSS will contact the student in writing to notify them of the decision and to explain the next steps of the Accommodation process and to answer any questions.

    • If you have been approved for accommodations DSS will officially notify your professors, or any other individuals involved in the implementation of your accommodations. You will always be copied to these notifications.

    IMPORTANT: Students are strongly encouraged to request accommodations from DSS as early as possible prior to every semester that they are enrolled at University of Detroit Mercy.

    Accommodation Letters:

    DSS communicates approved accommodations in an official notification via email to a student’s instructors. Accommodation letters prepared by DSS for instructors do not give specific diagnoses. Instead, the letters explain that the student has provided appropriate documentation of a disability and lists the approved accommodations for that student.

    1. Students are encouraged to discuss with their instructors their accommodations and how the accommodations will be provided.
    2. Students must request their accommodations every semester.
      • Sign into the ACCOMMODATE Student Portal by clicking on the link below, select the semester for which you are requesting accommodations and complete and submit your request.
      • If you experience any issues with using the link to request your semester accommodations, email dss@udmercy.edu or call 313-993-1158 to request assistance.
    3. Students are responsible for notifying DSS of schedule changes so respective faculty can be notified.
    4. Failure to do either of these steps every semester can delay or prevent students from receiving their accommodations.
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    Accommodations

    Types of Accommodations:

    Depending on the student’s disability and the barriers they face, services may include:

     

    Accommodation Letters:

    DSS communicates a student approved accommodation in an official notification via email to a student’s instructors. Accommodation letters prepared by DSS for instructors do not give specific diagnoses. Instead, the letters explain that the student has provided appropriate documentation of a disability and lists the approved academic accommodations for that student.

    After being approved for accommodations:

    1. Students are encouraged to discuss with their instructors their accommodations and how the accommodations will be provided.
    2. Students must request their accommodations every semester.
      1. Sign into the ACCOMMODATE Student Portal, select the semester for which you are requesting accommodations and complete and submit your request.
      2. If you experience any issues with using the link to request your semester accommodations, email dss@udmercy.edu or call 313-993-1158 to request assistance.
    3. Students are responsible for notifying DSS of schedule changes so respective faculty can be notified.
    4. Failure to do either of these steps every semester can delay or prevent students from receiving their accommodations.
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    Housing Accommodations

    Students who have a disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities related to residential living may request specific housing accommodation(s). To do so, students must provide documentation from an appropriate and qualified professional (not related to them) that describes the need for the requested accommodation, using the Request for Housing Documentation Form.

    • For a medical disability, documentation must be provided by a medical doctor with an expertise or specialty in the area of the student's disability.
    • For a mental health or psychological disability, documentation relating to the need for this accommodation must be provided by a clinical psychologist or other licensed mental health professional who has completed an evaluation within the last six months.

    Housing accommodations are approved on an annual basis and students must re-apply each year. Services of a personal nature such as a personal aide, or individually prescribed devices or services that are not available to other students without disabilities are the responsibility of the student and will not be provided by Disability Support Services or the Residence Life Office.

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    DSS Grievance Process

    In the event that a request for accommodations is denied and the student disagrees with eligibility and/or the accommodation decision made by the Disability Support Services, it is recommended that the student discuss their questions and concerns with the DSS Coordinator. Please see Complaint Process for more information regarding appealing.

    The Disability Support Services has adopted a grievance process providing for the equitable resolution of complaints. If a student does not agree upon approved accommodation, has been denied accommodation(s), or believes they are not being provided the approved upon accommodation the student is encouraged to file a complaint through the DSS Grievance Process.

    1. Informal Grievance Procedures:
      1. If you are a student that is dissatisfied with an accommodation decision or implementation, please contact DSS within two weeks of the accommodation decision. A meeting with the DSS Coordinator or other member from the DSS office with take place in an effort to resolve the issue.
    2. Formal Grievance Procedures:
      1. If the student is dissatisfied with the result of the Informal Grievance process with the DSS (coordinator/ staff) the student should contact the Director of Student Success Center to submit a formal complaint.
      2. The student should be prepared to submit a written statement addressing specific accommodation-related concerns. The student should provide any supporting information.
      3. An impartial committee will review submitted documents within 14 business days of submission.
      4. A meeting may be required if additional information is needed.
      5. A written decision will be issued to the student within 30 business days of receipt of the grievance form.
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    Helpful Documentation Guidelines

    Documentation can assist Disability Support Services (DSS) in understanding how a disability may impact a student in the academic environment. DSS engages in a collaborative process that is responsive to the unique needs of each individual, therefore it is relevant to share impacts of your disability on tasks like communication, reading, writing, housing, technology, dining, the physical environment, classroom and laboratory and on-line learning, etc.

    If you have information or documentation readily available, please do not delay in submitting that information through Accommodate. Disability Support Services recognizes that there can be existing barriers with regards to acquiring third party disability documentation. This process will further be explained during the Welcome meeting.

    Examples of Different types of Disability-related Documentation:

    • Educational records, such as a high school accommodation plan (IEP, 504 plan, etc.)
    • Medical Records
    • Letter from healthcare professional, on letterhead which confirms a diagnosis/impact of the disability 
    • Neuropsychological or educational evaluation
    • Audiology report 
    • Vision assessment

    You can submit information or documentation to Disability Support Services by:

    • Bringing it to our office in Room 319 at the McNichols Library in the Student Success Center
    • Emailing it to dss@udmercy.edu
    • Faxing it to 313-578-0342

    Confidentiality: The Office of Disability Support Services is committed to protecting the confidentiality of our students and their records. Student records are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

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    Faculty Resources

    Disability Support Services syllabus statement: