Consumer Information - Disabilities
Students & Applicants With Disabilities Accommodation Policy
It is the policy and practice of the University of New Hampshire School of Law to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and state and local requirements regarding students and applicants with disabilities. Under these laws, no qualified individual with a disability shall be denied access to or participation in services, programs, and activities of UNH Law based on his or her disability.
I. General Statement
In carrying out UNH Law’s policy regarding students and applicants with disabilities, we recognize that disabilities include mobility, sensory, health, psychological, and learning disabilities, and we will make efforts to provide reasonable accommodations to these disabilities to the extent it is reasonable to do so. We are unable to make accommodations that are unduly burdensome or that fundamentally alter the nature of the program. This policy applies only to students and applicants to UNH Law’s academic degree programs.
A. “Person with a disability” as adapted from Section 504 federal regulations - a person with a physical or mental impairment substantially limiting one or more major life activities, a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.
B. “Otherwise qualified person with a disability” - person with a disability who meets the academic and technical standards for admission. Essential qualifications include but are not limited to the ability to understand, analyze, apply and communicate legal concepts.
A. The LSAT
In the admissions process, because extensive accommodations are provided for taking the LSAT, waiver of the LSAT is unlikely to be granted. Applications are never automatically rejected based on the LSAT and/or GPA. An indication on the LSDAS report that an applicant took an accommodated test will not be the basis for discrimination. Applicants who have taken the LSAT under both accommodated and non-accommodated conditions may find it helpful to advise UNH Law as to why the non-accommodated score should not be considered.
B. The Application Form
Applicants are not required to indicate on the application whether they have a disability. Because overcoming hardship is one of the factors considered in the admissions process however, applicants may wish to consider whether to include an explanation of how a disability may have affected past academic performance.
C. Documentation of the Disability
Applicants who wish to have their disability considered as a factor in the admissions process must identify the disability at the time of application as well as an explanation of why it is a factor. It may be necessary to provide appropriate documentation of the disability. See the Documentation Policy for information relating to documentation requirements and payment for evaluation costs.
It is not a UNH Law practice to reconsider applications that have already been rejected, unless information that was not available at the time of the application, through no fault of the applicant, is subsequently brought to the attention of the Admissions Committee. For that reason applicants are advised to make the disability known at the time of application if they wish to have the disability taken into account in the application process. In some cases, it may be necessary for the applicant to provide documentation supporting the disability and its impact on academic performance.
E. Applicants Not Wishing to Self-Identify in the Application Process
Students who are accepted for admission are advised in the orientation package to contact the Assistant Dean of Students as soon as possible regarding disabilities which might require accommodation. Accepted applicants are strongly encouraged to make such disabilities known as early as possible to allow adequate time for evaluating documentation, for establishing the specific accommodation, and for working out arrangements, including funding, for auxiliary services. Last-minute requests for accommodations may not be able to be reasonably accommodated because of the time required to make such arrangements.
IV. Enrolled Students
A. Identifying the Need for Accommodations
Students with disabilities who require accom-modations must make those needs known to the Assistant Dean of Students as soon as possible. It is the student’s responsibility to act in time and to provide appropriate documentation and evaluations. Your application to law school may indicate the presence of a disability, but that information is not known to the Assistant Dean of Students. See the Documentation Policy for information regarding documentation requirements and payment for such evaluation costs.
Students who do not require accommodations need not make their disabilities known. In some cases where only minor accommodations are required (such as requesting to sit in the front row because of a visual or hearing impairment), the student should feel free to sit where needed or seek the assistance of the Assistant Dean of Students.
Information regarding a student’s disability and any accommodations provided is treated as confidential information under applicable federal and state laws and UNH Law policies, and is provided only to individuals privileged to receive such information on a need-to-know basis. Faculty or staff members who are told of a disability are advised that this information is confidential. People who may receive this information include but are not limited to the Registrar, individual faculty members, and the Academic Standing Committee.
UNH Law will make reasonable accommodations for documented disabilities. These accommodations may include but are not limited to course load modifications, exam accommodations and note takers. Such accommodations will not be provided if they fundamentally alter the nature of the program or if they would be unduly burdensome either financially or administratively. Students requesting accommodations should identify their needs as early as possible to the Assistant Dean of Students. She will meet with the student to develop an appropriate accommodation plan.
1. Academic Modifications
Academic modifications include but are not limited to reducing course loads, extending the amount of time for graduation, and allowing part-time enrollment. Only modifications that do not fundamentally alter the nature of the program and that are not unduly burdensome financially or administratively are required by law. While UNH Law must provide justification for refusing to allow a requested reasonable accommodation, higher education institutions are given substantial deference in establishing their academic requirements.
Requests for academic modifications should be made to the Assistant Dean of Students. The accommodations will be made in consultation with a faculty committee established for that purpose. Exam accommodations are made by the Assistant Dean of Students and the faculty committee and carried out by the Registrar’s Office.
2. Auxiliary Services
Auxiliary services may include but are not limited to note takers, assistance with photocopying and library retrieval, and other support services in connection with the academic program. Services for personal use are not provided. Occasional assistance in the library may be obtained by making a request of the library desk staff. The student who will require more extensive assistance and/or assistance on a regular basis should make this need known to the Assistant Dean of Students.
3. Exam Modifications
Exam modifications may include but are not limited to additional time to take in-class exams, time allowed for rest breaks, a private or separate exam room, or administration of the exam at a time other than the regularly scheduled time. Students requesting certain exam modifications may be asked to ascertain the format of the exam in order to determine the appropriate modification. For example, if the student has difficulty writing, but does not have difficulty reading, the need for additional time would be affected by whether the exam were to be in a multiple-choice format or an essay form. All exam modification requests are to be directed to the Assistant Dean of Students.
4. Building and Parking
Parking spaces are reserved for individuals who have state-issued handicap parking designations. They are located to the left of the entrance to the Robert H. Rines Building on Washington Street and behind the Bruce Friedman Clinic.
ii. Accessible Entrance
The entrance from parking lot #1 is an accessible entrance.
A passenger elevator with emergency communication features may be entered on the first floor near the cafeteria, on the second floor behind the reception desk. A third elevator is accessible through the library.
iv. Accessible Rest Rooms
All rest rooms are accessible.
All classrooms are accessible.
Class attendance is deemed to be a fundamental aspect of legal education. For that reason, faculty members will not be expected to waive attendance policies for students with disabilities.
6. Other Modifications
Students who believe that any other policies and practices should be modified should direct these requests to the Assistant Dean of Students.
V. Academic Dismissal & Readmission
Students who are academically dismissed sometimes raise a disability as the basis for the academic difficulty. While this may sometimes justify allowing the student a second opportunity to prove academic ability, the burden will be on the student to clarify why the disability was not brought to the attention of the administration, if it had not been previously, to explain why accommodations were not requested, or to explain why accommodations that had been provided were not adequate.
Readmission petitions should be discussed with the Assistant Dean of Students and will be directed to the Academic Standing Committee.
VI. Bar Examinations & Career Counseling
Law students with disabilities who believe they will require accommodations in taking the bar examination should inquire early in their legal education as to what will be necessary to obtain accommodations. Information on how to contact bar examiners in all states is available from the Career Services Office. Many state boards of bar examiners will request that the law school provide information on accommodations received during law school. Such information will be provided by the Assistant Dean of Students upon a written release from the student.
The Career Services Office provides assistance to all students and does not discriminate on the basis of disability. UNH Law will not provide assistance to outside organizations which discriminate on the basis of disability. Students who believe that an employer using the services of the Career Services Office has discriminated on the basis of disability should bring that to the attention of the Assistant Dean for Career Services.
Students who request accommodations from the Assistant Dean of Students and who believe that such accommodations have been impermissibly denied, or who believe that they have been discriminated against on the basis of their disability, should notify the Assistant Dean of Students in writing. If she is unable to resolve the matter informally, or if the student is unsatisfied with the resolution, the student mayfile a written grievance with the United States Department of Education, Region I, Office of Civil Rights, John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse, Room 222, Post Office Square, Boston, Massachusetts 02109. Nothing in this policy prevents the operation of the Conduct Code and its procedures (Rules XIII A and XIII B of the Academic Rules & Regulations) for conduct which rises to that level.
VIII. Improper Procurement
Services for students who improperly procure adjustments or accommodations under this policy will be immediately terminated, and the student may be subject to disciplinary action under the UNH Law Conduct Code found in Rules XIII A and XIII B of the Academic Rules & Regulations.
IX. Special Problems For Certain Disabilities
Students with psychological impairments, including alcohol or drug addiction, may wish to seek outside counseling or 12 Step program involvement. Initial counseling and referral may be obtained from the Assistant Dean of Students. Such counseling is confidential and not part of a student’s record. Contact information for Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous 12 Step meetings is available in the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Policy. A list of mental health counselors in the Concord, New Hampshire area is also made available in this publication.
Students should be aware that while reasonable accommodations are available for such disabilities, all students will be held to the same academic performance standards. Law school is stressful, and students whose disabilities justify accommodations such as a reduced course load have the obligation to request accommodation before academic failure. Problems such as exam anxiety and chronic lateness will not ordinarily be considered to be disabilities justifying accommodation.
Disability Documentation Policy
1. Verification of Phys., Mental/Emotional Disab.
A student with a physical disability must provide professional verification certified by a licensed physician, psychologist, audiologist, speech pathologist, rehabilitation counselor, physical therapist, occupational therapist, or other professional health care provider who is qualified in the diagnosis of the disability. The verification must reflect the student’s present level of functioning of the major life activity affected by the disability. The student shall provide the verification documentation to the Assistant Dean of Students. The cost of obtaining the professional verification shall be borne by the student. The student’s history of academic adjustments and accommodations in postsecondary education and/or in places of employment must also be submitted.
If the initial verification is incomplete or inadequate to determine the present extent of the disability and appropriate accommodations, UNH Law shall have the discretion to require supplemental assessment of a physical disability. The cost of the supplemental assessment shall be borne by the student. If UNH Law requires an additional assessment for purposes of obtaining a second professional opinion, then UNH Law shall bear any cost not covered by any third-party payer.
2. Verification of Learning Disability
A student with a learning disability must provide professional testing and evaluation results which reflect the individual’s present level of processing information and present achievement level. The cost of obtaining the professional verification shall be borne by the student. The student’s history of academic adjustments and accommodations in postsecondary education and/or in places of employment must also be submitted.
The four criteria necessary to establish a student’s eligibility for learning disability adjustments or accommodations are: (a) average or above average intelligence as measured by standardized intelligence test which includes assessment of verbal and nonverbal abilities; (b) the presence of a severe discrepancy between levels of intellectual ability and achievement or cognitive-achievement discrepancy; (c) the presence of disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written; and (d) an absence of other primary causal factors leading to achievement below expectations, such as visual or auditory disabilities, emotional or behavioral disorders, a lack of opportunity to learn due to cultural or socioeconomic circumstances, or deficiencies in intellectual ability. Whether accommodations may be made based on verification that one or more of the factors listed in 2(d) coexist with a learning disability will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Documentation verifying the learning disability must:
(a) Be prepared by a professional qualified to diagnose a learning disability, including but not limited to a licensed physician, specialist in assessment of intellectual functioning, learning disability specialist, or psychologist;
(b) Include the testing procedures followed, the instruments used to assess the disability, the test results, and a written interpretation of the test results by the professional;
(c) Reflect the individual’s present level of functioning in such achievement areas as: reading comprehension, reading rate, written expression, writing mechanics and vocabulary, writing, grammar, basic reading skills, spelling, listening comprehension, oral expression, math computation and math problem-solving; and
(d) Reflect the individual’s present levels of functioning in the areas of intelligence and psychological processes.
The assessment must provide data that supports the request for any academic adjustment or accommodation. In the event that a student requests an academic adjustment or accommodation that is not supported by the data in the assessment, or if the initial verification is incomplete or inadequate to determine the extent of the disability, it is incumbent on the student to obtain supplemental testing or assessment at the student’s expense.
If UNH Law requires an additional assessment for purposes of obtaining a second professional opinion, UNH Law shall bear any cost not covered by any third-party payer.
3. Verification of Temporary Medical Condition
Students seeking accommodations on the basis of a temporary condition must provide documentation verifying the nature of the condition, stating the expected duration of the condition, and describing the accommodations deemed necessary. Such verification must be provided by a professional health care provider who is qualified in the diagnosis of such conditions. The assessment or verification of condition must reflect the student’s current level of disability, and shall be no older than 30 days. The cost of obtaining the professional verification shall be borne by the student.
If the initial verification is incomplete or inadequate to determine the extent of the disability and appropriate accommodations, UNH Law shall have the discretion to require supplemental assessment of a temporary disability. The cost of the supplemental assessment shall be borne by the student. If UNH Law requires an additional assessment for purposes of obtaining a second professional opinion, then UNH Law shall bear the cost.
* See Assistant Dean of Students for Accommodation Request Form