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University Policy 83

Accommodation of Faculty, Employees, and Applicants with Disabilities

Initially Approved: 2003
Posted: October 1, 2003

Policy Topic: Personnel
Administering Office: Chancellor's Office

Western Carolina University is committed to ensuring that all qualified individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to take part in educational and employment programs and services on an equal basis. The aim is to provide this opportunity in an integrated setting that fosters independence and meets the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. More information on these two laws may be found at the website of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (

Reasonable accommodations are made on an individual and flexible basis. Appropriate services may include: (1) support, resource, and referral information; (2) academic assistance services; and (3) environmental modifications. However, it is the responsibility of the individuals with disabilities to make their needs known and to provide documentation of a disability. The responsibilities of supervisors include:

  • Inquire about accommodations only if the employee has an obvious disability.
  • Meet with an employee who has a disability after the employee has disclosed the disability.
  • Comply with accommodation decisions made by appropriate university offices.

A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job, an employment practice, or the work environment that makes it possible for an individual with a disability to enjoy an equal employment opportunity. Examples of reasonable accommodations may include:

  • Making facilities readily accessible to and usable by an individual with a disability as prescribed by law;
  • Altering when or how an essential job function is performed;
  • Modifying examinations, training materials, or policies;
  • Providing qualified readers and interpreters; or
  • Allowing an employee to provide equipment or devices that an employer is not required to provide (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2002, p. 61, 68-69).

Western Carolina University ensures equitable access through the following offices.

Students should contact any of the following:

  • Student Support Services (828) 227-7127
  • Student Affairs (828) 227-7147
  • Counseling and Psychological Services (828) 227-7469
  • Health Services (828) 227-7460

Employees and applicants, including faculty, should contact any of the following:

  • Office of Equal Opportunity (828) 227-7116
  • Human Resources (828) 227-7218

Complaints of discrimination on the basis of a disability may be directed to the Equal Opportunity Office. Faculty, staff, students, and applicants are protected from retaliation for filing a complaint or assisting in an investigation under the University's Equal Opportunity policy.

Employees may pursue complaints beyond the Office of Equal Opportunity. Appeals of decisions may be made through procedures stated in University Policy # 77 (for SPA employees), the procedures for grievance and hearing for EPA employees (may be accessed in Human Resources office), and in Article IV, Section 3 of the faculty handbook (for faculty).

Appeals will be limited to whether the Director of Equal Opportunity Programs exercised professional judgment in reaching his/her decision.

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