Students MUST register with the Access Office for access to accommodations and assistive technologies. The Access Office cannot reach out to students who may need such accommodations. It is the responsibility of the student to register.

 

Welcome to the Access Office 

The Mission of the Access Office is to serve as leaders in removing physical, educational, and other barriers and creating an inclusive and diverse environment by collaborating with and motivating students, faculty, staff, and the community so that they can ensure that all VSU classrooms, events, and experiences are seamlessly accessible to all.

Our primary objective is to provide equal access to campus programs and activities for all students while upholding the academic standards of Valdosta State University.

We hope that you will find connecting with the Access Office a simple process. Our team will be happy to meet with you in a manner that works best for you (a face-to-face meeting, a phone or video phone meeting, or online). Many of our processes include online forms to save you time and effort, but you are always welcome to schedule a meeting if you have any questions along the way. While this process can be initiated at any time, it is recommended that students contact the Access Office as early as possible in their academic career. We would be happy to meet with students and their families during campus tours, at Open House, or Orientation if interested in meeting prior to the start of their first semester.

The Access Office follows the guidelines of the Board of Regents

Students MUST register with the Access Office for access to accommodations and assistive technologies. The Access Office cannot reach out to students who may need such accommodations. It is the responsibility of the student to register.

 

Key Differences Between High School and College for Students with Disabilities

 

Students with a Previously Diagnosed Disability

If you are a student with a documented disability, you can submit any documentation you have and think is appropriate to support your requested accommodations. Helpful information may include medical records, psychoeducational testing, and school records, such as IEPs or 504 plans. While every request is considered on a case-by-case basis, there are guidelines for documentation set by the University System of Georgia that our team uses in our review.

Once we receive your documentation, we will make a determination as to whether or not the information provided meets the guidelines set by the University System of Georgia, and is appropriate to support your requested accommodations. If additional documentation is needed, a team member will notify you of the specific information that is needed. For example, if your documentation does not reflect current functioning, we may need more updated information.

Students Who Have NOT Previously Been Diagnosed with a Disability

There are some situations when a student finds that they are experiencing barriers and suspects that this may be because of a disability that has not previously been identified. Perhaps a student will have a recommendation from a faculty or staff member to explore whether or not there is any support that can be provided by the Access Office. Whatever the reason, we would be happy to meet with you to discuss your concerns and recommend resources that might be helpful to you.

In the event that one of our team members suspects that there may be an undiagnosed disability that would make some course design elements inaccessible, students may be referred to an appropriate on campus resources (Counseling Center, Student Health Services, Speech and Hearing Clinic) and/or the Regents Center for Learning Disorders (RCLD) located at Georgia Southern University for evaluation/testing. While there may be no cost or minimal cost associated with on-campus resources, there is a fee for psychoeducational testing at the RCLD.

Request a Foreign Language Course Substitution for the Required High School Curriculum (RHSC) for Admission (due to disability)

Students with disabilities who were approved for a Foreign Language course substitution at the high school level may petition for of a substitution for admissions. In order to do so, the student should complete the following form and attach or send documentation of disability and any records to confirm the accommodation at the high school level (e.g., IEP) to support the request. Once all necessary documentation is received, the petition will be sent to the Regents Center for Learning Disorders (RCLD) for review. Students will be notified of the decision within 6 weeks from the date all necessary documents are received. In the event that the RCLD review supports the course substitution, the Office of Admissions will also be notified. Board of Regents Policy regarding the Foreign Language Requirement for Admission:

If the petition is approved, the student will be allowed to satisfy the RHSC foreign language requirement by substituting another type of course. The approval of a petition for substitution does not waive the requirement.

Request a Course Substitution for Core Curriculum or Course of Study (due to disability)

According to the Academic Catalog, “Requests for course substitutions…must contain specific justification for the request.” In some circumstances, a student with a disability may request a course substitution as an accommodation to remove a barrier to access. What follows is the process to request a course substitution. Students are recommended to submit requests as soon as they are aware that a course substitution may be necessary and at least one semester prior to the time that the student is expected to enroll in the course(s) under consideration. 

 

One-Time Request for Interpreters

This request is not for classes or ongoing events. This is for one time events only.

Please submit your request at least 48 hours (two full business days) prior to the scheduled event, or the interpreter cannot be guaranteed.  We will make every attempt to honor all requests for interpreters.  However, scheduling constraints may prevent this at times.  If this happens, we will work with you to identify another time that we have an interpreter available.  In the event that on-site interpreters are not available, other appropriate services will be considered. 

Requests for interpreted performances or events lasting 3 hours or longer (e.g. conferences, training, etc.) must be made at least two weeks (10 business days) prior to the event.  All related preparation materials must be provided at the time of the request.

Fill out the fields below. Red asterisks indicate fields that are required for submission.

Please allow one (1) full business day for a reply.

Student Exam Request Form

If an instructor does not have the resources to provide the arrangements needed to make an exam accessible, arrangements may be made to have exams proctored in the Access Office, not to be confused with the Office of Testing. To utilize this service, you must be signed up with the Access Office and you must have requested a Faculty Letter for the course for which you have the exam.

When scheduling your exam, please remember that our office is open Monday through Thursday from 8am to 5:30pm and Friday from 8am to 3pm.  Exams should be scheduled at the regular class time. If an exam time conflicts with another class or falls outside of normal business hours, the student and Instructor should discuss whether or not an alternate exam time will alleviate the conflict. If no alternative exam time is possible, the Access Office will make arrangements to proctor outside of normal business hours.

Testing time will begin at the start of the scheduled time for an exam. Students are encouraged to arrive 10 minutes early to check in and get ready.  If a student arrives late, they will lose that testing time as they would in the classroom setting. If a student cannot make the scheduled exam time for any reason, the Access Office will need instructor permission to reschedule any make-up exam.

All Exams in the Access Office are proctored with the use of cameras. Cameras are used in place of in room proctors. They do not record or have audio.

Exams should be requested at least two (2) business days before the exam date. Later requests may not be possible to obtain in time for the requested exam date.

Request for ESA Housing Accommodation

If you are a Valdosta State University or South Georgia State College Entry Program student with a documented disability who is requesting to have their Emotional Support Animal (ESA) in the residence hall,  you must contact the Access Office for Students with Disabilities as soon as possible (2 months prior to occupancy is recommended, although requests will be considered in the event that space is still available). Students must complete the Request for ESA Housing Accommodation form and provide supporting documentation. Requests are determined on a case-by-case basis with respect to sufficient documentation from a reliable, licensed healthcare provider with knowledge of the student’s specific circumstances and health history. Documentation should be on official letterhead, including name, title, professional credentials, address, phone number, signature, and date within 6 months prior to occupancy in the residence hall.

Request for Attendance and/or Deadline Extension Agreement

For some students, the nature of their disability includes symptoms which could exacerbate unexpectedly causing the student to miss or leave class suddenly. In these cases, a course attendance and/or deadline extension agreement for how to respond when these situations occur may be a reasonable accommodation for the classroom attendance/deadline policy. In some situations, a student may find that the course design includes an attendance policy or a make-up process that does not present a barrier to access. This process should be completed when the student believes that an accommodation may be necessary.

Request a Review or File a Grievance

Any student who is dissatisfied with a decision made by the Access Office or the implementation of such a decision is entitled to prompt and equitable review of his/her complaint.  Initial requests for review by the Access Office should be initiated as soon as possible, but no later than the start of the academic semester following the semester in which the incident(s) occurred. Requests for review should be communicated in person to the Director of the Access Office or submitted using the form below (which will be sent to the Director of the Access Office). Students will receive a response to their review request via their VSU email address from the Access Office within 10 business days. If the student is still dissatisfied after the review by the Director of the Access Office or if the nature of the complaint involves a decision or action made by the Director of the Access Office, students may seek further review through the Division of Student Success. In the event that a student is dissatisfied with the outcome of an informal inquiry, she or he may seek equitable resolution with the ADA/504 Officer.

Request Accommodations in a Workplace Environment

As a result of the unique nature of workplace environments, the same methods used to remove barriers in the classroom may not be effective or appropriate in a particular placement. This accommodation type is useful for practicum, internship, externship, clinical, student teaching, etc.

 

For additional information: Student Resources

Parenting/Pregnany Accommodations:

Please contact the Title IX Office for pregnancy related concerns/accommodations. 

FACULTY LETTERS

When a student requests classroom accommodations, they must provide the Access Office with appropriate documentation of disability. Our office staff will interpret the documentation to determine that the requested accommodations are reasonable. An Accommodation Letter will be produced for each course and emailed to the faculty member and the student. Accommodations are determined based on documentation of disability. Faculty may wish to negotiate alternate accommodations based on the requirements of the course or course content in order to maintain the basic goals of the course.

EXAM PROCTORING

In the event that you are unable to provide a distraction-reduced environment or extended time for students who are eligible for these accommodations, the Access Office will proctor the exam for you. Once students schedule an exam with the Access Office, you will receive an email requesting approval and information with instructions on how to pickup, proctor, and deliver your exam.

CAPTIONING/TRANSCRIBING OF VIDEOS

The Access Office will assist faculty members in obtaining captioned copies of videos in order to ensure the accessibility of any audiovisual materials they may use for instruction.  If this material is not available in a captioned/accessible format, the Access Office Staff will provide resources to get the material in an accessible format. To request captioning of a video please fill out the Captioning Request form. 

SAMPLE SYLLABUS STATEMENT

Accessibility Statement
Students with disabilities who are experiencing barriers in this course may contact the Access Office for assistance in determining and implementing reasonable accommodations. The Access Office is located in the University Center (Entrance 5). The phone numbers are 229-245-2498 (V) and 229-375-5871 (VP). For more information, please visit http://1.diztex.com/access or email: access@diztex.com. 

TRAINING

The Access Office Staff is available to conduct training for your classes or faculty/departmental meetings on a variety of disability-related issues.  Topics include sensitivity training, legal responsibilities, and policies and procedures.  In addition, we are willing to develop training materials to meet the individual needs of your department, school, or organization.  Please contact our office for more information or to schedule a presentation.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES