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Policies and Procedures

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Intake Interview

A student must have an intake interview in the Office, and provide proper documentation regarding his/her disability, in order for a student to be registered in the Office of Special Services. This disability must be considered to be permanent and life-altering.



Documentation Requirements


  1. Proper documentation for a physical/medical disability is considered to be a letter from a medical doctor describing the disability, and if possible, including recommendations for "reasonable accommodations."
  2. Upon receipt of this documentation, the Office of Special Services will notify the necessary departments of the need to assist students who are physically challenged with "reasonable accommodations."


  1. Proper documentation for a learning disability is considered to be a complete psychological evaluation performed by a registered psychologist within the last three years, unless an exception is made by the Director of Special Services in consultation with the University Counseling Center.
  2. This psychological evaluation must include recommendations for "reasonable accommodations." In cases where evaluations may not include recommendations of "reasonable accommodations," the Office of Special Services will request recommendations for these accommodations from the person who did the evaluation.


  1. If the documentation provided by the student is determined not to be adequate, after consultation with the University Counseling Center , the student will be notified in writing concerning this finding. The student should request an interview with the Director of the Office of Special Services to assist the student in acquiring proper documentation.


  1. Duquesne University does not provide psychological evaluations for either learning disabilities and/or Attention Deficit Disorder, but will recommend outside agencies to students, upon request.



Recommended Accommodations
  1. The Office of Special Services will contact the student when "reasonable accommodations" are provided, and the student will be requested to have an interview.
  2. The student must specifically request in writing to have faculty notified about a request for "reasonable accommodations" and sign a waiver form permitting the Office of Special Services to communicate this information to proper University personnel.


Letters To Faculty
  1. It is the student's responsibility to provide the Office of Special Services with a schedule of classes for each semester, including the names of the faculty the student wished to be notified. Before a memo is sent to a faculty member, the student must approve the memo, in order to avoid any misunderstanding.
  2. Upon approval, the Office of Special Services will then send the memo to the faculty member and the student's Academic Advisor.  The student should constantly communicate his/her needs and progress with the respective Academic Advisor, who can also provide assistance to the student in this regard.
  3. The student, in order to encourage proper communication, must meet with each faculty member individually at the beginning of each semester and inform the faculty member of his/her request for "reasonable accommodations," after the memo is sent.
  4. The student is also responsible for notifying the Office of Special Services if there is any difficulty with these accommodations being met, or if any further assistance is needed by the Office of Special Services.
  5. The Office believes that the student is his/her own best advocate. Therefore, it is most important that the student communicate constantly with his/her faculty concerning any request for "reasonable accommodations," as well as the Office of Special Services.
  6. Reasonable accommodations may also include; modifying specific campus locations, ordering special equipment, arranging for special support services, or moving classes to different locations on campus. The Office of Special Services may seek assistance from other University departments to provide these reasonable accommodations for students.



Pre-Registration For Upcoming Semester

Prior to pre-registration, every undergraduate student registered in the Office of Special Services, is notified regarding the Early Pre-registration period and the date for Early Pre-registration offered to the student. Each student should meet with the Director or Graduate Assistant of the Office of Special Services, after scheduling with their Academic Advisor, in order to update the Office on his/her progress, and request a memo to be sent to the faculty for the upcoming semester, if the student desires. This request must also be in writing.



Meeting the Accommodations
  1. The Office of Special Services serves in an advocacy capacity for "reasonable accommodations" for students with disabilities. It is not in a position to enforce its requests to faculty for these accommodations but will assist them in providing these accommodations, if possible. If a student believes that his/her requests for "reasonable accommodations" are not being met adequately, he/she must inform the Office of Special Services in order for the Office to contact the faculty member and offer its assistance, if possible. The student has the right to appeal to the Director of Anti-Discrimination Policy and Compliance, Sean Weaver, at 412.396.2560 or ​weavers2@duq.edu, if the student believes that adequate assistance is not forthcoming after this intercession. The student must inform the Office of Special Student Services about this appeal.
  2. Faculty members also have a right to appeal requests for "reasonable accommodations," to the Affirmative Action Officer, if they believe that a request is not "reasonable." The Office of Special Services should also be informed of this appeal.
  3. Notice of Nondiscrimination and Nonharassment Policy
    1. Duquesne University , motivated by its Catholic identity, values equality of opportunity, human dignity, racial, cultural and ethnic diversity, both as an educational institution and as an employer. Accordingly, the University prohibits and does not engage in discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability or status as a veteran or disabled veteran. Further, Duquesne University will continue to take affirmative steps to support and advance these values consistent with the University's mission statement. This policy applies to all programs and activities of the University, including, but not limited to, admission and employment practices, educational policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic or other University-sponsored programs. This is a commitment by the University in accordance with its religious values and applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. Nothing herein, however, should be interpreted as a waiver by the University of its own constitutional and legal rights based upon its religious affiliation. The person responsible for coordinating its efforts under this policy is Dr. Judith Griggs, Affirmative Action Officer, Ground Floor Administration Building , university extension 6661.



Special Services Reduced Course Load Policy for Students with Disabilities

"Duquesne University serves God by serving students--through commitment to excellence in liberal and professional education, through profound concern for moral and spiritual values, through the maintenance of an ecumenical atmosphere open to diversity and through service to the Church, the community, the nation, and the world." [ Mission Statement]

As a consequence of its mission, Duquesne University will work with each individual student to allow them to attain their full potential.

Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires students with disabilities into all programs and courses. The university is not required to alter basic academic requirements or to lower its standards; however, the university is required to reasonably accommodate students with disabilities.

Students who have self identified, provided documentation of disability and request reasonable accommodations are entitled to receive approved modifications of programs and other appropriate assistance. Modifications granted on a case by case basis might include adaptation to the manner in which specific courses are conducted, changes in the length of time permitted for degree requirements and substitution of specific courses.



In order to request the academic accommodation of a reduced course load, students must meet the following criteria:
  1. The student will provide the Office of Special Services (SSS) with documentation of a disability that prevents the student from participating in the standard number of credit hours required to maintain full time status. The evaluations must be no more than three years old and in order to verify the validity of the request, they may be examined by professionals from the university community including, the University Counseling Center, University Health Services and the Learning, Disabilities Team.
  2. The student must present the SSS with pertinent academic history demonstrating the need for a reduced course load. This information should include transcripts from Duquesne University and other previous academic institutions. In cases where the academic impact of the disability is not clearly determined, students may be required to attempt a full course load with classroom accommodations.
  3. Students with disabilities who receive reduced course load accommodations will not be penalized by the part time status in policy areas under Duquesne University control. However, other services such as Federal and State Financial Aid, scholarships/aid not sponsored by Duquesne University , personal insurance etc. may be affected by the reduction in the number of credit hours per semester. Requests for reduced course load eligibility must be presented and reviewed at the onset of each semester. A reduced course load is defined as less than twelve hours for undergraduate students and below nine hours for graduate students. Classroom accommodation and academic support services to lessen the impact of the disability are always preferable to a course load reduction.



Testing Procedures

Students whose accommodations include "Special testing accommodations" may make arrangements, with the approval of their faculty member, to take the test in the Office of Special Services.

Students may then obtain "Test Request Forms" in Room 309, Duquesne Union. After the form is completed by both the student and the faculty member, it should be returned to the Office of Special Student Services at least 72 hours before the test is given, or the test may need to be rescheduled.

Tests must be delivered to the Office of Special Services at least 24 hours before the test is given.

Personal items, including but not limited to books, purses, back-packs and cell-phones, will not be permitted in the testing room. All items must be left out in the main office area. Students are expected to follow the testing procedures determined by the faculty. Any violations will be reported to the faculty member.

Examinations may be proctored at the discretion of the Office of Special Services.

Test Request Forms



Note-Taking Assistance

Students who receive the accommodation: “Note-taking assistance” have two sources available to them, the Professor or a student in the class. The Professor may be able to provide the student with a copy of the lecture notes, if possible, or the student may ask someone in the class for their notes. If the student is reluctant to ask someone in the class for their notes, they may speak with the Professor and have him/her ask someone in the class to volunteer their notes. Class notes may be copied in the Office of Special Services at no charge to the student and/or carbonless note-taking paper is also available at no charge.  If the student is unable to get note-taking assistance in any of the above ways, he/she should notify the office.