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The Law/What the Law Means at CSUBCongress passed Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act in 1973. It is a civil rights statute designed to prevent discrimination against individuals with disabilities. It provides that: "No otherwise qualified individual with disabilities in the United States shall solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."
The American with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was modeled after Section 504, was signed into law in July 1990, but most provisions did not take effect until January 26, 1992. The ADA is a federal anti-discrimination statute and civil rights guarantee for persons with disabilities. It is designed to remove barriers which prevent qualified individuals with disabilities from enjoying the same employment opportunities, transportation, public accommodations, services provided by state and local government, and telecommunication relay services that are available to persons without disabilities.
California State University, Bakersfield is a public institution of higher education which receives federal assistance. Thus, the faculty, staff, and administration of CSUB are legally bound to prohibit discrimination in the recruitment process, the admissions process, and the educational process of students with disabilities. Students with documented disabilities are entitled to receive approved modifications, accommodations, or auxiliary aids, which will enable them to participate in and benefit from all educational programs and activities on the CSUB campus.
Academic adjustments may include adaptations in the way specific courses are conducted, the use of auxiliary equipment and support staff, and modifications in academic requirements. The University has the flexibility to select the specific aids and services it provides, as long as they are based on appropriate documentation. Such aids and services are determined by the Services for Students with Disabilities office on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the student who will use them.
Thus, under the provisions of Section 504, one or more of the following services may be recommended to accommodate the educational needs of students with disabilities:
- Support services such as interpreters, note takers, readers (CSUB is not responsible for aids, devices or services of a personal nature, such as personal assistants). SSD does not provide tutoring as a support service. We will, however, refer students to tutoring services available on campus
- Alternate testing accommodations (i.e. extended time, reader, use of assistive technology)
- Assistive technology and/or adaptive equipment (i.e. screen readers, brailled materials)
- Modifications or substitutions of courses, major fields of study, or degree requirements on a case-by-case basis (unless demonstrated that modifications would substantially alter essential elements of the course or program)
- Other accommodations as appropriate.
Under the provisions of Section 504, CSUB may not:
- Inquire about any disability before admitting a student, unless it is trying to overcome the effects of prior limitations on enrollment of students with disabilities, and the student is willing to volunteer the information
- Limit the number of students with disabilities admitted
- Exclude a qualified student with a disability from any course of study
- Limit eligibility for financial assistance or otherwise discriminate in administering scholarships, fellowships, internships, or assistantships on the basis of a disability
- Counsel a student with a disability toward a more restrictive career
- Measure student achievement using modes that adversely discriminate against a student with a disability
- Establish rules and policies that may adversely affect students with disabilities.