Course Accommodation Petition Policy
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777 Elsbree Street
Fall River, MA 02720
Mon - Fri: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
All students, including those with disabilities, are expected to complete all academic/degree requirements necessary for graduation at Bristol Community College (Bristol). In accordance with the ADAAA (Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, Bristol must provide reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. However, the college may not provide accommodations that would fundamentally alter the degree requirements of a particular program. Therefore, the college must carefully evaluate each request for a course substitution/waiver to ensure that such will not result in a fundamental alteration of a degree requirement.
Criteria to be Considered by Disability Petition Committee
The following criteria are considered when evaluating a course waiver/substitution:
A. Summary documentation of disability with description of the extent of educationally related functional limitations in the academic area under discussion.
B. Evidence of the student’s good-faith effort to meet the graduation requirement including:
1. consistent and persistent effort in attempting course work;
2. regular attendance and completion of all assignments;
3. use of all appropriate and available services;
4. use of all appropriate and available academic accommodations.
C. Evidence that the student is otherwise qualified by demonstrated success in completing course work in all other areas required for the degree.
D. Student’s explanation of how the requested course modification fulfills the intended requirement.
E. Evidence that the course in question is not essential to the student’s course of
The Committee will review all evidence presented by the student and will confer with other college personnel as necessary. The decision of the committee will be conveyed to the student by the Learning Specialist and formalized in writing by a letter mailed to the student and the student’s Learning Specialist from the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs or his/her designee.
Before applying for a course substitution/waiver, students with documented disabilities must follow the required steps:
1. Consistent and persistent effort in attempting to meet the requirement, including at least one attempt to complete the required course or its prerequisite, using recommended academic accommodations such as: tutorial services, note takers, auxiliary aids, testing accommodations, and taking a self-paced course when possible. These steps must be taken except in those cases where the Office of Disability Services (ODS) verifies that the disability in the subject area is so severe that safety issues or other issues may be involved that prevent this requirement from taking place.
2. The following are alternatives to the completion of the required course:
a. Substitution of another course or other appropriate modification. Substitution of course is permissible only if the course in question is not essential to the student’s course of study and the student has no reasonable chance of successfully completing the required course with all of the recommended accommodations.
b. Course waiver. This will be considered only when there is evidence that the student's met the above requirements stated in point (1) by attempting and substituting and there are no viable alternatives.
In all cases, (except as noted in number one in the previous column) the student must demonstrate that he or she has taken advantage of all support services available to all students (e.g., tutorial services, supplemental instruction, note taker services, auxiliary aids, testing accommodations) and that the reason for unsuccessful completion is not due to poor attendance or failure to complete class assignments or examinations. When attempting to complete the required course, the student must demonstrate that he or she has remained in the class for at least 3/4 of the term.
3. The student must meet with his/her Office of Disability Services (ODS) Learning Specialist (LS) to discuss the request. If he/she decides to move forward with the request, a petition application must be completed and submitted to the LS. The petition must explain the reasons for the request and must be accompanied by the following:
a. Current documentation (if this is not already on file with the ODS).
b. Documentation of student’s academic record and requirements for graduation (such as a transcript).
c. Evidence of the use of all appropriate and available services and academic accommodations
Note: student may request assistance of LS to obtain information requested in point
Upon receipt of a request for a course substitution/waiver and supporting documentation, the L Swill forward the request to the chair of the Disability Petition Committee (DPC). The committee will consist of an ODS representative, the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs or his/her designee, the department chair of the course in question, the director of the student’s degree program, and any other college professional deemed appropriate by the DPC.