Disabled Students Programs & Services at College of San Mateo - Student Resource Guide - Rights and Responsibilities
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Disabled Students Programs & Services (DSPS)

Student Resource Guide - Rights and Responsibilities

What are my rights as a student?


As a college student with a disability, you have the right to "reasonable accommodations" based upon your educational limitations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  Provisions of the law states that:  "No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States shall, solely by reason of disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or be subject to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

Colleges and universities receiving federal financial assistance must not discriminate in the recruitment, admission or treatment of students.  Students with documented disabilities may request accommodations, or auxiliary aids which will enable them to participate and benefit from all post secondary educational programs and activities.  Post secondary institutions must make such changes to ensure that the academic programs are accessible to the greatest extent possible by all students with disabilities.

Under the provision of Section 504, colleges and universities may not:
  • limit the number of students with disabilities admitted;
  • make pre-admission inquires as to whether or not an applicant is disabled;
  • use admission test or criteria that inadequately measures the academic qualifications of students with disabilities because special provisions were not made for them;
  • exclude a qualified student with a disability from any course of study;
  • limit eligibility to a student with a disability for financial assistance, or otherwise discriminate in administering scholarships, fellowships, internships, or assistant ships on the basis of disability;
  • counsel a student with a disability towards a more restrictive career;
  • measure student's achievement using modes that adversely discriminates against a student with a disability; or
  • establish rules and policies that may adversely affect students with disabilities.

What are my responsibilities as a student?

  • Students shall possess the ability to respond appropriately to questions, follow directions, and demonstrate the potential to benefit from college classes.
  • Students shall demonstrate appropriate adaptive/self help behavior.
  • Students receiving special services (interpreters, mobility assistance, testing accommodations, etc.) must notify Disabled Students Programs & Services (DSPS) of their absence prior to the time these special services have been scheduled to be delivered. For your convenience, messages may be left for DSPS staff at (650) 574-6438, 24 hours per day and on weekends.
  • Students shall make measurable progress toward the goals established in the Student's Educational Contract.
  • Every student must meet academic standards established by the college.
  • Students are to assume personal responsibility for taking any medication.
  • The individual students shall be responsible for the provision of personal attendant care.
  • Students shall comply with the Student Code of Conduct adopted by the college as written in the college catalog.
  • Students shall be responsible in their use of DSPS services.
Repeated absences, misuse of services, lack of measurable progress toward goals identified in the student education contract and/or inappropriate behavior as identified in the College's Student Code of Conduct may result in termination of services and/or instruction from DSP&S. A student seeking to appeal the termination of services should appeal to the Director, Student Support Services. If, after consulting with the Director, the student is still not satisfied, s/he may appeal to the Dean of Counseling.

Policy and Procedures for Providing Academic Adjustments for Students with Disabilities

Students with verified disabilities have the right to receive reasonable academic adjustments in order to create an educational environment where they have equal access to instruction. The District is thus responsible to make modifications to academic requirements and practices as necessary-without any fundamental alteration of academic standards, courses, educational programs or degrees-to ensure that it does not discriminate against qualified students with disabilities. The San Mateo County Community College District has a policy and procedure for responding to students with verified disabilities who request academic adjustments. This policy is based on federal and state legislation, which requires community college districts receiving funding to establish programmatic access as well as physical access to its academic offerings.

SMCCCD Academic Adjustments Policy

Grievance Procedures


The College is committed to the concept that the student should be free from unfair and improper action on the part of any member of the academic community.  If, at any time, a student feels that he/she has been subject to unjust actions, or denied his/her rights, redress can be sought through the filing of an appeal or grievance.  The complaint should be in writing and contain information about the alleged discrimination as outlined in the College Catalog.  Detailed information is provided in the College Catalog, which is available for review in College offices, DSPS and for purchase in the CSM Bookstore.  Alternative means of filing complaints (such as personal interviews or a tape recording of the complaint) and advocacy is available for students with disabilities upon request from DSPS.

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