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Pathways to Academic Success
(Disability Support Services)

Polly Mayer, Coordinator
Pathways to Academic Success (DSS)
(510) 436-1394

Statement of Commitment

Holy Names University is committed to creating a diverse community that includes students with documented disabilities - including mobility, visual, hearing, medical, psychological or learning disabilities.

While HNU offers no academic programs designed exclusively for individuals with disabilities, HNU is committed to providing support and accommodations to all students who have need and are legally entitled to them.

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Statement on Success

Holy Names University is committed to helping you succeed academically and personally. Our commitment to your success includes promoting personal responsibility and encouraging you to expand your talents and abilities. We expect that you will take responsibility for your academic success and that you will seek opportunities for greater independence and self-advocacy.

To do this, we can best assist you through a partnership based on mutual responsibility and clear communication. This involves maintaining ongoing communication with the Coordinator of Disability Services, faculty members, and other staff regarding your need for accommodations and special services. Finally, we will make every attempt to work with you in a timely manner to identify and pursue appropriate accommodations that address your needs.

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Registering with DSS and Requesting Accommodations

Disclosing a disability and requesting accommodations are personal decisions. Holy Names University does not require a student to disclose disability status, but any student who wishes to request accommodations or special services must do so. Below you will find information on steps to take and what will happen once you are registered with DSS. Schedule a meeting with Polly Mayer, Coordinator of Pathways to Academic Success/Disability Support Services (dss@hnu.edu), to discuss your needs and what prior support (either in High School or at another college) has been helpful to you. Depending on the status of your documentation, this may serve as your official intake for registering with Disability Support Services (DSS) or you may need to schedule another meeting for that purpose. Submit documentation of the disability, if you haven't already. Documentation must be:

  • Current and specific
  • Provided by a qualified professional (who is not a family member)
  • Substantiate the disability and provide evidence to support the need for accommodation

Eligibility for accommodations is determined on an individual basis and is dependent on the documentation submitted and the nature of the courses and/or materials, programs or services being accessed.

For academic accommodations: Once appropriate accommodations have been determined you will be provided with letters of accommodation which you will give to each of your instructors. Giving your accommodation letters to your instructors is your responsibility and serves as the official notification to faculty to provide the listed accommodations. Just as importantly though, the letters provide an opportunity for self-advocacy and communication with your faculty, who can best support you if they know how your specific disability impacts your ability to learn and complete academic tasks. At the beginning of each semester, you must notify DSS of your new course schedule and request new letters of accommodations.

If the accommodations for which a student is eligible are non-academic, the Coordinator will notify and work with the appropriate offices (such as the Office of Residence Life or Campus Services) to ensure that those accommodations or adjustments such as classroom re-location or accessible furniture, special housing assignments, relocation of meetings or services to accessible locations are made.

You should also know: If at any time you wish to modify the original accommodations, or seek additional accommodations, you should make an appointment with the Coordinator as soon as possible to explore your concerns. Consideration of additional accommodations may require the submission of updated or additional documentation.

Timely notification: In most cases, it takes two weeks to process accommodation requests after you have completed the registration process with Pathways to Academic Success (Disability Support Services). Accommodations are not extended retroactively.

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Appeal and Grievance Procedures

At any time a student may file an appeal related to their eligibility for or access to disability support services (including specific accommodations) through the following channels:

Students seeking adjustment or augmentation of their existing accommodations should do so by submitting a request in writing to the Coordinator of DSS. Additional documentation may be required.

Students who wish to appeal the Coordinator’s decision regarding his or her eligibility for DSS or for a particular accommodation would submit their appeal to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Students who wish to file a complaint regarding the provision (or lack of) accommodation by a faculty, staff, or other member of the University would also do so first in writing to the Coordinator of DSS, who will conduct a review and make a determination.

Students who believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of a disability, regardless of their status with DSS, should do so by following the university process outlined in the policy on discrimination.

The Coordinator of DSS does not review grade appeals. If a student believes they have received a grade in error because accommodations were not provided they should notify the Coordinator of DSS (see #3). Students wishing to appeal a grade should do so through the process outlined in the HNU catalog and information regarding outcome of a review of provision of accommodations will be provided by the Coordinator as part of the grade appeal review process.

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