DFA Board letter to Provost Hexter re: Student Disability Center and exam accommodations
The DFA Board sent the following letter to Provost Hexter to express concerns raised by some of our members:
July 11, 2013
Provost Ralph J. Hexter
Mrak Hall, Fifth Floor
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
Dear Provost Hexter:
We write to bring to your attention a practical issue regarding the accommodation of students with special needs for examinations. It is
becoming increasingly burdensome for the faculty to satisfy these requirements. In some cases, the student must be given five hours in a room without other students. During the quarter, at mid-term time, the problem is particularly acute because some Departments are starved of space and cannot find suitable rooms. The Student Disability Center (SDC) states that they cannot help in locating space – the burden currently falls entirely on the faculty, according to the SDC.
However, an amended regulation of the Davis Division of the Senate (538H) states in part:
“The instructor has a legal obligation to provide recommended academic accommodations, unless the instructor can demonstrate that the accommodations will fundamentally alter the nature of the academic demands made of the student, or decrease the standards and types of academic performance. It is the responsibility of the University to provide recommended physical accommodations. No accommodation shall require facilities or personnel that can be demonstrated to result in undue financial and administrative burdens to the University. The instructor should consult with the student and the SDC if there are any questions or concerns.”
The phrase “academic accommodations” is pertinent. According to this statement, it is not incumbent upon the faculty to identify space or personnel to monitor examinations; it is required of the University, not the instructor.
Will the University, via the SDC, identify suitable space and proctors for mid-term and final examinations? Resolution of the problem may require funding to augment the staffing at SDC – the funds would be well spent in helping to relieve the faculty of an increasingly onerous task.
We look forward to your clarification of our procedures.
Scott Shershow, Chair
on behalf of Davis Faculty Association board
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