Disability Services

The Office of Disability Services recognizes disability as a valued aspect of diversity and embraces access as an opportunity for hospitality, equity, and social justice. We work to ensure inclusive and sustainable learning and engagement through universally designed environments and to facilitate access, discourse, collaboration, training, and innovative programming.

Hardin-Simmons University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or genetic information in its programs and activities. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, its amendments in 2008, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, no qualified person will be denied access to, participation in, or the benefits of any program or activity operated by the University because of a disability.

HSU recognizes a student with a disability as anyone who has:

  • a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity,
  • has a record or history of such an impairment, or
  • is regarded as having such an impairment.

Contact Disability Services Office

Apply For Services

  1. Submit an application. Accepted HSU students may request disability services by submitting this application to the Office of Disability Services.
  2. Submit supporting documentation. Current (within the past three years, or as an adult) and comprehensive documentation of the disability must be provided with the application. Information concerning a student’s disability is strictly confidential and handled in accordance with University policies as well as state and federal laws. Documentation presented to the Coordinator shall be reviewed to verify the existence of a disability. Hardin-Simmons University reserves the right to request any additional documentation considered reasonably necessary to determine appropriate and effective accommodations.
  3. Schedule an appointment. Once all of the necessary documents have been submitted, the student and the Coordinator shall begin the interactive process to create an access plan. The process may take place in person or via telephone, but is a required step in determining the best and most reasonable accommodations for the student. To schedule an appointment or ask any questions, please email disabilityservices@hsutx.edu.

Submit Letter of Accommodation Request. Eligible students seeking accommodations should submit the Letter of Accommodation Request as soon as possible in the academic term (preferably during the first two weeks of a long semester) for which they are seeking accommodations. A new request must be submitted at the beginning of each academic semester.

The Coordinator shall prepare letters to appropriate faculty members concerning specific, reasonable academic accommodations for the student. The Coordinator will contact the student when the letters are ready for pick-up.

The student is responsible for delivering accommodation letters and conferring with faculty members. The Coordinator shall consult with the student and with HSU faculty and staff to ensure delivery of appropriate support services and shall serve as a liaison between the student and the faculty member as needed.

The completed forms and supporting documentation may be submitted by any of the following channels:

Email: disabilityservices@hsutx.edu
Fax: 325-670-5862
Mail: HSU Box 16158, Abilene, TX, 79698

Delivered in person to:
Rachel King in the Sandefer Memorial Building, 1st floor

In the event of an injury, surgery, or other documented short-term disability, you may apply for reasonable accommodations using the Application for Temporary Disability Services.

Learn More about Disability Services

Services offered by the Disability Services Office:

  • Assistance in arranging course, classroom, and testing accommodations;
  • Assistance in working with instructors;
  • Campus accessibility and service/resource information;
  • Campus disability awareness education;
  • Sign Language Interpreter services;
  • Coordination of support programs and services with other campus departments;
  • Consultation, counseling, and assistance in resolving problems related to Disability needs;
  • Information regarding and referral to a variety of campus and community resources;
  • Information regarding student organizations, activities, and support groups;
  • Information on study skills, test taking strategies, time management, etc.;
  • Loaning of some assistive devices;
  • Other resources and support as needed.

Accommodations are tailored to the individual rather than the disability, and are based on information contained in each student’s documentation. So students with the same type of disability may receive different types of in-class accommodations.

Possible accommodations include, but are not limited to:

  • Additional time on work done in class and on tests, unless speed is the essential element being tested;
  • Alternative test location that provides a reduced distraction environment;
  • Priority seating;
  • Test reader;
  • Test scribe;
  • Books in electronic format;
  • A sign language interpreter;
  • Allowing students to use their own assistive devices for note-taking (such as tape recorders or laptop computer);
  • Other reasonable accommodations as needed.

The Disability Services Office is committed to ensuring that all information regarding a student is maintained as confidential as required or permitted by law. Information provided to the Disability Services Office is considered confidential and is not disclosed to a third party without the written permission of the student.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990

According to the ADA, an individual with a disability is defined as a person who: (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more life activities; (2) has a record of such impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such impairment. Major life activities include but are not limited to walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself, and performing manual tasks.

The ADA prohibits discrimination solely on the basis of disability in employment, public services, and accommodations. The person in consideration must be otherwise qualified for the job, program, or service.

The ADA details administrative requirements, complaint procedures, and the consequences for non-compliance related to both services and employment. The ADA requires provision of reasonable, effective accommodations for eligible students across educational activities and settings.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs, public and private, that receive federal financial assistance. Section 504 includes institutions regardless of whether they have open door, selective, or competitive admissions practices.

People with disabilities have the same legal remedies that are available under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended in 1991. Thus, individuals who are discriminated against may file a complaint with the relevant federal agency or sue in federal court. Enforcement agencies encourage informal mediation and voluntary compliance.

How these Laws Apply to Higher Education

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 were designed to ensure that colleges and universities are free from discrimination in their recruitment, admission, and treatment of students.

In the application of both laws, students with disabilities must be qualified to participate in University activities. A qualified student with a disability is one who meets the admission and essential eligibility requirements of a program or service, with or without:

  • modifications of rules, policies, or procedures;
  • removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers;
  • provision of auxiliary aids and services.

Individuals who pose a direct threat to their own health or safety or the health or safety of others will not be considered qualified.

The law requires higher education institutions to ensure that all programs, services, or facilities are accessible to or usable by persons with disabilities. The law does NOT require:

  • making each facility accessible if alternatives are effective;
  • a fundamental alteration of programs or services;
  • undue financial or administrative burden.

The University is under no obligation to change academic requirements which the University, programs, or majors can demonstrate are essential to the program of instruction or to any direct licensing requirement.

The University does not have to provide personal attendants, individually prescribed devices, readers for personal use or study, or other devices or services of a personal nature, such as tutoring or typing (United States Office of Civil Rights, July, 2002).

The institution must provide auxiliary aids to ensure the participation of students in college classes and activities and must accommodate the academic participation of qualified students with disabilities. The institution must NOT:

  • limit the number of students with disabilities admitted;
  • make pre-admission inquiries as to whether or not an applicant has a disability;
  • use admission tests or criteria that inadequately measure the academic level of visually impaired, hearing impaired, or otherwise disabled applicants because special provisions were not made for them;
  • exclude students with disabilities from any course of study solely on the basis of their disability;
  • counsel students with disabilities towards a more restrictive career than non-disabled students, unless such counsel is based on strict licensing or certification requirements in a profession;
  • measure student achievement using modes that adversely discriminate against students with disabilities;
  • institute prohibitive rules (such as the barring of tape recorders or other auxiliary aids) that may adversely affect the performance of students with disabilities;
  • select a site or a facility that would exclude participation of persons with disabilities.

The law does not require special treatment of students with disabilities, but does require that students be given the opportunity for equal participation in the University’s programs. This is done by providing to eligible and qualified students appropriate academic adjustments and auxiliary aids necessary to facilitate the students’ fullest possible participation in the University’s academic programs.

Admission to Hardin-Simmons University is based upon an applicant meeting the published admission criteria of the University with no preference provided on the basis of disability.

Students are notified of acceptance to Hardin-Simmons University by a letter from the Office of Admissions.

Students seeking admission to the various programs and majors offered at Hardin-Simmons must meet the admissions requirements for the particular program with no preferences provided on the basis of disability.

Requirements for entrance to, participation in, and completion of various majors and programs are available in the Undergraduate/Graduate catalog.

Program and course requirements will not be waived. However, reasonable in-class accommodations are provided as appropriate means for a student with a disability to be able to satisfy published requirements for a program.

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