The Catholic University of America

ADA Guidelines

Self-Audit Checklist

 

I. Introduction

 

This checklist is designed to assist academic departments and schools in performing a self-audit to ensure compliance with the legal regulations of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (504). In essence, the two laws impose a requirement that the university not exclude, on the basis of disability, a qualified individual with a disability from participation in, or deny the individual the benefits of the services, programs or activities offered by the university. This document does not address physical/architectural aspects of ADA/504 compliance, nor does it address any aspects of ADA/504 compliance regarding employment or public accommodations. The focus of this self-audit checklist is on eligibility criteria for students; modifications of policies, practices and procedures that might prevent full program participation by students with disabilities; auxiliary aids and services, and modifications where necessary to examinations and course work.

 

How to Use this Checklist

 

While the university has an Office of Disability Support Services and an overall ADA Coordinator, deans and department chairs need to have some familiarity with the ADA and 504 and what proactive measures are being taken by the university to ensure that the law is being followed in their specific school or department. This checklist is intended to guide the school or department to identify and make the changes necessary to achieve compliance with disability law. Some of the questions on the checklist may not apply to your specific school or department, and conversely, the checklist may have omitted questions that are germane.

Depending on the size of the school or department, it may be appropriate to have the audit completed by a team that includes a staff person, faculty and students. Participation in the audit by persons with disabilities is desirable. To facilitate the review of the self-audit responses to checklist questions that require a review of written materials, those responses should include a copy of the written materials. Similarly, checklist questions that involve interpersonal contact, such as recruitment or advising, should be documented in the form of written examples. The review of the audit will be done by the team members, chair, dean and the Office of General Counsel.

The checklist questions are designed to assist an academic unit in assessing compliance. There is not necessarily a clear "right" or "wrong" answer on every disability compliance issue. Questions about ADA/504 compliance should be addressed to the university's Office of General Counsel, Office of Equal Opportunity, or Office of Disability Support Services.

The Office of General Counsel can assist the self-audit team in completing the checklist and will review the work of the self-audit team. If the audit shows problem areas, timetables and goals will be set up for achieving compliance. Follow up to the audit should be performed on an annual basis, with an assessment of how problem areas have been addressed. When goals or timetables have been met, a note should be sent to the ADA Coordinator advising that compliance in that area has been achieved. Unique and creative solutions to problems should also be shared with the ADA Coordinator and with the Office of Disability Support Services.

 

University ADA Resources

 

The General Counsel has primary responsibility for the legal affairs of the university. The General Counsel acts as general attorney for the university in all matters in which the university is a party. In terms of ADA/504 compliance, the focus of the Office of General Counsel is on the legal requirements of the ADA and 504, and interpretation of whether a particular fact situation creates a compliance issue. The General Counsel also advises on complaints alleging non-compliance with the ADA. The phone number for the Office of General Counsel is extension 5142 and either Sarah Phelps, the General Counsel, or Peg O'Donnell, the Associate General Counsel.can advise on ADA questions.

The Equal Opportunity Officer is the university's official ADA Coordinator. The ADA Coordinator has overall responsibility for assisting the university in meeting the requirements of the ADA and 504.

Please contact Christine Sportes, the EO Officer, at 5050 with any question.

 

The Office of Disability Support Services is focused on delivering support and helping arrange reasonable modifications and providing auxiliary aids and services to students. Questions should be addressed to Emily Lucio, Director of the Office of Disablity Support Services at extension 5211 or Laura Cutway, the Learning Disability Coordinator.

 

Some Important Definitions

 

Disability means, with respect to an individual, a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment. An example of "being regarded as having an impairment" would be a person who is perceived as having AIDS, even though they do not actually have AIDS. The ADA prevents discrimination on the basis of that misperception (28 CFR 35.104), but does not require a reasonable accommodation if there is in fact no disability. An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.

 

A qualified student with a disability means an individual who, with reasonable modifications if necessary, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of the services or the participation in programs or activities provided by a university.

 






updated mlo 6-24-10