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Accessibility Services Office: Register for Special Housing Accommodations

General Information

Iona College provides reasonable housing accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended in 2008, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1978, and the Fair Housing Act to ensure equal access and enjoyment of all Residential Life programs, activities, and facilities. The College is committed to ensuring equal access and fostering an inclusive environment which does not discriminate against persons with disabilities. This policy derives from the College’s commitment to non-discrimination for all persons, access to facilities, student programs, activities, and services.

The Accessibility Services Office (ASO) is responsible for evaluating requests from students with disabilities who are in need of reasonable housing accommodations at Iona. In evaluating the request, the ASO staff will determine whether the requested accommodation is necessary and reasonable.

  • Determining a Disability

    An impairment as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Actis a disability which substantially limits one or more major life activity. Factors to be considered are:

    • Its nature and severity
    • Its duration – how long it will last or is expected to last
    • Its permanent/long term or expected impact

    A major life activity is an activity that the average person can perform with little or no difficulty. Examples are walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, caring for oneself, sitting, standing, lifting. Factors to be considered are:

    • What is the specific barrier to access?
    • How does the barrier impact functioning?
    • Is the accommodation request reasonable and appropriate?
  • Applying for Accommodations

    1. Student reads information on Determining Reasonable Housing Requests and Documentation Guidelines listed on this page.
    2. The student completes a Request for Special Housing Accommodation form. To access this form, log in to your student account and choose PeopleSoft > Self Service > Electronic Forms > Accessibility Services Forms > Petition for Reasonable Housing Accommodations.
    3. The student completes a Medical Provider Questionnaire (except if the disability is obvious) which must be completed by the treating professional with the credentials to assess the disability.
    4. After reviewing the submitted information, the ASO staff invites the student to meet to discuss eligibility and individual accommodations.
    5. Once a decision is made about the appropriate housing accommodations, the ASO notifies the Office of Residential Life so that they can finalize the implementation process.

    Please Note: The process may take several weeks.

    The deadline for submitting completed applications for current Iona College students is February 15 for the following academic year. This deadline allows the Accessibility Services staff adequate time to review requests prior to the complex lottery process, which begins in March.

    Entering students who have submitted their deposit to Iona, should submit all necessary documentation no later than June 15 for the fall semester.

    Should a need for housing accommodation arise beyond the above timelines, the student should follow the general Request for Special Housing Accommodation application process. The Accessibility Services staff will review post-deadline requests and the college will make every attempt to implement approved accommodations based on current availability. Please note that availability for certain types of accommodations may be limited at later points in the year.

  • Determining Reasonable Housing Accommodations

    The determination of reasonable housing accommodation is made on a case-by-case basis, and involves student report and all information relevant to the documented functional limitations caused by the disability. Reasonable accommodations are not granted solely based on the recommendations of medical providers. Therefore, statements or recommendations from a treating physician or medical provider should not be interpreted as automatic approval of a specific housing accommodation or room assignment.

    There is generally at least one meeting between the student and the ASO staff so as to get a clear picture of the disability and overall associating barriers. It also allows the staff and student to review the supportive documentation together and adjust the accommodations as needed.

    The ASO considers requests for accommodations based solely on the impact of the student’s documented disability, not preferred building, suite or roommates. Requests for particular housing assignments or living environments based on a student’s preference, rather than need, is not considered reasonable, and will not be approved.

    Single rooms represent a small portion of available housing options and are reserved for individuals with documented and substantiated needs, and for whom a standard housing assignment with a roommate is not viable. Single rooms are also not guarantees of an allergen-free environment. A single room will not prevent a student from having to interact and negotiate living arrangements with other students, such as alone time, sleep patterns, and study schedules. By virtue of the shared facilities, resources, and number of persons sharing a common space in the residence halls, a single room will not necessarily provider a quieter, more distraction-free space than a standard shared room. For example, a student with ADHD or anxiety who is seeking a single room to serve as a quiet, undisturbed place to study or sleep, represents a preference, not a necessity.

    In considering accommodation requests, it is often necessary for the ASO to consult with The Office of Residential Life prior to determining a reasonable and necessary accommodation. Depending on the type of request, other parties may need to be consulted and/or notified, including but not limited to, Counseling Services, Facilities, Campus Safety and Security, and Dining Services.

    A request for accommodation is considered NOT reasonable if:

    • the condition does not meet the standard of a disability (see Determining a Disability)
    • the requested accommodation will not mitigate the disability
    • the requested accommodation is not reasonable and/or necessary
    • poses an undue financial and/or administrative burden on the institution
    • the accommodation would fundamentally alter the nature of the college’s operations
    • the accommodation poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others
    • the accommodation would cause substantial property damage to the property of others, including, but not limited to, college property.
    • the application and supportive documentation was submitted after the deadline (see Applying for Accommodations)
  • Documentation Guidelines

    If the disability and need for the accommodation are not obvious, the ASO will require the student to complete the Medical Provider Questionnaire and provide information from a reliable third party who can verify that the individual has a disability, and that the requested accommodation is reasonable and necessary, in order for the student to use and enjoy college housing.

    A reliable third party is someone who is familiar with the individual’s disability and the need for the requested accommodation. A reliable third-party includes, someone who provides medical care, therapy or counseling to persons with disabilities, including, but not limited to, doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, psychiatrists, psychologists, or social workers.

    In cases where a student submits only a partial application, or insufficient or unclear documentation, the student will be notified in writing within ten (10) business days. Failure to submit the appropriate documentation will delay the process.

    • a) Students who submit all the necessary documentation are contacted within ten (10) business days and invited for an in-person meeting with an ASO staff. The meeting allows the student an opportunity to describe the impact of their disability and for the ASO staff to gather additional information that will assist in the decision-making process. If the documentation and information shared during the interactive process is clear, and substantiates the need for the requested accommodation, the student will be informed during the meeting. Within seven (7) business days of the meeting, the student and the Office of Residential Life will be contacted in writing of the decision. The student will need to contact the Office of Residential Life for specific information on the implementation of the accommodation.
    • b) Students who do not provide sufficient information before, during, or after the interactive process, will be informed of the insufficiency in writing within seven (7) business days. in order for the ASO to determine whether an accommodation is necessary, the ASO staff will inform the student of this during the meeting. The student will also receive written confirmation, within seven (7) business days, of the insufficiency. The ASO staff will explain whether additional information is needed from the student, medical provider, or both.

    It is important that the student cooperate with the ASO in a timely manner in providing the requested information needed to determine whether the requested accommodation is necessary and reasonable. Should the student decide to adjust their requested accommodation based on information shared during the meeting, they will be required submit an adjusted request via email to the ASO.

  • When a Request is Denied

    If the documentation and information provided by the student do not establish that the condition meets the definition of a disability as defined by the ADAA, the requested accommodation will be denied, with explanation. The student will receive written explanation of the decision as well as instructions on how to appeal the decision.

    If the ASO staff determines that the student has a disability, but the requested accommodations are not reasonable and/or necessary, and the student is unwilling to accept any suggested alternative accommodation, the ASO will provide written notification to the student within ten (10) business days. The student will also be provided with reasons for the denial, the right to appeal the decision, and the procedures for appealing the decision.

    In cases where a student’s request for accommodations is submitted after the deadline, the ASO will contact the Office of Residential Life to inquire about availability. The Office of Residential Life will make every effort to accommodate students who are in need of special housing, however this may not always be possible.

  • Confidentiality and Recordkeeping

    In processing requests for reasonable accommodations, the ASO will take all steps required by federal, state, and/or local law to protect the confidentiality of any information or documentation disclosed in connection with the requests. Information regarding the request will be shared on as-needed bases and only to those who are involved in the determination and implementation of accommodations.
     

    For further information, or to schedule a meeting with an ASO staff, please contact:
     
    Emily Brechtel
    Coordinator of Accessibility Services
    (914) 633-2616
    EBrechtel@Iona.edu
     
    Daneshea Palmer
    Director of Student Access
    (914) 637-2774  
    DPalmer@Iona.edu