General policy

What is a disability?

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a person with a disability is one who:

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

Major life activities include, but are not limited to, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself, and performing manual tasks.

These impairments may be present among people with learning disabilities, emotional disturbances, chronic health impairments, attention deficit disorder, diabetes, asthma, physical disabilities, vision, speech, or hearing impairments, or other conditions.

When does an illness or temporary physical problem become a disability?

Each case is considered individually, but generally, a chronic health condition that fits the above definition would be considered for disability status. Physical problems expected to last more than five weeks may be considered disabilities. Correctable disabilities may or may not be covered under ADA. Regardless, the question is whether or not an impairment, even with corrective devices or medication, substantially limits a major life activity.

Reasonable accommodations

Saint Martin's University is committed to the moral and ethical responsibilities that come with providing everyone the opportunity to be successful. The University also recognizes its responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified students with disabilities under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). All requests for accommodations are evaluated on an individual basis. If you think you are eligible to receive accommodations, please email Office of Disability Support Services.

Documentation (go to forms)

It is the responsibility of students with disabilities to seek available assistance at the university and to make their needs known. The Office of Disability Support Services coordinator will ask for documentation to verify the disability and will assist in providing appropriate services. The student must provide the university with medical or other diagnostic documentation that confirms his/her disability, functional limitation, and specific recommendations for accommodations and/or other services. Specific guidelines for verifying a disability can be obtained through the disability support services office. All medical records and documentation will be kept in a confidential file.

General procedure

The first step for getting started includes scheduling an appointment with the Disability Support Services coordinator. At this initial interview, the student will sign the appropriate university release forms and the student will be provided with policy information on his/her responsibilities for receiving services. Students need to consult with the coordinator of Disability Support Services each semester on their class schedules, timelines, and process for securing agreed upon services. We also encourage students to make appointments with their new faculty each semester to specifically outline their learning needs.


Should a student have concerns about his or her rights as a qualified student with a disability, he or she is encouraged to resolve concerns relating to the provisions of reasonable accommodations by first contacting the Office of Disability Support Services.

If a complaint relates to the Office of Disability Support Services, the grievance should be submitted to the University's dean of student services. It is in everyone's best interest that questions over reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities be settled as quickly and informally as possible.