When Are Accommodations Not Provided?

The University provides accommodations unless they fall under one of the following three categories.

Fundamental Alteration

If an accommodation reduces the academic standards of the University, its colleges, its departments, or its courses, the University will deny the accommodation and deem it unreasonable. Academic standards are essential for any student. Determination of a fundamental alteration is made by Accessibility Resource Center after discussion with faculty on the essential components of the course or major. Students with disabilities must acquire the same knowledge and skills as other students.

Undue Hardship

If an accommodation is impossible to administer, the accommodation is deemed unreasonable. An undue administrative burden occurs when the University does not have enough time to respond to the request, or when the accommodation would be impossible or unfeasible to administer. In every instance, the University reserves the right to offer other, equally effective accommodations. In twenty years of case law and findings under Section 504 and the ADA, the federal government has never allowed a post-secondary institution to claim undue financial hardship as a legitimate refusal to provide auxiliary aids or services.

Personal Service

If a request for an accommodation falls under the definition of a "personal service," the University is not responsible for providing the request. Personal services are those that a person with a disability must use, regardless of attendance at the University. In addition, personal services include those for which no correlation between the disability's functional limitation and program access can be established. For instance, the University does not purchase wheelchairs or other assistive technologies used in every setting to compensate for a mobility disability. Other examples of personal services include independent living, mental health, rehabilitation, remediation, and homework assistance.

Appeals Processes

If the requested accommodation is denied, the student has several options to appeal the University’s decision:

  • The student can contact the ARC director and/or the department chair of the academic unit involved
  • The student can submit an appeal to the Provost/HSC designee using UNM Policy 2310, Exhibit A, Reasonable Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, Appeal Rights Procedures
  • The student can also submit a discrimination claim to the UNM Office of Equal Opportunity

Grade Appeals

Upon receipt of a grade appeal from a student which asserts a failure to accommodate, the academic unit can request guidance from ARC and/or OEO to verify whether a failure to accommodate occurred.

If it is determined that a failure to accommodate occurred, the academic unit shall take such fact into consideration to equitably resolve the grade appeal. Further, the student may simultaneously pursue a claim with the UNM Office of Equal Opportunity.