What constitutes a disability?
As defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Fair Housing Act, a disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Some major life activities referred to under the definition of disability in the ADAAA include: thinking, walking, sitting, seeing, hearing, standing, breathing, reaching, learning, speaking, concentrating, sleeping, performing manual tasks, working, lifting, caring for oneself, and interacting with others. Substantially limits indicates either an inability to perform the major life activity or a significant restriction “as to the condition, manner, or duration under which an individual can perform a particular major life activity as compared to the condition, manner, or duration under which the average person in the general population can perform the same major life activity.”
If you believe you have a short term condition that is substantially limiting (e.g., pregnancy, broken limbs, or short term impairments following surgery or other medical treatments), you may be eligible for temporary services through Student Accessibility Services (SAS).
Please note that SAS does not provide building-to-building transportation. Students are encouraged to use Panther Shuttle and the MET Transit System for transportation around the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area. Additional information on the Panther Shuttle can be found through the Department of Public Safety.
Students who are able to drive but require the ability to park closer to campus can contact Public Safety to obtain a temporary disability permit. Public Safety is located at 30 Gilchrist Hall. The location of accessible parking on campus can be found on the campus map through Public Safety.
Wheelchairs, crutches, or other personal medical devices are the responsibility of the student to obtain. SAS does not provide these services but can refer students to area agencies that may be able to provide such equipment.
Who can connect with Student Accessibility Services?
The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008 (ADAAA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Fair Housing Act, and other applicable federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. The ADAAA is a federal civil rights statute that supports the rights of individuals with disabilities to access employment, state and local government programs and services, and public services. It is the policy of UNI for students with disabilities to register with SAS to access these rights and to determine eligibility for accommodations. SAS takes into consideration the student’s personal narrative of their experience of barriers, past accommodation history, and supporting documentation related to their condition when making accommodation determinations.
The disability service model in higher education is very different from the one students (and parents) are accustomed to in K-12. Students’ self-advocacy responsibilities increase within postsecondary education due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Parents especially need to foster this change and encourage their students to empower themselves with the appropriate skills to be self-reliant. Responsibility for the postsecondary experience lies in the hands of the student.
UNI faculty are not expected to provide accommodations for students with disabilities without proper notification from SAS and the student. Students may initiate the accommodation process at any time. However, accommodations are not retroactive, and the registration process takes time. Therefore, SAS staff always recommends that students initiate the process as soon as possible rather than wait for academic and social-emotional responsibilities to become overly stressful and/or overwhelming.
Although accommodations can be requested at any time, it is strongly recommended that students complete their Accommodation Consultation appointments during the summer after they register for classes and prior to their first semester, or as early as possible.