Student Disability Services

SP 4-120b

APPROVED: September 23, 2016
EFFECTIVE: September 23, 2016

REFERENCE: Board Policy (BP) 4-120 Prohibition of Discrimination or Harassment, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended by ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008, the Federal Housing Act (FHA)


/ Nancy J. McCallin /
Nancy J. McCallin, Ph.D.
System President


This procedure applies to the Community Colleges within the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) and the System Office.


Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended by ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008, protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination by programs receiving federal financial assistance. Further, the Federal Housing Act (FHA) of 1968 mandates that college and university housing be provided to students with disabilities in a non-discriminatory manner. Under these laws and guidelines, the Colleges and the System Office are obligated to ensure all programs are accessible to qualified students with disabilities.


A qualified student with a disability is one who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; who has a history or record of such an impairment; or who is perceived by others as having such an impairment; and who meets the academic and technical standards requisite for admission or participation in the Colleges’ educational programs or other activities. “Major life activities” include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.

The determination of whether a student’s disability substantially limits major life activities shall be made without regard to the effects of mitigating measures (such as medication or hearing aids), with the exception of ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Service animals are defined as dogs (or miniature horses) that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include, but are not limited to the following: guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties.

Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a service animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under this procedure.

An emotional support animal is defined as a companion animal which provides therapeutic benefit, such as alleviating or mitigating some symptoms of a disability, to an individual with a documented disability. Emotional support animals are typically dogs and cats, but may include other animals.

Unlike service animals, emotional support animals may be restricted from places of public accommodation. Individuals wishing to utilize emotional support animals while residing on campus must provide appropriate documentation and register the animal’s presence in the same manner as any other disability accommodation.


Rights of Students with Disabilities

The Colleges shall adopt procedures to provide qualified students with disabilities with appropriate academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services that are necessary to afford the student an equal opportunity to participate in the Colleges’ programs. The Colleges and System Office are not required to make adjustments or provide aids or services that would result in a fundamental alteration of those programs or impose an undue burden.

The College shall ensure that individualized determinations are made regarding appropriate academic adjustments for each individual student with a disability. Students who are dissatisfied with the application of this procedure may file a grievance with the College under SP 4-31 (Student Grievance Procedure). Students who believe they have been harassed or discriminated against based upon their disability may file a complaint with the College under SP 4-31a (Civil Rights Grievance and Investigation Process).

Responsibilities of Students with Disabilities

The Colleges shall adopt procedures by which a qualified student with a disability may provide the required documentation of their disability and supporting the need for an academic adjustment. The documentation should identify how the student’s ability to function is limited as a result of their disability. This documentation requirement shall not apply to students utilizing a service animal.

The primary purpose of this documentation is to establish a disability in order to help the College work interactively with the student to identify appropriate services. The Colleges may establish their own reasonable requirements for such documentation. The Colleges are not required to conduct or pay for an evaluation to document a student’s disability and need for an academic adjustment; such evaluations must be conducted at the student’s own expense.

Documentation required by the College must not be overly burdensome nor require extensive analysis to establish the disability.

Temporary Medical Conditions

Each College shall adopt procedures to ensure those students with temporary medical conditions are granted accommodations. Examples of such medical conditions include, but are not limited to, broken bones, in-patient surgery, and pregnancy related medical conditions. The College is obligated to excuse absences and allow for the makeup of work missed due to pregnancy, whether or not policy allows for this in other cases.

Students with temporary medical conditions have the responsibility to notify the college of their status, and may only be granted accommodations for as long as they are medically necessary. Documentation must be provided to the College under the same procedure used for other disabilities.

Service and Support Animals

Each College shall adopt procedures to address the use of service and emotional support animals by individuals while on campus. These procedures shall, at a minimum, specify the following:

  1. Service animals are allowed in any location on campus otherwise accessible to the individual. Locations in which food is prepared or sold must allow service animals even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises. Service animals may not be excluded from any area of campus unless:
    • the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it; or
    • the dog is not housebroken.

When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, the individual with the disability must be given the opportunity to acquire educational services without the animal’s presence.

  1. In cases where it is unclear what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions:
    • Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
    • What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Staff members are not permitted to ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, and/or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

  1. Service animals must remain under the control of student at all times.
  1. Emotional support animals are subject to the same documentation and approval procedures as other disability accommodations. A student may be able to have an emotional support animal in the residence halls as a reasonable accommodation if:
    • the student has a verifiable disability; and
    • the animal is necessary to afford the student with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling; and
    • there is an identifiable relationship or nexus between the disability and the support the animal provides.
  1. Emotional support animals may be restricted to housing areas. They may not be allowed to enter classrooms, recreational facilities, or other campus buildings. Requests for accommodations beyond residential areas will be assessed on a case by case basis by the College.
  1. The presence of service animals and/or emotional support animals may be subject to other limitations as specified by law. For example, if the animal’s presence in any specific area would:
    • fundamentally alter College operations (including the operations of the residence halls);
    • pose an undue financial or administrative burden to the College; and/or
    • represent a threat to the health or safety of others.

Interpretation and Revision

CCCS reserves the right to change any provision or requirement of this procedure at any time and the change shall become effective immediately.