The United States Congress passed the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the purpose of which is to protect the rights of people with disabilities. Section 504 of this law states “no otherwise qualified disabled individual in the United States...shall, solely by reason of disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program and activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
In 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) expanded to include any public or private institution and, thus, the rights of the people with disabilities; the law continues to influence services provided to those who would benefit.
In 1977, regulations for implementing the 504 legislation were put in place. Alfred State began a review of its facilities, programs, and services to ensure that any qualified student, regardless of disability, could participate in all aspects of campus life. The college president named an ADA/504 coordinator to oversee these activities and a committee on accessibility to assist in making the legislation a reality.
Amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) signed into law on Sept. 25, 2008, clarify and reiterate who is covered by the law’s civil rights protections. The “ADA Amendments Act of 2008” revises the definition of “disability” to more broadly encompass impairments that substantially limit a major life activity. The amended language also states that mitigating measures, including assistive devices, auxiliary aids, accommodations, medical therapies and supplies (other than eyeglasses and contact lenses) have no bearing in determining whether a disability qualifies under the law. Changes also clarify coverage of impairments that are episodic or in remission that substantially limit a major life activity when active, such as epilepsy or post traumatic stress disorder. The amendments took effect Jan. 1, 2009.
It is in the spirit of these federal mandates; the SUNY-wide policy, “We don’t discriminate on the basis of disability;” and of the college’s commitment to uphold them, that Alfred State welcomes students with disabilities into our campus community. The college is dedicated to providing an equal educational opportunity for all qualified students.
The college has further demonstrated its commitment to students with disabilities by designating an Office of Student Disability Services in the Student Success Center where students can access services and accommodations.