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Students with Disabilities

Erikson Institute is committed to complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Students with disabilities

Erikson Institute is committed to complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 508, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, which states: “No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States … shall, solely on the basis of disability, be denied access to, or the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity provided by any institution receiving federal financial assistance.” Erikson will also comply with other federal, state, and local laws regarding accommodation of persons with disabilities.

Erikson will neither discriminate against, nor decline to reasonably accommodate, a qualified student or staff member with a disability.

Accessibility of campus facilities

Erikson Institute’s campus is housed in a newer facility, completed in August 2008. The campus was designed to meet the stringent ADA and Illinois requirements for accessibility by persons with disabilities in effect at the time of the building’s completion. The space was designed to comply with the following laws and guidelines:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as updated through 2004;
  • Illinois Accessibility Code (IAC) of 1997;
  • International Code Council/ANSI A117.1-2003, Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities (as referenced and amended by City of Chicago Building Code Chapter 18-11); and
  • City of Chicago Building Code 2007, specifically Chapter 18-11.

As such, the entire campus is fully accessible to persons with disabilities.

  • The entrance to the ground floor, which is at street level, includes an ADA standard manual door that opens automatically at the push of a button
  • The three upper floors are served by elevators
  • All bathrooms are equipped with ADA standard stalls in two designs
  • Sinks and water fountains are at appropriate heights for persons in wheelchairs
  • Hallways are wide and uncluttered
  • Wayfinding signage is at an appropriate height for persons using wheelchairs and available in Braille for persons with visual impairment
  • Classrooms, seminar rooms, and hallways are equipped with strobe lights to alert persons with hearing impairment of an emergency
  • Each floor has an area of rescue assistance for people who are unable to exit by stairs in an emergency
  • ADA-accessible parking is available within two blocks of our front entrance

Director of Disability Services

Erikson’s director of disability services is responsible for serving the needs of students with disabilities. Contact the director, Stripe Gandara, at 312-755-2250 or via email, or visit her in office 216 at the rear of the library on the second floor of the building.

Notice of the availability of services for students with disabilities

The director of disability services contacts all students approximately one month prior to the beginning of the fall semester, reminding them of the availability of services and encouraging students with disabilities to set up an appointment to review their eligibility for accommodations. In addition, each course syllabus includes a prominent statement for students with disabilities. The director meets with faculty, enrollment management, the Director of Student Affairs, IT, as well as distance learning and library staff to make appropriate arrangements for students with disabilities who are approved for accommodations. Faculty are encouraged to recommend to any student who self-identifies as needing an accommodation to contact the director. Faculty are also encouraged to talk with students about their observations if they are concerned about the possibility that the student may have a disability.

During the orientation to the comprehensive examination, students with a disability are reminded by faculty to request accommodations no later than the deadline for registration. Policies and procedures for obtaining services are included in the student handbook, which is posted on the Erikson portal, as well as the public website.

Procedure for applying for accommodation

Any student with a disability wishing to request an accommodation should begin the process as early as possible by contacting the director of disability services to arrange a meeting. New students should initiate the process if possible before the beginning of classes or early in the semester. It may take several weeks to process a request for accommodation depending on the nature of the disability. Students seeking accommodation for the comprehensive examination should apply no later than the registration deadline for the exam. Requests for accommodation will be considered on a case-by-case basis through an interactive process between the student and the director of disability services. What constitutes a “disability” or a “reasonable accommodation” may vary from individual to individual.

The Institute requires appropriate documentation of the disability and of the need for the requested accommodation. The director will provide guidelines for appropriate documentation. In most cases, such documentation and/or assessments should be no more than three years old. In rare cases, additional documentation or second opinions may be requested. Students who already have documentation should send it to the director of disability services at the time they make the accommodation request. Referrals to diagnosticians may be obtained from the director of disability services. The documentation should be original, signed, and on official letterhead from a licensed or certified professional who specializes in the area of the student’s disability. The documentation must address:

  • Identification of the specific disability and functional limitation(s)
  • Prognosis (permanent or temporary and, if temporary, the anticipated duration)
  • Recommendations for specific accommodations.

Once the appropriate documentation is received, the director, in confidential consultation with outside professionals or faculty if necessary, will review the documentation to clarify the existence and extent of the disability and the reasonableness of the requested accommodation. The student and the director will then meet and process together to determine appropriate accommodations. If modifications to the curriculum or academic matters are at issue, faculty may also become involved in these discussions.

Students who receive an accommodation for Erikson courses will be provided with a letter explaining all approved accommodations. It is the responsibility of the student to forward the letter to each instructor as soon as possible after receiving it. The letter does not disclose information about the nature of the student’s disability. That information is kept confidential unless there is a necessity for disclosure for the purposes of academic or internship planning, in which case the student will be fully informed, and their consent obtained. Another exception to confidentiality is in the case of an emergency where the student needs immediate intervention. The student and the director will maintain contact as appropriate for ongoing efforts to accommodate the student.

Grievance procedure

In rare instances, the Institute may not grant a student’s request for the accommodation. If a student believes that she or he has been discriminated against or denied a reasonable accommodation in violation of this policy, the student may file a written appeal, setting forth the circumstances of the grievance, to the senior vice president for academic affairs/dean of faculty, who will investigate the matter and resolve the appeal at his or her sole discretion.

A written appeal should be made within 45 days of notice of denial of the accommodation request. The student may request a conference with the dean, or the dean’s designee, to discuss the appeal. The student may be assisted during such a conference by an appropriate professional with knowledge of the student’s disability, functional limitation(s), and/or the availability of appropriate accommodations. The dean will provide the student with a written copy of her/his determination within 45 days of the date of receipt of the written appeal.