Services for Students with Disabilities

The University of Michigan Commitment to Students with Disabilities

Effective February 28, 2011
PDF Version

It is the policy of the University of Michigan to maintain an academic and work environment free of discrimination and harassment for all students, faculty, and staff. Discrimination and harassment are contrary to the standards of the University community. They diminish individual dignity and impede educational opportunities, equal access to freedom of academic inquiry, and equal employment. Discrimination and harassment are barriers to fulfilling the University’s scholarly, research, educational, patient care, and service missions.

The University’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness extends to students with disabilities.   The University is committed to the academic success, personal development and general well-being of all students.


Nondiscrimination Policy Notice

The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the Senior Director for Institutional Equity, and Title IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator, Office of Institutional Equity, 2072 Administrative Services Building, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432, 734-763-0235, TTY 734-647-1388. For other University of Michigan information call 734-764-1817.


Disability Discrimination

Disability discrimination can occur whenever a qualified individual with a disability is denied the same equal opportunities afforded to other similarly situated individuals on the basis of his or her disability status.  Under applicable disability laws, an individual with a disability is a person who:

Temporary, non-chronic impairments that do not last for a long time and that have little or no long-term impact usually are not disabilities. The determination of whether an impairment is a disability is made on a case-by-case basis.

What is a “major life activity” under the law?

For an impairment to be considered a disability, it must substantially limit one or more major life activities. Examples of major life activities include walking, speaking, breathing, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, learning and caring for oneself.

What does “qualified” mean?

To be protected, a person must not only be an individual with a disability, but must be qualified. For students, a qualified individual with a disability is a person who, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies or practices; the removal of architectural, communication or transportation barriers; or the provision of auxiliary aids or services, meets the essential requirements for the receipt of services or participation in programs or activities provided by the University.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

For University students,
 a reasonable accommodation is a reasonable modification in University policies, practices, or procedures, when the modifications are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of a University service, program or activity. Examples of reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

  • note taking services
  • text conversion to alternative accessible formats
  • permission to audio tape university activities such as courses, lecturers and discussions
  • qualified interpreter services
  • adjusting time limits on tests
  • making facilities and/or programs readily accessible to and useable by individuals with disabilities.

When and how does the University provide reasonable accommodations?

The University is obligated to make a reasonable accommodation only to the known disability of an otherwise qualified  student. In general, it is the responsibility of the student to make the disability status and related need for an accommodation known to the appropriate University official. Students should request accommodations  for their disability through the appropriate disability services office on their campus.


Hostile Environment Disability Harassment

The University will not tolerate the creation or existence of an environment that is hostile on the basis of disability. Such a hostile environment is defined as harassing conduct (e.g., physical, verbal, graphic or written) related to disability that is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as (1) to interfere with or limit the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs and activities or (2) to unreasonably interfere with an individual’s work or academic performance by creating an objectively intimidating, hostile or offensive work or learning environment. Whether the harassing conduct is considered sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive so as to constitute harassment depends upon the context in which the behavior occurred.


Policy Prohibiting Retaliation

The University is committed to ensuring that its learning and working environments are free from all forms of discrimination and harassment. The University strictly prohibits and will not tolerate reprisals or retaliation against persons due to their assertion of their protected civil rights, including the filing of internal complaints of discrimination, filing complaints with Federal or State civil rights enforcement agencies, or participation in an investigation of such a complaint (e.g., serving as a witness). Individuals who believe they are experiencing this form of retaliation are strongly encouraged to contact the Office of Institutional Equity.

See Resources Section below for the appropriate office contact information.


Complaint Procedures

Students may have concerns related to their academic program, their employment status, their access to public accommodations, or their participation in University programs, services and events.  Similarly, students may have concerns regarding their treatment by faculty, staff members, administrators, other students or members of the public engaged in University programs, services and events.   Regardless of the source or context of the concern, students are encouraged to raise concerns when they become aware of them to increase the likelihood of a prompt and effective resolution.

A student who has questions or concerns regarding the University’s legal obligations under federal or state disability laws, who believes that the University is not meeting its legal obligations and responsibilities, or who believes that he/she has been discriminated against because of a disability should follow the following complaint procedure.   When an allegation is found to have merit, the University will take steps to prevent recurrence of the discrimination and to correct discriminatory effects on the complainant and others, as appropriate.

Each campus, academic unit, or business unit may have specific grievance procedures.  Please consult your campus disability services office for the grievance procedures on your campus:

The options outlined below are intended to provide general guidance to help students get their concerns addressed as early as possible.

Option 1:   Consult with a staff member in the campus disability services office or the campus ombudsperson.

Many concerns can be resolved effectively and informally when you bring them to the appropriate person’s attention in a timely manner.  A disability services staff member or the campus ombudsperson can assist you in identifying the best person or office to help you resolve your complaint.

Option 2: Consult  with the director of your campus disability services office.

The director of the disability services office on your campus should be made aware of your unresolved concerns/complaint when you are unable to get your issue resolved at the unit level.

Option 3: Consult with the University ADA/Section 504 Coordinator in the Office of Institutional Equity.

All formal complaints must be filed with the University ADA/Section 504 Coordinator.  The University ADA/Section 504 Coordinator is responsible for ensuring the University’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.   The ADA/Section 504 Coordinator conducts formal investigations of complaints of disability discrimination or harassment.  The ADA/Section 504 Coordinator also provides information and consultation to members of the University community regarding disability matters.  Information on how to file a complaint regarding discrimination or unlawful harassment and information regarding the investigative procedures used by the Office of Institutional Equity are available at their website.


False Allegations

Intentionally making false accusations can have a negative impact on the individuals involved and the community.   An individual who knowingly and intentionally files a false complaint under this policy is subject to discipline.


Campus Resources







Services for Students with Disabilities Office

G-664 Haven Hall
505 South State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1045

734-763-3000 (V)
734-936-3947 (Fax)

IM: SSDFrontDesk

Disability Resource Services (DRS) Program

2157 University Center
4901 Evergreen Rd, 2157 UC
Dearborn, MI 48128-1491

(313) 593-5430
(313) 593-3263 (Fax)


Accessibility Services Office

Student Development Center, Room 264
Room 264 UCEN University of Michigan-Flint
303 E. Kearsley, Flint, MI 48502

810-762-3456 (V)
810-762-3498 (Fax)
810-766-6727 (TTY)



Office of the Ombuds

6015 Fleming Administration Building
503 Thompson Street 
Ann Arbor, MI 48109–1340

734-763-3545 (V)


Ombuds Services

2106 University Center

313-593-5440 (V)
313-583-6328 (Fax)



Office of the Ombuds

237 University Pavilion

810-762-3434 (V)


Institutional Equity

Office of Institutional Equity

University Human Resources
2072 Administrative Services
1009 Greene Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432

734-763-0235 (V)
734-647-1388 (TTY)
734-936-8894 (Fax)

Institutional Equity Officer

Dearborn Human Resources
1020 Administration Building
Dearborn, MI 48128

313-593-5190 (V)


Office of Institutional Equity

University Human Resources
2072 Administrative Services
1009 Greene Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432

734-763-0235 (V) 

734-647-1388 (TTY) 

734-936-8894 (Fax)


General University Resources

University ADA/Section 504 Coordinator

Council for Disability Concerns

Campus Disability Resource Directory

Diversity Matters at Michigan

Campus Commitment

Office of Institutional Equity

Expect Respect Program

Mental Health Work Group

Ann Arbor Campus SSD Grievance Procedure:

Option  1:  Consult with individual SSD staff member

Option 2:  Consult with the Director of SSD

Option 3:  Consult with Assistant Dean of Students

Option 4:  Consult with or file formal complaint with University ADA/Section 504 Coordinator, 


Dearborn DRS Grievance Procedure:

Option 1:  Consult with individual DRS staff member

Option 2:  Consult with the Director of the Counseling and Support Services

Option 3:  Consult with Campus Institutional Equity Officer or the Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Life

Option 4:  Consult with or file formal complaint with University ADA/Section 504 Coordinator


Flint ASO Grievance Procedure:

Option 1:   Consult with ASO Staff Member

Option 2:  Consult with the Director of the Student Development Center

Option 3:   Consult with the Vice Chancellor for Student Life

Option 4:  Consult with or file formal complaint with University ADA/Section Coordinator