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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a “qualified student with a disability?

A. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states: No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States shall, solely by reason of disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Within this civil rights legislation, an individual with a disability is a person who has (1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) has a record of such an impairment, or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) interprets a qualified student with a disability at the elementary and secondary level to refer to a student with a disability who is "of an age at which students without disabilities are provided elementary and secondary educational services; of an age at which it is mandatory under state law to provide elementary and secondary educational services to student with disabilities; or a student to whom the state is required to provide a free appropriate public education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). At the postsecondary level, OCR interprets a "qualified student with disability" to refer to a student with a disability "who meets the academic and technical standards requisite for admission or participation in the institution's educational program or activity. For more information regarding the meaning of "qualified student with a disability, consult:

Q. I have an IEP from high school. Is that adequate documentation?

A. No. The IEP from high school identifies the services the high school agreed to provide. The high school IEP does not document the disability or identify the impact on college education. A recent evaluation from high school's school psychologist or other licensed professional may be used for documentation

Q. Where do I send documentation of my disability?

A. Send documentation to the Office of Accessibility Services, The process to establish your eligibility begins when you provide OAS with documentation that gives a diagnosis and description of your disability. The documentation can be hand carried, emailed, or mailed to the Office of Accessibility Services:

Middletown Campus
115 South Street
Middletown, New York 10940A

Newburgh Campus
One Washington Center
Newburgh, NY 12550

Do NOT send it to the Admissions office.

Q. Can my parents know about my academic performance in college?

A. No, not without your permission. We will require you to sign a release if you want our office to discuss your grades, behavior or attendance with anyone else but you.

Q. Why would two individuals with the same disability receive different accommodations?

A. Situations are considered on a case-by-case basis because the impact of a given disability on each person can be totally different in its effect.

Q. What should an individual with disabilities with disabilites do in the event of an evacuation?

A. The following procedures are intended to assist disabled persons with an emergency evacuation from any building on the campus of SUNY Orange. College policies and procedures require all persons in a facility to evacuate that facility any time the fire alarm system is activated or in the case of any emergency that requires building evacuation. Persons with disabilities may not be able to evacuate unassisted. Therefore, they should inform another person that assistance may be necessary during an evacuation.

General Guidelines

  • Remember that individuals with similar disabilities are unique. Listen to the individual; he/she is the expert regarding his/her own disability.
  • Always ask the individual if there are any special considerations or items that need to come with him/her during the evacuation.
  • There are "hidden" disabilities that may need assistance, including health, psychiatric disabilities (anxiety disorders, depression, personality disorders, etc.), and some vision or hearing impairments.
  • Some individuals may utilize service animals such as guide dogs, hearing dogs or assistance animals. When possible, keep the team together.
  • Persons with disabilities that limit mobility may be defined as anyone who uses assistive devices such as canes, crutches, or wheelchairs or who has slower mobility due to illness or injury. Also, persons with limited vision and hearing may need assistance to evacuate. All of these individuals are encouraged to utilize a "Buddy" when evacuation is necessary.
  • During the first week of class, persons with limited mobility are encouraged to make acquaintances with fellow students, class members, faculty, or staff, and to inform them of any special assistance that may be required in the event of a fire alarm.
  • If conditions allow, the "Buddy" may choose to assist the person with the disability during the evacuation of the building.

Disability Guidelines

Prior planning and practicing of emergency evacuation routes are important in assuring a safe evacuation.

  • Mobility Impaired (Wheelchair): Persons using wheelchairs should stay in place or utilize some type of horizontal evacuation with their "Buddy" when the alarm sounds. The evacuation "Buddy" should immediately proceed to the evacuation assembly point outside the building and inform emergency personnel about the location of the person with disability. If the person with disability is alone, he/she should contact Safety & Security personnel to inform them of his/her location.
  • Mobility Impaired (Non-Wheelchair): Persons with mobility impairments who are able to walk independently may be able to negotiate stairs in an emergency with minor assistance. If danger is imminent, the individual should wait until the heavy traffic has cleared before attempting the stairs. If there is no immediate danger (detectable smoke, fire or unusual odor), the person with disability may choose to stay in the building, using the other options, until emergency personnel arrive.
  • Hearing Impaired: All SUNY Orange fire alarms are equipped with flashing strobe lights to notify hearing impaired people of an emergency. However, persons with hearing impairments may not notice or hear emergency alarms and will need to be alerted of emergency situations. A "Buddy" should offer assistance to the individual in evacuating a building, including providing necessary information that will be of help to the hearing impaired person.
  • Visually Impaired: Most people with a visual impairment will be familiar with their immediate surroundings and frequently traveled routes. Since emergency evacuation routes could be different from the commonly traveled route, persons who are visually impaired may need assistance in evacuating a building. A "Buddy" should offer assistance to the individual with visual impairment and guide him/her through the evacuation route.