ACCESS and Accommodation Office
As of July 1st 2013, Disability Services became the ACCESS and Accommodation Office. The new name is intended to reflect the mission of the office which is to improve the accessibility of Mercer University Programs, Services and Facilities for persons with disabilities and ensure institutional compliance with the Amercians with Disabilities Act (ADAAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (504). The office provides Accessibility, Consultation, Collaboration, Education, Support and Services (ACCESS) and Accommodations to ensure non-discrimination and equal access to all programs and services for students and visitors with disabilities.
***The Medical or Disability Housing or Meal Plan Accommodation Request Deadline for newly admitted students is 60 days before the beginning of each semester and will be reviewed by the Medical Disability Petition Committee which includes a physician. The deadline for currently enrolled students or annual renewal of a Housing or Meal Plan Accommodation is the Housing Contract Deadline established by Residence Life. The deadline for new requests for Spring Term is November 15th. Request Forms can be found elsewhere on this page and should be returned with the Disability Verification Form to the ACCESS Office. ***
In this section, you will find an overview of the mission and procedures of the ACCESS and Accommodation Office. More detailed information regarding Student and Faculty Responsibilities may be found on the pages linked in the pink box on the left. A process overview chart, verification forms to be completed by a medical professional and accommodation request forms are linked in the blue box on the right. Contact information for the ACCESS Coordinator on each campus may be found on the Contact Us Page. The ACCESS and Accommodation Office and the ADA/504 Coordinator's Office are located on the 3rd floor of the Connell Student Center near the elevator.
Carole Burrowbridge, M.S.
Director and ADA/504 Coordinator
Section 504 and the ADA
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Mercer University is committed to providing persons with disabilities, who are otherwise qualified, an equal opportunity to access a Mercer education and fully participate in Mercer programs and events through the provision of reasonable and appropriate accommodations, alternative formats and an accessible campus.
No qualified individual with a disability will, solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity offered by an educational institution receiving federal funding. With respect to post-secondary educational services, "qualified" means "a person who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the educational program or activity whether with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies or practices; the removal of architectural, communication or transportation barriers; or the provision of auxiliary aids and services."
As required by law, students requesting accommodations for a disability must initially self-identify as a student with a disability by registering with the ACCESS and Accommodation Office (AAO). Only students who are registered with AAO will be eligible to request accommodations and be recognized by the institution as a student with a disability. Accommodations are approved by the ACCESS Coordinators or a Disability Petition Committee on a case-by-case basis and may require additional or updated medical documentation to be submitted. Employees requesting Disability Accommodations should contact the Equal Opportunity Officer in Human Resources. Visitors should contact the office they are visiting or the event coordinator to request Disability Accommodations for their visit or event. Event coordinators should review the Campus Event Accessibility Policy and consult with the ADA/504 Coordinator to make sure that equal access is provided.
Students taking Distance Education or Online courses are not required to meet with the ACCESS Coordinator to register and request accommodations. They may complete the process using phone, fax and email. Mercer does not provide technology or software for use at a student's home or for off-campus use. It is assumed that students will seek technology needed for online courses and accessibility of their home computer through Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation, their local Center for Independent Living or regular student financial aid sources. Alternative textbooks are computer-based and require a computer with Adobe Reader or other reader software from the Georgia Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC). Students who need assistance with accessing Mercer Blackboard content, Mercer website content or using campus-based computers should contact the ACCESS Coordinator, the course instructor and the Mercer IT HelpDesk to resolve the problem.
Students requesting accommodations - Please download the "Process Overview" and appropriate "Verification of Disability Form" linked in the blue box to the right.
Physical Accessibility and Event Accessibility
Classroom accessibility problems should be identified at the time of registration for classes each term. The problem should immediately be brought to the attention of the Chair of the Academic Department offering the class or brought to the attention of the Coordinator for remediation or to arrange for the class to be moved to a more accessible location. Any identified problems with physical accessibility or out of order elevators on campus should reported immediately to the Disability Services Coordinator for the campus concerned or to the ADA/504 Coordinator. While not all buildings and rooms may be accessible, Mercer continues to strive to insure that all programs and activities are accessible to persons with disabilities.If you are a student and think you might need accommodations, please continue reading and please download the "Process Overview" and "Verification of Disability Form" linked in the blue box on the right side of this page. Event Organizers may find the Campus Event Accessibility Policy on the Resources page of this site. Students or visitors who need accommodations such as wheelchair access, ASL interpeters or alternative print materials in order to access an event should contact the event organizer.
All newly admitted students who think they may need accommodations are encouraged to contact the ACCESS Coordinator as soon as they know that they will be attending Mercer University. Please contact us if you require accommodations on math or foreign language placement tests or for orientation programs. Requests for alternative textbooks, sign language, transcription or housing modifications must be submitted by deadlines. Disability Housing Accommodation requests submitted after the Housing Contract deadline for renewing students or after June 30th for new requests may be denied.
All student disability accommodation requests must be submitted to the Coordinator by the student (if age 18 or older). Please let the coordinator know if you are not 18 yet.
Under FERPA, students over the age of 18 who would like the Coordinator to be able to share educational information with their parents or parents of dependent students must have the appropriate FERPA forms signed by the student on file with the Registrar's Office.
Disability accommodations may be provided for significant but temporary impairments a case-by-case basis depending on severity, impact and duration.
A lowering of admissions or academic program standards or the elimination of identified "essential elements" of a curriculum are not required by law. Petitions for a reduced course load or for Math and Foreign Language course substitutions may approved for students with substantial impairments on a case by case basis.
If you require accommodations on required admissions tests such as the SAT, ACT, GRE, MAT, GMAT, LSAT or MCAT, you must contact the testing agency directly for their documentation requirements and deadlines for submitting your documentation. The ACCESS Coordinator may assist you with completing the application required by the testing agency. Each agency's documentation requirements and where to send the request may be found on the test website.