Compliance & Core Principles


AccessAbility Services at Mount Holyoke College complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1978. The office serves students who provide current and appropriate documentation of a physical, neurological, and/or mental impairment (disability) that substantially limits them in a major life activity. Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. A major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions. – Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Sec. 12102)

Core Principles

AccessAbility Services is guided by the following principles:

Awareness – AccessAbility Services strives to identify and remove barriers that prevent individuals with disabilities from being full and equal participants in the college experience.

Respect – AccessAbility Services fosters a welcoming environment of mutual respect that treats all people as individuals in a courteous, friendly, fair, helpful, and respectful manner.

Individualized Process – We follow an interactive process when determining reasonable accommodations. Each student meets individually with the Director who considers accommodation requests on a case-by-case basis. AccessAbility Services collaborates with faculty and staff across campus to address student needs.

Value – We endeavor to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities by providing an environment that values each person we serve and by promoting the contributions individuals with disabilities bring to the campus community.

Retention – We are dedicated to fostering a positive academic and social experience for all of our students.

Confidentiality and Release of Information

Registering with AccessAbility Services will not show on your transcripts. No one, outside of our office, will know that you have a disability, unless you feel they should. Records provided to AccessAbility Services that pertain to a person’s disability are designated as confidential records and are not subject to disclosure outside of AccessAbility Services except in accordance with applicable law or in certain unusual circumstances including a) a medical emergency; b) a situation that presents a direct threat to the health and safety of the student or others; c) a situation involving a discrimination complaint or legal action.

If a student authorizes disclosure of information pertaining to a disability, that authorization may be revoked at any time by providing written notification to the Director of AccessAbility Services.

Rights and Responsibilities

A qualified student* with a disability at Mount Holyoke College has the right to:

  • Dignity and respect
  • Reasonable accommodations
  • Receive an education in an integrated environment- meaning a setting that allows students with disabilities to interact with non-disabled students to the fullest extent possible
  • Equal access to education, programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities
  • Confidentiality of records provided to AccessAbility Services

Mount Holyoke College has the right to:  

  • Establish academic course and degree requirements, including determining essential standards and requirements for courses, degrees, programs, activities, and services
  • Request and receive, through AccessAbility Services, documentation of a disability when an accommodation is requested
  • Deny a request for accommodations and services if:
    1. an individual fails to provide the required documentation
    2. the provided documentation does not support the requested accommodation
    3. the student fails to make the request in a reasonable time period
    4. the requested accommodation poses a health or safety risk
    5. the requested accommodation imposes an undue financial or administrative burden or fundamental alteration to a program, service, or activity

The College may also offer an alternative effective accommodation and will engage in an interactive process with the student regarding alternative accommodations.

* A student with a disability who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in Mount Holyoke's education program or activity is a "qualified student with a disability."  

A qualified student with a disability at Mount Holyoke College has the responsibility to:

  • Meet qualifications and requirements for courses, programs, services, and activities
  • Abide by the college’s Standards of Social Conduct and the Honor Code
  • Self-identify to AccessAbility Services as an individual with a disability if an accommodation is sought
  • Provide proper documentation of a disability from a qualified professional in the field of the disability if requesting an accommodation
  • Request an accommodation in a timely manner(as described in this manual)
  • Notify AccessAbility Services in a timely manner if there is a problem with an accommodation
  • Follow published procedures for obtaining reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and auxiliary aids or services
  • Follow campus policies and procedures as set forth by the college

Mount Holyoke College has the responsibility to:

  • Provide equal access to courses, programs, activities, and services
  • Practice non-discrimination in accordance with state and federal laws
  • Provide reasonable accommodations in a timely manner
  • Provide courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities that are available and usable in the most integrated and appropriate settings
  • Meet accessibility standards for classroom materials provided by the College, such as presentations, handouts, videos, exams and websites as required by applicable law or as described in an approved accommodation
  • Maintain confidentiality of records and communications as required by federal law

Mount Holyoke is not responsible for providing:

  • Personal care
  • Psycho-educational evaluation/testing for the presence of a disability or other evaluation methods
  • Accommodation appointments outside of office hours
  • Transportation (unless provided for all students for a special event)
  • Personal coaching