Relevant Legislation

Mount Holyoke College is committed to its moral, educational, and legal responsibility for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in 1998. To this end, discrimination against people with a disability is prohibited in the College’s programs, services, and activities.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in 1998 states that, “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 states that, “No qualified individual with a disability shall by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in, or be denied the benefits of the services, programs or activities of a public entity, or to be subjected to discrimination by such entity.”

“Qualified” in the context of a college setting means “meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the education program or activity,” with or without the use of reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids or services.

“A person with a disability” means, “any person who has a physical 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)

Faculty and staff who would like to learn more about disability laws or who have questions regarding compliance are encouraged to contact Deborah Cohen, Director of AccessAbility Services, at or 413-538-2504 or Rene Davis, Dean of Students and 504 Coordinator at or 413-538-2550.