Policies and Procedures

The following describes College and departmental policies related to disability access and accommodations. 

Harper College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability or unfavorable discharge from military service. This policy governs the recruitment and admission of students, the recruitment and employment of faculty and staff and the operation of any of the College's programs and activities as specified by federal laws and regulations. It is also the policy of Harper College that no student or employee shall be subjected to sexual harassment, which is regarded as a form of discrimination. 

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that:

"No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States…shall solely by reason of…disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

Reasonable accommodations and services are available for students, staff and visitors with disabilities in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. 

The mission of the Access and Disability Services department is to 'create a comprehensively accessible environment where individuals are viewed on the basis of ability, not disability.' 

To be eligible for disability-related services through ADS, students must register with ADS (by completing the on-line application for services and meeting with an Access Advocate for the intake interview—that Advocate becomes your primary contact in ADS) and must have a documented disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and/or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Under the ADA and Section 504, a person has a disability if he or she has:

  1. a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one of more major life activities (such as walking, standing, seeing, speaking, hearing, sitting, breathing, reading, learning, thinking, performing manual tasks, taking care of oneself);
  2. has a record of such an impairment; or 
  3. is regarded as having such an impairment.

Students with Disabilities who attend Harper have the right to... 

  • equal access to services, programs, courses, activities, jobs and facilities at the college. 
  • equal opportunity to learn, and receive reasonable accommodations, academic modifications, and/or assistive technology and services. 
  • appropriate confidentiality of all disability documentation and to choose to whom, outside of the college, such information should be released. Information will be released only with written consent or whenever disclosure is required or permitted by law. 
  • information about services and programs available in accessible formats (print, large print, audio, Braille or on disk / e-text). 

Students with Disabilities who attend Harper have the responsibility to... 

  • meet qualification criteria and maintain essential institutional conduct for services, programs, courses, activities, and facilities. 
  • provide documentation from an appropriate professional that demonstrates how the disability is limiting in the participation of services, programs, courses, activities, and facilities. 
  • identify as a person with a disability when an accommodation is needed and seek information, academic/personal counseling, and assistance when needed. 
  • follow the appropriate procedures for obtaining reasonable accommodations, academic modifications, and assistive technology. 

Harper College has the right to… 

  • identify and establish standards for courses, programs, services, activities and facilities and to evaluate students on this basis. 
  • request and receive, through the Access and Disability Services office, current documentation that supports the need for accommodation, academic modifications, and/or assistive technology. 
  • deny requests for accommodation, academic modifications, and/or assistive technology if the documentation provided does not demonstrate such a need or if documentation is not provided or is inappropriate. 
  • select among equally effective accommodations, adjustments and/or auxiliary aides or services. 
  • deny an unreasonable request for an accommodation, academic modification, and assistive technology that fundamentally alters a program or activity at the college. 

Harper College has the responsibility to... 

  • ensure that courses, programs, services, activities and facilities, when viewed in their entirety, are available and usable in the most integrated and appropriate settings. 
  • view all faculty, staff, students and guests based on their ability and not their disability. 
  • provide or arrange reasonable accommodations, academic modifications, and/or assistive technology for people with disabilities in services, programs, courses, activities, and facilities. Some accommodations require advance notice, such as materials in Braille or sign language interpreting. 
  • maintain confidentiality of documentation and other personal information except where permitted or required by law to make disclosure. 
  • provide information to people with disabilities in accessible formats when requested.
  1. A student with a documented disability should fill out the online ADS application for services at harpercollege.edu/ads.
  2. Once the student has submitted an application for services, he/she will be brought to a page to upload and submit disability documentation.  Access and Disability Services will ensure that all documentation is kept confidential and shared with College personnel on a limited and need-to-know basis only.
  3. When the student has submitted his/her application for ADS services, s/he will need to call ADS at 847.925.6266 voice, or VP for Deaf/Hard of Hearing callers 224.836.5048, to schedule an intake appointment.
  4. During the intake, an Access Advocate and the student with a disability will discuss and determine the reasonable accommodation. Consultation with faculty, staff, and outside professionals may occur if necessary.
  5. The Access Advocate will outline the process for receiving the reasonable accommodation and will present this verbally, and in writing, to the student.  In determining reasonable accommodations, the following questions will be addressed:  what accommodations will be provided; why they will be provided; when they will be provided; who is responsible for providing them; and how they will be provided and for what duration.
  6. Students with disabilities will be responsible for contacting ADS if reasonable accommodations are not implemented in an effective or timely way. ADS will work with College personnel and students with disabilities to resolve disagreements regarding recommended accommodations. Informal processes and mediation will be used, when appropriate, to resolve disagreements. 

To evaluate accommodation and service requests, each student will attend an intake interview where s/he will have an opportunity to share his or her experience of disability, barriers, and accommodations.  Any documentation or information the student can provide when filling out the online ADS application or prior to the intake interview will be helpful.   When necessary, the student may be asked to sign a release of information by the Access and Disability Services staff in order to obtain disability-related documentation from high schools, the Department of Rehabilitation Services, or other appropriate licensed professionals who can provide information about the impact a disability has on functional limitations, the history of using accommodations, medications, and treatments. This information is used in order to determine what appropriate accommodations, academic modifications, and/or assistive technology are necessary to ensure full participation. All information received is kept strictly confidential. 

If the initial documentation is incomplete or inadequate to determine the nature and extent of the disability and reasonable accommodations, ADS has the discretion to require additional documentation. You may be asked to provide additional documentation and the cost of obtaining documentation is borne by the student. 

For all students who need testing accommodations at the ADS office in I-103 or the Testing Center in A-148, you must complete an online “Exam Request” form at least 5 business days prior to your exam/quiz in your AIM student portal. 

  • If testing in the Testing Center, please remember to bring your photo ID. 
  • Please request to take your exam or quiz at the same time that the rest of the class is taking the exam/quiz. 

 For students, who take exams at the ADS office in I-103:  

  1. We do not guarantee availability of an ADS testing room if the “Exam Request” is made less than 5 business days prior to your exam/quiz.
  2. If a room is not available in ADS, you will be referred to take the exam in the Testing Center in A-148.
  3. On the day of your exam, please arrive 5 minutes before your exam. An Access Advocate will help you check in and assign a locker for your belongings. 
  4. If you arrive more than 15 minutes late for your scheduled exam time, you are still expected to finish your exam at your scheduled time, and you do not get the full time you were originally scheduled for.
  5. If the instructor requires you to take your exam at a specific time, you are expected to show up to the ADS office in I-103. If you arrive late, then we will not administer the exam to you. You must talk with your instructor for permission to take the exam at a later time.   

*Our office will follow all the instructions received from your instructor. 

During distance learning due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, we are utilizing various test proctoring platforms, including ProctorU. 

Accommodations are approved and/or denied by ADS staff who have the primary responsibility of determining the accommodation eligibility. Any time an accommodation plan is created or an accommodation request is denied, the Access Advocate must notify the student (1) that the student can submit additional documentation to support the request, or (2) file an appeal with the Director, in writing.  

  1. If the student submits additional documentation, the Access Advocate completes the secondary review with the student and approves or denies accommodation(s).
  2. If the student is unsatisfied with the Access Advocate’s decision to approve or deny an accommodation request, the student has up to 10 days to file a written appeal with the Director or Designee. The written appeal must contain the specific nature and basis of the appeal. While the appeal is being decided, the student will be provided with the accommodations originally approved by the Access Advocate. The Director or Designee has five (5) school days from receipt of the appeal request to review and respond in writing to the student and Access Advocate. A written response from the Director or Designee shall be final. If the appeal is decided in student’s favor, the accommodation(s) in question will not be applied retroactively. 

If you feel that you have been unfairly or improperly treated due to a disability, you may contact Harper College’s Non-Discrimination Compliance Officer by contacting the Human Resources Office at 847.925.6216. The process, steps, and timelines to follow for filing a grievance are as follows: 

Informal Discussion 

Before filing a formal complaint, students and employees are encouraged to discuss their concerns with the Non-Discrimination Compliance Officer. This confidential discussion is seen as the first step in the resolution procedure. It allows for sharing of information, giving of advice and achieving mutual resolution between/among parties. 

Filing and Resolution of a Complaint of Discrimination 

A formal investigation of a claim of discrimination will only be undertaken by the Non-Discrimination Compliance Officer (NDCO) upon authorization of the complaining individual and receipt of a written complaint. 

The following procedures shall be used for investigating complaint(s) of discrimination. 

Within 21 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory act or conduct, an employee or student should: 

  • submit a specific and detailed written complaint setting forth the nature of the alleged discrimination; 
  • identify the person(s) against whom the complaint is being filed; 
  • and identify the date(s) of the action(s) which is (are) the subject of the complaint, and the remedy or relief sought. 

Upon receipt of the written complaint, the NDCO will review and discuss the complaint with all parties directly involved. On the basis of the written complaint and interview(s), the NDCO will determine what further investigative action is required. 

After the initial interview(s) with the complainant, the NDCO will conduct further investigation as deemed appropriate. Such investigation may include, but is not limited to: 

  • interviewing the party(ies) alleged to have committed the discriminatory act; 
  • interviewing witnesses identified by the complaining or accused party; 
  • and reviewing documents relevant to the complaint. 

As a result of the above initial steps, resolution with the parties will be explored. If resolution is not achieved, the NDCO will determine the appropriate actions to be taken. 

The NDCO shall prepare a confidential report with regard to the investigation. The report shall state whether or not the NDCO believes a violation of the College's non-discrimination policy has occurred and whether or not resolution has been achieved. The NDCO's report shall be completed within 30 calendar days of receipt of any complaint(s); however, such time may be extended for an additional 30 calendar days if necessary. 

If resolution is not achieved, the NDCO's report shall be submitted to the Executive Council for review and action within 14 calendar days of receipt of the report. 

A copy of the confidential report will be sent to and maintained by the Chief Human Resource Officer of the College. The NDCO's findings shall be sent to the complaining and accused parties. 

Either party may appeal in writing the decision of the Executive Council by filing an appeal with the President within five calendar days of receipt of the Executive Council's decision. The President shall respond within 30 calendar days of receipt of the appeal.