The RCPD upholds a mission to lead MSU in maximizing ability and opportunity for full participation by persons with disabilities. Staff at the RCPD are available to provide campus departments and faculty with information, resources, and guidance to help with their understanding of the opportunities and responsibilities under disability-related legislation.
RCPD determined accommodations are intended to provide equal access as required by law; they should not fundamentally alter the course/program or create an undue financial or administrative burden to the faculty or university. As disabilities are individualized and may produce different impacts or needs for accommodation in different settings, the services and accommodations may vary slightly in some situations or change over time. Faculty members are encouraged to work collaboratively with the student and seek support from RCPD.
Learn more about VISAs/VISTAs and your responsibilities for implementing specific accommodations by visiting the Student Accommodations page and its sub-pages, listed on the left menu bar of this page.
What is a Reasonable Accommodation?
Under both the Americans with Disabilities Act, as recently amended, and Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, a reasonable accommodation is considered to be a modification or adjustment to a course, program, service, or facility, which ensures that a qualified student with a disability is not excluded, segregated, or otherwise treated differently.
- Reasonable accommodations are tailored adjustments that level the playing field.
- Reasonable accommodations must not compromise essential functions of the course or program.
- Reasonable accommodations are individually determined after review of medical documentation and an interactive needs assessment between an RCPD Ability Access Specialist and the student.
An accommodation would not be considered reasonable if it:
- Fundamentally alters the essential nature of the course, curriculum or program
- Constitutes services of a personal nature (such as private tutoring)
- Results in an undue administrative or financial burden for the institution
- Results in posing a direct threat to the health or safety of self or others
Accessibility & Technology Resources
As instructional spaces and programmatic offerings are increasingly online experiences, it is vital that these offerings are designed in ways that facilitate full inclusion by people who use assistive technologies. Disabilities affect online information access in varying ways. MSU has adopted policies, resources, and guidance that help ensure accessibility.
- Types of assistive listening devices
- How to obtain and utilize them on campus
Best Practice & Disability Inclusion
- Learn the appropriate process when a student presents a VISA
- Watch the YouTube video to see an example scenario
How the university communicates about people with disabilities, including accessibility practices, can create a more inclusive campus experience for many Spartans.
Guidelines for professors and teaching assistants to consider when interacting with students with disabilities. Note, this document discusses person-first language as a primary way of acknowledging a person with a disability. More recently, identity-first language is preferred by some people and groups ("disabled person", "autistic person", etc.). Everyone has their own preference.
- An overview of the MSU approach for inclusion of people with disabilities
- Addresses questions frequently asked by new faculty
There are two prevalent ways that we identify with disability in language: person-first and identity-first. Both options have implications for how we think about disability.
RCPD Model Statements
For use in syllabi & program or event announcements
Alternative Testing Accommodation Resources
Just over 4% of the MSU student body registers with the RCPD after documenting a disability that affects major life activities. Approximately 70% of these students experience some requirement for modification to the typical testing experience. Many instructors erroneously interpret the VISA as evidence that testing cannot occur in their classroom or under their direct control. The Office of the Provost provides guidance on testing accommodations.
In alignment with the Provost's expectations for accommodated testing, RCPD provides guidance for faculty and students.
Crisis & Emergency Resources
Michigan State University and the surrounding community have numerous resources for individuals who are in crisis. You may contact a resource for yourself or another community member who you believe may need assistance. See our Crisis & Emergency Resources page for more information.
If you are an MSU faculty/staff and have a student in crisis who you believe needs assistance, please consider the following resources. MSU RCPD does not provide 24-hour service and RCPD staff may not be able to immediately respond to communications via voicemail or email.