- Addition time for completing coursework and tests
- Modification of physical facilities (such as access to classrooms, housing and other campus buildings and offices, etc.)
Students living in a college dormitory may be surprised to learn that their right to privacy within their room and other dorm facilities is more limited than they might expect
Title II of the ADA prohibits state and local government entities from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in regard to programs, services and activities provided by those entities. In practical terms, Title II extends the prohibition against discrimination of disabled students afforded by Section 504 to all state and local governments (including public colleges and universities) regardless of whether they receive federal funding or not.
- Understand Your RightsIt’s always important to start with a clear comprehension of your rights as a disabled college student. Read through the language of Sections 504 and Title II. Check your school’s website for an explanation of the rights and services your school affords its students. Meet with your campus’s disability services coordinator.
- File a Grievance with Your SchoolYour school is required to have a stated procedure for the filing and handling of grievances, which can typically be found on the school’s website or in a written publication. If you decide to file a grievance, be prepared to present any and all evidence you have to prove your grievance.
- File a Complaint with the OCRIf you wish to pursue an alternate path for remedy of your grievance or if you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your school’s grievance procedure, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR).
- Consider Action Through the CourtsAnother alternative is to file suit in court. Consult with an attorney to obtain a clear understanding of your rights within the court system and how to proceed.
At the foundation of student rights, as with all other individual rights in the United States, are the Constitution and its first 10 Amendments, known as the Bill of Rights. Of particular significance in the discussion of college student rights are the protections afforded under the First Amendment (speech religion, press, assembly, redress of grievances) and the Fifth Amendment (due process).
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to a comprehensive analysis and discussion of the Constitution as it relates to education and student rights. Included among its abundant resources is this Guide to Due Process and Campus Justice.
Right to Privacy in College
Although not specifically expressed in the Constitution, the right to privacy is said to be alluded to via Supreme Court decisions in the language of a number of Constitutional amendments, particularly the Fourth Amendment. This implied right of privacy is applicable to all U.S. citizens including, of course, college students. The federal government has additionally enacted statutes, such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), to further codify and clarify certain privacy rights for students.
Right of privacy issues of particular concern to college students include those related to due process, equality, autonomy, safety, privacy, accountability in contracts and advertising, and others. Areas of particular concern include:
Court decisions regarding student privacy in dorms tend to favor the college’s rights to enter and search such premises for a number of purposes including the health and safety of students and for the enforcement of school regulations.
Student housing agreements often contain provisions for broad entry and search rights on the part of the school and courts have, for the most part, upheld these provisions. Students planning to live on-campus or off-campus in college-owned housing should be aware of these limitations on their privacy expectations and read their housing agreements carefully.