Blackburn College is committed to an inclusive learning environment that meets the needs of all students. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), students with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations to ensure an equitable & meaningful educational experience. The Student Success Center at Lumpkin Library works with disabled students in an interactive process to determine the best ways to meet their specific needs. Students seeking accommodation should contact the Student Success team to initiate the process. This page provides additional details about what to expect from the accommodations process.

Guiding Principles

Blackburn College is committed to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning community. Providing equal opportunities for students with disabilities is central to this commitment. To ensure our campus policies and practices are aligned to this commitment the Blackburn community will use the following principles to guide our service to students in need of accommodation.

  1. Blackburn College recognizes that disability inclusion and equity are key components of the College’s stated values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 
  2. All ADA processes and procedures at Blackburn College will be designed to prioritize the humanity and dignity of students. 
  3. Accessing disability services and Blackburn College should not place an undue burden on the student. 
  4. Students’ claim of disability is assumed to be legitimate at face value. 
  5. Each request for accommodation will be reviewed and considered individually. 
  6. Blackburn College will use a holistic approach to assessing the impact and proper accommodation of a disability, incorporating multiple data points. 
  7. Blackburn College will seek to implement the most effective accommodations based on each student’s needs. 
  8. Accommodation will be considered within the context of their impact on the institution including fundamental alteration, undue burden, and direct threat standards.
  9. The Blackburn College Disability Services office will work collaboratively to provide guidance, clarity, and support to faculty, staff, and other members of the campus community regarding the needs of students with disabilities.
  10. The Blackburn College Disability Services office will work to provide professional development opportunities regarding current information on the foundations of disability services and civil rights, best practices for implementation and changes in disability law.
In order to begin the accommodations process, you must first reach out to Disability Services in the Student Success Center to self-disclose your disability and your need for accommodations. In order to protect your privacy and your ownership of your own learning needs, we do NOT accept referrals to Disability Services. If you would like to begin the process, you can simply email the Student Success Director and say “I would like to begin the accommodations process.”
Contact the Student Success Center
This will vary some, depending on your specific situation and needs. Each student who initiates the accommodations process will be asked to submit an Intake Form, which just provides our office with information about you and what your needs are. Depending on your disability, requested accommodations, and your situation overall, there may be additional information that we need, such as:

Medical documentation, i.e.:
• Medical Provider Form
• A note from your doctor
• Copy of IEP or 504 plan from high school
Once you’ve submitted your Intake Form, the staff at Disability Services will set up a time to meet with you to discuss your needs and determine the appropriate accommodation(s). This is known as an “interactive process” – meaning that you and Disability Services will engage in a dialogue to determine which accommodations will best meet your needs for an equitable & meaningful educational experience. Accommodations are not a one-size-fits-all thing – each student will have different needs. If you have not submitted medical documentation at this point, Disability Services may ask for that documentation before signing off on your accommodation(s).

Once the interactive process has taken place and you and DS have decided if accommodation(s) are appropriate, you will be issued an Accommodation Letter. Depending on your situation, you may receive more than one letter.

You are responsible for sharing your letter with each of your instructors and working with them to develop a plan for how your accommodation(s) will be delivered in each of your classes. For example, if one of your accommodations is extended time on exams, in one class you may be able to still take the exam in the classroom with other students, but in another class your instructor may prefer that you set up a time to take the exam in the Lumpkin Testing room. You will need to work with each of your instructors to determine these details, and make sure that both you and your instructor are aware of these plans. You should also sign and return your Accommodation Letter to Disability Services (an electronic version is fine) and you are encouraged to ask your instructors to also sign off on your accommodation letter to confirm that they received it and understand their responsibilities. Your instructor may also want to keep a copy of your letter for their records, and if so you should send them a copy. You are responsible for informing Disability Services about any issues or concerns with your accommodations.
You can always reach out to Disability Services again! Even if you’re already receiving accommodations, you may find that the ones you have aren’t the right ones to meet your needs, or that you need additional accommodation(s). In some cases, maybe your accommodations are fine, but you need support in a different way (like help with time management or better study strategies) – Disability Services can also connect you to other resources that might help.
The short answer here is “it depends”. Under the ADA, we are only required to provide accommodations for students with a documented disability (as in, you have medical documentation attesting to your disability). However, we understand that sometimes there may be barriers that can prevent you from pursuing or receiving a formal evaluation/diagnosis. If you think this describes your situation, you can still reach out to Disability Services, and we will work with you to determine if there may be alternate ways to provide this documentation for your situation, such as meeting with Blackburn’s mental health counselor.

Please review the U.S. Department of Education website for more information about rights and responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Contact the Student Success team with any questions about Disability Services.