The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibit discrimination against students with disabilities. These laws state that no qualified individual with a disability shall, solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from the participation in, or be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program, activity or services of any public entity. The 1998 amendment to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act specifically addresses equal access to electronic and information technology.
California state law SB105, signed into law in September of 2002, noted that anyone receiving state funds must also comply with Section 508. These 508 requirements have been incorporated into Government Code section 11135, which is the basic state nondiscrimination statute enforced by the Chancellor's Office.
SB 105 removes any grey area that may have existed in the interpretation of Section 508 as a federal law and its jurisdication over the California systems of higher education.
Disabilities involve a physical and/or mental impairment, which may not be directly observable. The laws define a person with a disability as any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing and learning. Some of the disabilities covered by legislation include AIDS, cancer, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, head injuries, hearing impairments, learning disabilities, multiple sclerosis, psychiatric disorders, speech and visual impairments.
Santa Monica College, as a public institution of higher education which receives federal assistance, is legally bound to prohibit discrimination in the recruitment process, the admission process and the educational process of students with disabilities.
Students with documented disabilities are entitled to receive approved modifications, appropriate academic adjustments or auxiliary aids that will enable them to participate in and have the opportunity to benefit from all educational programs and activities of Santa Monica College.
In accordance with state and federal law, the Santa Monica College District Board of Trustees has issued Administrative Regulation (AR) 5273-101094 to address academic adjustments for students with disabilities. This document outlines the procedure for staff and faculty response to students seeking an adjustment, as well as a resolution and appeal process in the case of any disagreements.