I. General Policy
The university is committed to providing equal access to and opportunities for individuals with disabilities. In accordance with federal and state law, Rice University will provide reasonable accommodations upon request for individuals with disabilities. Further, the University does not discriminate against individuals with disabilities in admissions, hiring or personnel actions.
II. Roles and Responsibilities
Applicants for employment who want to request reasonable accommodations should contact Human Resources at any point in the hiring process. Applicants for admission to academic programs who want to request reasonable accommodations should contact Rice’s Disability Resource Center.
Faculty, Staff, and Students who want to request reasonable accommodations should contact Rice’s Disability Resource Center.
Supervisors and Department Chairs who are notified of a request (or become aware of a need) for accommodation should forward the request or information to Human Resources. Once an accommodation is established, Supervisors and Department Chairs should continue to work with the individual and Disability Support Services to ensure that the accommodation request is evaluated and any reasonable accommodation decided upon is implemented in accordance with its terms.
Human Resources will ensure that applicants and employees are granted accommodations in accordance with the law, and will seek input from Disability Resource Center as necessary.
Disability Resource Center (DRC) is charged with administering the University’s program for access, accommodation, and auxiliary aids and is the university coordinator for American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. DRC is the authority (in conjunction with the Office of General Counsel) for all matters pertaining to federal and state law pertaining to disability and accommodation.
Facilities Engineering & Planning (FE&P) is responsible for ensuring that new construction or building renovations meet all applicable legal requirements.
Parking and Transportation is responsible for providing adequate accessible parking and transportation services (as defined by federal law).
Visitors to Rice University who have questions or concerns about reasonable accommodations should contact Rice’s Disability Support Services office.
For the purposes of this policy, the applicable federal and state anti-discrimination law definitions will apply.
IV. Elaboration of Policy
A. Reasonable Accommodation
A reasonable accommodation is any change in the academic or work environment (or in the way things are usually done) to help a person with a disability apply for a job, perform the duties of a job, or enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment. Reasonable accommodation might include, for example, making the workplace accessible for wheelchair users or providing a reader or interpreter for someone who is blind or hearing impaired. It does not require elimination or modification of an essential function of the academic program or position.
Faculty and Staff who have a disability and wish to request an accommodation must submit a request to DRC, and should inform their supervisor, department chairs, and human resources. Applicants for employment who have a disability and wish to request an accommodation must contact Human Resources at any point in the hiring process. All forms are available on the DRC website and Section VII of this policy (see below).
A person who is not satisfied with the accommodations provided may appeal to Rice’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Programs/Affirmative Action.
B. Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals
A service animal, as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations, is trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. In compliance with the ADA, service animals are welcome in most buildings on campus including dining halls, and the animal may attend any class, meeting or other event which its handler is permitted to attend.
Service animals may be prohibited in certain designated areas when necessary for health or safety (e.g. a controlled laboratory environment, or the Rice Animal Use Facility). Any such prohibition must be approved in writing by DRC.
Employees requesting accommodation for a disability that includes a service animal in the workplace must contact the DRC. Applicants for employment may bring service animals with them to any campus interview or meeting.
Emotional Support Animals (or “comfort animals”) are not considered service animals under the ADA. Emotional Support Animals may be permitted as an accommodation in residence halls, housing, or other campus locations with prior written application and approval by DRC.
C. Electronic and Information Technology (EIT)
Rice University is committed to ensuring equal access to information, programs, and activities through its information technologies, web pages, web-based applications, operating system-based applications, online instructional content, services, and resources (“electronic information technology” or “EIT”). In conjunction with the Office of Information Technology, DRC is responsible for establishing and implementing appropriate guidelines for all Rice University EIT. An individual who detects electronic information technology that does not provide equal access may report this to DRC.
D. Architectural Barriers and Physical Access
All new construction or renovation must at a minimum conform to relevant state or federal regulations regarding access, and should be designed and include features to allow for independent use and equal access.
Certain buildings on Rice University’s historic campus predate current disabilities requirements, and may not have been designed in ways which provide for access by individuals with disabilities. Future renovations to these buildings must conform to applicable law. Additionally, in conjunction with Facilities Engineering & Planning, DRC should periodically assess potential architectural barriers and provide recommendations for continued enhancement.
In the event that any Rice University service, department, or office is in a location that cannot be accessed by an individual with a disability, Rice will make arrangements (upon request by the individual with a disability) to meet or provide services in another accessible location.
V. Cross References to Related Policies
Policy 815, Equal Opportunity/Non-Discriminations/Affirmative Action Policy
VI. Responsible Official and Key Offices to Contact Regarding the Policy and its Implementation
Responsible Official: Vice President of Finance and Administration
Other Key Offices: Disability Resouce Center; Human Resources; Facilities Engineering & Planning; Information Technology; Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action; Parking and Transportation
VII. Procedures and Forms
Disability Resource Center (DRC) homepage, with information, forms, and other resources
David W. Leebron, President
March 17, 2017; October 1, 1994; January 1, 1993
April 10, 2020 (clarified sentence on emotional support animals); January 15, 2020 (updated titles, and clarified process for service animals)
September 30, 2022 (Updated responsible official)