Disability Access FAQ
Do MSU policies prohibit disability discrimination?
Yes. Mississippi State policies and federal laws prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination and requires reasonable accommodations for disabled individuals in employment and public services, among other things. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 bars discrimination in connection with federally funded programs or activities, including those at MSU.
University policies reflect MSU’s commitment to compliance with these requirements. The university’s policy on Students with Disabilities prohibits discrimination in educational and other programs and outlines the means by which students may seek reasonable accommodations for disabilities. The university’s policy on Reasonable Accommodations in Employment describes the means by which employees may seek work-related disability accommodations.
I am a student. How can I obtain a disability accommodation for a course, program, or activity?
Students seeking disability-related accommodations should register with MSU’s Disability Resource Center. Once you are registered, you can schedule an initial session to discuss the accommodations you need. DSS will engage in an interactive process with you to determine what accommodations are appropriate, and will notify professors of approved accommodations. You have important responsibilities for communicating with DSS and your professors throughout this process, which are discussed more fully on the DSS website linked above.
For more information about student accommodations, non-discrimination, confidentiality, appeals, and related issues, please see the university’s policy on Students with Disabilities.
I have concerns about the accessibility of university buildings, facilities, or parking. Who should I contact?
If you encounter problems accessing university buildings, classrooms, or other facilities due to a disability, you should contact the Director of Federal Regulatory Compliance, Brett Harvey, at 662-325-8124.
If you need information about accessible parking on campus, please refer to the MSU Parking Services page on ADA Accessible Parking. If a special parking accommodation is needed, please contact the Executive Director of Parking and Transit Services at 662-325-1827 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the university’s policies on online accessibility?
Mississippi State policies require that university websites and online resources meet nationally-recognized standards for accessibility. The university’s policy on World Wide Web Pages and other Electronic Publications requires that most publicly-accessible university web content meet the accessibility standards described in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 at the AA level of accessibility.
Non-public online content, such as materials accessible only to students enrolled in a particular course, is subject to university policies on reasonable accommodations. Upon request for accommodation from an individual needing access, the university will follow existing policies for assessing and implementing reasonable accommodations to ensure access.
More information about web accessibility at MSU, including steps for university web developers to create accessible sites and tools for assessment, is available on MSU Information Technology Services Web Content Accessibility site.
What is MSU’s position on service and assistance animals?
MSU will fully comply with applicable laws governing service and assistance animals. It is important to understand the distinction between the two types of animals. Relevant policies are found here.
Service animals are trained to perform a specific action to assist a person with a disability, such as a dog that guides a visually impaired person or detects the onset of seizures. A service animal must be a dog or, under certain circumstances, a miniature horse. With a small number of exceptions, service animals are permitted to accompany their handler in any publicly accessible area of MSU’s campuses, or in any area where the handler is permitted to be.
Questions of individuals with service animals by MSU staff should be limited to (1) whether the animal is required because of a disability; and (2) what task the animal is trained to perform. Where the status of an animal as a service animal is in question, those concerns should be relayed to OCRC to conduct an impartial review, not raised directly with the handler.
Assistance Animals, including Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are not trained to perform disability-related tasks, but instead provide comfort or other assistance solely by their presence. Assistance animals may be permitted in an individual’s on-campus residence as a reasonable accommodation for a disability. Unlike service animals, they generally are not permitted in other university buildings.
The process for requesting an accommodation permitting an assistance animal is outlined in the policy linked above. Unlike support animals, assistance animals require advance approval. An assistance animal will not be permitted where it presents an undue financial or administrative burden, a threat to health, safety, or welfare, or requires a fundamental alteration of a university service or program.
While there is no set list of species that may be an assistance animal, absent extraordinary circumstances, the university will deny requests for any animal that is not a dog, cat, small bird, rabbit, hamster, gerbil, other rodent, fish, turtle, or other small, domesticated animal traditionally kept in the home for pleasure rather than commercial purposes. All animals, whether service or support, must be kept under control of the handler at all times and must be appropriately housebroken.
Who should I contact if I feel I have been discriminated against based on a disability?
If you believe that you have been discriminated against based on a disability, you should contact the Office of Civil Rights Compliance at 662-325-5839.
If you believe that an approved disability-related accommodation is not being followed, students may contact the Disability Resource Center at 662-325-3335 and employees may contact Human Resources Management at 662-325-3713. Alternatively, students or employees may always contact the Office of Civil Rights Compliance directly.