Commitment to Students with Disabilities

Last Updated: October 16th 2023

Statement endorsed by Faculty Senate: October 16th 2023

The University of Michigan-Dearborn is committed to a respectful, inclusive and welcoming working and learning environment.  This commitment is demonstrated through the University’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives as well as its commitment to environments free of discrimination and discriminatory harassment. The University’s commitment generates educational opportunities, equal access to freedom of academic inquiry, and equal employment.

The University’s commitment to a diverse, inclusive environment free of discrimination and discriminatory harassment includes students with disabilities. The University is committed to the academic success, personal development and general well-being of all students.

Historically, academic spaces were often designed without individuals with disabilities in mind. While accommodations are important in providing equitable access to education, creating an accessible campus is an ongoing process.  

Faculty, staff, and students all play important roles in identifying barriers to access and working with Disability and Accessibility Services (DAS) and the appropriate offices on campus to make improvements that will make education more accessible to all students. Oftentimes the accommodations students with disabilities use will be beneficial to disabled and non-disabled individuals. 

UM-Dearborn’s goal is to continue toward achieving Universal Design, which is “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” (The Center for Universal Design). 

The social model of disability is an integral part of creating an accessible, anti-ableist campus. The Social Model of Disability “focuses on barriers facing people with disabilities...[due to] a lack of social organization” (AUCD). The Social Model asserts that disability is a social construct, focuses on the limitations of the environment, and places the person as the expert on their own disability. 

UM-Dearborn’s community should all work together to understand the social model of disability and utilize Universal Design principles to create accessible learning spaces. DAS can do this by engaging in outreach and educational programs. Faculty and staff can do this by reaching out when they have questions and being open to learning about disability, accommodations, and accessibility. Students can reach out to DAS whether or not they have a diagnosed disability and should utilize DAS to assist in self-advocacy.

Nondiscrimination Policy Notice

The University of Michigan, including the Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Flint campuses as well as Michigan Medicine, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.

Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office (ECRT):

Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office
1114 Administration Building, Dearborn, Michigan 48128-2405, 313-436-9194, [email protected]

Title IX Notice: Sex discrimination is prohibited by federal law through Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The University of Michigan does not discriminate on the basis of sex in the education programs or activities that it operates, including admissions and employment. Title IX also prohibits retaliation against reporters of sex discrimination, including reports of sex discrimination against administrators and other employees, and the University of Michigan will investigate alleged retaliation for participation in the Title IX process. Inquiries concerning the application of Title IX may be made to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary of the United States Department of Education. Reports of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, may be made to the Title IX Coordinator at any time at the contact information above.

For other University of Michigan information call 734-764-1817.

Disability Discrimination

Disability discrimination can occur whenever a qualified individual with a disability is denied the same equal opportunities afforded to other similarly situated individuals on the basis of their disability status. Under applicable disability laws, an individual with a disability is a person who:

  1. Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
  2. Has a record of such an impairment; or
  3. Is regarded as having such an impairment.

Temporary, non-chronic impairments that do not last for a long time and that have little or no long-term impact usually are not disabilities, but they may qualify for temporary accommodations if appropriate. 

What is a “major life activity” under the law?

For an impairment to be considered a disability, it must substantially limit one or more major life activities. Examples of major life activities include walking, speaking, breathing, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, learning, caring for oneself, eating, sleeping, standing, lifting, bending, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating and the operation of major bodily functions

What does “qualified” mean?

To be protected, a person must not only be an individual with a disability, but must be qualified. For students, a qualified individual with a disability is a person who, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies or practices; the removal of architectural, communication or transportation barriers; or the provision of auxiliary aids or services, meets the essential requirements for the receipt of services or participation in programs or activities provided by the University.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

For University students, a reasonable accommodation is a reasonable modification in University policies, practices, or procedures to allow a student equal access to a University program or activity, unless the modification would fundamentally alter the nature of a University service, program or activity. Examples of reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

  • note taking services
  • text conversion to alternative accessible formats
  • permission to audio record university activities such as courses, lecturers and discussions 
  • qualified interpreter services
  • adjusting time limits on tests
  • making facilities and/or programs readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.

When and how does the University provide reasonable accommodations?

The University makes reasonable accommodation when it knows of the disability of an otherwise qualified student. In general, it is the responsibility of the student to make the disability status and related need for an accommodation known to the University by requesting accommodations for their disability through Disability and Accessibility Services (DAS). 

Dearborn Campus – Disability and Accessibility Services Program


Hostile Environment Disability Harassment

The University will not tolerate an environment that is hostile on the basis of disability. This includes harassing conduct (e.g., physical, verbal, graphic or written) related to disability that is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as (1) to interfere with or limit the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs and activities or (2) to unreasonably interfere with an individual’s work or academic performance by creating an objectively intimidating, hostile or offensive work or learning environment. Whether the harassing conduct is considered sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive so as to constitute harassment depends upon the context in which the behavior occurred.

Policy Prohibiting Retaliation

The University is committed to ensuring that its learning and working environments are free from all forms of discrimination and discriminatory harassment. The University strictly prohibits and will not tolerate reprisals or retaliation against persons due to their assertion of their protected civil rights, including the filing of internal complaints of discrimination, filing complaints with federal or state civil rights enforcement agencies, or participation in an investigation of such a complaint (e.g., serving as a witness). Individuals who believe they are experiencing this form of retaliation are strongly encouraged to contact the Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office.

Complaint Procedures

Students may have concerns related to their academic program, their employment status, their access to public accommodations, or their participation in University programs, services and events. Similarly, students may have concerns regarding their treatment by faculty, staff members, administrators, other students or members of the public engaged in University programs, services and events. Regardless of the source or context of the concern, students are encouraged to raise concerns when they become aware of them to increase the likelihood of a prompt and effective resolution.

A student who has questions or concerns regarding the University’s legal obligations under federal or state disability laws, who believes that the University is not meeting its legal obligations and responsibilities, or who believes that he/she has been discriminated against because of a disability can contact the Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office.  A student could also choose to follow one of the options described below. 

The options outlined are intended to provide general guidance to help students get their concerns addressed as early as possible.

Option 1: Consult with a staff member at Disability and Accessibility Services (DAS) or the Campus Ombudsperson.

Many concerns can be resolved effectively and informally when you bring them to the appropriate person’s attention in a timely manner. A DAS staff member or the campus ombudsperson can assist you in identifying the best person or office to help you resolve your complaint. For example, if a student feels a professor is denying their accommodations, contacting a DAS staff member can assist quickly in resolving the situation. 

Option 2: Consult with the director of Disability and Accessibility Services 

The director of Disability and Accessibility Services should be made aware of your unresolved concerns/complaint when you are unable to get your issue resolved at the previous unit level.

Option 3: Contact the Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office.

Complaints may be filed with the Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office (ECRT). ECRT ensures the University’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. ECRT investigates reports of disability discrimination or harassment. ECRT also provides information and consultation to members of the University community regarding disability matters. Information on how to file a complaint regarding discrimination or unlawful harassment and information regarding the investigative procedures used by the Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office are available on the Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office website or in person, via email or telephone at:, 1114 Administration Building, 4901 Evergreen Road, Dearborn, MI 48128, 313-436-9194, [email protected].


Specific Resources

Student Disability Services

Disability and Accessibility Services

262 Fairlane Center North

19000 Hubbard Dr

Dearborn, MI 48126


[email protected]


Ombuds Services

2174 A University Center

[email protected]


Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office

Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office

If the student’s grievance is with the Disability and Accessibility Services office, please follow the procedure below: 

Dearborn DAS Grievance Procedure:

Option 1: Consult with a staff member at Disability and Accessibility Services

Option 2: Consult with the Director of Disability and Accessibility Services

Option 3: Consult with or file formal complaint with the Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office

Other policies related to Accessibility:

Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility