With regard to students with disabilities, Estrella Mountain Community College is governed by one State and two Federal laws: Title II of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities (amended 2008) Title II of the 1993 Arizonan’s with Disabilities Act, and Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act.
Rehabilitation Act of 1973
The Rehabilitation Act is generally regarded as the first “civil rights” legislation for persons with disabilities on the national level.
Section 504 (Subsection E) of the Rehabilitation Act bears directly upon college programs.
Section 504 is a program access statute that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity offered by an entity or institution receiving federal financial assistance.
Section 504 does not require special educational programming to be developed for students with disabilities, but does require that an institution (public or private) be prepared to make
appropriate academic adjustments and reasonable modifications to policies and practices in
order to allow the full participation of students with disabilities in the same programs and
activities available to non-disabled students.
Section 504 states:
“No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States. . .shall, solely on the basis of disability, be denied access to, or the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity provided by any institution receiving federal financial assistance.”
Subsection E of Section 504 specifically denotes the coverage of postsecondary institutions. Having been governed by this regulation for quite some time, Estrella Mountain Community College has practiced a strong commitment to nondiscriminatory practices.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), was enacted on July 26, 1990, “to provide a clear and
comprehensive mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.” This federal legislation expanded equal treatment of people with disabilities in employment, public services and transportation, public accommodations, and telecommunications services. Estrella Mountain Community College adheres to all employment, programmatic, and architectural requirements in accordance with the ADA.
ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAA).
Most significantly, the ADAA:
Directs EEOC to revise the portion of its regulations that defines the term "substantially limits";
Expands the definition of "major life activities" by including two non-exhaustive lists:
The first list includes many activities that the EEOC has recognized (e.g., walking) as well as activities that EEOC has not specifically recognized (e.g., reading, bending, and communicating);
The second list includes major bodily functions (e.g., "functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, respiratory, neurological, brain, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions");
States that mitigating measures other than "ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses" shall not be considered in assessing whether an individual has a disability;
Clarifies that an impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active;
Provides that an individual subjected to an action prohibited by the ADA (e.g., failure to hire) because of an actual or perceived impairment will meet the "regarded as" definition of disability, unless the impairment is transitory and minor;
Provides that individuals covered only under the "regarded as" prong are not entitled to reasonable accommodation; and
Emphasizes that the definition of "disability" should be interpreted broadly.