Back to Top

Services for Students with Disabilities

WOSC is committed to providing support services to physically and learning disabled students. These services are guided by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 which prohibits discrimination against otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities, and mandates that reasonable accommodations be made for such persons. 

To access these services students must initiate their request each semester by meeting with the counselor to discuss their physical or academic needs. Students must provide documentation from a qualified professional as to the nature of their disability before receiving services.
Student Support Services ADA Request Form

Each student is encouraged to act as his/her own advocate and has the major responsibility for securing assistance. Early and regular contact with the counselor will help ensure services and accommodations. It is strongly recommended that all documentation is in place by the second week of classes to ensure that accommodations are met in a timely fashion.  

Accommodations that are considered reasonable for college students differ significantly from accommodations that are routinely available at the high school level. We have provided links below to articles that explain these differences in a manner that is easy to understand.

 

Assistance Animal Policy

Policy Overview

Western Oklahoma State College is committed to compliance with state and federal laws regarding individuals with disabilities. All requests for Assistance Animals (Service and Emotional Support) should be directed to the Office of Student Disability Services, part of the Student Support Services Department, 2801 W. Main St., Altus, OK 73521, 580 - 477-7710.

The College will determine, on a case by case basis, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, whether the animal is a reasonable accommodation on campus.  In doing so, the College must balance the needs of the individual with the impact of animals on other campus patrons.

Service Animals Permitted on Campus

Individuals with disabilities may be accompanied by their service animals on the Western Oklahoma State College campus, with minimal exceptions, (based on health and safety restrictions) where members of the public or participants in services, programs or activities are allowed. Examples of restricted areas include but are not limited to: food preparation areas, laboratories or classrooms that contain research animals and areas requiring protective clothing. 

Service Animal:  A service animal is a dog (or miniature horse) that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.  Examples of such tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • Assisting an individual with low vision with navigation
  • Alerting individuals who are hard of hearing to the presence of people or objects, pulling a person's wheelchair
  • Alerting the individual to take medications
  • Providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with a mobility disability
Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals.  In some cases, the College may permit miniature horses on campus on a case-by-case basis, consistent with applicable law. 
 
The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. Federal law does not require the individual to provide documentation that an animal has been trained as a service animal. The College may, however, ask these two questions: 
  1. Is the dog a service animal that is required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task(s) has the animal has been trained to perform?
It is encouraged that any individual with a service animal contact the Disability Services Office.  When it is not obvious that a dog is a service animal, or if there are additional questions, it is recommended that the individual contact the Disability Services Office in order to assist in the transition of the dog on campus. The College also suggests that the student register the service animal with the Disability Services Office, though, in accordance with applicable law, service animals are not required to register on campus. The registration information would include the names of the owner and the service animal and would be used for identification purposes only.
 
Service Animal In-Training
 
A Service Animal In-Training is a dog (or in limited instances, a miniature horse) that is being trained to be a Service Animal.  This training can include formal training by a recognized entity or training by an individual person.  In most instances, this person is the individual with a disability.  A Service Animal in Training is afforded the same access to campus as a trained Service Animal. However, until the dog is completely trained, it is considered an Emotional Support Animal. A Service Animal In-Training is required to be registered with the Disability Services Office. Much like the Service Animal policy, the Owner of a Service Animal in Training is required to answer for the Disability Services Office two questions:
 
  1. Is the animal required to assist with a Disability?
  2. What task(s) is the animal being trained to complete?

Emotional Support Animals

Federal law outlines the criteria for allowance of an Emotional Support Animal.  An Emotional Support Animal is not trained to perform a specific task or work for the individual.  However, the provision of an Emotional Support Animal in the residence halls of the College may be determined a reasonable accommodation to provide the individual with equal access.

An Emotional Support Animal that is not also a Service Animal, may be allowed as an accommodation in College housing if deemed a reasonable accommodation.  Individuals requesting an Emotional Support animal must register with the Disability Services Office.  Steps for registration are as follows:

  • Please contact the Disability Services Office at 580-477-7710 or visit the office located in SSC205 to obtain the Service and Emotional Support Animal College Housing Agreement documentation guidelines.
  • Provide the agreement and the appropriate supporting documentation to the Disability Services Office. 
  • The Disability Services Office will review documentation within 15 business days. 
  • Once appropriate documentation has been received and reviewed, the student will be contacted through their WOSC email account to schedule an initial appointment with the Counselor.
  • The determination of reasonable accommodation is based on  (1) the individual has a disability; (2) the animal is necessary to afford the individual an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling; and (3) there is an identifiable relationship between the disability and the assistance the animal provides.

Exceptions

The College may exclude a service or emotional support animal from campus if its behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or when its presence fundamentally alters the nature of a program or activity. Furthermore, the College may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from campus if the animal is out of control and the individual does not take effective action to control it; or if the animal is not housebroken.

Responsibilities of Individuals with Service or Emotional Support Animals

  • The College is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal.
  • Individuals with disabilities are responsible for the control of their service animals at all times and must comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including vaccination, licensure, animal health and leash laws.
  • A service animal shall be restrained with a harness, leash, or other tether, unless an individual’s disability precludes the use of a restraint or if the restraint would interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks. If a service animal is not tethered, it must be otherwise under the individual’s control, whether by voice control, signals, or other effective means.
  • Individuals are responsible for ensuring the immediate clean-up and proper disposal of all animal waste.
  • Although the College may not charge an individual with a disability a service animal surcharge, it may impose charges for damages caused by a service animal in the same manner the College imposes charges for damages caused by students.

Guidelines for the WOSC Community

  • Allow service animals to accompany individuals with disabilities in all areas (with minor exception) of campus.
  • Do not ask specific information about the disability.
  • Do not ask that the animal demonstrate work or task.
  • Do not pet, interact, or otherwise involve yourself with the animal without prior permission from the individual.  To do so distracts the animal from it’s work.
  • Do not intentionally tease or startle the animal.
  • Do not separate or expect the individual to separate from the animal.
  • Contact the Disability Services Office with any questions or concerns.

Special Situations 

Students and employees should contact the Disability Services Office to discuss any special situations regarding service animals or emotional support animals that are not covered by this policy, as well as any exceptions to this policy that might be requested by a student or employee.  All exceptions must be approved in writing by the Vice President for Student Affairs.

(Assistance Animal Policy in the College Catalog)

 

 

ADA Accommodation Grievance Procedure

 
If you disagree with the accommodations suggested by the Office for Students with Disabilities, please discuss your concerns with the Counselor. If you are not able to reach an amenable agreement with the Counselor, we encourage you to review Western's ADA Grievance Procedure described below and proceed as directed.  
 
After receiving the Grievance Report Form, Western's Vice President for Student Support Services, our designated coordinator for ADA compliance efforts will render a decision on your grievance.  You will have the opportunity to visit with this administrator if you still feel your rights as a student with a disability are not being honored.
 
Western's​​ Grievance Procedure for Americans with Disabilities Accommodations and the Grievance Report form are all available below. 
 
At Western, we are committed to providing a top notch education that is accessible for all of our students.
 

 

Western Accessibility Documentation (all external links below will open a new window)