In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 (as amended in 2008) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Harvard strives to provide students with support and services conducive to a welcoming and accessible learning environment.
Harvard University makes changes to, alters, or modifies its policies, practices and/or procedures, when necessary for students to have an equal opportunity to participate in its programs and activities. These changes are commonly referred to as “reasonable accommodations.” Examples of reasonable accommodations for students include but are not limited to sign language interpreters; notetakers; materials in alternative formats (such as braille, different font size or digital format); and extension of time to complete coursework and/or a degree.
While Harvard considers a student’s preference when assessing requests for necessary reasonable accommodations, at times Harvard may offer an alternative accommodation, so long as the alternative is effective.
An accommodation is not reasonable if it would: lower or substantially modify academic requirements (e.g. a request to change the content of an exam, or a request to be exempt from assigned work); impose an undue administrative burden (e.g. reminders of deadlines); be provided for personal use or study (e.g. hearing aids, personal care attendants, or tutor or coaches); or require a fundamental alteration of the nature of Harvard’s programs or activities. If a requested accommodation would fundamentally alter the nature of a Harvard program or activity, other accommodations will be considered to permit participation in the program or activity to the maximum extent possible.
Initiating the Accommodation Process
To initiate the accommodation process, please submit an Accommodation Request Form along with the necessary supporting documentation. Once received, someone from the Office of Students Affairs will contact you to schedule an appointment.
Disability-Related Housing Requests
The Harvard GSD does not have its own housing, students who wish to live in Harvard University Housing (HUH) must contact the HUH Disability Coordinator as well as register for housing accommodations through the student’s home school. Housing accommodation requests must be reviewed and approved by the home school before housing accommodation requests are coordinated. Admitted GSD students should follow the instructions outlined above for requesting HUH housing accommodations.
Accommodations for Studio Trips
If you are a student with a disability requesting accommodations for a studio trip domestic or abroad, please contact the Assistant Director of Student Support and Services, at [email protected] or 617-496-8306, to discuss accommodations.
Harvard GSD works to maintain privacy; however, information may be shared internally for legitimate need to know reasons and to coordinate support and accommodations.
Disability Grievance Process
If you disagree with the approved accommodation, promptly provide a written statement of your concern, with recent clinical documentation, to the Director of Student Affairs. All grievances must be filed within 30 days of the alleged act of discrimination.
If the Office of Student Affairs cannot resolve the grievance independently and promptly, they will convene a committee to review the matter. The committee will be comprised of the Registrar, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, and, as a nonvoting member, the Director of Student Affairs.
The committee may contact the Assistant Director of Student Support and Services, the instructor, program managers, or other appropriate personnel to discuss the requested accommodations, as needed. The committee may also request additional supporting documentation or an independent medical evaluation on the request for accommodation.
In cases where timeliness of an accommodation is important, every reasonable effort is made to complete each stage of the process within 10 working days, unless the circumstances require a more rapid response. In some situations, we may provide the requested accommodation on a provisional basis, without obligation to continue the accommodation if it is found to be unreasonable or inappropriate.
If you are dissatisfied with a decision of the committee, you may appeal in writing to University Disability Resources, by e-mail at [email protected]. Call (617) 495-1859 or (617) 495-4801 (TDD) if you have any questions.
Read about the University grievance process for more information. In most circumstances, the University disability coordinator will not overturn the decision of the committee unless presented with new information or other grounds that warrant a different outcome.
If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment to discuss accommodations, please e-mail [email protected]. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm EST.