The Office of Disability Services (DS) facilitates equal access for students with disabilities by coordinating reasonable accommodations and support services. Reasonable accommodations are adjustments to policy, practice, and programs that "level the playing field" for students with disabilities and provide equal access to Columbia's programs and activities. Examples include the administration of exams, services such as note-taking, sign language interpreters, assistive technology, and coordination of accessible housing needs. Accommodation plans and services are custom designed to allow students’ full participation in their academic program and are determined according to documented needs and the student's program requirements.
It is the student’s responsibility to report any learning-related disabilities in a timely fashion to the Office of Disability Services, which then authorizes the student to receive specific accommodations based on documentation submitted by the student. Disability Services provides a description of the accommodations to its liaison in GSAS. As a point of contact for instructors, students, and Disability Services, the liaison meets with the student to arrange the appropriate notification of accommodations to instructors.
Students are encouraged to register within the first two weeks of the semester to ensure that reasonable accommodations can be made for that term. Please note that students are not eligible to receive reasonable accommodations until the registration process is complete.
Instructors are expected to provide accommodations as determined by Disability Services, as long as they do not undermine the academic integrity of the course. Instructors are also responsible for evaluating the academic work of students with disabilities according to the same criteria used for all other students in the class. Instructors should refrain from discussing a student’s disability with other students, file accommodation requests in a secure location, and provide opportunities for students to discuss privately their accommodation needs.
A full description of the mission and policies of Disability Services, and the procedure by which students register with that office, may be found on the Disability Services website. Disability Services also provides information on campus accessibility and a Campus Access Map. To contact the Disability Services liaison in GSAS, email gsas-studentaffairs [at] columbia.edu or call (212) 854-8903.