Federal and state laws protecting people with disabilities are largely regulated by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. The acts extend civil rights protections for individuals with disabilities to employment in the public and private sectors, transportation, public accommodations, services provided by state and local government, and telecommunication relay services.

Public institutions of higher education are impacted by ADA because the act upholds and extends the standards for compliance set forth in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to employment practices, communications, and all policies, procedures and practices that impact on the treatment of students with disabilities.

Employment issues for all institutions are covered under Title I. For all activities, public institutions are covered under Title II; private institutions are covered under Title III. Disability access to institutions of higher education focus includes the whole scope of the institution’s activities, including programs, facilities and employment.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice are charged with the enforcement of ADA.

The ADA applies to all institutions of higher education regardless of receipt of federal funds. The Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs that receive federal financial assistance. The Rehabilitation Act standards mirror those of the ADA.

Under ADA, a “person with a disability” includes any individual:

  1. With a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,
  2. With a record of such impairment, or
  3. Who is perceived or regarded by others as having such an impairment.

Employers are, hence, required to make reasonable accommodations to known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified job applicant or employee with a disability, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the business of the employer.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that:

“No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States...shall, solely by reason of...disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

A “qualified person with a disability” is defined as one who, with or without reasonable accommodation, meets the requisite academic and technical standards required for admission or participation in the postsecondary institution’s programs and activities or employment position.

For more information on the topic of disability

For students

Disability Services for Students

For faculty and staff

To request job accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, please contact institutional equity at (269) 387-6316. If you prefer to submit your request in writing, you may download the ADA Accommodation request form along with the Disability Verification form to initiate the process. The forms may be mailed to the ADA Coordinator at mailstop 5405 or fax to (269) 387-6312 (confidential fax).

Reporting a disability concern

To report an incident of bias, harassment, discrimination or retaliation related to a disability or accommodation, please email oie-info@wmich.edu.

Additional resources at Western Michigan University:

Accessibility Map

An interactive campus map that uses the familiar Google Maps interface. Get access to multiple WMU layers of information.

Locate campus buildings, drill down to information about the building. Get Google Maps directions to or from a campus building.

Overlays for campus parking, building accessibility, and mobility maps.