Our goal is to aid students with all types of conditions including physical and learning disabilities, temporary injuries, and chronic illnesses to access the educational possibilities at St. John’s University as per federal law. We work in collaboration with all departments and programs at the University to facilitate accommodations, advocate for our students and, assist students to maximize their potential while helping them develop and maintain independence.
For new students seeking Academic Accommodations for the first time:
While there is no specific cutoff date for registering for academic accommodations, it is best to complete the process as early in the semester as possible to avoid delays in service provision. New students should follow these steps to register for academic accommodations:
A staff member will confirm receipt of your email generally in 1-2 business days depending on the volume of requests and advise of the next steps, including if additional documentation may be needed. It typically takes up to 2 weeks to complete the registration process from when appropriate documentation and a complete Registration Form is received. More information about the registration process and pertinent forms can be found by reviewing the "Registration and Documentation" tab on this page.
For students seeking Housing Accommodations:
The deadline for Housing Accommodations was May 15, 2022, however, additional requests may be reviewed on a rolling basis. Please see information about the Housing Accommodations Process for more details.
For returning students seeking updated Accommodation Letters:
Returning students should request updated accommodation letters for Fall 2022 beginning in August by writing to [email protected] with the subject line, "Requesting Fall 2022 Accommodation Letter". ODS staff will confirm receipt of the email and generally provide an updated PDF accommodation letter in 2-3 business days.
Students diagnosed with physical and/or mental impairments qualify as persons with disabilities when their conditions substantially limit them in one or more major life activities. St. John’s University provides reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities with consultation from their academic programs when necessary. Reasonable accommodations are adjustments to policies, practices, or procedures that facilitate equal access and opportunity for students with disabilities to the University’s programs, activities and services. Services for students with a documented disability are available through Disability Services.
The goal of documentation is twofold: to verify and support the student’s status as disabled and to address the way in which the disability impairs the student’s access to education. The documentation should provide a meaningful understanding of the student’s limits and, importantly, detail reasonable accommodations which will effectively equalize the student’s ability to perform in the university setting.
All documentation is kept confidential and should be submitted directly to Disability Services. Students requesting accommodations should schedule an appointment with an Disability Services administrator and identify their needs as early in their tenure at St. John’s as possible.
Documentation Requirements (PDF)
Services for students with a documented disability are available through Disability Services. All documentation is kept confidential and should be submitted directly to Disability Services. Students requesting accommodations should identify their needs as early as possible. All information regarding the student’s accommodations is provided to the student. Types of accommodations provided are, but not limited to:
Students eligible for note-taking accommodations should contact ODS via email at [email protected] indicating in which classes they require notes and include the following information:
This is best done in the first 2 weeks of classes. Once ODS has this information, we will contact the instructor for your course(s) and indicate that ODS is seeking a student to serve as a note-taker for that class. You will remain anonymous in this process unless you indicate that you wish to have direct interaction with your note-taker.
Arrangements for accommodations: Any admitted student requesting accommodations is responsible to notify the University of his/ her needs by scheduling an appointment with a Disability Services administrator. Documentation and reasonable accommodations will be assessed. A student with verified disabilities will be provided with accommodations letters, which the student must present to his/her professors.
Each semester, returning students must request updated accommodation letters via email to [email protected]. There is no need to have an in person meeting with an ODS administration unless your accommodation needs have changed. An accommodation letter will be emailed to your stjohn’s email address as a PDF attachment generally within 2 business days of the request.
What you need to know about testing accommodations: If you so choose, you may take your exams in the testing room in Marillac Hall, room 130A. Please enter through Disability Services, Marillac 134.
Notify us: Please contact us to schedule an exam at least 1-2 weeks in advance. You may do so by calling, emailing, or stopping in to our office.
When scheduling exams you must provide the following information:
The simplest way to schedule exam accommodations is to email [email protected] about your exam 1-2 weeks in advance and cc your instructor so that ODS may follow up. We recommend reviewing all of your syllabi to determine the schedule of exams in order to plan appropriately. Exams can only be scheduled with ODS once you have informed your instructor you are registered with ODS via an accommodation letter.
Testing Room Availability:
Monday to Thursday, 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m.
Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
You must coordinate with your professors a mutually agreed upon time to take your exams within these time frames. Please be certain to make allowances to complete your extended time within the above schedule.
If you are a currently registered with Disability Services or a student that was registered with our office in the past, you may contact us for a verification letter for standardized tests. If you received extended time in your undergraduate studies, you may be eligible for extended time on standardized tests such as the GMAT, LSAT, GRE, or other standardized testing.
Contact [email protected] to request a letter be mailed to you verifying you as a registered student and your accommodations. We will mail this letter directly to you, which you can then provide to the testing board. Please allow 1-2 weeks to process such requests.
Who is a person with a disability?
A person with a disability is someone who has one, or a combination of several physical, mental, and learning impairments which substantially limits one or more of the person’s major life activities. Major life activities include seeing, hearing, walking, or learning. A person may be considered to have a disability if he/she has a history of such an impairment or is regarded as presently having such an impairment.
Disabilities may include:
What Is A Reasonable Accommodation?
A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment to the way in which a program or service is provided that allows a qualified person with a disability to achieve meaningful access to that program or service. For example, a reasonable accommodation may consist of a modification of the University's policies or procedures, or the provision of auxiliary aids or services. Reasonable accommodations do not alter the nature of the course or the degree requirements in any way. St. John’s University is not required to make accommodations which fundamentally alter the nature of its curriculum, programs or services, or which are unduly burdensome either in terms of cost or administrative difficulty.How Do I Receive an Accommodation for A Disability?
If you have a disability, or if you suspect that you have a disability, the first place to go is the Office of Disability Services (ODS) in Marillac Hall, room 134. Students with disabilities have the responsibility of contacting ODS for an initial meeting to assess their needs. You should not assume that the University knows any information about your disability because it was included in your application for admission. Students are not eligible for any accommodations until you have met with an ODS administrator. Your documentation will be reviewed and an accommodation plan based on your disability and supporting documentation will be arranged.
Accessible parking spaces are limited and, pursuant to law, only individuals with appropriately issued permits can park in these locations. Any member of the University community with a disability requesting permission to park in accessible parking areas must apply to the appropriate municipal authority to secure a New York State parking permit for people with disabilities. A parking zone identified with a sign bearing the international disability symbol is restricted at all times for use by vehicles bearing BOTH a valid SJU parking permit and New York State issued accessible parking permit.
Temporary Accessible Parking Permits
St. John’s University supports the provision of disability parking spaces at a reasonable proximity to campus buildings for people with a temporary disability. Accessible parking privileges will be granted only after submission of documentation of need to Disability Services. Medical documents or physician’s letter, which include diagnostic statement and healthcare provider’s license number, must indicate that the applicant has established physical limitations. Upon the approval of documentation, a temporary accessible parking permit may be obtained from Public Safety, provided that the community member has a valid parking permit and a valid photo ID.
Students may need to request specific accommodations for housing in order to access Residence Halls. In order to make a Housing Accommodation Request, students must do the following:
ODS will confirm receipt of these items once they have been received. Please note, ODS will not review incomplete requests for housing accommodations. Additionally, it is important to understand that ODS cannot make guarantees regarding approval of an accommodation request or specific room assignments. Students should also be aware of important Residence Life housing deadlines, which may impact available housing options.
How Accommodations Are Determined
In collaboration with the Office of Residence Life, accommodation requests are determined by committee on a case-by-case basis, according to documented need and industry standards for reasonable accommodations. Housing accommodations are made after a determination of:
Students with a qualifying disability requesting an assistance animal within the Residence Halls should review the Service and Assistance Animal Policy and follow the steps outlined in this policy.
Service and Assistance Animal Policy
This document describes the Service and Assistance Animal Policy and the steps students need to take to qualify for the process as well as to return to school.
Veterinarian Verification Form
This form is to be completed by veterinarian regarding the health of your assistance animal.
Authorization for Release of Health Information and Health Care Provider Verification Form
Release form that students should complete and sign so their health care provider can communicate with the St. John’s University regarding the need for an assistance animal.
Associate Director, Disability Services
Over 10 years of experience wearing multiple hats as a Disability Service Provider in multiple universities, ranging from Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), to The New School and Columbia University. Jason has vast knowledge of accommodations for people with all types of disabilities and access needs.
Utilization of Assistive Technology solutions to facilitate appropriate access for students who are blind or visually impaired, as well as Universal Design approaches to programs and curricula to build ease of use and access from the ground up.
Jason is a big Grateful Dead fan and attended numerous Dead and Company concerts with his wife. Jason’s in-laws own a kosher meat business based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn dating back multiple generations to the early 1950s.
Case Manager, Disability Services
Senior counselor on Staten Island campus of SJU until January, 2012 when transferred to Queens campus in position of Case Manager. Prior to working at St. John’s, provided counseling in a drug abuse prevention program and a federally-funded program to assist economically disadvantaged students. Completed an internship at Veterans Administration Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY.
Autistic spectrum disorders and multi-cultural issues.
Ms. Maggi is a talented gardener and enthusiastic photographer.
A student seeking reasonable accommodations must register with a Disability Services administrator, who reviews his/her documentation in order to determine if the student has a verifiable disability.
If the student’s documentation meets requirements, a Disability Services administrator meets with the student to determine appropriate reasonable accommodations which are noted in an Accommodation Letter. Students must present current accommodation letter to their instructors each semester in order to notify them of approved accommodations on the basis of disability.
Q. CONFIDENTIALITY: Is the information regarding a student's disability and her need for academic accommodations confidential?
A. Privacy of student information, including that regarding student's disabilities or accommodation needs, should generally be handled according to guidelines of FERPA, the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Personal information of this nature should only be shared with those people within the institution who have an educational need-to-know.
Q. ANNOUNCEMENT: How can I encourage students with disabilities to talk with me about their accommodations?
A. Announce at the beginning of a course that you are available to discuss instructional methods and appropriate course modifications with students who have disabilities. In addition, include a note to this effect on your course syllabus. For example:
"To request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disability Services at 718-990-6867. If you have a letter from their office indicating that you have a disability which requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to me so we can discuss the accommodations that you might need in this class."
Q. CONFIDENTIALITY: Is it acceptable to ask a student who is having obvious difficulties whether he has a disability or to refer the student to the office that provides disability support services?
A. No. It is not a good idea to ask directly about a possible disability for a couple of reasons. First, the Americans with Disabilities Act states that a public entity may not make unnecessary inquiries into the existence of a disability. These inquiries usually relate to hiring or pre-admission screening, but when talking with students such inquiries should also be avoided. A direct inquiry such as this could also be considered intrusive or insensitive. You may simply tell the student that you notice she is having academic difficulty and encourage her to come talk with you about gaining assistance, just as you would with any student.
Q. QUALIFIED STUDENTS: How do I know a student is qualified to receive disability-related accommodations?
A. On most campuses, a student who wishes to receive disability-related accommodations must register with the campus office that supports disabled students and provide documentation from an appropriate professional about his condition before services are rendered. Once a student is registered, faculty must provide the academic accommodations that this office determines reasonable. The student or disability services office provides faculty with a letter written by Disability Services, which documents the disability and the need for academic accommodation.
Q. REFERRALS: How can I encourage students with disabilities to register with the campus office for disabled student services?
A. You may make an announcement to your class and print a statement on your syllabus referring students with disabilities to the office for disabled student services. You may also encourage students to meet with you to discuss their learning needs. For example, you could say to a student: "I noticed that you seemed to have difficulty organizing your paper. You might consider using some of the special support services we have on campus such as the skills center, the peer tutoring program, and disabled student services."
Q. TAPE RECORDING: Can a faculty member forbid a student with a disability to use a tape recorder in class?
A. An instructor is typically required to allow a student to tape record her course if taping the class is determined to be an appropriate accommodation for a student's disability. Tape recorders are specifically mentioned in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act as a means of providing full participation in educational programs and activities. Occasionally, classroom discussion reveals items of a personal nature about students. If open discussions tend to reveal personal information, it would be appropriate to ask the student with a disability to turn off the tape recorder during these discussions. Contact Disability Services with questions or concerns about tape recording lectures.
Q. REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS: How do I know what a reasonable academic accommodation is?
A. Your campus student disabilities office determines which accommodations are reasonable. The student may provide you with a letter from this service office, outlining appropriate accommodations. The student may also share with you accommodations that have proved successful for him in other classes. You can consult with the disabled student services office if his requests do not seem reasonable.
Q. DISAGREEMENTS: What if I do not agree with a recommended accommodation?
A. The institution is required by federal regulation to establish formal grievance procedures for providing prompt and equitable resolution of disagreements. When a dispute involves the conduct of a course or academic program, those procedures provide for consultation between the faculty member responsible for the course, the student, and a representative from the disabled student services office. Contact your disabled student services office to learn about the grievance procedures on your campus.
Q. EXAMINATIONS: Some students with disabilities are provided extended time on examinations. Is this fair to other students?
A. The Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states: "The results of an examination should accurately reflect an individual's aptitude or achievement level or whatever the test purports to measure, rather than reflecting an individual's impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills." The courts have held repeatedly that a lengthening of the standard examination period is an appropriate accommodation for some students with disabilities. For example, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered the State Board of Bar Examiners to allow double the standard time on the bar exam for an applicant with Dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder. Similarly, the State District Court for the Western District of New York ruled that a State Bar applicant with a visual impairment must be allowed a four-day examination period rather than the standard two-day period.
Q. NOTICE: How are instructors informed that a student needs an academic accommodation?
A. Students who wish to exercise their right to disability-related accommodations must provide the campus disabled student services office with documentation of their disability. Instructors are notified that specific accommodations are necessary via an accommodation letter from OSD which the student will deliver. Instructors receive written notification describing the nature of the appropriate academic adjustments for the student. Students are encouraged to request accommodations prior to the beginning of the academic term; however, the student may request accommodations at any time during the course.
Q. FAILING: May I fail a student with a disability?
A. Yes. It is possible to fail a student with a disability. The laws mandate access to education, not guaranteed academic success. When a faculty member has provided reasonable academic accommodations, as is required to comply with the law, and the student does not meet the course requirements, then failing a student is proper and lawful. The following is a compliance checklist that may be helpful:
*From the website “Do-It: Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology, University of Washington: The Faculty Room.” www.washington.edu/doit/programs/accesscollege/employment-office/resources-students-mentors-educators-and-employers
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St. John’s University is pleased to have the privilege of working with your son/daughterthroughout the upcoming year. Please use the resources below which you may find helpful.
Federal regulations protect adult (18 years old or older) students’ confidentiality, even regarding disclosing confidential information to parents. Students can provide a release of information, permitting us to communicate with parents. However, should your child provide us with permission, please know that the permission allows, but does not require, us to disclose confidential information.
Q. Do you have a tutoring program for students with disabilities?
Disability Services does not provide tutoring services. However, St. John’s University provides all students with academic assistance through the University Learning Commons and the Writing Centers. Students with documented disabilities are encouraged to use both of these resources, as needed.
Q. Is public transportation part of the accommodations?
No. Disability Services does not offer public transportation. However, if the student participates in a program which provides transportation, that transportation must be accessible to the student,.
Q. Can parents request accommodations on behalf of their son/daughter?
No. All requests for accommodations must come directly from the student and supported by documentation from a health care provider. Parents may be present with the student’s consent during the initial appointment with Disability Services.
Q. Does ODS provide psychoeducational assessment?
No. Neither the Americans with Disabilities Act nor Section 504 require that institutions of higher learning provide evaluations or assessments of students with disabilities or suspected disabilities. However, Disability Services may provide referrals to qualified professionals and agencies.
Q. In high school, teachers kept me informed as to how my child was performing academically. Will I be able to communicate with the University professors or any other offices about my son/daughter’s academic performance?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1976 (FERPA) dictates that once your son/daughter enrolls in an institution of postsecondary education and reaches the age of majority, 18 years old, he/she becomes the sole guardian of all records maintained by the institution. The student has the right to his/her own records with written request. The parent or guardian does not share this right as the information is kept confidential. The student may provide a written release form authorizing his/her parents or guardians access to requested records or information.
Q. With my son/daughter’s consent, can I visit Disability Services on behalf of my son/daughter to discuss concerns or ask questions?
Yes, but the student must always be present during the meetings.
Q. My son/daughter had some subjects waived in high school, are they automatically waived in college, too?
There are no “automatic waivers.” Depending upon the documented disability and the required accommodations, specific subjects may be waived or substituted.
Q. Can I provide assistance for my son/daughter in the classroom or during testing, such as reading or note taking?
No. If your son/daughter is entitled to such accommodations, based upon the submitted documentation, Disability Services will assist the student with arranging the accommodations. Parents are not allowed to attend classes with their son/daughter unless permitted by the instructor. In such cases, parents’ presence must be neutral and pose no distraction.
Q. Does my son/daughter’s disability warrant any immunity against any disciplinary charges that may be posed against him/her as a result of a complaint?
No. Students with documented disability are subject to the same code of conduct as are all other students. Their conduct will be reviewed by college officials should their behavior pose any danger or concern to self or others, regardless of disability.
Pregnant students may request academic adjustments, special services, excused absences, or leaves of absence by contacting the Office of Disability Services, which is located in Marillac Hall, Room 134. ODS can also be contacted through email ([email protected]), phone (718-990-2609), or fax (718-990-2609).
Federal law prohibits discrimination against a student based on pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery from any of these conditions. If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination because of any of these conditions, contact Danielle Haynes, the University’s Director of Equal Opportunity & Title IX Coordinator, at [email protected] or 718-990-2660.
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Lavelle Fund for the Blind
Legally blind students enrolled in graduate programs at St. John’s University are eligible to apply for the Lavelle – Brother Kearney Scholarship.