Part I: Policy Statement

It is the policy of Oregon State University to comply with Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, and other applicable federal and state regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. The Rehabilitation Act and the ADA require that no qualified person shall, solely by reason of disability, be denied access to, participation in, or the benefits of, any program or activity operated by the University. Each qualified person shall receive the reasonable accommodations needed to ensure equal access to employment, educational opportunities, programs, and activities in the most integrated setting feasible.

Defining "Disability"

To be a disability covered by protection of the ADA, an impairment must substantially limit one or more major life activities. These activities were defined in the 1990 ADA, and subsequently redefined in the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.

The ADA also covers individuals who have a record of such impairment, or are regarded by others as having such an impairment. Temporary impairments, including pregnancy, are not covered as disabilities under the ADA in and of themselves. However, complications that limit one or more major life activities resulting from these temporary conditions may constitute coverage under certain circumstances.

Date of Adoption and Revisions:

Adopted: January 1996

Revised: September 2002, April 2011, April 2013

Part II: Employment & Employees

The University shall not discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training, or other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

Protection from discrimination in employment applies to all university employees: students, classified employees, professional faculty, academic employees, and all employment applicants.

Recruitment and Selection

Under state and federal guidelines, OSU has an obligation to act affirmatively to employ and advance in employment, qualified individuals with disabilities. At the recruitment stage, extra efforts should be made to attract a diverse applicant pool, including candidates with disabilities.

Requests for Accommodations

The Office of Equal Opportunity and Access (EOA) responds to requests for accommodation from faculty, staff, and other employees with disabilities. An employee with a disability should contact their department to request an accommodation, unless the employee would prefer to work through EOA first. When an employee contacts a department to request a job modification or accommodation, there is no need for the department to contact EOA unless the department wishes to deny the request, or would like to discuss the accommodation before providing it. Only EOA, through an interactive process including the employee and the department, can assess whether to deny a request for an accommodation. EOA first determines whether the employee has a qualifying disability; if so, then facilitates a process between the employee and the department to ascertain whether or not reasonable accommodation can be made. As needed, EOA may also help a department identify and/or secure resources for an agreed-upon accommodation.

Job applicants and potential job applicants are also entitled to accommodations during the recruitment and selection process. More information can be found within EOA requesting accommodations procedures.

Part III: Prospective & Current Students

The resources below consist of information and links to programs, services and activities of the university for students only.


Disability Access Services (DAS) assists students with disabilities as they navigate the university. The DAS website maintains information related to students, academics, and accommodations. Some specific information includes:

Admissions and Enrollment

The number or proportion of persons with disabilities admitted or enrolled at the university may not be limited solely on the basis of disability.

Admissions/Placement Tests

Admissions/placement tests that are controlled by the University shall meet the following criteria:

  • Tests shall be selected and administered so as to best ensure that the test results reflect the applicant's aptitude, achievement level, or mastery of knowledge rather than reflecting the applicant's disability (except where the skills being used are the factors that the test purports to measure).
  • Tests shall be administered in a manner and modality that is accessible to persons with disabilities. Facilities shall be accessible, as shall any tests administered online or through computer software.
  • Documentation may be required in order to determine reasonable accommodations for a placement test. Appropriate documentation should be sent to Disability Access Services.
  • Persons with disabilities shall have access to admissions/placement tests as regularly and in as timely a manner as do all other persons. It is the responsibility of the individual taking the test to provide documentation and make an accommodation request before the specified test registration deadline. Students should contact the department administering the placement test to request an accommodation after documentation has been provided to Disability Access Services.
  • Examples of exam accommodation.
Extended Admission Requirements

Any applicant who does not satisfy the minimum requirements or alternatives for admission consideration may petition the Undergraduate Admissions Committee (UAC) for an exception. The UAC is overseen by the Office of Admissions, who maintains Extended Admission instructions and procedures related to admission petitions.

Advising, Counseling, and Career Services

OSU is committed to helping students with disabilities achieve their academic and personal goals. Students with disabilities are encouraged to seek advice on setting and working toward career goals. Students with disabilities generally should not be counseled or advised toward more restrictive career opportunities than are students without disabilities who have similar interests and abilities. Students with disabilities are encouraged to share with their advisors and counselors information about the impacts of the disability on their education, to allow for a potentially more informed and effective advising relationship.


Students with disabilities desiring to live on campus who need accommodations can learn more about how to do so by visiting the University Housing & Dining Services disability accommodation information website.


Commencement shall be accessible to all students and members of the public.


Graduating students with disabilities who may need accommodations at Commencement should visit the Registrar’s Office Commencement website for more information

Financial Aid

OSU shall provide financial assistance to students with disabilities in the same manner it is provided to students without disabilities. Efforts should be made to provide financial aid awards that recognize the particular needs of students with disabilities, including the possible need for additional budget allowances for documented expenses related to disabilities. These additional expenses may be allowed in certain circumstances when not provided by assisting agencies. The OSU Financial Aid Office shall be responsible for individual financial need assessment, including budget allowance, family contribution, and program eligibility, and will consult with DAS and EOA in particular cases implicated by this policy.

Physical Activity Courses, & Intramural and Recreational Sports

OSU does not discriminate on the basis of disability in physical activity courses, athletics, and intramural and recreational program opportunities. Qualified students with disabilities should be provided equal opportunity to participate in physical education courses, intercollegiate and intramural athletics, or recreational opportunities.

Students who cannot participate in regularly offered physical education courses, or who cannot compete in athletic or intramural programs due to disability, may be offered alternate physical education and athletic activities, provided that the programs and activities are operated in the most integrated setting. If reasonable accommodation is not possible in a required course, a substitution or a waiver shall be available.

Students with a disability shall not be excused from physical education requirements unless participation is medically contraindicated or appropriate modifications are not possible.

Program Requirement Adjustments

Academic requirements shall be adjusted, as necessary, to ensure that they do not discriminate against qualified applicants and students with disabilities. These adjustments are required unless they affect the fundamental nature or substance of the educational programs and do not compromise educational standards.

Accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

  • Adjusting the length of time permitted for completing degree requirements, including reviewing credit load requirements (e.g., a student carrying less than 12 hours may be considered a full-time student).
  • Substituting Baccalaureate courses required for the completion of degrees.
  • Adapting the manner in which specific courses are conducted.

Part IV: Other Programs, Services, & Activities

Athletics Event Attendance

Oregon State University provides reasonable accommodations for patrons with disabilities to all OSU Athletic Events. Because OSU’s athletic events occur in a variety of venues, the number of available ADA seats varies depending on the particular athletic event. Learn more about OSU Athletics ADA Ticket Policies.

Commencement Attendance

Commencement shall be accessible to all students and members of the public.


The Commencement website maintains information related to accommodations for commencement guests who require accommodations. These services can be accessed through the website or by calling the Commencement Hotline at 541-737-9390. Guests can find information about accessible parking, shuttle service, ceremony site access, accessible entrances, accessible seating, and other available accommodations.


The University shall take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with individuals with disabilities are as effective as communications with others. The University will provide appropriate auxiliary aids or services where necessary to afford qualified individuals with disabilities, including applicants, participants, companions, and members of the public, an equal opportunity to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of, the services, programs, and activities of the University.


Oregon State University is committed to affording equal opportunity to persons with disabilities by providing access to its programs, activities, and services.

If any individual has difficulty navigating the physical environment of the university, please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access to discuss your concerns. In addition, Disability Access Services maintains a Building Access Complaint form where anyone can file reports about difficulty navigating the campus.

The University has adopted the Department of Justice’s 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design as the minimum standards to which facilities are renovated and constructed. University Facilities, Infrastructure, and Operations (UFIO) also maintains OSU Design & Construction Standards with regards to accessible design of facilities. These documents, as well as other applicable laws, govern particular construction projects.

Mobility Devices

Wheelchairs and Manually-Powered Mobility Aids

Individuals with mobility disabilities are permitted to use wheelchairs and manually-powered mobility aids, such as walkers, crutches, canes, braces, or other similar devices designed for use by individuals with mobility disabilities in any area open to pedestrian use.

Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices

Individuals with mobility disabilities are permitted to use power-driven mobility devices other than wheelchairs, unless the University can demonstrate that the devices cannot be operated in accordance with legitimate safety requirements. This pertains to a range of devices not primarily designed for individuals with mobility impairments, but which may be used by individuals with disabilities as their mobility device of choice. This includes, but is not limited to, golf carts and electronic personal assistance mobility devices, such as the Segway® PT. EOA will determine whether a particular device can be allowed in a specific facility, and will consider, among other things, the following factors: the type, size, weight, dimensions, and speed of the device; the facility’s volume of pedestrian traffic; and the facility’s design and operational characteristics.

Motor Vehicle Parking

A certain number of parking spaces are designated for persons with disabilities around campus. Additional reserved motor vehicle parking spaces will be provided as reasonable accommodation or equal access to persons with disabilities on a case-by-case basis, according to the procedures detailed below.


Any employee with a valid ADA placard and OSU parking permit can park in any ADA space on campus. A request for a reserved parking space can be made to EOA by the employee with a disability. EOA will then review the request to determine if the accommodation is appropriate. After review and approval, the request is forwarded to Transportation Services for appropriate action. Reserved parking spaces must still be paid with prices determined by Transportation Services.


Any student with a valid ADA placard and parking permit can park in any ADA space on campus. A request for a reserved parking space can be made to Disability Access Services (DAS) by the student with a disability. If DAS determines the request is reasonable, the request is forwarded to EOA for appropriate action. After EOA review and approval, the request is forwarded to Transportation Services for appropriate action.

Safety Requirements

The University may impose legitimate safety requirements necessary for the safe operation of its services, programs, or activities. However, the University must ensure that the safety requirements are based on actual risks, not on mere speculation, stereotypes, or generalizations about individuals with disabilities.

Direct Threat

The University is not required to permit an individual to participate in or benefit from its programs, services, and activities when that individual poses a direct threat. A direct threat is any significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services.

In determining whether an individual poses a direct threat, the University must make an individualized assessment to ascertain the nature and severity of the risk, and the potential for injury to actually occur. The assessment will be based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge or on the best available objective evidence.

The Department of Public Safety and the the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access consult when a visitor or employee might constitute a direct threat. The Dean of Student Life (and designees) consult and decide when the Involuntary Leave Policy (pdf) might apply to students.

Planning Programs & Events

When planning programs, departments, organizations, auxiliaries, or affiliated entities are required to:

Accessible Event Planning

Provide a notice of accommodations (formerly called "provide notice of access") whenever they sponsor a program, service, and activity on and off campus, pertaining to all OSU-affiliated events. EOA has produced guidelines for accessible event planning with suggested language.

Provide Accessible Materials

Provide materials in accessible formats when requested. Any publication describing OSU’s services, programs, or activities (e.g. brochures, handouts, position announcements, etc.) must include a statement regarding the availability of that information in accessible formats.

Provide Physical Access

Provide physical access for all OSU-sponsored programs, conferences, and events, including those occurring in private facilities, to the maximum extent feasible. Groups should take steps to determine the accessibility of their events and the facilities being used. EOA should be consulted as needed. All announcements, ticket information, event advertising, etc., must include a notice of opportunity to request an accommodation based on disability.