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  May 3, 1994           Amended: 
February 24, 2003

The Americans with Disabilities Act and The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended) are federal laws which mandate that university programs, services, and activities be fully accessible to people with disabilities.  This includes students, employees of all categories, independent contractors, applicants for employment or admission, and members of the public attending university events or using university facilities.  Similarly, the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act requires that the university provide reasonable accommodations to employees and applicants for employment.  The purpose of this policy is to discuss who is responsible for costs associated with reasonable accommodations.  There are separate UWM policies and procedures that govern the accommodation request, review and approval process. 

Any costs associated with reasonable accommodations required by these laws shall be the responsibility of one or more individual units, in accordance with the following guidelines, based on type of activity.  If the person being accommodated has multiple roles in the university (e.g. employee AND student), the type of activity used to determine financial responsibility will be based on the primary role of that person in the environment in which they receive the accommodation.

Using this process to obtain funding shall not be a reason to deny or delay providing a reasonable accommodation.  The campus will commit to initially fund all reasonable accommodation requests.  The university expects campus units to look for areas where improved design and purchasing will result in lower individual accommodation costs.  Decision makers may obtain advice from the ADA Advisory Committee and/or the Office of Legal Affairs.   

A. Employee Accommodations
  1. The work unit in which the employee is housed is responsible for reasonable accommodations that allow the employee to perform his or her job related to tasks and activities performed.  (See UWM’s Reasonable Accommodations Policy and Procedures.)
  2. See also “Public Activities and Campus Training Programs” for campus activities held outside the employee’s unit.
  3. Accommodations for work-related training will be paid for by the unit conducting the training.

B. Instructional Accommodations

Units are expected to continue to improve, expand, and finance the accessibility of all learning environments and materials, e.g., laboratories, computer software, and audiovisual media.  The UWM Student Accessibility Center (SAC) is responsible for the costs directly associated with reasonable instructional accommodations for officially enrolled students. (See the Policy on Student Accessibility Center Payment for Support Services.)

C. Architectural Modifications

Major architectural changes to facilities (e.g., restrooms, doors, ramps, campus signage, visual/auditory features, etc.) and the removal of fixed barriers in accordance with Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), will be the responsibility of the Division of Administrative Affairs (Department of Physical Plant Services).  Minor remodeling, minor spatial changes, and removal of temporary obstacles may be the responsibility of the unit involved.  When units remodel or create new structures, they must comply with established state and federal guidelines for accessibility, including required updates to existing structures.

D.   Public Activities and Campus Training Programs

Campus units sponsoring public activities or campus training programs will bear the financial responsibility of providing reasonable accommodations to employees, applicants, or public users with disabilities.  The cost of the accommodation will specifically be the responsibility of the university unit (department sub-unit, program, department, school/college/division, or UWM) that is offering the activity or program. 

E.   Levels of Financial Responsibility

Units are required to secure and fund immediately all reasonable accommodations.  Should any costs create an undue financial burden on a unit, that unit must request financial assistance from the next four successive level(s) as follows:
Funding Level
Unit's Representative
Level 1

Department sub-unit or program
Supervisor or Program Manager
Level 2

Department Chair or Director
Level 3

School, College, or Division
Dean or Division Head
Level 4

Chancellor or designee

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Last updated: July 15, 2005
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