The Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (OSSD) offers services for students with physical and learning disabilities. The OSSD is designed to assist students in making a successful transition to college life. We take a proactive stance that encourages students to understand their needs and strengths in order to best advocate for themselves.
At West Chester University, we recognize that some students with disabilities want minimal assistance while others require the full range of support and services. To facilitate successful transition, we recommend a comprehensive assessment of needs through this office. The office provides advocacy with faculty for classroom accommodations and substitution of courses for foreign language.
The OSSD is a part of the Academic Affairs Division of West Chester University and services the entire institution in matters regarding students with disabilities at WCU. OSSD provided services and programs that ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990). All programs and services are in keeping with the University's mission to provide equal education for all qualified students. It is the goal of the OSSD to maximize student success, self-advocacy, and independence in an accessible academic environment.
Requests for accommodations are approved by and originate from the OSSD. Students must have a Letter of Accommodation that validates their claim and specifies all accommodations. Students without proper authorization should be referred to the OSSD. Any questions about the accommodation letter should be addressed to the OSSD.
Faculty can be of great assistance in helping students with disabilities to self-identify. The vast majority of students with disabilities resist disclosure due to fear of discrimination. The University and the OSSD make every effort to inform students of all available resources in advance of their arrival at WCU. Nevertheless, the first personal contact many students have upon entering the University is with a faculty member in class. Thus, the role of the faculty member is crucial in maximizing the success of students with disabilities.
West Chester University strongly encourages the inclusion of a syllabus statement that invites students with disabilities to come forward early in the semester with requests for accommodations and services. Such a statement is one of the most basic ways faculty members can demonstrate that they are making a good faith effort to teach in compliance with the law. The following syllabus statement may be used as is by faculty or varied to suit individual style:
"If you have a disability that requires accommodations under the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA), please present your letter of accommodations and meet with me as soon as possible so that I can support your success in an informed manner. If you would like to know more about West Chester University's services for students with disabilities, please contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities at ext. 3217."