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Fundamental Alteration

Fundamental Alteration is defined as a change to a college program, service, or activity that significantly changes the essential nature of the program, service, or activity (e.g., employment, course design, degree requirements). The ADA as amended in 2008 states that “A public entity must reasonably modify its policies, practices, or procedures to avoid discrimination. If the public entity can demonstrate, however, that the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of its service, program, or activity, it is not required to make the modification” (ADA Title II Technical Assistance Manual)

SLCC Fundamental Alteration Procedure

If a faculty member is concerned that an accommodation fundamentally alters an essential requirement of their course, the following process will be utilized:

  • The SLCC Accessibility advisor that sent the accommodation letter should be consulted regarding the accommodation concern. The faculty are requested to provide a syllabus, or other technical or certification requirement that states the course objectives. The faculty should also state what fundamental course requirement they are concerned is being altered.
  • The SLCC accessibility advisor will contact the Assistant Director and/or Director of Accessibility & Disability Services. The advisor, Assistant Director and/or Director may then contact the following individuals: faculty member, the Associate Dean or Deans, the department chair or other subject matter experts that are able to discern the fundamental requirements of the program, whether the accommodation is reasonable and if there are additional or alternative appropriate accommodation options. The Director of Accessibility & Disability Services may also contact the Utah State Department of Risk Management to help determine whether the accommodation alters the essential requirements of the course.
  • The advisor, Assistant Director and/or Director will also determine if there are any alternate ways the student could demonstrate competence without undermining the essential requirements of the course.
  • The SLCC Accessibility advisor will notify the student of the final decision in writing. If the accommodation is denied, the student will be provided with information on how to file an appeal.