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The Law


With regard to students with disabilities, Paradise Valley Community College is governed by one State and three Federal laws: Title II of the 1993 Arizonan's with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, Title II of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973

  • The rehabilitation act is generally regarded as the first "civil rights" legislation for persons with disabilities on the national level.
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act bears directly upon college programs.
  • Section 504 is a program access stature that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity offered by an entity or institution receiving federal financial assistance.
  • Section 504 does not require special educational programming to be developed for students with disabilities, but does require that an institution (public or private) be prepared to make appropriate academic adjustments and reasonable modifications to policies and practices in order to allow the full participation of students with disabilities in the same programs and activities available to non-disabled students.

Section 504 states: "No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States...shall, solely on the basis of disability, be denied access to, or the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity provided by any institution receiving federal financial assistance."

Subsection E of Section 504 specifically denotes the coverage of post secondary institutions. Having been governed by this regulation for quite some time, Paradise Valley Community College has practiced a strong commitment of nondiscriminatory practices.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Enacted on July 26, 1990, "to provide a clear and comprehensive mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities." This federal legislation expanded equal treatment of people with disabilities in employment, public services and transportation, public accommodations and telecommunications services. PVCC adheres to all employment, programmatic and architectural requirements in accordance with the ADA.

ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA)

Enacted on September 25, 2008, the ADAAA reinforces the original intend of the ADA.  The Act makes important changes to the definition of the term "disability" by rejecting the holdings in several Supreme Court decisions and portions of EEOC's ADA regulations.  The effect of these changes is to make it easier for an individual seeking protections under the ADA to establish that he or she has a disability within the meaning of the ADA.  The Act expands the definition of major life activities, allows for broader consideration of conditions that are episodic in nature, and prohibits consideration of mitigating measures when assessing the impact of a person's disability.

Legal Implications

A person may claim protection and request accommodations under these laws if they have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more life activities. A person is considered to be a person with a disability if he/she has the disability, has a record of the disability or is regarded as having the disability.

Physical impairment—means any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: Neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organ, respiratory, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genito-urinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin and endocrine.

Mental Impairment—means any psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.

Substantially limits—means unable to perform a major life activity, or significantly restricted as to the condition, manner, or duration under which a major life activity can be performed, in comparison to the average person or to most people.

Major life activity— includes caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.

In regards to academic requirements and adjustments— it is agreed that accommodations should never alter the essential requirements of the college curricula.  These laws do not obligate an institution to waive specific courses or academic requirement.