Circumstances for Modification
Attendance during scheduled class time is a necessary part of the learning process at Bucknell University. While most faculty consider class attendance and participation mandatory, the Director of the Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR)—working under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act—may recommend modification in attendance for some students registered with the OAR.
The ADA clearly stipulates that academic accommodations and adjustments must not alter essential features or requirements of courses. The ADA also, however, protects students with disabilities from discrimination. Faculty members still have the responsibility of setting the class attendance policy, but this accommodation is simply a request for additional modification. Variables such as the course, the material, and the necessity of interaction in the classroom should all be considered.
The amount of modification will depend upon the nature of the class and whether class participation is a factor in the final grade—thus it is important for students to be proactive about this request as well as understand that this is a course-by-course accommodation. In some rare cases, attendance is a fundamental/essential requirement in meeting course objectives, and therefore leniency in attendance would be deemed unreasonable.
Students who are approved for this accommodation are responsible for completing all coursework. This accommodation should not make allowance for students to miss a large number of classes for any course.
This accommodation is in accordance with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) decision regarding Cabrillo Community College, Case no. 09-96-2150 (OCR Region IX, 1996), regarding classroom attendance. Please note that OCR accords significant deference to a college’s determination that attendance is essential in a particular course.