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Nearly 3,500 Old Dominion students received bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees during four ceremonies held May 10 and 11 at ODU's Ted Constant Convocation Center. Photos by Chuck Thomas/ODU

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Old Dominion University is committed to increasing opportunities for success for persons with disabilities. The University is responsible for providing a reasonable accommodation to the known disability of an otherwise qualified employee, applicant or student once they make their disability status and subsequent need for an accommodation known to the appropriate University official.

What is a "Reasonable Accommodation"?


A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job, employment practice, or the work environment that makes it possible for a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy an equal employment opportunity. ODU will provide a reasonable accommodation to the known disability of a qualified applicant or employee unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • modified work schedules
  • obtaining or modifying equipment or devices
  • modifying examinations, training materials or policies
  • reassignment to a vacant position
  • making facilities readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities


A reasonable accommodation is a reasonable modification in policies, practices, or procedures, when the modifications are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of a University service, program or activity.

Examples of reasonable accommodations for students may include, but are not limited to:

  • extended time for testing
  • permitting priority seating
  • allowing unanticipated class absences
  • permitting attendance at duplicate lecture sections
  • permitting tape recording of classes

When does the University provide reasonable accommodations?

In general, it is the responsibility of the employee, applicant or student to make the disability status and subsequent need for an accommodation known to the appropriate University official. Once on notice of the need for accommodations, it is the responsibility of the University official and the individual with a disability to discuss possible accommodations and assess the reasonableness and effectiveness of each potential accommodation. Determinations regarding accommodations on campus will be made on a case-by-case basis. Determining a reasonable accommodation is very fact-specific. In general, the accommodation must be tailored to address the nature of the disability and the needs of the individual within the context of the requirements of the job or the program of study.

How do I request reasonable accommodations?

Employees and Applicants may make a request through the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity via the Section 504/ADA Coordinator, Marcus Porter.

Students may request accommodations through the Office of Educational Accessibility.

Determining ADA Status

What is a disability?

Under applicable disability laws, an individual with a disability is a person who:

  1. has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
  2. has a record of such impairment; or
  3. is regarded as having such an impairment.

Temporary, non-chronic impairments that do not last for a long time and that have little or no long-term impact usually are not disabilities. The determination of whether an impairment is a disability is made on a case-by-case basis.

What is a "major life activity" under the law?

To be considered a person with a disability, the impairment must substantially limit one or more major life activities. Examples of major life activities include walking, speaking, breathing, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, learning and caring for oneself.

What does "qualified" mean?

To be protected, a person must not only be an individual with a disability, but must be qualified.

For students, a qualified individual with a disability is a person who, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies or practices; the removal of architectural, communication or transportation barriers; or the provision of auxiliary aids or services, meets the essential requirements for the receipt of services or participation in programs or activities provided by the University.

For University employees, a qualified individual with a disability is a person who satisfies the requisite skill, experience, education and other job-related requirements of the employment position and who, with or without a reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the position.

ADA/Section 504 Training

You may have questions about the ADA and/or Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act and their application to the higher education context. Learn more through our recorded zoom presentation by Mr. Steven Traubert, Litigation Director of the disAbility Law Center of Virginia.

You may access the presentation by logging into Blackboard, selecting the "Organizations" option on the left side of the screen, and using the keyword "disabilities" to search for the title. Select the "Accommodations and Protections for Individuals with Disabilities" organization and follow the prompts for self-enrollment.

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