Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern (SEBTS) are committed to the admission of all qualified students without regard to disability. We are further committed to providing resources to make the academic programs and support services accessible to all students. SEBTS abides by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and provides services and accommodations to students with disabilities, as the seminary is able. We strive to provide reasonable accommodations to help facilitate academic success. Students with appropriately documented physical or learning disabilities may be eligible to receive assistance and support from the Dean of Students, Associate Vice President of Student Life, and the Assistant Dean of Students Offices. Services are available for students with documented disabilities and are determined on a case-by-case basis according to individual needs. All other questions can be answered in the “Disability Services” portion of the Student Handbook.
Students who believe they will need classroom accommodations to participate fully in the activities inherent to their academic programs at SEBTS should make those needs known as early as possible, preferably as soon as they have received notification of acceptance. Requests should be made to the Dean of Students Office and must be accompanied by documentation of the student’s disability, including suggested accommodations, completed by an appropriate professional. NOTE: The school does not provide diagnoses of learning disabilities, learning differences, or educational therapies.
Services are provided on an individual basis according to documentation provided by the student, tailored to individual needs, and may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Quiet room in which to take examinations. NOTE: Quiet rooms need to be reserved through the library webpage. It is the responsibility of the student to reserve quiet rooms in the library. The student should seek to reserve a quiet room at least one week in advance if able. The student can contact the Dean of Students Office for assistance.
- Extended time for reading assignments.
- Extended time for examinations.
- Preferred seating in the classroom.
- Lecture outlines or lecture notes (electronic and/or printed).
- Textbooks in alternate formats:
- PDF or Word-formatted books
- In-class note takers or oral readers for exams. NOTE: Request is made in cooperation with the professor. It is the responsibility of the student to make these requests, and these requests must be approved ahead of time by the Dean of Students and professor of each course.
- Auxiliary Aids (interpreters, etc.). NOTE: New students must complete the Disability Services Accommodation Request Form upon acceptance and must email the Dean of Students Office immediately regarding this request.
In accordance with the desire to faithfully equip students, SEBTS offers the following to provide the best accommodations within SEBTS’ means:
- After acceptance, and prior to entering classes, students needing accommodations should make their requests by following these steps.
- The student self-identifies the disability diagnosis and its impact. Documentation of the disability from a doctor or licensed professional is required in order to receive accommodations as a student at SEBTS. The student is responsible for the cost of evaluation if current documentation is unavailable. Then, the student pursues applying to Disability Services and making the request for accommodations. NOTE: The student will choose whether to self-identify to Disability Services and whether to seek the use of accommodations.
- If the student is an incoming college, seminary, or doctoral student, it is the responsibility of the student to provide documentation and accommodation requests to the Dean of Students Office prior to class registration. However, if a temporary or long-term diagnosis or condition occurs at any time while the student is enrolled at SEBTS, the student should contact the Dean of Students Office as soon as possible so that accommodations can be provided in order to assist the student in having a successful experience at SEBTS. It is necessary to provide documentation and accommodation requests only one time to the Dean of Students Office at the start of the first semester or when a student is diagnosed. It is not necessary to provide proof of documentation every semester. Once a file is made, accommodation requests will remain valid throughout the student’s duration of enrollment at SEBTS.
- Regarding academic accommodations needed as a result of a learning or physical disability, a student will need to provide documentation of their current IEP and/or disability. All IEP documents need to be updated or approved by an appropriate professional after the student has been accepted into SEBTS. A high school IEP will not be accepted. All other documentation addressing a learning or physical disability will need to be authorized by a doctor or licensed professional as stated above. These documents will be filed and stored in the Dean of Students Office for reference in future matters regarding the student’s accommodations.
- Regarding physical accommodations to provide equal opportunity in the classroom, the student will need to provide official documentation from a doctor for the Dean of Students Office to file.
- Disability Services Accommodation Request Form
In accordance with the desire to best serve our students, SEBTS offers the following procedure to assist qualified students with disabilities:
- In order for documents to be filed in the Dean of Students Office and for accommodations to be authorized, the student will need to complete the Disability Services Accommodation Request Form below. The student will fill out the required information on this form and upload the necessary documentation. The submission with all the documents will be sent to the Dean of Students Office. It is the responsibility of the student to complete the Disability Services Accommodation Request Form and provide all necessary documents for files if the student wishes to receive accommodations. NOTE: This form should be filled out upon class registration.
- After an official file is made, an automatically generated email will be sent to each professor notifying them of the approved student’s need for accommodations. The student will also receive an automatically generated email notifying them that their professors have received an email of their need for approved accommodations. The professor and student accommodation requests email will be sent every semester that the student’s enrollment is in effect.
- After the student has registered for classes, the student should email the Dean of Students Office a list of their professors they will have for that given semester. A follow-up email will be sent to each professor by the Dean of Students Office on behalf of the student with a list of accommodations that the student has requested from their Disability Services Accommodation Request Form. The student will be copied in this follow-up email. The nature and specific diagnosis of the disability will not be disclosed to professors. It is the responsibility of the student to email their list of professors for each semester to the Dean of Students Office prior to the start of classes. NOTE: If the student’s diagnosis or accommodation needs changes at any point while a student at SEBTS, please contact the Dean of Students Office immediately.
- After the Dean of Students Office has emailed the student’s professors of their need for approved accommodations, it is the student’s responsibility to contact his/her professors in order to communicate how they can best work together in the provision of these accommodations for optimal success in the classroom and the student’s academics. The student should not request accommodations from the professor without first contacting the Dean of Students Office.
- The professor can contact the Dean of Students Office to verify the student’s IEP or disability records and receive recommendations on how to best accommodate the student if the professor chooses to do so. NOTE: Specifics of the student’s disability and diagnosis will not be disclosed to the professor and will be kept confidential under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Only a verification of documents from the student in the Dean of Students files will be given.
- The student and professor will collaborate together to determine how to implement the recommended accommodations. The professor will work with the Dean of Students Office to implement these accommodations unless the professor determines that the accommodation will alter the essential nature of the course.
- SEBTS is unable to grant retroactive accommodations once the semester is completed. NOTE: If the student is a commuter (a student who travels to SEBTS campus for hybrid/weekend classes or doctoral classes) with a physical disability and requests specific accommodations for housing while staying on campus, please contact the Dean of Students Office first so that the Dean of Students, Housing, and Facilities Offices can work in conjunction on behalf of the student.
Reasonable accommodations are reasonable modifications of the learning environment that eliminate, as much as possible, physical or instructional barriers to learning encountered by the student with a disability. A reasonable accommodation is considered appropriate and reasonable if the accommodation is feasible and reasonable in its alternative method or format, and does not impose an undue burden or hardship on the school. Accommodations are individualized and dependent on the nature of the specific disability or disabilities.
Unreasonable accommodations are those that:
- alter requirements that are essential to the program of instruction,
- cause a fundamental alteration in the nature of a specific course or academic program,
- impose undue financial or administrative burden, or
- pose an appreciable threat to personal or public safety.
The school will assess on a case-by-case basis whether a particular reasonable accommodation would cause undue hardship or burden.
According to the ADA, “service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” Students with disabilities can be accompanied by a service dog on campus where members of the public or participants in services, programs, or activities are allowed to go.
Federal law does not require someone to provide documentation that an animal has been trained as a service dog or that the dog wear any type of vest or badge indicating that it is a service animal. However, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern (SEBTS) does require that the student requesting the use of a service dog or an emotional support assistance animal provide appropriate documentation from a physician or psychologist authorizing the need for the accommodation. Where it is not readily apparent that the animal is a service dog, SEBTS may ask if the animal is required because of a disability, and what work or task the animal has been trained to perform.
The work or tasks performed by a service dog must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Examples of such tasks include, but are not limited to: assisting an individual with low vision with navigation, alerting individuals who are hard of hearing to the presence of people or objects, pulling a person’s wheelchair, or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with a mobility disability.
For more information on definitions, registration, documentation, and responsibilities and procedures, please see the Student Handbook Appendix D: Service and Emotional Support Assistance Animal Policies.
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern strives to provide reasonable housing accommodations to all students. Please contact Disability Services for more information if you believe you may need an accommodation to fully participate in campus housing.