Sign Language Interpreter Policy and Procedures

Sorenson Policy

A Sorenson Videophone is available for deaf or hard of hearing individuals to use. It is located in the Center for Educational Access Main Office in the Arkansas Union, Room 209. Use is limited to M-F, 8am-5pm.  The IP address for the videophone is 130.184.66.16.

Please note that Video Relay Service CANNOT substitute for a classroom interpreter; it is for facilitating brief telephone calls only.

Common uses for the service might be:

  1. Students talking with professors. As you know, sometimes deaf students have difficulty scheduling local interpreters to meet with them and their professors/instructors outside of class due to interpreter/deaf student scheduling conflicts.  When an interpreter cannot be available, deaf students could use the VRS in the CEA office as a way to talk with instructors during their office hours or at an appointed time. 

  1. Deaf individuals talking with members of the hearing public or other Deaf individuals

  1. Interviews or teleconferences where one participant is Deaf

The Goal of CEA with regards to Interpreting Services

The goal of the Center for Educational Access in the area of interpreting services is to facilitate communication access to Deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing clients.  The CEA will serve in a mediator capacity to ensure reasonable accommodations are provided to Deaf and hard-of-hearing (D/HH) students as mandated by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.

During the student’s registration with the CEA, the need for sign or oral interpreting services will be discussed.  If needed, an interpreter will be assigned to each of the student’s classes.  The student should refer to the CEA’s Interactive Process for Reasonable Accommodations policy for an explanation of reasonable accommodation requests procedures.  On occasion, the CEA may be unable to locate a qualified interpreter for a specific class and time.  If this occurs, the student will be notified immediately.

If the professor of a class cancels a scheduled session or gives notice in the syllabus that a class meeting will not occur, the student is responsible for notifying the CEA as soon as possible.  If the student knows that he/she will miss a scheduled class meeting, the student is responsible for notifying the CEA and the interpreter at least 24 hours in advance (The student should consult with the interpreter for interpreter contact information).  The CEA realizes that in emergency situations, the student may not be able to provide 24 hours notice.  However, failure to provide 24-hour advance notice for known absences may result in a suspension of interpreter services.  To notify the CEA the student may use one or more of the following venues:

  • Send an e-mail message to ceaterps@uark.edu

  • Text a message to 479-871-9185.

  • Call the CEA and leave a message at 479/575-3104 (voice)

  • Use the Arkansas Relay Service to call 479/575-3646 (TDD).

Failure to provide 24-hour advance notice will result in the following actions:

  1. First occurrence:  A letter or e-mail will be sent to the student reminding the student of policy and procedures related to interpreter services.

  2. Second occurrence:  A letter or e-mail will be sent to the student notifying the student that failure to give 24 hour advance notice has occurred two times.  The letter or e-mail will also remind the student of policy and procedures related to interpreter services.

  3. Third occurrence:  Interpreter services will be suspended and a letter or e-mail will be sent to the student regarding policy and procedures on interpreter services.  The letter will also indicate that interpreter services will remain suspended until the student meets with a professional staff member of the CEA to discuss reinstatement of interpreter services.

  4. Fourth occurrence:  Interpreter services may be suspended indefinitely.  A letter outlining interpreter services policy and procedure will be sent to the student along with a notice of indefinite suspension.  The student will be required to meet with the Director of the CEA before a reinstatement of interpreter services will be considered.

Other factors that may result in a suspension of interpreter services:

  1.  Three or more less than 24-hour advance notice cancellations for interpreter services that are unrelated to an emergency situation.  The Director of the CEA is responsible for determining what constitutes an emergency.  The student will receive a letter or e-mail indicating that interpreter services have been suspended due to frequent cancellations.  The student must meet with the Director of the CEA before reinstatement of interpreter services will be considered.

  2. Three or more times arriving late to class.  The interpreter will wait 15 minutes for classes up to 90 minutes long, and 30 minutes for classes longer than 90 minutes for the student outside of class before leaving.  The student will receive a letter or e-mail indicating that interpreter services have been suspended due to frequent tardiness.  The student must meet with the Director of the CEA before reinstatement of interpreter services will be considered.

  3. Inappropriate requests to the interpreter.  The student should not request an interpreter to engage in the following roles:  counselor, academic advisor, tutor, friend, confidant, in-class assistant, note-taker, transportation provider, professor, or other roles that are unrelated to interpreter services.  Repeated requests to the interpreter to engage in roles unrelated to interpreter services may result in the suspension of interpreter services.  If services are suspended, the student must meet with the Director of the CEA before reinstatement of services will be considered.

  4. Inappropriate behavior toward the interpreter.  The student who engages in inappropriate behavior toward the interpreter may have interpreter services suspended and/or may be subject to non-academic student misconduct proceedings.  If services are suspended, the student must meet with the Director of the CEA before reinstatement of services will be considered.

Please remember that the interpreter will wait outside the classroom for 15 minutes for classes up to 90 minutes long, and 30 minutes for classes longer than 90 minutes before leaving.  If the student arrives late, but before the interpreter leaves, it is not the responsibility of the interpreter to inform the student of missed material.  It is the student’s responsibility to obtain missed material from the professor/instructor, note-taker (if applicable), students in the course, the syllabus, or other means following the class meeting or at another appropriate time.

If the student needs to speak to the professor/instructor or with other students after a class meeting, ask the interpreter if she/he is available.  If not, you will need to schedule an appointment with the professor/instructor and/or student(s) and request an interpreter through the CEA.

When an interpreter cannot be available, deaf students could use the Sorenson VRS in the CEA office as a way to talk with instructors during their office hours or at an appointed time.  Please schedule these calls in advance with the CEA.

The student is responsible for all course content, exams, assignments, and other course requirements.  The interpreter is not responsible for a grade the student received.  If the student has questions about course content, material, grades, or related course aspects, the student should ask the professor/instructor. 

If the student has communication problems or other issues with the interpreter, discuss those issues, initially, with the interpreter, and inform the CEA after these discussions.  Do not discuss these issues with other interpreters or D/HOH individuals who may use the interpreter for communication access.  If the issues related to interpreting cannot be resolved directly with the interpreter, contact the Director of the CEA who will then meet with the student and interpreter individually and together.

You will be given an opportunity to evaluate interpreter services you received at mid-semester and at the end of the semester.  Evaluation forms are located in the CEA office.

If interpreter services are needed for a university related activity or program other than academic classroom interpreter services, you should contact the organizer of that activity or program as soon as possible to request interpreter services.

Interpreter services for academic needs must be scheduled through CEA.  If a student schedules services directly with an interpreter, the assignment will be a private contract between the interpreter and the student, so that the student will be responsible for payment to the interpreter.

Interpreters will not be placed in assignments that could compromise the interpreter code of ethics.  Any questions about the interpreter code of ethics should be posed to the Director of the CEA. 

RESPONSIBILITIES

STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Complete registration with the CEA.

  • Request the reasonable accommodation of interpreter services at least four weeks in advance for interpreter services by logging into CEA online student services.

  • Notify the CEA of any schedule changes as soon as possible.

  • Introduce yourself to the interpreter on the first day of class, if not before the first class.

  • Arrive on time for all classes.

  • Arrange seating that provides optimal distance, lighting, background, and angle for viewing the interpreter.

  • Direct questions about class material, procedures, policy, and related items to the professor/instructor of the course.

  • Interpersonal conversations with the interpreter are inappropriate during class time.  Please reserve interpersonal communications to times before or after class.

  • Discuss any issues with your interpreter and inform the CEA after your discussion.

  • Notify the CEA if your interpreter does not arrive to class.

  • Inform the interpreter and the CEA if a known absence will occur, the class is cancelled, if you will be making a presentation, and/or if a video is to be shown in class.

  • Be responsible and respectful of yourself, the interpreter, and the faculty member.

  • Be familiar with University of Arkansas, the CEA, and individual faculty’s policies and procedures.

CEA RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Assist qualified students with disabilities in obtaining reasonable accommodations.

  • Provide qualified interpreters for students who need interpreter services.

  • Assist faculty and staff with educational endeavors related to the provision of reasonable accommodations.

  • Provide support for students and faculty with communication dialogue related to the provision of reasonable accommodations.

  • Respond professionally to concerns and issues raised by the student, interpreter, staff, or faculty member.

INTERPRETER RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Follow a recognized code of ethics for interpreters.

  • Provide qualified interpreter services commensurate with knowledge and skills base.

  • Interpret lectures, discussions, movies, and asides in the classroom setting.

  • Keep all information regarding interpreting assignments and interactions confidential.

  • Facilitate communication between persons who are hearing and persons who are deaf or hard of hearing as accurately as possible.

  • Arrive for interpreter assignments on time.

  • Dress appropriately for interpreter assignments to include clothing that contrasts with skin color but are not distracting to the student.

  • Prepare for interpreter assignments by reviewing textbooks, handouts, movies, and related class materials ahead of time.  An interpreter is compensated for prep time.

  • Wait 15 minutes for classes up to 90 minutes long, and 30 minutes for classes longer than 90 minutes for the student outside class before leaving.  Inform the CEA of all absences and tardiness on the part of the student.

  • Report any issues or concerns to the CEA.