TypeWell Transcriber Handbook
LETTER TO COLLEAGUES
The Center for Educational Access office at the University of Arkansas is committed to providing services that facilitate the academic and personal goals of the students it serves. Students with documented disabilities enrolled at the University of Arkansas are entitled to reasonable and appropriate academic accommodations in accordance with Federal laws including Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. The University of Arkansas is committed to equal opportunity in the recruitment of, admission to, participation in, treatment in or employment in the programs and activities operated and sponsored by the University of Arkansas.
This handbook is designed to provide an overview of how the center expects transcribing services to be provided at the University of Arkansas. This handbook includes what qualifications a transcriber must possess to provide services for the University of Arkansas, standards for academic transcribers, responsibilities/duties, compensation, ethics, and other practical information for transcribers.
If you do not understand any of the material, or if questions come up that are not covered here, please contact us. Contact information for the center staff can be found in Addendum G of this handbook.
From time to time, it may be necessary to update sections of the Transcriber Policy. Copies of updated sections will be sent to all the University of Arkansas transcribers.
We look forward to working with you here at the University of Arkansas and hope you will enjoy it as well.
Office Manager/Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator
Copies of this material are also available upon request from the CEA in the following formats: Braille, large print, and audio.
HIRING AND SCHEDULING PROCEDURES
The following list outlines the minimum criteria to be hired as a transcriber at the University of Arkansas:
- TypeWell Novice pre-certification minimum
- Graduation from an accredited high school or possession of acceptable equivalency diploma (G.E.D.)
- Excellent English and listening skills
- Ability to understand and summarize information while typing
- Ability to handle pressure of using transcription system in classroom setting
- Computer and word processing knowledge
- Sign language communication skills preferred or willingness to learn
- Adhere to the TypeWell Code of Ethics
- Agree to abide by the conditions in this handbook
The center strives to provide quality access to all programs and services of the university. In the area of communications access, we endeavor to use the most qualified transcribers. When hiring, the center will generally contact transcribers based on certification, starting with TypeWell certification level 3-1 to Novice. Student preferences and seniority are also considered.
It is critical for the University of Arkansas transcribers to commit to assignments accepted. If a transcriber is habitually tardy or absent, it can have an adverse effect on the student's performance. Such a lack of commitment will affect the transcribers' placement in future assignments.
The center has no control over students adding, dropping, or withdrawing from classes. Scheduled hours could change at any time. If a full-time staff transcriber's hours drop below an acceptable number, she/he will occasionally be required to replace hourly transcribers. In addition, on rare occasions, a transcriber with a higher certification level who loses a class may replace a transcriber with a lower level of certification. This will be done at the discretion of the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator. These replacements will in no way reflect negatively on the hourly transcriber.
Some classes, because of length or some other factor, may at the onset look as if they require two transcribers. However, after the first few classes, it may be obvious that one transcriber can do the job. It is the responsibility of the transcribers to inform the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator of this situation. At this point, the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator will determine if it would be best to alternate the two transcribers or to keep only one transcriber.
The transcriber is scheduled until the end of class. If an instructor goes past the designated time, or if a student needs to speak to the instructor after class, the transcriber may stay if her/his schedule allows. If the time goes over the scheduled class time, call the center to inform the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator. If the transcriber has another class or assignment, she/he may leave at the end of the scheduled time. If the transcriber has to leave, and the instructor continues teaching, the transcriber should inform the instructor that she/he has to leave and inform the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator of the situation.
Only assignments that are scheduled through the center will be paid. A student may ask a transcriber if she/he is available, but the transcriber must be given the assignment through the center. The center maintains the right to move transcribers within their scheduled time. All transcriber requests for anything outside of regularly scheduled classes must come through the center. Students must request a transcriber in advance from the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator using a Transcriber Request Form available in the center office (the exception is for transcribing that takes place immediately after class that runs over the scheduled class time). Students are made aware of this procedure at time of intake and via the student handbook.
Transcribers should not make other commitments that would force them to leave the University of Arkansas early, or accept a University of Arkansas assignment if they know they must leave early.
During the semester, transcribers may be needed for such events as dorm meetings, lectures, and pep rallies. As these requests come in, the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator will contact transcribers to determine who is available.
Group meetings with transcribers may be held at the beginning of each semester. These meetings are mandatory for any transcriber who wishes to maintain a schedule of classes requiring transcription services. The transcriber will be compensated for these meetings at a two-hour rate.
There may be times when it is also necessary for the transcriber to meet individually with the center staff. Attendance at these meetings is mandatory and part of the transcriber's responsibility while working for the University of Arkansas. There will be no compensation for these meetings; however, they usually will be brief. Reasons for meetings may include, but are not limited to, discussion of performance; meeting between student, transcriber, and the center staff; or, discussion of schedules for upcoming semesters. The center will attempt to schedule these meetings at a time that is convenient to both parties.
If a student has not appeared at the beginning of class and has not indicated that he/she will be arriving late, the transcriber is not to begin transcribing until the student has arrived. After waiting 20 minutes, the transcriber is to leave the room and report to the center by phone or in person to inform them of his/her availability and indicate 'no show' on his/her timesheet. If the center is lacking a transcriber in another class at that time, the transcriber will be reassigned. Failure to report to the center will result in no payment for that class period. The one exception is classes that begin when the center is closed
If the student wishes to attend the class after the transcriber has left, and the transcriber has not yet been reassigned and is still available, she/he will go to class with the student.
Transcribers are not to bill for assignments cancelled with at least 24 hours notice. Announcements in class are considered 24-hour notice. In daily classes, the day before is considered 24 hours notice. Transcribers should also ask the professor for a class syllabus, and any classes designated in the class syllabus as canceled should be considered as notice.
If 24 hours notification is not possible, the transcriber will be paid for the assignment. However, if a documented good faith effort to contact the transcriber at least 24 hours in advance is made and the center is still unable to contact her/him, the transcriber will not be paid for the assignment.
For evening classes after the center closes and for weekend classes, the transcriber is free to leave after waiting the required time. Transcribers working evenings and weekends may consider exchanging phone numbers with students (if both agree) so that students may notify transcribers of an absence prior to class.
Consistency throughout the semester is very important. When a transcriber accepts classes for the semester, the center expects the transcriber to maintain that schedule of classes throughout the semester. However, it is understood that substitutions may be needed from time to time for emergencies, illness or doctor appointments.
Requesting a substitute in order to accept an off-campus assignment is not considered an appropriate request. Exceptions may be approved by the center on a case-by-case basis.
When a substitute is needed, the transcriber is responsible for making a formal request by completing a Transcriber Substitution Form. The center must receive the transcriber substitution request at least four full working days in advance. At that time, the center will be responsible for finding substitutes. For emergencies and illness, notify the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator as soon as possible.
The University of Arkansas is committed to academic achievement for its diverse student population. The center, the student, faculty, notetaker, transcriber and interpreter work together as an educational team for the purpose of creating a successful learning environment. Each member of the team has a vital and specific role. In order to create an equitable learning experience, all team members must actively fulfill their respective roles.
- follow the TypeWell Code of Ethics
- provide transcription services to the best of her/his ability
- provide an in-class text display for appropriate support service students
- provide transcripts to other supported students who attend class
- may provide transcripts to faculty members upon request
- transcribe lectures, discussions, movies and all asides in the classroom setting meaning-for-meaning in the manner it was intended
- indicate different speakers in the text by using "professor," "female student," "male student" or the speaker's name
- voice comments or questions typed by student(s) on the laptop provided, or in a manner mutually agreed upon with the student
- remind the student to request a voice interpreter or other accommodation for special circumstances during class time, such as an oral presentation by the supported student
- keep all information regarding assignments confidential
- facilitate communication between persons who are hearing and persons who are deaf or hard of hearing as accurately as possible, ask for clarification when necessary
- show up on time for assignments
- be professional in all aspects of the assignment
- dress appropriately
- prepare for class by reviewing textbooks, handouts and movies ahead of time
- if student is absent or late, stay 20 minutes unless notified otherwise
- address concerns from the student or professor regarding transcription services
- any problems with the student should be discussed directly with her/him before coming to talk to a CEA staff person
- contact the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator with comments or concerns
- whenever possible, the transcriber should sit in an area where it is easy to view the board or overheads and still hear the professor and other students in the classroom, the student and transcriber should sit in an area where there is minimal glare on the screen
- when necessary, both the student and the transcriber need to sit near an outlet so that both laptops can be plugged in - be sure to use the surge protectors provided in the roller bag to protect the laptop circuitry
- when using a serial cable connection, the transcriber should sit close enough to the student to accommodate the cord connecting the two laptops (between 12 - 20 feet). The cord should not block an aisle or be in the way of other students in the class.
- appropriate size and type of font should be decided upon between the transcriber and the student
- the following header should be added to each transcript
The following is the transcriber's summary of the lecture and is not intended to be a word-for-word representation. It has not been edited for content, grammar, punctuation or spelling.
- at the end of each class the transcriber will save a copy of the class notes to the hard drive in a folder denoting the class title and student initials (e.g. AmHistXX) with a filename containing the class initials and date (e.g. AH010203)
- the transcriber is responsible for all equipment loaned to him/her from DSS
- complete the intake process with the Receptionist or another CEA staff person
- for transcriber requests outside of regularly scheduled class times, complete the Transcriber Request Form two weeks prior to the event (or as soon as the need for a transcriber is discovered)
- on the first day of class or in any new situation, identify yourself to the transcriber
- be on time for all classes, labs and meetings
- sit in a place that provides the best distance, lighting, background, and angle for seeing the display
- direct questions relating to the class materials to the professor, not the transcriber
- personal conversations with the transcriber should not occur during the class
- complete academic advising and registration for classes as soon as possible
- notify the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator of your schedule at least 10 business days prior to the first day of class (students who do will be given priority when scheduling services)
- pick up notetaker flyers and faculty memos to give the instructor the first day of class
- any problems with the transcriber should be discussed directly with her/him before coming to talk to a CEA staff person
- notify the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator if the transcriber does not come to class
- inform the transcriber of any planned absences, if the class is cancelled, if there will be a video shown in class, or if the student will be making a presentation
- be responsible and respectful in all actions regarding support services
- know and abide by all the University of Arkansas and CEA policies, rules and regulations.
- assist students in gaining equal access to all the University of Arkansas services, classes and events
- continue to enhance services and access to programs
- provide counseling for students
- provide qualified transcribers to students who require this service
- help students determine which support services are appropriate and explain how these services will be provided
- assist faculty and staff members in working with students
- provide advocacy and support to students in working with professors
- provide students with a faculty memo to give their professors
- follow all laws that apply to serving students on a college campus
Transcribers are expected to adhere to the TypeWell Code of Ethics. They are to provide transcription services to the best of their ability and not allow personal feelings to interfere in the transcribing process. When transcribers socialize with students outside of the classroom, they should keep all information about assignments confidential, regardless of how inconsequential the information may seem. For reference, the TypeWell Code of Ethics is provided at the end of this handbook in Addendum A.
Any information that is obtained while transcribing should never be disclosed to anyone other than appropriate CEA staff. Telling a friend that student, John Doe, is failing his classes is an example of breaking confidentiality. In addition, anything that occurs while on the job should NEVER be disclosed to another student or professor, even if the students are friends or know each other.
Transcribers should bring problems or concerns to the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator and avoid discussing issues among themselves. Discussing these issues within the proper channels is not breaking confidentiality.
See Addendum B for suggested phrases to maintain confidentiality.
It is important to start out the semester on the right foot. Here are some recommendations for the first day of class:
Arrive ten to fifteen minutes early to introduce yourself to the instructor and student.
Use the team approach to best establish preferred placement within the classroom (i.e. sitting where there is effective viewing of the blackboard and visual aids and placement away from windows and/or glare).
Obtain a syllabus in order to be better prepared.
After class has been dismissed, solicit feedback from the instructor. Encourage continued open communication throughout the semester.
Promptly communicate any changes in room location or instructor to the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator.
We ask that all transcribers who work for the University of Arkansas provide updated contact information to the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator to facilitate communication. The Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator will ask for this information during the transcriber meetings at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. If your email address, pager, home, or wireless number changes in the interim, please notify the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator. This information is needed for hourly transcribers to receive memos, possible schedule changes, and any non-emergency phone messages.
In case of an emergency phone call, every possible effort will be made to contact you wherever you are on campus. Therefore, it is important that the office know if your scheduled class has been cancelled or changed location.
Transcribers should not have conversations with deaf students or other students during class time. Visitation should be done before and after the class. If another student in the class asks for information about what the transcriber is doing, the transcriber should politely let the student know she/he is not able to discuss it during class, but could answer before or after the class. When answering questions about transcribing from faculty and other students, the transcriber should provide only general information, keeping in mind the importance of confidentiality regarding the student who is deaf or hearing impaired.
Transcribers should be careful when talking with students (both deaf and hearing) before and after class. Transcribers should not discuss anything related to the class. Comments made may influence the students' class work and/or their original ideas. As a result, the work the students provide is not 100% their own.
Due to duration or intensity, some classes require two transcribers. Team transcribers should support one another on assignments. At all times, both transcribers are "on duty" and should not take care of personal business until there is a break. While one transcriber is transcribing, the other transcriber should be attentive, supportive, and ready to feed information when needed. Cues for requesting assistance should be agreed upon prior to the start of the assignment. The task of transcribing should be equally distributed between both team members whenever possible.
When in a team transcribing situation, it is only necessary for one transcriber to be present on test days. The team should decide which one will provide service on a given test day (e.g., alternating days or one transcriber taking all test days). If no decision can be made, the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator will make the final decision. When a staff transcriber is in the class, the staff transcriber will transcribe on test days unless otherwise arranged.
On non-test days, both team transcribers are expected to stay until the end of the designated time. Because of the transcriber shortage, exceptions may be made. Transcribers should make these arrangements in advance with the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator. If a transcriber does leave before the class or assignment ends, she/he should bill only for time worked.
If a class is longer than 1hr. 15 min., and CEA has not been able to find a team transcriber, the transcriber may then request to take a break. The Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator will clarify this with the instructor and the transcriber.
The Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator is not able to ascertain whether team transcribers are needed prior to an assignment. The transcriber may be asked to work the assignment alone before a decision is made whether or not team transcribing is required.
CEA is making every effort to ensure that increasing numbers of videos on campus are captioned. If a video is captioned, the transcriber will provide a summary of the video. If the video is not captioned, the transcriber is responsible for transcribing the video to the best of her/his ability.
The transcriber should refer the professor to the CEA office for information on accommodations for videos. Captioning films on campus is a very lengthy process. CEA will attempt to identify videos to caption several months in advance. Transcribers should not give the impression that a video can be captioned in a short amount of time. Transcribers should inform CEA of any concerns related to videos in the classroom as soon as possible.
Although there is no formal dress code at the University of Arkansas, CEA supports the RID code of ethics regarding appropriate and professional dress. Transcribers should dress in a manner that is consistent with the general dress of instructors on campus. This does not include sweats, shirts with holes, mini skirts, mini shorts, or jeans that are worn out, have holes or are frayed in any manner.
Transcribers should take care of personal business at times other than during assignments with the University of Arkansas. Because pagers and wireless phones can interfere with the quality of transcribing services and disrupt the setting, transcribers are expected to turn off their pagers and set their wireless phones to inaudible rings (or turn it off if this option is not available) during the assignment. Transcribers may check their pagers/phones if a break occurs, but responding to calls or pages during an assignment is not permitted.
Each Transcriber will be provided with a TypeWell® kit. Depending upon class schedules, transcribers may be required to share equipment. In this event, one of the team members will have the primary responsibility for the care of the equipment.
Each TypeWell® kit is in a rolling bag and contains the following:
2 Laptop Computers
1 AC Adapter
1 Extension Cord
1 Surge Protector
1 jump drive
1 digital recorder
It is suggested that you also keep a pen or pencil in your backpack for taking notes in the event of computer failure.
All equipment is the property of the University of Arkansas Center for Educational Access.
Use only a 100% cotton cloth when cleaning the computers.
Never have foods or open drinks near the computer.
When transcribing back-to-back classes, the computer may be left in "sleep mode" for ease of setup.
All equipment problems must be brought to CEA for resolution. Do not attempt to fix a computer on your own or contract someone else to do it.
The Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator will disseminate several evaluations during the semester: student evaluation of the transcriber, faculty evaluation of the transcriber, and transcriber evaluation of the semester. Student and faculty evaluations will assist the transcriber in identifying strengths and areas for improvement. Student evaluations of the transcriber will be administered at mid-term and near the end of each semester. Faculty evaluations of the transcriber will be administered near the end of each semester. CEA will attempt to provide evaluation summaries in a timely manner. Transcribers, as part of the CEA team, will complete a transcriber evaluation of the semester in order to provide valuable feedback to the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator for future planning.
If CEA receives a complaint about a transcribing situation from students, faculty or staff, the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator will meet with the transcriber involved. If a complaint about the same problem is reported more than once, the transcriber involved will meet with the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator and the Director of CEA. If this specific complaint continues, the decision may be made to terminate the transcriber's services. Depending on the nature or seriousness of the complaint, a decision may be made to terminate services at an earlier stage in this process.
As a University of Arkansas transcriber, you will interact with students, faculty, staff and the community. Relationships with a variety of people will inevitably develop, and positive professional relationships and networking within the profession are strongly encouraged. However, certain personal relationships with students are unacceptable within the context of a working relationship.
Transcribers will not be placed in assignments that could threaten to compromise their commitment to the Code of Ethics. Examples of this include but are not limited to transcribing for family members and romantic interests. As stated in the RID Standard Practice Papers, "The relative may have attitudinal or emotional issues that could affect objectivity and impartiality and prevent accurate communication." The deaf person's right to privacy and confidentiality could easily be compromised.
Any questions about the ethics of a relational situation should be directed to the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator.
The University of Arkansas and CEA promote higher learning opportunities not only for their students, but for their transcribers as well. All transcribers are encouraged to pursue certification and continue professional development. Information about workshops is maintained by the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator and is available to all the University of Arkansas transcribers.
Transcribers are encouraged to attend all campus-wide staff development activities and to take advantage of any professional development opportunities offered at the University of Arkansas. Transcribers are strongly encouraged to attend transcribing-related and deafness-related workshops, in-service training and other professional seminars, workshops and conventions sponsored by agencies outside the university.
Transcribers, regardless of their certification level, are encouraged to attend workshops, and keep abreast of issues, standards and practices within the transcribing profession.
Transcribers are encouraged to maintain good health habits on a routine basis. Attention to diet, exercise, and positions when seated can help prevent syndromes associated with overuse (cumulative trauma disorder).
Just as an athlete warms up before engaging in physical activity and cools down afterward, transcribers should physically prepare themselves with simple exercises for a few minutes before transcribing, during the day, and at the end of the day. One such exercise involves gently moving each wrist up and down and from side to side. Another is a handshake exercise, to be done with a partner. Another suggestion is to squeeze a soft tennis ball, or manipulate Silly Putty. When seated for transcribing, sit straight in the chair with your wrist slightly lower than your elbow. This helps prevent stress on the back and shoulders and improves circulation to the hands. Other transcribers have suggested that prior to transcribing in a cold classroom, running hands under warm water or a hand dryer is helpful. Wearing fingerless gloves can also be effective.
Note: The above information comes from a presentation by Chiropractor Peter Biondi (Franklin Park) at the Illinois Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Convention, June 7, 1986.
The University of Arkansas does not encourage transcribers to go against a physician's orders and continue to transcribe. The University of Arkansas is not responsible for a transcriber who decides to go against a physician's orders and continue transcribing. The University of Arkansas will not knowingly hire one to provide transcription services if he/she has been otherwise ordered by a physician. It is the transcriber's responsibility to consider the duration and difficulty of the assignments offered by the University of Arkansas before accepting the assignment.
Random observations of each transcriber will take place a various times throughout the course of the semester. Observations may or may not be announced in advance. The purpose of these observations is to document the transcriber's attendance, promptness, professionalism and to note whether the transcriber is staying in his/her role while in the classroom setting.
CEA supports transcriber training by allowing trainees to observe classroom transcribers. The Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator will attempt to inform transcribers ahead of time when a trainee will be in the class. The trainee will be instructed to identify himself or herself to the transcriber. The transcriber has no responsibility to the trainee. However, if the trainee asks questions, and the transcriber has time to respond, it would be of great benefit to the trainee (future transcriber) to answer appropriately. Trainees are required to follow all aspects of the University of Arkansas Transcriber Policy and the TypeWell Code of Ethics. If the trainee fails to do so, the transcriber should talk with the student to resolve the problem. If the problem persists, the transcriber should talk with the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator, who will then speak with the trainee.
PAYMENT FOR HOURS WORKED
MWF / MW / TR
MW / TR
1 hr 15 min
once a week*
2 hr 40 min
For other classes that meet once a week (for example, a 2 credit hour class), round the actual time up to the nearest quarter hour. For example, if a class is scheduled for 2 hours and 10 minutes, the transcriber would bill 2.25 hours.
If a transcriber is going to be late for a class, she/he should inform CEA or the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator and arrive as soon as possible. Transcribers should only bill for time worked, to the nearest quarter hour (e.g., if five minutes late for a 50-minute class, bill for .75 hour (45 minutes)).
Time sheets must be filled out properly and turned in on time:
- by 5:00 p.m. on the 15th and last day of every month
or the Friday before if the time period ends on the weekend or on a holiday
It is the transcriber's responsibility to fill the time sheets out correctly. If there are any questions, the transcriber should feel free to come to the Interpreter/Transcriber Coordinator for assistance. Submitting time sheets filled out incorrectly or turned in late will result in a delay of payment of at least one pay period.
Time sheets can be hand-delivered, faxed, or emailed. If you would like to email your time sheet, download the digital version of the time sheet. Misrepresenting time worked is considered stealing and will result in immediate action, possibly including suspension or termination of services.
Transcribers may complete a direct deposit request form (available in the CEA office).
Checks are delivered to CEA or deposited on the 10th and 25th day of each month.
TypeWell® Transcriber Code of Ethics
Being a transcriber requires a high level of professionalism. This Code of Ethics outlines some important professional behaviors, which you must follow.
The transcriber will accurately transcribe the meaning of the spoken utterances made by individuals in the classroom or other transcribing situations.
The transcriber will accurately voice comments and questions in reverse interpreting situations.
The transcriber will not answer student questions about class content. The transcriber will instead facilitate communication between the instructor and student, by transcribing or voicing as needed.
The transcriber will not offer opinions or input of any kind in classes and meetings, even if invited to do so by instructors or others.
The transcriber will keep strictly confidential all information learned in work settings.
The transcriber will accept only those assignments for which he or she possesses appropriate skills.
The transcriber will abide by the policies and procedures of the site or agency being served.
The transcriber will strive to continually improve his or her transcribing skills.
Copyright © 2001 Code Well LLC
Suggested Phrases to Maintain Confidentiality:
I am not at liberty to say.
I am sorry, that information is confidential.
I am not sure.
I don't know.
I only see the student in class.
I don't know the student personally.
I am not able to discuss that information.
I can't answer that question, but I would be happy to transcribe if you would like to ask the student directly.
The student could probably answer that better than I could.
CEA could probably answer that question for you. Let me give you their phone number.
I am sorry, I am not able to step out of my role of transcribing during class time.
If you have concerns you would like to address concerning the Transcriber in your class you might want to talk to CEA. Let me give you their phone number.
Disability Laws in Postsecondary Education
Individuals with disabilities are entitled by law to equal access to postsecondary programs. There are two laws that protect persons with disabilities in postsecondary education: The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Pub. L. No. 93-112, as amended) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990(Pub. L. No. 1001-336).
The Rehabilitation Act
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is generally regarded as the first civil rights legislation on the national level for people with disabilities. Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act is a program access statute. It prohibits discrimination based on disability in any program or activity offered by an entity or institution receiving federal funds.
Section 504 states (as amended):
"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."
Under Section 504, institutions were required to appoint and maintain at least one person to coordinate its efforts to comply with the requirements of Section 504 (Section 504 Coordinator). This individual or office has the ongoing responsibility of assuring that the institution/agency/ organization practices nondiscrimination based on disability and should be included in any grievance procedures developed to address possible instances of discrimination brought against the institution. At the University of Arkansas, the established office for student services is Center for Students with Disabilities, 104 Arkansas Union, Fayetteville, AR72701.
The Americans with Disability Act (ADA)
The ADA is a federal civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, and covers the following areas: employment, state and local government activities, public transportation, public accommodations, and telecommunications. The ADA provides additional protection for persons with disabilities, in conjunction with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The ADA is designed to remove barriers, which prevent qualified individuals with disabilities from enjoying the same opportunities that are available to persons without disabilities.
The ADA in Relation to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
Institutions that receive federal funds are covered under Section 504. The ADA does not supplant Section 504, but those situations where the ADA provides greater protection the ADA standards apply. Therefore, most postsecondary institutions must adhere to both the Rehabilitation Act and The Americans with Disabilities Act.