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Policies and Procedures

Read important information about service animals, grievances, and emergency procedures here.

Service Animals

Policy

Consistent with the American with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA), it is the policy of Northampton Community College that service animals assisting individuals with disabilities are generally permitted in campus facilities, except in situations where safety may be compromised or where the service animal may interfere with the fundamental nature of the activities being conducted.

Definitions

A service animal is "any dog that is individually trained to work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability." Other species of animals whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals except that miniature horses, if individually trained and deemed reasonable, may be used for the benefit of individuals with disabilities.

NCC will assess the reasonableness of requests to use a miniature horse on campus in terms of the type, size, and weight of the animal in terms of our facility's ability to accommodate as well as the handler's control.

The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler's disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hearing - impaired to the presence of people or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, retrieving items, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.

The provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort or companionship does not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.

If there are any questions as to whether an animal qualifies as a service animal, a determination will be made by the Office of Disability Services and/or the College's ADA coordinator.

NCC will make certain inquiries regarding service animal use, as permitted by law:

  1. Is the service animal required because of a disability and what are the pertinent manifestations of the condition?
  2. What work or tasks is the animal trained to perform in relation to the identified disability?

Requirements for Service Animals

Service animals must be licensed in accordance with all applicable Pennsylvania dog laws and county regulations, following all requirements for tags and vaccinations.

  • Animals must be in good health.
  • Animals must be on a leash at all times.
  • The owner must be in full control of the animal at all times.
  • Cleanliness of the service animal is mandatory.

Reasonable behavior is expected from service animals while on campus. The owners of disruptive and/or aggressive service animals may be asked to remove them from college facilities. If the improper behavior happens repeatedly, the owner may be told not to bring the service animal into any facility until they take significant steps to mitigate the behavior.

A service animal may be suspended from campus for the following reasons:

  • Disruptive behavior in a college facility or program including, but not limited to, barking, whining, growling, wandering, sniffing (people, tables in eating area, other's belongings) initiation of contact outside of working role
  • Animal Illness
  • Hygiene - dirty, strong odor, not groomed, evidence of having fleas, ticks, etc.
  • Aggressive behavior

Consideration of others must be taken into account when providing maintenance and hygiene of service animals. The owner is expected to clean and dispose of all animal waste.

Service Animals in NCC

HousingService animals may reside in NCC Housing with written approval from the Residence Life and Disability Services office in consultation with appropriate NCC officials.

Procedures:

  1. Incoming residents must submit requests to have service animals in NCC Housing with their initial housing application. Existing residents must submit requests at least four weeks prior to the date the animal is expected to be in residence.
  2. Appropriate documentation of disability must be submitted to and accepted by Disability Services that includes the appropriate documentation of the individual's disability from a recognized specialist in that area.
  3. A letter with the prospective resident's explanation of the tasks or function the animal has been trained to perform as a disability-related accommodation along with pertinent information regarding the licensing and health in accordance with all applicable Pennsylvania dog laws and county regulations, following all requirements for tags and vaccinations must be submitted with application.

The requesting individual will be notified in writing of the decision upon completion of the review process.

Conflicting Disabilities

Persons who have asthma/allergy/medical issues related to animals are encouraged to make their condition known to Disability Services (for students) or Human Resources (for employees) by providing medical documentation to support their claim. To resolve a problem as efficiently and effectively as possible, action will be taken to consider the needs of both persons.

REQUESTS FOR ACCOMMODATIONS:

Students

Students requesting accommodations based on disability, including requests to use a service animal on/in campus facilities should contact NCC's Disability Services department. Service animal requests and additional accommodations will be determined in an interactive manner based upon NCC's accommodation process.

Visitors

Visitors using a service animal are welcome in all areas of campus that are open to the public. Specific questions related to the use of the service animal can be directed to Disability Services or the ADA Coordinator.

Employees

Employees requesting reasonable accommodations, including the use of a service animal should contact the ADA Coordinator and/or Human Resources.

Involuntary Leave Policy

Northampton Community College (NCC) is committed to preserving the integrity of its learning environment and protecting its community members from the risk of physical harm. Separation of a student from NCC and its facilities may be necessary if there is sufficient evidence that the student is engaging in or is likely to engage in behavior that poses a danger of harm to others or disrupts the learning environment.

This policy and these procedures do not take the place of disciplinary actions that are in response to violations of the Student Code of Conduct, nor do they preclude the removal or dismissal of students from the College or college-owned facilities as a result of violations of other college regulations.

Placing a student on Involuntary Leave

Before an involuntary leave is considered, efforts will be made to encourage the student to voluntarily withdraw from the residence facilities and/or classes, thus preserving, to the fullest extent possible, confidentiality and privacy. An involuntary leave may be initiated if the behaviors cannot be eliminated or reduced through reasonable and realistic accommodations and/or on-campus supports.

Any student who is currently enrolled at NCC may be placed on an involuntary leave from NCC and withdrawn from all courses on an interim basis based upon observation and report of the following:

  • Engages or threatens to engage in behavior which poses danger of substantial harm to others
  • Engages in behavior that negatively impacts the emotional and/or physical welfare of any member of the College community
  • Exhibits behavior that interferes with a student's ability to function in an academic environment and/or seriously interferes with the educational pursuits of others

Procedure

The Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students may be alerted to a student's behavior through the College's online reporting procedure, as well as from a variety of other sources on campus including faculty, staff and other students. If a faculty or staff member believes that a student's behavior may be of risk to the health and safety of others or the student's observable behaviors substantially disrupt the educational mission and activities of the College, the faculty or staff member must, through his or her regular supervisory channels or directly, report the behavior to the Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students office.

A clear written report of the observed behaviors of concern, including the circumstances and effects on others must be submitted to the office or through the on line reporting system.

The Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students will direct the Director of Judicial Affairs to convene the Behavioral Assessment Team (BAT), which may include but is not limited to, the Director of Counseling, Director of Judicial Affairs, Director of Residence Life, Coordinator of Disability Services, Monroe Assistant Dean of Student Services and Chief of Security, whose task will be to review the reported student behaviors in question and collect input from college personnel as needed. This group will determine whether an assessment of the student's psychological, psychiatric, or other condition should be required and, if so, the type of assessment appropriate under the circumstances. In lieu of an evaluation, the group may suggest a voluntary withdrawal for the student in question. This group will also have the authority to determine if an involuntary leave is recommended, should the student not choose to voluntarily withdraw from NCC.

The Behavioral Assessment Team will assess, specifically, whether the student engages in or is likely to engage in behavior that poses a danger of causing harm to others or disrupts the learning environment. The BAT can choose to meet with the student and interview witnesses. The student may provide the Behavioral Assessment Team with any information that the student believes is relevant. If an assessment is requested by the Behavioral Assessment Team, the student must agree to authorize the individual performing the assessment to release the assessment to the Behavioral Assessment Team. The individual performing the assessment and the members of the Behavioral Assessment Team may consult with each other concerning potential reasonable modifications or the need for an involuntary leave following this assessment.

The student will be given the opportunity to meet with the Behavioral Assessment Team within two working days from the effective date of the notification of possible involuntary leave to discuss the reliability of the information concerning the student's behavior and/or whether or not the student's behavior poses a significant danger of harm to others or interferes with the educational mission of the college.

The Behavioral Assessment Team will make a determination regarding an involuntary leave of absence and the student will be informed of the decision verbally and in writing by the Director of Judicial Affairs or the Monroe Assistant Dean of Student Affairs.

If the student is placed on an involuntary leave and withdrawn from that semester's classes, the student will be notified within two working days in writing. The notification will include the conditions for possible return to NCC. The student may appeal this decision to the Vice President of Student Affairs and must do so within two working days of receipt of the notification. The Vice President of Student Affairs decision regarding the involuntary leave will be final.

A student who has been placed on involuntary leave of absence and who subsequently desires to return to the College will be required to demonstrate to the Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students or designee that the circumstances that led to the placement on leave of absence have been satisfactorily addressed. Any disciplinary matter must be resolved before a student on leave of absence will be allowed to return.

ADA Policy and Complaint Procedure

Any student who has concerns or complaints related to access and accommodations can use the following information:

Background

Northampton Community College  (NCC) welcomes qualified students with disabilities and endorses the principles of nondiscrimination and reasonable accommodation as described in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (504), the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2009 (ADAA). The College prohibits discrimination against a person on the basis of disability or who has a history or record of such impairment or is regarded as having such impairment as well as persons who are associated with a disabled person.  This procedure applies to complaints alleging disability discrimination carried out by students, faculty and staff, and third-party vendors.

The College's Section 504 Coordinator handles complaints and appeals of accommodation decisions and allegations of discrimination on account of disability. The Section 504/ADA Coordinator is Brett I. Last, Executive Director, Human Resources. He may be reached at blast@northampton.edu or 610.861.5496. 

Procedures for Complaints of Discrimination Based Upon a Disability

If a student feels that he/she has been discriminated against based upon a disability by another student, faculty or staff or a third party, a complaint should be filed with the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator who will conduct an investigation of the allegations in the complaint. If the report alleges misconduct by the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator, then the report should be made to the President.  

Within fifteen (15) days the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator will initiate an impartial, adequate, and reliable investigation. In determining whether the alleged conduct constitutes discrimination, the totality of the circumstances, the nature of the conduct and the context in which the alleged conduct occurred will be investigated. 

The individual accused of discrimination will be advised of the allegations, the source of the complaint, and then given the opportunity to respond to the allegations. Parties are allowed to present witnesses and other evidence during the investigation Within 60 days from the date that the complaint was received, the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator, or designee, will prepare a written report, unless additional time to complete the investigation is required. The report will include findings with respect to whether discrimination occurred. If an investigation cannot be concluded within 60 days, the appropriate parties will be advised and a projected conclusion day will be announced. 

Should cause be found to support the allegations, the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator will identify appropriate remedial actions which may include disciplinary action up to and including termination, and he/she will report those recommendations to the person responsible for the division/department in which the alleged discrimination/harassment occurred. 

The College will also take steps to prevent the reoccurrence of any discrimination/harassment and to correct its discriminatory effects on the complainant and others if appropriate. 

Within 15 days from the date that the report is prepared, the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator will provide notice to both parties of the findings, including the findings with respect to wrongdoing, and the outcome resulting from the complaint, including the final remedial actions and the basis for the decision.  The notice provided will include the procedure to appeal. 

Appeals of Results of Complaints of Discrimination Based Upon a Disability

Both parties may file an appeal if there is a disagreement with the findings and/or remedies of the complaint. An appeal must be made in writing. 

All appeals must be filed with the President or his/her designee within 10 working days of the receipt of the Coordinator's decision. The appeal must state why the appellant believes the result and conclusion is unsatisfactory. The President or his/her designee shall review the record and investigate further if deemed necessary. Within 30 working days of the date of the filing of the appeal, all parties will receive notice of the President's or his/her designee's decision in writing. 

The President's or his/her designee's decision will be final and binding on all parties.

Confidentiality

All actions taken to investigate and resolve complaints through this procedure shall be conducted with as much privacy, discretion and confidentiality as possible without compromising the thoroughness and fairness of the investigation. All persons involved are to treat the situation with respect. To conduct a thorough investigation, the investigator(s) may discuss the complaint with witnesses and those persons involved in or affected by the complaint, and those persons necessary to assist in the investigation or to implement appropriate disciplinary actions.

No Retaliation for Filing a Complaint 

Retaliation against any individual for making a complaint of disability discrimination, or for assisting in the investigation of such a complaint is a violation of this policy and will not be tolerated. Any acts of retaliation will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, such as but not limited to reprimand, change in work assignment, loss of privileges, mandatory training or suspension and/or immediate termination.

Policy for Use of Mobile Devices

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act and subsequent regulations, it is the policy of NCC that mobility devices used by individuals with disabilities are generally permitted in all facilities and programs, as described below.

Definitions:

  • "Wheelchair" is defined as "a manually-operated or power-driven device designed primarily for use by an individual with a mobility disability for the main purpose of indoor or of both indoor and outdoor locomotion." This definition includes mobility scooters.
  • A "mobility disability" includes a wide range of disabilities, including circulatory and respiratory disabilities that make walking difficult or impossible.
  • An "Other Power-Driven Mobility Device (OPDMD)"is defined as any mobility device powered by batteries, fuel, or other engines - whether or not designed primarily for use by individuals with mobility disabilities - that is used by individuals with mobility disabilities for the purpose of locomotion. Included in the OPDMD category are: golf carts, electronic personal assistance mobility devices (e.g. Segway® PT) and any mobility device designed to operate in areas without defined pedestrian routes, but that is not a wheelchair.

Use of Wheelchairs and OPDMDs

NCC will make reasonable modifications to permit individuals with mobility disabilities to use OPDMDs as long as operation of the mobility device is in accordance with legitimate safety requirements, including operation at a safe speed limit, and care in observation of pedestrians. NCC prohibits the use of fuel driven engines inside our buildings, as fumes have been deemed a direct threat to others. NCC is not responsible for the storage of these devices.

As needed and on an individual basis, NCC will determine additional appropriate use of OPDMD's based upon assessment factors that include the type, size, weight, dimensions, and speed of the device, the facility's volume of pedestrian traffic (which may vary at different times of the day, week, month, or year), the location of a program, service or activity and whether the use of the OPDMD creates a substantial risk of serious harm to the immediate environment or natural or cultural resources.

REQUESTS FOR ACCOMMODATIONS

Students:

Student requesting accommodations based on disability, including requests to use an OPDMD on/in campus facilities should contact NCC's Disability Services department. Accommodations will be determined in an interactive manner based upon NCC's accommodation process. Students may be asked to provide a "credible assurance" that the device is required because of the person's mobility disability. Credible assurances include a valid, disability parking placard or card, or other State-issued proof of disability. A verbal representation by the individual with a disability that is not contradicted by observable fact, indicating that the OPDMD is being used for a mobility disability can also be considered.

Visitors:

Visitors using wheelchairs and Other Power Driven Mobility Devices are welcome in all areas of campus that are open to the public. Specific questions related to the use of these devices can be directed to Disability Services or the ADA Coordinator.

Employees:

Employees requesting reasonable accommodations, including the use of Other Power Driven Mobility Devices should contact the ADA Coordinator and/or Human Resources.

Emergency Procedures

General Guidelines

Responsibilities of Person with a Disability:

  1. In an emergency situation, it is critical to your health and safely that YOU are familiar with your needs during an emergency evacuation.
  2. We recommend that you identify someone in advance who might assist you in leaving the building and/or who will inform emergency personnel of your presence and your location.
  3. Be familiar with the location of exits and "safe zones/areas of refuge" in each building. Do not use elevators.
  4. Remain calm.
  5. Treat every alarm as an actual emergency.
  6. Use the closest and safest exit.

Emergency and Fire Drill Procedures

In a fire drill or actual emergency, an alarm will sound.

When the alarm/siren sounds, classes will be dismissed and the instructor will be responsible to make certain everyone in his/her class is evacuated safely and quickly and to direct the students to the designated evacuation area.

Use of the elevator is prohibited except by or under the direct supervision of emergency services personnel.

Emergency personnel should be contacted for assistance in evacuating individuals with disabilities, i.e. individuals with mobility impairments, and escorting them to safety by use of the elevators or other means.

All students and staff shall remain in their assigned evacuation areas until instructed to return.

Special Considerations:

Persons with Visual Impairments:

Ask a fellow student or professor about the nature of the emergency.

If you require assistance in exiting the building, ask for assistance from a fellow student or staff member. Ask that they take your elbow and escort you, advising you of any obstacles that you may encounter.

When you have reached safety, ask to be oriented as to your location and/or escorted to emergency personnel or staff from Physical Plant for further assistance.

Persons with Hearing Impairments:

Ask a fellow student, professor or your interpreter about the nature of the emergency.

If you cannot perceive emergency alarms and if a visual alarm signal is not available, request an alternative warning, such as a written note or a flashing of the light switch be provided.

Exit the building by following students and staff.

Persons with Mobility Impairments:

Students should move toward the nearest marked exit. In the College Center, the smoke tower stairwells are the "Areas of Rescue." All exit corridors and smoke tower stairwells are marked with exit signs and are protected with self closing fire rated doors. These are the safest areas during an emergency.

If you are unable to navigate an exit using stairs, you are to stay in the exit corridor or the landing in the smoke tower stairwell. You will be evacuated by emergency personnel.

Inform a student or staff member of your location and ask that they immediately inform emergency personnel of your location as they exit the building.

Call for help until rescued. Persons who cannot speak loudly should carry a whistle or have some other means for attracting the attention of rescue personnel.

Emergency personnel will start at the top floor of a building and work down until all areas have been evacuated.