Funding Employment or Appointment Accommodations
The university maintains a central accommodation fund for implementing reasonable accommodations for graduate students with disabilities who hold a GSI, GSSA, GSRA or temporary hourly appointment in an academic unit. These funds may be available to the appointing units if the cost of an individual’s accommodation expenses exceed $500, the amount up to which a unit is expected to cover per individual.
Central Accommodation Fund
The University of Michigan does not discriminate on the basis of disability in its employment, programs, services, or activities. Pursuant to applicable federal and state laws, it is the university’s policy to provide, upon request, reasonable employment accommodations to otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities in order to ensure equal access to campus employment.
In the context of employment or an appointment, a reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that permits a qualified employee with a disability to perform the essential functions of a position or appointment, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment or appointment equal to those enjoyed by employees/appointees without disabilities. For example, reasonable employment or appointment accommodation may include:
- providing or modifying equipment or devices,
- task restructuring,
- modified work schedules,
- adjusting or modifying training materials, or policies,
- providing readers and interpreters, and/or
- making the workplace readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities
The determination of whether an accommodation is reasonable is fact specific to the student and the position and involves a process in which the employing/appointing unit and the graduate student identify the impact of the disability on performance of the essential task functions and workflow, explore possible reasonable accommodations, and maintain essential functions and performance standards of the appointment.
The accommodation process is expected to be interactive with participation from the graduate student, the employing/appointing unit faculty, and the unit’s administrative designee.
Rackham Graduate School’s Resolution Officer is the designated central contact for management of the central accommodation fund and assisting graduate students in securing reasonable employment accommodations for GSI, GSSA, GSRA, and temporary hourly graduate students with disabilities.
The Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) is responsible for verifying disabilities and identifying reasonable accommodations.
The ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (see SPG 201.84 for additional information) in the Equity, Civil Rights, and Title IX Office (ECRT) is available for consultation regarding compliance with applicable laws and university policy, disputes related to the accommodation process, and to formally investigate complaints of alleged disability discrimination or harassment.
The Scope of This Fund
These procedures describe how costs are shared between a program and/or department and the university’s central fund with respect to funding reasonable employment accommodations for graduate students with appointments. This fund is not intended to pay for academic accommodations covered by Services for Students with Disabilities. For more information about academic accommodations for students with disabilities, contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office at (734) 763-3000 (voice) or visit the SSD website.
If the requested accommodation is for GSI, GSSA, GSRA or temporary hourly graduate student employees with a disability, employing or appointing units should consult applicable personnel policies and/or collective bargaining agreements, and follow the procedures set forth.
Rackham Graduate School
Director of Graduate Student and Consultation Services
Email: [email protected]
Allison Kushner, Director of Disability Equity and ADA Coordinator
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (734) 763-0235
TTY: (734) 647-1388
Fax: (734) 936-8894
Feranmi Okanlami, Head of Disability Services
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (734) 615-0641
To apply for central accommodation funds, the department’s request must be for a specific individual with a disability who needs an employment or appointment accommodation, rather than for modifications to improve accessibility in general. To encourage departments to expeditiously provide accommodations to individuals with disabilities, a department may initially pay for the accommodation and thereafter seek reimbursement for expenses retroactively anytime during the same academic year.
Appointing Unit Responsibilities
It is customary for appointing units to fund expenses normally associated with graduate student appointments, independent of disability status (such as furniture, phones, computers, technology upgrades, and other tools of the position.)
- Appointing units are expected to cover the first $500.00 of an individual’s accommodation expenses annually based on a fiscal year (July – June).
- Appointing units can request assistance from the Central Accommodation Fund for qualifying accommodation expenses above $500.00.
- Appointing units are expected to order and install needed equipment or services for reasonable accommodations in a timely manner.
Procedures to Request Funding
To request funding under these procedures for a reasonable accommodation, the appointing unit or department should submit a request form to the Rackham Resolution Officer for review, with a copy to the administrative designee. The Provost’s written response/recommendation will be sent to the appropriate Dean/Director with a copy to the appropriate faculty or staff whose duties include the coordination and/or management of GSI, GSSA, GSRA, or temporary hourly employees.
When submitting a request for assistance from the Central Accommodation Fund, the appointing unit’s administrative designee (or departmental designee) will complete the Central Accommodation Fund Request Form and submit it to the Rackham Resolution Officer.
Every attempt will be made to review requests and provide funding promptly, but departments are responsible for providing accommodations in a timely manner regardless of the status of their request for funding from the Central Accommodation Fund.
For more information about this accommodation funding process, contact Graduate Student and Program Consultation Services at [email protected].