Educational equity provided by UCCs accessibility services.

Published by Molly Kay on

Woman poses with her hand on a notebook. She is sitting down at the computer desk in her office with a smile.
Accessibility Specialist, Camille Hall is often the first point of contact for many students seeking accessibility services. Mason Ramirez / The Mainstream

Umpqua Community College strives to create equal opportunities for all students, and student accessibilities services office is working to bridge the gap that some students with disabilities face while pursing higher education. 

“Accessibility services exist to ensure equal access for all students and minimize the barrier it [a disability] creates,” Cosby says.  Students who have previously had IEP’s or 504 Plans in the K-12 school system will be familiar with the aspects of UCCs accessibility services.

Man standing in front of a rock bench wearing glasses dressed in a suit.
Accessibilities Services Coordinator Dustin Cosby has worked at UCC since 2013. He has taught classes in communication, business, and human development; and additionally worked in admissions and advising.
Mason Ramirez / The Mainstream

Dustin Cosby, the Accessibility Services Coordinator works with students individually to complete an accommodations plan, a personal list of approved assistance that will facilitate academic success and access to the learning environment. In order for students to receive accessibilities services, they must provide some documentation from a medical or mental health provider. Students seeking accommodations can schedule an appointment at the help desk in the LaVerne Murphy Student Center or speak directly with accessibilities specialist Camille Hills.

Assistance to help students succeed in their college classes is available to address a wide variety of physical and mental conditions.

Students wanting to check on how Accessibilities Services may provide assistance can meet with Cosby in an interactive conversation about the student’s specific barrier and how it affects them in order to provide the best accommodations for the student. If Cosby is unfamiliar with a certain disability, he may ask the student to have their medical or mental health provider suggest useful accommodations.

Accommodations differ for each student, based off the documentation provided and conversations with Cosby. Cosby tries to work with students in order to give them the best accommodations available with some accommodations applying better to some students. For example “a screened reader or technology to assist putting text into words usually applies to a smaller group of disabilities,” Cosby says.

Campus Accessibility infographic  with information on accessibility resources, the 304 plan, and some of the accommodations provided to students. At the bottom of the graphic it gives information on how to reach Dustin Cosby, the advisor, for more information on the UCC Website.
Infographic by Illias Corbin / The Mainstream

Students may quality for a variety of accommodations such as preferential seating or visual aids. Cosby provides these accommodations: “The student may currently be taking classes online, that doesn’t matter. I want to give them everything they have access to because at some point they may be taking a class in person.”

“I’m fully aware, for many students, the first time they’re meeting me I’m a complete stranger, so I always tell students share what you feel comfortable with. The goal is to remove those barriers so they don’t impact their educational success.” Once accommodations have been decided for a student, letters go out to instructors explaining the approved accommodations: “Their disability stays confidential; faculty and staff are never informed why they have it [accessibilities services].”

Accessibility Services records do not transfer to new educational institutions unless the student with disabilities requests the forms to be released.

In an attempt to remove as many barriers as possible, UCC’s accessibility services accommodation plans last for five years: “I’ve chosen to keep things for five years because sometimes students will be attending a term and life happens, so they can’t go to school. I keep them so students are just able to come back,” Cosby says.

Students can only be denied accessibilities services if they lack proper mental health or medical documentation. In some cases, students can be given accommodations for a term until proper documentation is provided. “[It is] challenging sometimes to get into see medical and mental health providers,” Cosby says. Once proper documentation has been provided the accommodations plan can be ongoing.

Contact me at:

For more articles by Molly Jerscheid, please click here.