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Course Substitution Because of a Disability


Wenatchee Valley College recognizes that students facing extraordinary circumstances due to a documented disability may on occasion appeal to have course substitutions. The college shall develop and update appropriate statements, regulations, and procedures for approval of the president’s cabinet. The board of trustees delegates to the president or designee the responsibility for defining, describing, developing and administering the course substitution because of a disability procedure.

Approved by the president’s cabinet: 4/15/03
Adopted by the board of trustees: 6/4/03
Last reviewed: __/__/__
Policy contact: Student Services

Related policies and procedures
1400.085 Course Substitution Because of a Disability Procedure



The Special Needs Committee (SNC) will convene to hear appeals regarding the substitution of graduation requirements due to a severe learning disability. The board will also hear appeals regarding the waiver of graduation requirements. The college is under no legal obligation to grant such a waiver, but reserves the right to waive a degree requirement in rare cases. Student appeals for substitution of graduation requirements are typically considered only after attempts to make academic adjustments (accommodations) with or without auxiliary aids for the disability have failed. The first level of accommodation will involve strategies such as auxiliary aids, tutoring, test accommodations and a slower version of the course. If accommodations and alteration of course delivery is unsuccessful, the student may consider further attempts at completing the course futile. Appropriate substitutions will then be considered according to the appeals process described below.

  1. The Special Needs Committee will consist of:
    1. An instructional administrator from the academic area of concern.
    2. An instructor, preferably one who teaches the course in question, from the academic area of concern.
    3. The WVC chief admissions officer or designee.
    4. The student’s adviser or counselor.
    5. A student representative.
    6. The special populations coordinator (non-voting).
  2. The following types of cases will be heard:
    1. The student has made a conscientious but unsuccessful effort to complete the course employing accommodations recommended by the special populations coordinator.
    2. The student and coordinator agree that the nature and severity of the disability are too great to overcome even with course accommodations.
    3. The coordinator’s recommendation is that the disability is insufficient to warrant a course substitution. The student disagrees with the recommendation and wishes to appeal.


  1. A student seeking accommodations must present to the special populations coordinator assessment and documentation of the disability from an appropriate specialist at least two (2) quarters prior to graduation. The request must include the following information:
    1. An explanation of the relationship of the student’s disability to the lack of success in completing the course.
    2. Current relevant medical or psychological documentation which includes functional impact of the disability and its duration.
    3. A description of the accommodations previously received by the student in the course or relevant subject area, if attempted.
    4. A Release to Exchange Information form signed by the student, authorizing the SNC to review the student’s documentation and to contact the evaluating professional, if necessary.

      The student’s request may also include other relevant information, such as letters from instructors, tutors or any other professional who has first-hand knowledge of the student’s attempts in the required subject areas.

  2. The special populations coordinator will assess and document the extent of the disability. The coordinator may recommend that the SNC convene to determine whether a course substitution is appropriate. In some instances, the student may disagree with the coordinator regarding the severity of the disability. If the coordinator does not recommend that the committee convene, the student may still request a hearing. The SNC will meet, and the student may present her/his case for the course substitution. The primary consideration of the committee will be whether the course is essential to the area of study. If the course is determined essential to the student’s program, the appeal will be denied. If the course is found to be a program enhancement, the committee will determine an appropriate course substitution.
  3. The following procedures will govern the hearing:
    1. Student petitions must be in writing. The petition, along with related background material, is provided to SNC members as soon as possible prior to a hearing.
    2. Committee decisions are reached by majority vote. Each committee member may vote or abstain. Petitioners will receive notification regarding the outcome of their appeal before the end of the quarter in which the petition is received or within four weeks, whichever is longer.
    3. Minutes reflecting committee decisions will be kept. In special circumstances, hearings may be tape-recorded. The original petition and SNC decision will be kept on file in accordance with the Washington State Community and Technical College General Retention Schedule. For most petitions, the retention of records will be 1 year following the final disposition of the appeal.
    4. Student rights with regard to confidentiality will be respected.
    5. The hearing process is not subject to the formal procedures found in a court of law, but all hearings will be conducted in an atmosphere of fairness and concern for the student and in accordance with WAC 132W-109.
    6. Petitioners appearing before the SNC may bring an advisor/advocate but must present their own appeal. Witnesses may be called or questioned by the petitioner or a committee member. If the petitioner chooses to bring an attorney, the special populations coordinator must be notified five days in advance of the hearing. The committee may then request legal representation for the college.
    7. Appeals of SNC recommendations may be made in writing to the college president no later than 10 days after notification on the outcome of a petition. The president will make a decision on the appeal and notify the petitioner within 10 days.

The student should know that a course substitution at Wenatchee Valley College in no way obligates a transfer institution to accept that substitution. If a substitution is granted, it will be indicated on official WVC transcripts and on the printed certificate or degree granted to the student.


Any student who believes that he or she has been discriminated against may file a formal discrimination complaint with the ADA compliance officer. Wenatchee Valley College has an internal grievance procedure which provides for equitable and timely resolution of complaints related to alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. (WAC 132W-300)

Approved by the president’s cabinet: 3/28/01
Renumbered from 1400.521
Renumbering approved by the president’s cabinet: 8/23/05
Presented to the board of trustees: 9/21/05
Last reviewed: __/__/__
Policy contact: Student Services

Related policies and procedures
400.080 Academic Adjustments & Auxiliary Aid for Students with Disabilities Policy
400.085 Course Substitution Because of a Disability Policy
400.090 Accommodations for Students with Learning Disabilities Policy
1400.080 Academic Adjustments & Auxiliary Aid for Students with Disabilities Procedure
1400.090 Accommodations for Students with Learning Disabilities Procedure