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Did my professor properly accommodate my disability?

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Yasmin Mirza


( 5 months ago )

In August, I had surgery and shortly thereafter started chemotherapy. Despite being sick, I was only enrolled in 8 credit hours and felt I would be able to handle it. (I did very well in my other classes.)

There was a period shortly after the start of the semester where I got sick from the medication and had a really rough time with homework. I filed for accommodations with the disability coordinator at the school.

I turned in a take-home exam a day late and two homework assignments late. There was no penalty on the exam, but one assignment was reduced by 75% (it was not graded, I just received a flat 25%) and the other was reduced by 50%. I was also yelled at by the professor and had to beg him to take the exam (I was actually in tears saying, "I'm begging you" even though university policy mandated he accept the exam.)

I withdrew from the chemotherapy as a result and my coursework grades significantly improved. However, due to some assignments and an exam being cut from the syllabus, I was unable to recover my grade from the early bit of the semester.

He argues that he felt I was apathetic to the assignments, I did not alert him of my disability, and that he accommodated me by grading the assignments. However, I contacted him early on several times regarding this, but I didn't learn until later that he doesn't read emails (per university policy.)

The disability coordinator made the professor aware and made several attempts to contact him when he was unresponsive to her emails and phone calls. He eventually responded to a letter he received via campus mail. In addition, I attempted to contact him via email. He eventually approached me and expressed that he felt I was apathetic about the assignments.

If my assignments had been graded, I highly doubt I would have received 100% on them. I do feel I performed on par with the others I turned in.

As a side note, he accepted late work with no penalty from other students, but their work was less late than mine.

I contacted the Dean of Students, but unfortunately, the best option is to appeal the grade. The chair contacted the professor multiple times, but the professor maintains he was fair.

My question: Did my professor properly accommodate me? I don't feel as such, but he feels he did. How do I know if he did?

What do I do going forward? It's a really small school and he’s telling everyone how frustrated he his about my complaint, so I feel like even with having submitted a complaint that I've burned a lot of bridges there. I'm a senior and my last course would be with this same professor.

Kajal Gaur


( 5 months ago )

I'm sorry you were ill. "Extra time" usually means that one has additional time to complete an exam. For example a student with accommodation might have to take a final exam on the same day as her colleagues, but might have three hours instead of two to complete the exam.

At the two institutions where I've taught, there's a very formal process for notifying professors of accommodations, in which the professor actually signs for having received a copy of the accommodation letter. I can't tell whether that was at work in your case.

The disability coordinator at your school is the one person who should know exactly what accommodations you were offered. Your next step should be to see the disability coordinator, explain what happened, and ask whether you were treated according to the agreed accommodation. If you were not, then either the disability coordinator will work through this or you can use the disability coordinator's statement in your grade appeal.

If you were granted the accommodations the school prescribed, probably you should file that grade appeal anyway, but do not be too hopeful.

I wish you the best of luck in your academic career and in your health. I haven't read "How to pass organic chemistry" yet, but I will.

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