Academic support for impacted students

A student might be experiencing negative impacts to their academics as a result of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking. In these cases, the University may provide special academic support to the student. Here are some common questions about special academic support requests:

What type of special academic support might faculty or staff be asked to provide?
Academic support may include: arranging for the student to make up coursework or exams, identifying an alternative to a specific assignment or exam to avoid a negative consequence for their grade, allowing the student to withdraw, re-take, or have extra time to complete the course or its requirements without an academic or financial penalty. In some cases, faculty or staff may be asked to implement exceptions to course expectations in urgent or emergency circumstances.

Who determines that a student needs special academic support?
Individuals who work as victim advocates on all three campuses and/or individuals who work in the Office of the Title IX Coordinator, student conduct offices, and/or the University Complaint Investigation and Resolution Office (UCIRO) determine when a student may need academic support. If a member of one of these offices contacts a department or program to request support or assistance on behalf of the student, a decision has already been made that support is warranted or required for the student. Federal law may require academically supporting a student in this way.

If a student contacts a staff or faculty member for support, please work with that student to be accommodating and flexible to the extent that you are able. If you would like to confirm that the student may be requiring such support, please ask the student with whom you may speak. When you reach out to that individual or office, know that they may need to obtain the permission of the student with whom they are working before they are able to speak with you.

What information is shared about why the student needs the support?
Given the sensitive nature of such issues, the privacy of the students is paramount, so limited information may be provided to faculty or staff. It is possible that the student:

  • is participating in a criminal justice process or institutional processes, such as a student conduct matter or investigation, which interferes with their coursework or classes;
  • is engaged in safety planning, such as relocating or attending protection order hearings; or
  • is experiencing the immediate impacts of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking.

How does this differ from the disability accommodation process for students?
Students experiencing effects from sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking  may not have a medical condition that allows them to receive disability accommodations; however, they may still be eligible to receive special academic support. If the student does have a disability that requires accommodations, then the disability accommodation process is the primary method for students to seek accommodations.

What if  the request does not seem reasonable or consistent with the course expectations?
Similar to disability accommodations, if a request for an exception is not reasonable, then other options should be explored. Staff or faculty should discuss their concerns with the office that contacted them about the special academic support.  The Title IX Coordinator or the ADA Coordinator can also provide consultation as needed.

What about students who have been accused of inappropriate conduct?
Like students who report inappropriate conduct, students who have been accused of such conduct may also require academic support while engaged in coursework and an institutional process, such as a student conduct investigation, simultaneously. As a faculty or staff member who receives the request for academic support, you may not know whether the student requiring academic support is the student who’s been accused or the student who reported the behavior.