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Tufts University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities in a fair and equitable manner and in accordance with applicable federal and state law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We seek to promote a diverse and inclusive university community. The Tufts Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) urges everyone in the Tufts community to join us in this commitment.

Defining Disabilities

ADA/504 Officer

The Accommodations Specialist is responsible for the interactive process (as defined below) for university staff, faculty, patients, visitors, third parties and community members.  The Accommodations Specialist is a designee for student issues involving accessibility and other ADA process issues for the university. The Accommodations Specialist at Tufts also works closely with managers, supervisors, the faculty offices and Human Resource personnel to arrive at reasonable accommodations for qualified people with disabilities in our community. The Accommodations Specialist for the Tufts Office of Equal Opportunity is Johny Lainé at 617-627-6363.  The 504 Officer for Tufts University is Jill Zellmer at OEO at 617-627-3298.  At the Office for Equal Opportunity, the 504 Officer is the appellate body for Accommodations denials.

Disability

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of a person's major life activities (not exhaustive but such as walking, standing, seeing, hearing or breathing).

Qualified Persons with Disabilities

An employee, patient, visitor, applicant, third party or community member with a disability who satisfies the skill, experience, education and other job-related requirements for the position and who can perform the essential functions of the job in question with or without reasonable accommodations. This includes part-time, full-time, probationary, non-career status and temporary employees. Similarly for students, a qualified person with a disability is a student who satisfies all the skill, experience, technical and educational requirements for their chosen educational program with or without reasonable accommodations.

Essential Functions

Job duties typically, but not exclusively, found on a job description, considered so fundamental that the individual cannot do the job without performing them. Similarly, for students, essential functions are defined as basic activities or technical standards and responsibilities that a student must be able to perform to complete their academic program and/or be considered for program admission, retention and graduation. Essential functions for both students and staff must be met either without an accommodation or with appropriate accommodation(s) after meeting the qualifications for a disability.

Interactive Process

The interactive process is the procedure through which an employer and an individual with a documented disability work together to identify what barriers exist to the individual’s performance and/or essential functions of a particular job with the intention of finding a reasonable accommodation. The interactive process often includes a review of the individual’s abilities and limitations and an analysis of which factors or job tasks may pose a difficulty and how the person may be accommodated.

Similarly with students, the interactive process is when OEO or a school administrator (usually the school dean, but it may also be staff of the Student Accessibility Services) works with the student to identify existing barriers to the equal access of a student’s basic activities, technical standards and/or responsibilities in his/her/their academic program with the intention of finding an accommodation that is reasonable.

Reasonable Accommodation

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, legally require Tufts University to provide appropriate and reasonable academic and employment accommodations to employees and students with disabilities unless doing so would create an undue hardship, compromise the health and safety of members of the university community, or fundamentally alter the nature of the university’s employment or academic mission. As described more fully herein, the university engages in an interactive process with the student, employee, applicant, patient, visitors, third party or community member to determine disability status and accommodation needs.

Undue Hardship

An action requiring significant difficulty, expense, and disruption (financial and administrative burden) or an action that would fundamentally alter policy and procedures, the nature of the job function, and/or the fundamental nature or technical standards of the academic program at Tufts University.

Process for Students

Medford/Somerville and SMFA Boston Campuses

For undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in:

  • The School of Arts and Sciences
  • The School of Engineering
  • The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
  • The Boston School of Occupational Therapy

Academic Accommodations

Contact Student Accessibility Services or contact Kirsten Behling, Director of Student Accessibility Services (ADA Administrator for academic accommodations) at 617-627-4539 or accessibility@tufts.edu

Non-Academic Accommodations

Food Allergies

For information regarding food allergies or intolerances contact Tufts Dining at 617-627-2833.

Health Accommodations

For information regarding general medical accommodations including medical leaves:

  • AS&E undergraduate and graduate students should contact Student Affairs at 617-627-3158
  • Fletcher students should contact Catherine Flynn, Disability Services Specialist
Housing Accommodations

For all requests related to accessible housing are handled by Student Accessibility Services.

Transportation

For information regarding accessible parking and/or Tufts accessible shuttle service, contact Johny Lainé  at  617-627-6363.

Boston Sciences and Grafton Campuses

For all necessary accommodations, graduate and professional students should contact their appropriate school administrator:

School Contact Title Contact Information
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine Barbara Berman Assistant Dean of Student Affairs 508-839-8733
Barbara.Berman@tufts.edu
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy Matthew Hast Assistant Dean 617-636-3711
Matthew.Hast@tufts.edu
Sackler School Elizabeth Storrs Director of Enrollment Services 617-636-2180 Elizabeth.Storrs@tufts.edu
Tufts University School of Dental Medicine Robert H. Kasberg, Jr. Associate Dean of Admissions & Student Affairs 617-636-6539
Robert.Kasberg@tufts.edu
Tufts University School of Medicine Janet Kerle Associate Dean of Students 617-636-6576 Janet.Kerle@tufts.edu
University-wide Johny Lainé Accommodations Specialist 617-627-6363
Johny.Laine@tufts.edu

Process for Employees and Staff

When seeking a reasonable accommodation, employees are encouraged to inform their manager/department chair of the need for an accommodation.

  • Managers/department chairs should refer the request to OEO who will engage the employee in an interactive dialogue to clarify the type of accommodation(s) and the reasonableness of the accommodation(s) being sought.
  • OEO may ask the employee to provide timely medical and/or other documentation from the appropriate provider to support his/her request for the reasonable accommodation. All medical documents will be handled confidentially in OEO.
  • After making a final determination on the matter based on facts gathered and received, OEO will communicate its decision to the employee, the employee’s manager/department chair and appropriate HR personnel in writing.

Medical Leave

Employees and staff who may need a medical leave or medical time off should contact the Leave of Absence Specialist in Human Resources at 617-627-3154 or call Tufts Support Services at 617-627-7000.

Faculty interested in taking a leave should contact their school's dean.

Information for Job Applicants

Applicants for employment at Tufts should inform Human Resources, the recruiter or the hiring manager of the need for any reasonable accommodation(s) during the hiring process. Upon receiving an accommodation request, recruiters, hiring managers and/or Human Resources designees should contact the Accommodations Specialist Johny Lainé in OEO for assistance at 617-627-6363.

As part of the interactive process, OEO or the involved HR representative may ask the applicant to provide medical and other forms of documentation to support his/her request. All medical documents will be handled confidentially at OEO/HR.

After making a final determination on the matter, OEO and/or HR will communicate the requested accommodation decision to the applicant in writing, if possible. HR is responsible for implementing all approved accommodations during the interview process.

Information for Patients

Patients who have received care at a Tufts' clinic or school who feel they have not been accommodated should contact the Accommodations Specialist Johny Lainé in OEO for assistance at 617-627-6363.

Appeals Process

Students, employees, patients, applicants, third parties and community members who are in disagreement with the outcome of their request for an accommodation(s) may address their concerns with the ADA/504 Officer, Jill Zellmer at 617-627-3298.