ADA and Civil Rights Information

Table of Contents

DMACC is required by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (PL 93-112) Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (PL 101-336) to provide access, aids, and services to persons with disabilities.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (PL 93-112) Section 504

Title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is generally regarded as the first national "civil rights" legislation for persons with disabilities. Section 504 is a program access statute that applies to entities that receive federal funds. (It is this mandate that has promoted the development of disability support service programs in colleges and universities over the last 30 years). It requires that "No individuals with disability in the United States shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance or any program or activity conducted by an executive agency." A "program or activity" is defined as including all of the operations of a local educational agency, system of vocational education, or other school system.

Subpart E of Section 504 deals specifically with institutions of higher education. It requires that institution (public or private) be prepared to make appropriate academic adjustments and reasonable modifications to policies and practices in order to allow the full participation of students with disabilities in the same programs and activities available to students without disabilities. Under the provisions of Section 504, colleges may not discriminate in the recruitment, admission, educational process, or treatment of students. Students who have self-identified, provided documentation of his/her disability, and requested reasonable accommodation are entitled to receive approved modifications of programs, appropriate academic adjustments, or auxiliary aids that enable them to participate in and benefit from all educational programs and activities.

Section 504 specifies that colleges may not limit the number of students with disabilities admitted, make pre-admission inquiries as to whether or not an applicant has a disability, use admission tests or criteria that inadequately measure the academic qualifications of students with disabilities because special provisions were not made, exclude a student with a disability from any course of study, or establish rules and policies that may adversely affect students with disabilities.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (PL 101-336)

The ADA consists of five sections or "Titles". Title II addresses public entities including community colleges. Title II mandates that a public entity, including its educational programs, shall make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, or procedures when modifications are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of a disability unless these modifications present undue hardship or substantially alter a program. Title II also requires the provision of accessible facilities and auxiliary aids and services by public programs.

The ADA, initiated in 1990, reinforces the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act and extends compliance requirements to all state and local entities regardless of federal funding. The ADA requires that "No qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity."

On September 25, 2008, the President signed the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008 ("ADA Amendment Act"). The act emphasizes that the definition of disability should be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA. The effects of these changes make it easier for an individual seeking protection under the ADA to establish that he or she has a disability.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act of 2008 (ADA) defines a person with a disability as any person who (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) has a record of such an impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. "Major Life Activities" also include the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

A person with a disability who is qualified for receipt of educational opportunities, public adult educational services or other services in that he or she satisfies, with or without reasonable accommodation, all of the academic and technical standards, essential eligibility requirements, and other applicable educational-related criteria qualifies for support as a student with a disability.

Web Accessibility Statement

Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) is committed to providing accessible websites and accessible online platforms, including Canvas​. DMACC staff and faculty work to comply with best practices and standards as defined by Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act, level AA of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The DMACC website pages are assessed through an ongoing process by a W3C compliant validation product, SiteImprove™, to monitor compliance with WCAG guidelines.    

Digital and Web based content accessibility standards will apply to DMACC and vendor generated digital and web based content and platforms, including, but not limited to, websites (both DMACC and any licensed websites), learning management systems, course content (publisher and instructor generated and purchased), student information systems, and digital and web based media. ​

Important Links

  • - read the complete text of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504
  • Office for Civil Rights - information about the Office for Civil Rights and compliance with the ADA and Section 504