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Policy Equity Students with Disabilities

Students with Disabilities

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For the purposes of this document, a 'student with a disability' is defined as a student of the University who, as a result of a loss or reduction of functional ability caused by a physical, sensory, or neurological condition, has a reduced ability to access the educational services of the University. A disability may be temporary, permanent or chronic in nature.

Policy and Procedures

James Cook University acknowledges and supports the right of people with disabilities to realise their potential for intellectual, physical and social development.

This policy document affirms the commitment of the University to ensure that people with disabilities are able to participate to the fullest possible extent in the educational programs offered by the University and all other aspects of University life.

The following principles will obtain:

Rights and Obligations

  • James Cook University will act to provide a safe and supportive environment for students with disabilities.

  • The University will ensure that the delivery of special services to students with disabilities is performed in a manner that respects and promotes their dignity, rights and opportunities.

  • The University will ensure that the rights of students with disabilities to privacy and confidentiality are respected by all staff.

  • The University will ensure that staff comply with the relevant State and Federal legislation that relates to Discrimination and Equal Opportunity for people with disabilities.

  • The University will seek to raise the awareness of staff and students regarding disability and will encourage positive attitudes and the use of appropriate language.

  • It is the responsibility of all persons with disabilities to notify the University of their disability and special needs during the application process.

  • Provision of appropriate support services may not be possible if a person with a disability fails to disclose the nature of the disability and their support needs prior to enrolment.

  • To ensure the equitable allocation of resources, the University may request that a student supply evidence of the nature and extent of disability. Such evidence may include medical or other professional reports and advice from previous educational establishments attended by the student.


  • The University aims to provide services that will support and assist the student to participate fully in academic programs without disadvantage.

  • The University will aim to make available those services and supports included in the guide for students with disabilities produced by the Disability Resources Office. In addition, the University will attempt to provide other resources requested by the student provided always that these are necessary to ensure the participation of the student in the academic environment.

  • The University will aim to provide an appropriate level of resources for the implementation of this policy.

Recruitment and Admission

  • The University will actively encourage suitably academically qualified persons with disabilities to apply for admission.

  • Information regarding services available for people with disabilities will be included in all University Outreach Programs, School visits, etc.

  • Consistent with its stated commitment to the principles of equal opportunity, the University does not discriminate on grounds other than academic performance-based criteria when considering applications for admission.

  • In assessing applications for admission from people with disabilities, the University will give due consideration to the fact that an applicant might have suffered educational disadvantage because of disability.


  • The University recognises the importance of providing appropriate physical access to buildings and other facilities. Where physical access cannot be guaranteed, alternative arrangements for services will be provided.

  • James Cook University will maintain and improve the level of accessibility to existing buildings.

  • The University will ensure that new buildings meet the appropriate Australian Standard for access and mobility. Adherence to such Standards will be regarded as a minimum requirement.


  • Students with disabilities will have access to all academic programs offered by the University, unless the Academic Board receives appropriate expert advice that the curriculum could not be adapted to permit the student to meet the educational objectives of the course or program.

  • The University will encourage the modification of academic programs to accommodate students with disabilities, provided always that any modification does not affect the value or integrity of that program.

  • The University will support the use of alternative methods of assessing the performance of a student with a disability where that student is unable, because of disability, to undertake assessment in the same manner as other students.

Approval Details

Policy sponsor:

Director, Equity & Student Engagement

Approval authority:

Academic Board

Version no.:


Date for next review:


Modification History

Version no.

Approval date

Implementation date