Student Disability Policy and Procedure

Cooper Union strives to create and maintain an environment in which all students may learn and work to their fullest potential. Consistent with this policy of nondiscrimination, Cooper Union is committed to complying with all applicable provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Students with disabilities are provided accommodations to have equal access to the educational process, programs, activities, events, and services. The Dean of Student’s staff verify disabilities and determine accommodations for students. The office also provides information and training on disability-related issues for the campus community members. 

Cooper Union will provide accommodations to students who have provided the College with appropriate documentation of their disability to enable them to equitably participate in and benefit from the College’s programs, services, and activities, provided that such accommodations would not 1) fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the College’s programs, services, or activities, 2) cause undue burden to the College, or 3) pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

Students who warrant accommodations to participate in the College’s programs or services should contact the Dean if Students.  The student is to contact the Dean of Students, complete the Self-Identification Form for students with disabilities and provide documentation by a qualified, licensed professional appropriate to the nature of the disability and requested accommodation(s). The documentation provided must include: 1) the student’s disability; 2) the specific impact(s) the disability has on the student’s academic pursuits; 3) the recommended reasonable accommodations to mitigate the impact of the disability; and 4) details of how the requested reasonable accommodations mitigates the impact of the diagnosed disability. All materials must be sent to the Dean of Students for review.

Documentation will be accepted at any time; however, it is in the best interest of the student to have documentation submitted no later than three (3) weeks prior to the start of the semester so that any necessary accommodations can be implemented prior to the start of classes. As needs and conditions change over time, documentation will be reviewed annually, and students will need to resubmit their accommodation requests and supporting documentation on an annual basis.

Accommodations can be requested at any time, but students are not permitted to request accommodations retroactively. Accommodations must be approved and agreed upon in advance.

Students always have the choice of whether they utilize accommodations.

Students who are registered for accommodations will receive a letter at the start of the academic year detailing the reasonable accommodations that the college is able to provide in response to their requests. Students must share their accommodation letter with their faculty as soon as is reasonable possible at the beginning of each semester, or as soon as the accommodation letter is received.

Accommodations are designed to allow a student equal access to their educational experiences at Cooper Union. As each class and each student's needs are unique, it is important that there be a dialogue between faculty and student. While accommodations may seem generic, their implementation is certainly not. Additional time on projects and exams in a chemistry class will look very different than extra time in studio courses. It is between the faculty member and the student to determine how accommodations can reasonably be realized in each specific course.

Information regarding a student’s disability is private. Consistent with FERPA Student Affairs staff share disability-related information with faculty or staff when there is a need for them to know. Specifically, it is sometimes important to share such information for accommodations to be provided. However, information is rarely shared with parents or other parties without the student’s written consent unless it is an emergency, or the student is determined to be a danger to self or others.

Students and faculty with concerns about accommodations are encouraged to speak with the involved individuals as well as the academic dean of the school/program and the Dean of Students. When resolving such concerns, it is important that they be addressed immediately (and accommodations are to be implemented in the meantime). Faculty and/or students are encouraged to consider potential appropriate alternatives.

If a student or a prospective student with a disability believes they have been discriminated against, or if they are dissatisfied with the determined accommodation or the implementation of an accommodation, that student is encouraged to discuss the situation with the Dean of Students. If a satisfactory agreement cannot be reached with the Dean of Students, the individual with a disability may contact Cooper Union’s Chief Talent Officer, Natalie Brooks, who is the EEO Coordinator, at natalie.brooks@cooper.edu.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.