Focus On

Overview

The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended in 2008, and other federal laws -- including, without limitation, Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 -- prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities as students, job applicants, employees, and users of public accommodations and services at the University of Georgia (UGA).  These laws also require that UGA's programs, services and activities, when viewed in their entirety, be readily accessible to and usable by qualified individuals with disabilities and require that UGA make reasonable modifications to its policies, practices, and procedures to give equal access to qualified individuals with disabilities. See:

The University of Georgia’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy (“NDAH Policy”) likewise prohibits discrimination and harassment of individuals with disabilities within the University Community.

An individual with a disability is a person who has:

  • a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (e.g., walking, eating, breathing, sleeping, major bodily functions, etc.), OR
  • a record of such impairment, OR 
  • who is regarded as having such impairment.

To be qualified, an individual with a disability must meet the basic skill, education, training or other eligibility requirements of the relevant job or academic program, and must be able to perform the essential functions of the relevant job or academic program, either with or without reasonable accommodation.  In other words, employment or academic standards are not lowered for persons with disabilities.

Some examples of reasonable accommodations include, but are not limited to:

  • Reasonable modifications to rules, policies, or practices (e.g., adjusting exam times or methods, modified work schedule)
  • Removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers
  • Provision of assistive technology and auxiliary aids and services (e.g., interpreters, readers, note-takers)
  • Modification of equipment or devices

How UGA students with disabilities can request accommodations

The University of Georgia is committed to providing equal educational opportunities to all students who qualify for admission, and offers qualifying students with disabilities a variety of services and accommodations to ensure that both facilities and programs are accessible. The University’s Disability Resource Center (DRC) exists to assist students with requesting and coordinating reasonable accommodations and to connect students with the appropriate resources and supports to ensure a welcoming and accessible educational experience.  This includes during orientation and campus visits.

To talk with a DRC coordinator about requesting accommodations or to schedule an intake interview, students should contact the DRC at (706) 542-8719 or (706) 542-8778 (tty) or dsinfo@uga.edu

Students can also begin the accommodations process by visiting the DRC's Register for Services page.

In evaluating requests for accommodations, the DRC will take into consideration, without limitation, self-reports, records of past accommodations and services from high school and other colleges, formal psychological or medical evaluations, and letters from health service providers. Documentation guidelines for specific categories of disabilities are available on the DRC’s website. 

For further information on accommodations, services and resources for students and other University community members with disabilities, please visit the DRC’s website.

How UGA employees and job applicants with disabilities can request accommodations

University employees and job applicants may request accommodations by contacting UGA Human Resources’ Faculty and Staff Relations at (706) 542-9756.  Current employees may also request accommodations by completing the Employee Accommodation Request Form and returning it to:

University of Georgia
Human Resources, Faculty & Staff Relations
​315 S. Thomas Street
Athens, GA 30602

A request for accommodation can be made at any point in the hiring and employment process (i.e., at the application stage, during the hiring interview, after an offer is made, after starting employment).  The right to ask for accommodation is not waived because not requested at the application or hiring stage.

There are no “magic words” for what constitutes a request for an accommodation and the request need not initially be made in writing.  Moreover, the request can come from a third party, such as the applicant or employee’s family member or medical provider.  If the disability is not obvious, the applicant or employee can be required to provide reasonable (i.e., not unduly burdensome) documentation from a health care professional of the disability and how it affects the applicant’s or employee’s functioning. 

Once a request for accommodation is made, and documentation is provided (if the disability is non-obvious), the University will engage in an interactive process with the person with a disability to determine if s/he can reasonably be accommodated to enable him/her to perform the essential job functions, and timely provide any such reasonable accommodations.  

Where more than one method or type of reasonable accommodation exists, the preference of the person with a disability will be considered but the University is ultimately the decision-maker as to what method or type of accommodation is provided, so long as it is effective.

Appeals of employee requests for disability accommodations are handled by the Equal Opportunity Office which houses the Disability Coordinator for the University.

For further information, please visit UGA Human Resources' "Disability services and accommodations" webpage. 

How guests and visitors with disabilities can request accommodations

Guests and visitors at the University of Georgia who need accommodations should contact the University department or office that is hosting or coordinating the relevant activity or event to request the specific accommodation(s) needed.  Guests and visitors may also contact the Equal Opportunity Office which houses the Disability Coordinator for the University.

Guest and visitor requests for accommodation(s) are encouraged to be made in as much advance of the relevant activity or event as possible.  

Text telephone users may route inquiries through the Georgia Relay Center at 711.   

Additional information on disability accommodations, services and resources 

For further information on disability accommodations, services and resources for University community members, please visit UGA's Disability Resource Center’s webpage, which includes a list of Campus Resources, and the Equal Opportunity Office’s Disability Services and Disability Discrimination webpages.

 

Certain amorous relationships between University System of Georgia employees and students are prohibited

The University System of Georgia Board of Regent's General Policy 8.2.23, effective November 13, 2013, prohibits University faculty and staff, including graduate teaching assistants, from engaging in a dating or sexual relationship with any student who the faculty or staff member supervises, teaches or evaluates in any way.  

This means, for example, that a professor may not date a student while that student is in the professor’s class.  However, once the student is no longer in the professor’s class, the relationship is no longer prohibited (unless the professor exercises some other authority over the student, such as, for instance, serving as the student’s thesis advisor).

The prohibition concerning relationships with students applies in the University-related employment context as well as the academic context.  Thus, University faculty or staff (including graduate teaching assistants) cannot engage in a dating or sexual relationship with a student employed by the University -- whether paid, volunteer or receiving course credit --  who the faculty or staff member supervises or evaluates in any way.  

University faculty or staff members who engage in a dating or sexual relationship with a student who they supervise, teach or evaluate in any way are subject to disciplinary action commensurate with the offense, up to and including termination.

Certain relationships between two University System of Georgia employees are prohibited

The University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regent's General Policy 8.2.23, effective November 13, 2013, prohibits a USG employee from engaging in a dating or sexual relationship  with any other USG employee if either employee supervises, evaluates, or in any other way directly affects the terms or conditions of the other’s employment.  "Directly affects" refers to  situations where one employee is above the other employee in a vertical  line of authority extending through one or more organizational levels of supervision or management. 

USG employees who violate this prohibition are subject to disciplinary action commensurate with the offense, up to and including termination.

Sexual assault refers to a range of non-consensual sexual contact, which can occur in many forms, including but not limited to, rape and sexual battery.  See Definitions of Sexual Harassment Terms.

Sexual assault occurring on campus, in connection with a University program or activity, or in a manner that creates a hostile environment for members of the University Community is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by the University System of Georgia's Sexual Misconduct Policy, the University of Georgia’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Sexual assault is also a crime.

Get to a safe place

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, the first priority is to get to a safe location.

Contact the police

It is recommended that, following a sexual assault, the police be contacted as soon as possible.

Contacting the police does not commit or obligate the survivor to having the assault investigated or prosecuted, or to having police contact the alleged assailant.  The survivor can make those choices later.  Nor will contacting the police subject the survivor to judgmental scrutiny or opinions from officers.

Rather, contacting the police will:

  • Ensure that a survivor of sexual assault receives the necessary medical treatment, tests and prophylactic care (including for many sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, if desired), at no expense to the survivor;
  • If the assault occurred within the past 120 hours (5 days), provide the opportunity for collection and preservation of forensic evidence, including a free Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) exam (see further information below under "Obtain Medical Care").  Undergoing a SANE exam does not obligate or commit the survivor to having an investigation conducted or to pressing charges.  The evidence collected will be held and the survivor can make those choices at a later time.  Ideally, a survivor should not wash, douche, use the toilet, or change clothing prior to a SANE exam being conducted.  However, valuable evidence can still be collected even after one or more of these things has occurred.
  • Assure that the survivor has access to free, confidential advocates specifically trained in the area of sexual assault crisis intervention and support.

If a sexual assault occurred on-campus or on property owned or leased by the University of Georgia, contact the University Police Department at 911 or (706) 542-2200.

If a sexual assault occurred in Athens, but off-campus and not on property owned or leased by the University of Georgia, contact the Athens-Clarke County Police Department by calling 911 or (706) 613-3330.

If a sexual assault occurred outside of Athens-Clarke County, contact local law enforcement for the relevant jurisdiction.

Obtain medical care

Whether or not the police are called, the survivor is encouraged to obtain medical care in order to determine if any physical injuries occurred and to receive, if desired prevention of sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.  Medical providers in the Athens, Georgia area include:

University of Georgia’s Health Center
55 Carlton Street (intersection of East Campus and College Station Roads)
Athens, Georgia 30602
(706) 542-1162
http://www.uhs.uga.edu/index.html

University of Georgia’s Women’s Clinic
55 Carlton Street (intersection of East Campus and College Station Roads)
Athens, Georgia 30602
(706) 542-8691
http://www.uhs.uga.edu/services/womens_clinic.html 

St. Mary’s Hospital
1230 Baxter Street
Athens, Georgia 30606
(706) 389-3000
http://www.stmarysathens.org/

Athens Regional Medical Center
1199 Prince Avenue
Athens, Georgia 30606
(706) 475-7000
http://www.athenshealth.org/healthservices

Athens-Clarke County Health Department
345 North Harris Street
Athens, Georgia 30601
(706) 389-6921
http://publichealthathens.com/clarke_county.htm

If the assault occurred within the past 120 hours (5 days), the medical establishments listed above can refer the survivor to the Athens-Clarke County Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program, which is a volunteer group of specially trained, registered nurses who conduct sexual assault forensic examinations and evidence collection.  SANE exams are free and are usually conducted at the Family Protection Center, 3035 Lexington Road, Athens, Georgia, 30605, which is a comfortable, private and non-stressful setting for the survivor and any support persons accompanying the survivor.  A free SANE exam can also be arranged by contacting the UGA Police Department at 911 or (706) 542-2200, or by contacting UGA's Sexual and Relationship Violence Prevention (RSVP) at (706) 542-SAFE (24-hour hotline), or by contacting The Cottage Sexual Assault Center at (877) 363-1912 (24-hour hotline).

Connect with counseling and support resources

Sexual assault can be a very traumatic experience that may cause the survivor to experience a wide range of thoughts and emotions, even long after the assault occurs.  There are multiple resources available both on and off-campus to support a survivor at any point in the aftermath of an assault, including during times of crisis.  For a listing of University and Community Support Resources click here

Confidential medical treatment and Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) are available to University Community members through the University Health Center.  Confidential counseling is also offered on-campus at: 

Additionally, members of the following UGA offices are designated as confidential support employees for incidents and allegations of sexual assault.  Absent circumstances indicating an imminent threat of harm to an individual University Community member or the University Community as a whole, these confidential support employees are not required to disclose information that identifies a sexual assault survivor or third party complainant:

  • Office of Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP)
    Offers information, confidential consultation and referrals for students impacted by relationship and sexual violence.  Can coordinate and accompany students to appointments with medical, law enforcement and Equal Opportunity Office/Title IX providers. Available 24-hours, 7 days a week at (706) 542-SAFE
  • Student Care and Outreach
    Provides individualized assistance to students experiencing academic hardship circumstances
  • University Ombudspersons
    D
    esignated individuals who serve as independent, neutral, and informal resources for UGA students, faculty, and staff  

Confidential support services also available through the following community resources:

  • The Cottage: Sexual Assault Center
    24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (706) 353-1912
    Offers a confidential 24-hour crisis and information hotline, crisis counseling, medical and legal advocacy, counseling referrals for survivors of sexual assault, support for secondary survivors (friends and family members of sexual assault survivors)
  • Project Safe
    24-Hour Hotline: (706) 543-3331
    Offers 24-hour confidential information and domestic violence services

Notify the Equal Opportunity Office/Title IX Coordinator

Once notified of alleged sexual assault, UGA's Equal Opportunity Office/Title IX Coordinator is responsible for stopping the assaultive conduct if it is on-going; ensuring the survivor is aware of and has access to assistance and support resources; remedying, to the extent possible, the effects of the assault; preventing recurrence; and conducting an investigation to determine if there was a violation by a University community member of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents' Sexual Misconduct Policy.  Both Title IX and the Sexual Misconduct Policy prohibit retaliation for making or being associated with a report to the EOO/Title IX Coordinator and that the University will promptly take interim protective measures to protect the survivor from retaliation (e.g., issuing a no-contact order to the alleged assailant and letting him/her know that retaliation can provide a separate basis for disciplinary action, facilitating changes to the alleged assailant's or survivor's University housing assignment or to class or work schedules to minimize contact, etc.).  

Reports can be made to the Equal Opportunity Office/Title IX Coordinator via phone (706.542.7912), email, by completing a Sexual Misconduct Complaint Form, or in person (119 Holmes-Hunter Bldg, on North campus right behind the Arch, or at another pre-arranged location such as the RSVP office).  In the case of the latter option, the survivor may have a support person of their choice present with them.  

Reporting to law enforcement and the EOO/Title IX Coordinator are not mutually exclusive options.  A survivor can report to one, both or neither.  However, investigations conducted by law enforcement and the EOO/Title IX Coordinator are separate and independent of one another.

Mandatory Reporting for Responsible Employees

University employees (including student employees) who are considered Responsible Employees MUST promptly report incidents or allegations of sexual assault within the University Community to the Equal Opportunity Office/Title IX Coordinator and relay any request by the survivor for confidentiality or no-investigation by contacting:

E. Janyce Dawkins, JD/MBA
Director & Title IX Coordinator
Equal Opportunity Office (EOO)
Holmes-Hunter Bldg – Suite 119
Athens, GA 30602
(706) 542-7912 (ph) / (706) 542-2822 (fax)
edawkins@uga.edu​ 

Responsible employees include, without limitation, any administrator, supervisor, faculty member, or other person in a position of authority who is not a Privileged Employee (i.e., does not have a statutory privilege of confidentiality under Georgia state law), as well as student employees who serve in a supervisory, advisory, or managerial role (e.g., teaching assistants, residential assistants, student managers, orientation leaders, etc.). Failure by a Responsible Employee to report incidents or allegations of sexual assault can result in discipline.

All other University Community members are strongly encouraged to report incidents or allegations of sexual assault within the University Community to the Equal Opportunity Office/Title IX Coordinator.

The Equal Opportunity Office/Title IX Coordinator is, in turn, responsible for stopping the assaultive conduct if it is on-going; ensuring the survivor is aware of and has access to assistance and support resources; remedying, to the extent possible, the effects of the assault; and preventing recurrence.

The Equal Opportunity Office/Title IX Coordinator will also conduct impartial and timely investigations into incidents and allegations of sexual violence occurring within the University Community.  If a sexual assault is found dby a preponderance of the evidence to have occurred, the University will take commensurate disciplinary or corrective action against the responsible individual(s) which may include, without limitation, suspending, expelling and/or barring a UGA student from campus; or suspending, terminating and/or barring a UGA employee from campus.  Where the survivor indicates that s/he does not want an EOO/Title IX investigation to be conducted or requests confidentiality/anonymity, the Title IX Coordinator will take that into account in determining what follow-up action is required to ensure the safety of the University Community. Where the reported facts require an EOO/Title IX investigation, the individual requesting confidentiality/anonymity or no-investigation will be informed before investigative action is taken.  

Regardless of whether the EOO/Title IX Coordinator conducts an investigation, for purposes of complying with federal reporting requirements under the Jeanne Clery Act, University Police are informed of incidents and allegations of sexual violence that occur within the University Community via the University’s Anonymous Data Form which does not contain identifying information about the survivor.

Caveats About EOO/Title IX Investigations

  • The EOO/Title IX Coordinator is not an advocate for, and does not represent, either the survivor or the alleged assailant.
  • No information about the incident or investigation is shared with parents of students, or third parties unrelated to the investigation, absent written permission from the subject student.  This is pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
  • Amnesty: No information concerning any student's drinking or drug use that is revealed to the EOO/Title IX Coordinator in the course of a sexual assault report or investigation will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct or voluntarily reported to law enforcement.  
  • EOO/Title IX investigations apply the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard  (i.e., “more likely than not”).  This is a lower standard of proof than beyond-a-reasonable-doubt, which is used in the criminal context.
  • An EOO investigator will conduct interviews with all relevant parties and witnesses and obtain and review other information relevant to the reported assault.  If, at the end of the investigation, either party to the investigation (i.e., the survivor and alleged assailant) disagree as to the investigator's findings regarding whether or not there is a preponderance of evidence that sexual misconduct occurred and the recommended sanctions, a hearing will be conducted before three (3) panel members consisting of UGA employees (faculty and staff, no student panelists).  Both parties have the right to participate in the hearing, but neither is required to do so.  The investigator will also provide information at the hearing as to the evidence obtained during the investigation.  The panel members will then determine the finding of any sexual misconduct and any sanction.  For additional information on the procedures for investigating alleged sexual misconduct against any UGA student, see the University System of Georgia Board of Regents' Sexual Misconduct Policy, located at: http://www.usg.edu/policymanual/section4/C327/
  • Consequences can be significant if sexual misconduct is found, including suspension or expulsion in instances of sexual assault.

Additional information for what to do in the event of a sexual assault is available at:

Safe & Secure: A Guide for Students, Faculty, Staff and Visitors of the University of Georgia – Preventing and Responding to Sex Offenses