The Catholic University of America

Archived 8/22/13

I. Introduction
The Catholic University of America is committed to providing equal opportunity in higher education. The Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) works to assure that all programs of the University are accessible to persons with disabilities in the University community.

The University has adopted these policies governing the provision of interpreter services for persons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

II. Definitions
A. Deaf:
deafness generally refers to a physical condition characterized by lack of sensitivity to sound. Notated as deaf with a lowercase d, this refers to the audiological experience of someone who is partially or wholly lacking hearing. In legal terms, deafness is defined by degree of hearing loss. These degrees include profound or total deafness (90 dB - 120 dB or more of hearing loss), severe (60 dB - 90 dB), moderate (30 dB - 60 dB), and mild deafness (10 dB - 30 dB of hearing loss).

B. Hard of Hearing: Both severe and moderate deafness can be referred to as partial deafness or as hard of hearing, while mild deafness is usually called hard of hearing.

C. Interpreter: An Interpreter generally uses sign language to facilitate communication between a person who is hearing and a person who is deaf.

D. Transcriber: Transcribers use either meaning-for-meaning software or word-for-word software to facilitate communication through a computer between a person who is hearing and a person who is deaf.

E. Sign Language: Sign Language is a language which uses manual communication, body language and lip patterns instead of sound to convey meaning-simultaneously combining hand shapes, orientation and movement of the hands, arms or body, and facial expressions to express fluidly a speaker's thoughts.

III. Departmental Requests
As a university, we are obligated to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. As a result all programs that are conducted on campus are required to provide accommodations to persons with disabilities, if requested.

Therefore, all departments are encouraged to include these expenses within their budget planning. Departments are also encouraged to include this information in all contractual agreements that are developed between a university department and an off-campus entity.


1. For all events, the sponsoring department should indicate on their printed information that Sign Language Interpreters/Transcribers are available upon request and that requests should be made directly to the sponsoring department.

2. All departments are strongly encouraged to request Interpreters/Transcribers for programs and events that are open to the public and/or have the potential to attract a crowd larger than 100 people.

3. Requests for Sign Language Interpreters/Transcribers must be made directly through the office of DSS. Specific information about the event (i.e. time, date, location, duration, type) must be provided at the time the request is made.

4. Reasonable accommodations for academic events will be supported, in planning and expenses, by the organizer, the Dean of the school or the Provost.

Billing and Payment

1. Interpreters/Transcribers will be hired at their current rate with CUA.

2. DSS covers:
a. Academic for credit requests (i.e. classroom, out of class assignments, required advising, faculty office hours)
b. The all school Commencement Ceremony
c. Freshman Convocation

3. University Events coverage:
a. Non-Revenue generating and Academic Department sponsored events are covered by the sponsoring department (lectures, forums, meetings, workshops, etc.). In general, academic departments, when developing workshops, trainings, guest lecturer series, field trips outside the basic requirements of specific classes, should be encouraged to include services for individuals who are deaf/hard of hearing as part of the program/activity costs.
b. Revenue generating events are expected to include the cost of interpreting in their budget (i.e. plays, camps, sports events).*
c. Individual Commencement ceremonies are covered through the individual school.
d. Student Groups: Reasonable accommodations for student group sponsored events that are either open to visitors or the general student body must be supported, in planning and expenses, by the event's organizer, the Department Director or, in cases of significant hardship, the Vice President for Student Life. All student organizations must plan, advertise and conduct their activities consistent with university policies, which include the need to address ADA accommodations, when required.

4. Off-Campus entities:
a. All non-University requests would be covered by that individual organization. This would include any group that rents space from the University, camps that use space over the summer, or other private entities who have entered into a contractual agreement with the university to provide an on-going seminar.

5. Employees:
a. Human Resources should include interpreting/ transcribing services for faculty, staff and prospective employees who are deaf or hard of hearing as part of the overall operating cost for services to allow equal access to these benefits for all employees.

IV. Student Requests
In order to receive Interpreter services while attending CUA, students must register with DSS and provide a schedule of their classes to DSS each semester.

Scheduling and interpreter requests can be made only through disability support services. Students who schedule Interpreters/Transcribers on their own assume the responsibility of all associated costs.

All students should make every attempt to notify DSS of their schedule each semester as soon after they register as possible.

Students have a responsibility to notify DSS as quickly as possible when they drop and/or add courses, the arrangements for Interpreters/Transcribers must be altered. Students, who must drop and/or add courses, must notify DSS, as soon as possible of the schedule change in writing (email) or in person.

Non-Credit Events
Students who need the services of an interpreter for special events, meetings, or appointments must submit a request in writing (i.e. email) or in person for those services to DSS at least three (3) business days before the event is to take place. If a student becomes aware of an event less than three (3) days in advance, the student should notify DSS as soon as possible.

Changes in Schedule
Any changes such as a room change, day, or time change of the class/event must be communicated to DSS immediately to ensure that services are not delayed.

Absences or Lateness
If a student knows they will miss a class/event, they should email DSS at least 24 hours in advance. Failure to provide at least 24 hours notice is considered a "No-Show."

If three consecutive classes/events are missed without informing DSS, interpreting services for that class will be suspended pending a meeting with the Director.

If a student has not arrived within fifteen (15) minutes after a class session or event is scheduled to begin, the interpreter will leave, and the student will be considered a "No-Show."

V. Cancellation
If it is determined that the requested interpreter services are not needed (i.e. scheduling, cancellation, illness) and that he or she will not be attending the class or the event in question the arrangements must be canceled by notifying DSS in writing (email) or in person, as soon as possible, preferably at least forty-eight (48) hours before the class or event is to take place. If the cancellation is for a Sunday or Monday event, notification must be received before 4:00 PM on the Friday preceding the event.

In the event of inclement weather cancelations, every attempt should be made to make a decision about the need for Interpreters/Transcribers/Transcribers as far in advance as possible.

In the case of departmental requests, if the cancellation is received less then the amount of time stated above, the sponsoring department will be charged accordingly.

The cancellation of an interpreter can only be accomplished through DSS.

VI. Grievances
Any one who has an issue or concern with regard to an interpreter should report, in writing, the issue or concern directly to DSS. Every reasonable effort will be made to resolve the situation fairly and expeditiously.

The interpreter is expected to follow the Code of Ethics under which they are classified, as well as to comply with all DSS standards and policies

Interpreters/Transcribers/Transcribers will not be placed in assignments that could compromise their commitment to the Code of Ethics. Any questions regarding ethical issues should be directed to the Director of DSS.