8.21 / Accommodations for Pregnant and Parenting Students

  1. Purpose

    This policy provides information regarding the University's commitment to ensuring protection and equal treatment of pregnant students, students with pregnancy-related conditions, and students who are new parents by providing them with reasonable accommodations and support services. This policy is also to serve as an aid to faculty and staff in understanding the responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations and support services for pregnant students, students with pregnancy related conditions and students who are new parents.

  2. Policy

    Wichita State University does not discriminate in its employment practices, educational programs or activities on the basis of pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, or new parenthood. Any student who believes they have a need for a pregnancy-related accommodation and/or service should contact the Office of Student Accommodations and Testing.

  3. Definitions

    1. Medical necessity

      A determination made by a health care provider of a student's choosing.

    2. Pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions

      Pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions include (but are not limited to) pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, conditions arising in connection with pregnancy, and recovery from any of these conditions, in accordance with federal law.

    3. Pregnancy discrimination

      Includes treating an individual affected by pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition less favorably than similar individuals not so affected and includes a failure to provide legally mandated leave or accommodations.

    4. Pregnant student/Birth-parent

      The student who is or was pregnant. This policy and its pregnancy-related protections apply to all pregnant persons regardless of gender identity or expression.

    5. Reasonable accommodations

      For the purposes of this policy are reasonable changes in the academic environment or typical operations that enable a pregnant student or student with a pregnancy-related condition to continue to pursue their studies and enjoy equal benefits of the University.

  4. Pregnancy and Pregnancy-related Conditions

    The benefits and services provided to students affected by pregnancy shall be no less than those provided to students with temporary medical conditions. Students with pregnancy-related disabilities, like any other student with a disability, are entitled to reasonable accommodations so they will not be disadvantaged in their courses of study or research and may seek assistance from the Office of Student Accommodations and Testing. Requests for reasonable accommodations due to medical necessity must be provided to the Office of Student Accommodations and Testing on letterhead from a licensed medical provider and include a medical diagnosis. Upon return a student must be allowed to return to the same academic and extracurricular status prior to their medical leave.

    Each reasonable accommodation request will be evaluated individually by the Office of Student Accommodations and Testing to determine what accommodations and/or services are appropriate given the medical necessity and the academic requirements (i.e. assignments, clinical rotations, group work, etc.). Accommodations may be adjusted over time as deemed appropriate by the Office of Student Accommodations and Testing and may require the submission of additional medical provider documentation. Reasonable accommodations made for a pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions may include, but are not limited to:

    • Allowing a proxy to take notes while the student is absent for pregnancy-related conditions
    • Protecting the health and safety of the student and/or their pregnancy (e.g. allowing the student to maintain a safe distance from hazardous substances)
    • Allowing the student to eat and/or drink during class
    • Modifying the physical environment (e.g. accessible seating)
    • Providing mobility support (e.g. transportation on campus)
    • Extending deadlines and/or allowing the student to make up academic activities missed for pregnancy-related conditions
    • Providing distance/remote learning options
    • Excusing medically-necessary absences

    Breastfeeding students must be granted reasonable time and space to pump breast milk in a location that is private, clean, and reasonably accessible. Bathroom stalls do not satisfy this requirement. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion maintains a complete list of lactation rooms available on campus.

  5. Parenting Students

    Students with parenting responsibilities who wish to remain engaged in their coursework while adjusting their academic responsibilities because of the birth, adoption of their child or placement of a foster child may request an academic modification period within the first six months of the child entering the home. Extensions may be granted as long as the student's doctor deems absences medically necessary or there are extraordinary parenting responsibilities.

    Students seeking a period of modified academic responsibilities must consult with their academic advisor to determine which academic responsibilities will be suspended or ongoing with or without reasonable accomodation. The student will work with their advisor and faculty to reschedule course assignments, lab hours, examinations, or other requirements and/or to reduce the student's overall course load, as appropriate for the situation. Students are entitled to full relief from academic responsibilities for at least six weeks.

    A student can request modified academic responsibilities under this section regardless of whether the student elects to take leave. While receiving academic modifications, the student will remain registered and retain benefits accordingly. Upon return a student must be allowed to return to the same academic and co/extracurricular status prior to when their pregnancy-related medical leave started.

  6. Contact Information

    Isabel Medina Keiser, Director
    Office of Student Accommodations and Testing
    Grace Wilkie Hall, Room 203
    (316) 978-6970

    Courtney D. McHenry, PhD, CAAP, CDE
    Associate Vice President and University Title IX Coordinator
    Office of Civil Rights, Title IX & ADA Compliance
    (316) 978-5257

  7. Revision Dates

    1. May 3, 2022 (maintenance updates only)
    2. April 25, 2023 (maintenance updates only)
    3. August 22, 2023 (maintenance updates only)