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KUMC Childbirth Accommodation Policy for Students

Policy
Purpose: 

This policy is intended to describe the process for providing students reasonable accommodations for pregnancy-related limitations or the impending birth or adoption of a child, so the student may continue to make progress toward the completion of their degree.        

Applies to: 

This policy applies to all enrolled students regardless of gender or marital status. Other situations related to family life would continue to be covered by general leave of absence. Depending on their academic program, timing of birth/adoption, and level of support they will receive in caring for a newborn, a student may find it more advantageous both academically and personally to take a leave of absence rather than utilizing the childbirth accommodation policy.

Campus: 
Medical Center, Kansas City
Wichita
Salina
Policy Statement: 

University of Kansas Medical Center’s Title IX Policy prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, including on the basis of pregnancy, against any individual participating in the University’s education programs or activities.  KU Medical Center will neither require nor prohibit leaves of absence for reasons of pregnancy or childbirth-related concerns.   The University will make good-faith efforts to reasonably accommodate students who request accommodations due to pregnancy, childbirth, adoption or the foster care of a child.  The University will grant students up to a six-week accommodation period, or longer if medically necessary, for pregnancy-related illnesses or complications, the birth of a child, the adoption of a child, or the placement of a child for adoption or foster care. The accommodation period can be granted as leave, a revised academic, research, or clinical schedule, or a combination of leave and a revised schedule.

Applying for the Accommodation Period

Students requesting a reasonable accommodation under this policy can seek to remain enrolled and continue meeting their academic requirements through a revised schedule or they can request a leave of absence.  An accommodation to remain enrolled may include a rescheduling of course assignments, examinations, and other academic requirements and/or an extension of academic milestones, if necessary

Academic Accommodations

To request an accommodation under this policy, a student should contact Academic Accommodation Services, at (913) 945-7035, to initiate the process as soon as possible, but no later than four months prior to the anticipated delivery date, or as soon as a pregnancy-related illness or complication arises. If a child is being welcomed through adoption or foster care, please contact Academic Accommodation Services as soon as possible depending on the situation. The Academic Accommodations Coordinator will review the student’s request and, along with the student and other necessary parties (i.e. advisors, instructors), determine if the requested accommodation, or a sufficient alternative, can be provided. These discussions should also detail the type of academic engagement and progress expected from the student while on leave or on a revised academic schedule. Upon approval of a student’s request, a plan will be submitted to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs of the student’s School.  The plan will outline the specific accommodations being provided for a student, as well as any expectations from the academic program.

If a program administrator believes that, due to the student’s particular circumstances and their academic requirements, a leave of absence would be more appropriate, the program administrator must consult with the University’s Title IX Coordinator before denying an accommodation request.  Any denial of an accommodation request must be made to the student in writing with adequate justification and must provide a plan for the student to be able to return to the same academic status following a leave of absence. Students may appeal decisions regarding accommodations.  The appeal of the decision must be made in writing and submitted to the Dean of the student’s School. The Dean of the student’s School will have final decision-making authority.  

All academic programs and departments are expected to work with their students and make a good-faith effort to provide reasonable accommodations so that their students can remain in good academic standing and continue progress towards their degree while also balancing the demands of caring for a new child. It is also encouraged that advisors, academic staff, and departmental leaders work with sensitivity and imagination to provide more than these minimum standards put forth by KU Medical Center when circumstances allow for further accommodations. Students should be proactive in speaking with advisors, instructors, and academic deans when they are planning a family or expecting a child to devise the best personal and academic plan.

Student Status

Students will retain their full time student status if approved for an academic accommodation period. Additionally, for students who decide to take a leave of absence, they will have the option to pay student fees if they wish to have continued access to campus resources.

 Financial Support (applicable to those funded by GTAs, GRAs, or Fellowships)

For students who currently receive stipends through a graduate teaching assistantship (GTA) or graduate research assistantship (GRA), they will remain fully funded for a six-week period. Students who do not receive stipends at the time of application are not eligible for financial support. Any continuation of support past six weeks will be determined on an individual basis. Students will remain funded by their current stipend source for the first two weeks and then will be funded by a Childbirth Accommodation Fund through the Office of Graduate Studies for up to four additional weeks. Students in the MD/PhD program would continue to receive their stipends from their current source during the MD phase and from current stipend source for two weeks and then the Childbirth Accommodation Fund for up to four additional weeks during the PhD phase. If a student is on a grant or fellowship that allows them to receive stipends during maternity/paternity leaves, then they will continue to be paid by their current funding source for the entire six-week period.  If funding is not allowed by the outside grant or fellowship, then the student will receive six weeks of support from the Childbirth Accommodation Fund.

If a student believes they are experiencing discrimination due to pregnancy or related conditions, the student should contact KUMC’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Academic Compliance, which can review potential violations of the University’s Title IX Policy. If a student believes that they are being disparately treated due to status as a parent, the EOAC Office can also review claims of parental status discrimination.

Consequences: 

Violations of the Childbirth Accommodation Policy may lead to disciplinary action as specified under any applicable University or campus policies and procedures.

Contact: 

Director, Equal Opportunity and Academic Compliance  913-588-8011

Approved by: 
Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs
Approved on: 
Monday, July 6, 2015
Effective on: 
Monday, July 6, 2015
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Definitions: 

Students:  any person enrolled or otherwise participating, including students from other institutions, in any graduate or undergraduate education at KU Medical Center.

Title IX:  Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal statute that prohibits sex discrimination or harassment, including harassment or discrimination based on pregnancy, in any academic program or activity.

Keywords: 
Childbirth, Adoption, Pregnancy, Family, Parent, Birth, Foster Care, accommodation
Review, Approval & Change History: 

2017/11/01: Updated to reflect Title IX guidance and revised procedures for requesting an accommodation. 

05/06/2016: Removed Date Last Reviewed

07/06/2015: Approved

Academic Categories: 
Assistance with Disabilities
Student Life Categories: 
Childcare
Health & Wellness

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