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Handbook of Operating Procedures

Pregnant & Parenting Student Nondiscrimination

Policy Number: 232

Subject:

Nondiscrimination, Reasonable Accommodation for Pregnant Students, and leave of absence for Pregnant and Parenting Students. 

Scope:

This Policy applies to all Students, within the University’s control, and applicants for admission. 

Date Reviewed:
January 2024
Responsible Office:
University Relations & Equal Opportunity
Responsible Executive:
Associate Vice President of University Relations & Equal Opportunity

I. POLICY AND GENERAL STATEMENT

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (“University”) is committed to maintaining a learning environment that is free from discrimination against Pregnant or Parenting Students in accordance with the Texas Education Code, Section 51.982 and other applicable laws, such as Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex (including pregnancy discrimination) in education programs or activities; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability (including disabilities based on temporary medical conditions from pregnancy); and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in public schools such as institutions of higher education.

II. DEFINITIONS

Disability Coordinator: Associate Vice President of the Office of University Relations & Equal Opportunity (“DEO”) or their designee, who manages disability and pregnancy accommodation requests for students and employees; responsible for establishing procedures and practices with respect to disability and pregnancy accommodation across the university.  The Disability Coordinator acts as the University Parenting Student Liaison.

Health Care Professional: Appropriate professional who has expertise in the medical condition and direct knowledge of the individual’s impairment and functional limitations. May include, but is not limited to, doctors, psychologists, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, vocational rehabilitation specialists, licensed mental health professionals, certified physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and social workers.

Leave of Absence: For the purposes of this policy, a period of time when a student is not enrolled in classes but is eligible to reenroll in the future without the need to reapply.

Parenting Student[1]: A Student who is the parent or legal guardian of a child under 18 years of age.

Pregnancy or Related Condition:

  1. Pregnancy, childbirth, miscarriage, or lactation;
  2. Medical conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth, pregnancy complications, miscarriage, lactation, or any other conditions directly related to being pregnant; or
  3. Recovery from pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, or their related medical conditions directly related to pregnancy or the effects thereof.

Pregnant Student: A Student who has a pregnancy or related condition status.

Student: A person who is enrolled or registered at the University in an educational program.

Undue Hardship: An action requiring significant difficulty or expense, considering factors including, but not limited to, the nature of the accommodation; financial considerations; the impact of the accommodation upon the nature and operation of the department; whether the accommodation would fundamentally alter the essential elements of a program or position, course or degree requirements, or requirements of instruction; and the effect of the request on the health and safety of other members of the University community.

[1] As defined in Tex. Edu. Code. 51.982.

III. PROCEDURE

A. Prohibited Conduct

Discriminating against Pregnant and Parenting Students is prohibited. See HOOP Policy #183 - Nondiscrimination, Anti-Harassment and Equal Opportunity. Furthermore, the University may not require a Pregnant or Parenting Student, solely because of the Student’s status as a Pregnant or Parenting Student or due to issues related to the Student’s pregnancy or Parenting, to:

  1. Take a leave of absence or withdraw from the Student’s degree or certificate program;
  2. Limit the Student’s studies;
  3. Participate in an alternative program;
  4. Change the Student’s major, degree, or certification program; or
  5. Refrain from joining or cease participating in any course, activity, or program at the institution.

B. Limitations

Nothing in this policy is intended to require the fundamental alteration of the Student’s educational program.

C. Complaint

Any individual who alleges a violation of this policy may contact University Relations & Equal Opportunity and file a complaint pursuant to HOOP Policy #183 - Nondiscrimination, Anti-Harassment and Equal Opportunity. Any individual who alleges retaliation due to a request for an accommodation made pursuant to this policy may contact the Office of Institutional Compliance pursuant to HOOP Policy 108, Protection from Retaliation.

D. Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Students

The University will offer reasonable accommodation to Pregnant Students, in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations. Accommodation requests are voluntary and involve an individualized, interactive process involving the educational program and the Student based on the Student’s specific needs with the goal of identifying reasonable options for accommodations. Accommodations that constitute undue hardship or fundamental alteration of an academic program are not reasonable.  

Reasonable accommodations for Pregnant Students may include but are not limited to:

  1. Excused absences with the availability to make up missed assignments or coursework;
  2. Additional time to complete assignments (applied in the same manner as ADA/504 accommodations for additional time on assignments or tests, with required documentation);
  3. Allowing the Student to maintain a safe distance from substances, areas, and activities known to be hazardous to Pregnant Students or unborn children;
  4. Access to instructional materials and video recordings of lectures (if available) for classes due to excused absences due to pregnancy or related conditions (applied in the same manner as any other Student with excused absences); and
  5. Any other accommodations deemed reasonable, based on the Student’s individual needs.

E. Requesting Accommodation

An individual may request accommodation by following the procedure set out in HOOP Policy #101 – Disability and Pregnancy Accommodation.

F. Leave of Absence for Pregnant and Parenting Students

The University will allow Pregnant and Parenting Students to take a leave of absence, as defined in this Policy, for a reasonable duration depending on the circumstances, within academic program requirements. In addition, if the Pregnant or Parenting Student is in good academic standing at the time of the leave of absence, the Student may return to the same degree or certificate program in good academic standing without being required to reapply for admission. Students taking leave of absence may be required to make up missed coursework.

G. Requesting Leave

To apply for a leave of absence, Students should contact their respective school’s Student Affairs or Academic Affairs office to initiate a request for leave of absence.

H. Confidentiality

Records or information obtained by the Disability Coordinator as part of the accommodation request process that reflect diagnosis, evaluation, or treatment of a person’s health condition are confidential and shall be maintained by EO. Such records shall be shared only with those University employees whom the Disability Coordinator determines have a need to access such records in order to implement the workplace/academic accommodation process. These records shall not otherwise be released to anyone except as required by law.

I. Parenting Student Liaison

Current and incoming Parenting Students have access to a University Parenting Student Liaison, who provides Parenting Students information regarding support services and other available resources. For more information, contact University Relations & Equal Opportunity at 713-500-CALL(2255) or CALL@uth.tmc.edu.

IV. CONTACTS

    • University Relations & Equal Opportunity
    • 713-500-CALL (2255)
    • https://www.uth.edu/hr/department/equal-opportunity/index.htm