Tips and Information


COCC's Office for Students with Disabilities recognizes students' rights to privacy and confidentiality. It is normally the policy of the SSD office not to share information concerning disabilities with other parties.

Identifying oneself as having a disability and requesting accommodations are entirely voluntary actions under the law. Any information shared with the SSD office concerning a disability, in addition to being confidential, is strictly voluntary. Students with disabling characteristics may attend COCC without being identified as a "student with a disability" if that is their wish.

After classes begin, an instructor who believes that a student might benefit from contacting the SSD office might encourage that student to do so. Students who do not choose to identify themselves to them, however, will not be pressured and will receive no further attention in terms of special services regarding disabilities.

In regard to records documenting disability, the office will comply with FERPA and other applicable laws. We will not forward copies of records documenting disability to anyone without the express written consent of the student. We encourage persons submitting copies of records documenting disability to keep a personal copy of these records in case they decide in the future to share it with another agency/school.

If an individual wishes the SSD office to confer with or to provide information to persons who are not members of COCC's staff, he or she must provide them with permission to do so by signing a release of information specific to this department. It must be signed in person so the SSD staff can confirm identity.

Information regarding a student's disability MAY be shared by the SSD office with COCC faculty and staff under the following conditions: a) in the vast majority of cases, only persons providing accommodations to the student (e.g. faculty) will be informed that the student qualifies for service based on disability but will not be told the nature of the disability; b) only in exceptional cases where SSD staff determines that an individual has a justifiable "need to know" such as when safety or legal concerns exist will further information be shared.

To view our Confidentiality Agreement form, please go to Appendix C.

Continuance of Services

COCC will provide accommodations to students with disabilities on a continuing basis as long as the student:

  • has established initial eligibility by meeting with the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities and presenting appropriate documentation.
  • contacts the SSD office when they have registered for the term and would like to receive an accommodation letter.
  • maintains status as a student in good standing according to COCC's Satisfactory Progress and Academic Warning requirements and the Student Code of Conduct.

Be your own advocate

COCC has a responsibility under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to ensure that no student with a disability who meets the academic and technical standards for admission to, or participation in, its programs is excluded from such participation. Of course, students with disabilities are also expected to make reasonable efforts on their own part to obtain the services they require, and to follow the procedures related to receiving those services. To do this, students need to be their own advocates.

Being your own advocate starts when you contact the office of Services for Students with Disabilities and make your needs known. As you become established at COCC, we hope you will feel free to stay in contact with the SSD office for help and guidance and to keep lines of communication open.

As a College student, being your own advocate means you need to understand your special needs, how the college system works, and be able to speak up for yourself when things aren't working for you. College is an adult environment and your attendance is voluntary. As the Oregon Transition Guide states, "students must be able to schedule their own time, get to classes, complete class assignments, prepare for tests, and ask for help when they think it is necessary."

Don't expect faculty or staff to anticipate your needs for you. COCC is still a fairly small, friendly place and our staff is genuinely interested in helping you succeed, but this is your education, and you need to be in charge!

If you are unsure of the accommodations you might need for a particular class, or are unaware of which services or equipment are available at COCC to suit your needs, the place to start is the SSD office in BEC. The Coordinator of SSD can help you evaluate your needs and advise instructors on modifications which might be arranged.

Other tips for success

  • Frequent short study (1 hr 3x per wk) works better than the same three hours in a single day.
  • Use an assignment deadline reminder system such as a planner or Google calendar. Note these the first day of the term according to your syllabus.
  • Form study groups for tough subjects.
  • Use computers for producing papers.
  • Make sure your instructor knows you.
  • Start your assignments the same day you get them.
  • Divide projects into small tasks.
  • Study in one-hour blocks, take breaks and reward yourself!
  • Mix up the subjects in a longer study session.
  • Remove external distractions and keep a list of internal distractions during study.
  • Turn homework in on time.
  • Ask questions. Go see your instructor. Ask for help as soon as you need it.

Getting around

The main Central Oregon Community College campus has been evaluated by a specialist in physical accessibility for colleges. Many modifications needed to improve access have already been made and a long range plan for further improvements has been developed.

If you encounter a barrier to physical access in any COCC facility, contact the office of Services for Students with Disabilities or ADA Coordinator for Facilities, Joe Viola, 383-7776, right away. We will work with you to provide you with the access you are entitled to.

COCC is still located upon a hill however, and although many physical barriers have been eliminated, there are challenges to moving about campus, particularly during inclement weather. During winter, it is especially important that you keep us informed of problems you encounter. As with any support service, the more advance notice you give us of your need, the better we are able to respond.

It is COCC's policy to provide ample disabled parking so that students with DMV permits may drive from building to building. For students with disabilities but without vehicles, the College makes a genuine effort to assist with getting from class to class by providing a liftequipped van, once the students have gotten to campus by their own means. For information on the City of Bend's Dial-A-Ride Program, please visit Cascades East Transit. To view COCC campus maps and disabled parking areas, please see COCC parking map.

Access to Special Events

Persons who need accommodation or transportation for College events because of a physical or mobility disability, should contact ADA Coordinator of Facilities, Joe Viola, 383-7776, in advance of the event. Persons who need accommodation for College events because of other disability such as hearing impairment, should contact SSD Coordinator, Jamie Rougeux, 383-7743, in advance of the event.


Students with both temporary and permanent mobility limitations are eligible for disabled parking permits. These permits are issued by the State of Oregon Motor Vehicles Division. In order to receive either a temporary or permanent disabled parking permit, you will need to secure a physician's signature to document your disability on the parking permit application. There are parking areas reserved for students needing special parking at various places around the campus. To view COCC campus maps and disabled parking areas, please see COCC parking map.

If you regularly experience difficulty locating a parking place or have a unique concern, contact the office of Services for Students with Disabilities, or ADA Coordinator for Facilities Joe Viola, 383-7776 or view the COCC Campus Service's website. COCC does not provide transportation to and from campus.

Students with disabilities needing transportation to campus from locations in Bend may wish to contact Dial-A-Ride at 541-385-8680 concerning their service. Cascades East Transit (CET), Bend's public bus transportation system, comes to the COCC campus. You may access their schedules by visiting or for more information, you may call 541-385-8680.

Medical Emergencies

COCC treats medical emergencies seriously. If a medical emergency occurs where there is any question as to the safety of the individual concerned, it is the Colleges policy to assure the best possible intervention by contacting 911, Emergency Services.


The most important factor in emergency safety for people with disabilities is advanced planning.

After an evacuation is ordered...

  • Check on people with special needs during an evacuation. A buddy system, where people with disabilities arrange for volunteers to alert them and assist them in an emergency, is a good method.
  • Do not use elevators unless authorized to do so by police or fire personnel. Elevators can fail during a fire or a major earthquake.
  • If the situation is life threatening, call 911 and then contact Campus Services at 541-383-7775
  • Always ask those with disabilities how you can help before attempting any rescue technique or giving assistance. Ask how they can best be assisted or moved and whether there are any special considerations or items that need to come with the person.

RESPONSES TO EMERGENCIES (bomb threat, earthquake, fire, hazardous materials release and power outages):

Blindness or Visual Impairment

  • Offer to lead them out of the building to safety.
  • Give verbal instructions about the safest route or direction using compass directions, estimated distances and directional terms.
  • Do not grasp a visually impaired person's arm. Ask if they would like to hold onto your arm as you exit, especially if there is debris or a crowd.
  • Give other verbal instructions or information (e.g., elevators cannot be used).

Deafness or Hearing Loss

  • Get the attention of a person with a hearing disability by touch and eye contact. Clearly state the problem. Gestures and pointing are helpful, but be prepared to write a brief statement if the person does not seem to understand.
  • Offer visual instructions to advise of safest route or direction by pointing toward exits or evacuation maps.

Mobility Impairment

  • It may be necessary to clear the exit route of debris (if possible) so that the person with a disability can move out or to a safer area.
  • If people with mobility impairments cannot exit, they should move to a safer area, for example:Most enclosed stairwells.
  • An office with the door closed, which is a good distance from the hazard (and away from falling debris in the case of earthquakes). If you do not know the safer areas in your building, call Campus Services for a building survey.
  • Notify police or fire personnel immediately about any people remaining in the building and their locations.
  • Police or fire personnel will decide whether people are safe where they are and will evacuate them as necessary.
  • If people are in immediate danger and cannot be moved to a safer area to wait for assistance, it may be necessary to evacuate them using an evacuation chair or a carry technique.
  • Power Outages people with disabilities who choose to wait in the building for electricity to be restored and the outage occurs during the day, they may move close to natural light that is also near a working telephone. If they would like to leave and need assistance, or if the outage occurs at night, call Campus Services at 541-383-7775, or after hours, weekends, or holidays call Campus Public Safety at 541-383-7272.
  • Some campus telephones may not operate during a power outage, but pay telephones are likely to be operating. As soon as information is available, the campus emergency information line (383-7700) will have a recorded message stating when power is like to be restored.

Library Information

It is important that every COCC student is familiar with the library, its location and its services. All services, resources, and equipment in and of Central Oregon Community College Library are available to all members of the community, and the library staff is ready to assist those whose physical disabilities would otherwise prevent them from using the library effectively. These services include:

  • retrieving material that is out of reach
  • assisting in using the book catalog and other computerized databases
  • reproducing materials
  • aiding in entering and exiting when special routing is needed
  • allowing another person to charge out materials for the patron who is unable to get to the library
  • renewing loaned material via "My Library Accounts" on the library website, by phone or email.
  • providing information to a person with a physical disability via our online help services or by phone about the availability of materials and the reserving of such material until it can be picked up. In cases where mobility or third part arrangements pose considerable difficulties, the library may consider mailing items to the student.
  • Video Relay System (VRS), providing telephone communication for deaf or hearing impaired persons utilizing sign language interpreting. Located on the second floor, North wall of the Reference section.

The library doors are wheelchair accessible and there is an elevator for public use that allows you to visit each of the library's three floors.

In addition, the library currently has a text magnifier machine that assists individuals with vision impairments in reading printed materials. There are two adaptive computer workstations in the library building: one in each of the classrooms LIB117 and LIB118, for in-class use. These two work stations have height adjustable ADA desks to accommodate wheelchairs. There is a third separate workstation on the main floor of the library with a height adjustable ADA desk that accommodates wheelchair access. There is also a workstation on the main floor of the library equipped with Kurzweil reading software with attached scanner.

It is important to remember that the library staff is there to assist all library patrons, and for this reason they are not always available to provide extended periods of their time to help students with disabilities. If the assistance you require will take extensive time, you should arrange to take your own assistant or tutor with you to the library, or make an appointment with the library staff for more personal attention that is convenient for you both. Friends or classmates who are familiar with the library and its systems can also help. If you need special assistance that will take considerable time, it must be arranged in advance, so planning ahead is essential.

For more information, please visit the COCC Library website.


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