The Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) provides support for the use and the provision of assistive technology in order to achieve equal access for students with disabilities.

Peer Note Takers

Once you're determined eligible and OAS initiates services, we office makes every effort to recruit note takers before the semester begins. But we can only do so with your active participation in the process. The following is a list of your primary responsibilities for arranging and managing peer note-taking services:

Every semester, as soon as you register for classes, forward your new schedule of classes to to request a peer note taker for the upcoming semester (a peer note taker request must be submitted prior to the semester to ensure timely recruitment).

If a peer will be taking your notes, he or she must come to our office in suite L66, the New Building to complete paperwork to receive their stipend.

Immediately notify the office of any changes to your schedule, including course additions, withdrawals, or room changes, as well as any note taking needs.

Notify our office and your note taker at least twenty-four hours in advance if you will not be in class. (If you do not show up to class, the note taker has the right to leave after waiting 15 minutes.)

Communicate with your note taker; if you have a preferred style or if you are having trouble understanding your notes, discuss this with your note taker. He or she is there to help you succeed. (If problems persist, bring it to the attention of your specialist.) Notes are for your use only. Do not distribute them to your classmates.

For students who are eligible for peer note-taking services, the Office of Accessibility Services recruits and pays note takers a stipend. (Interested applicants should stop by Suite L66 in the New Building).

Students with disabilities may also recruit a peer note taker—a fellow student in their same class—to take notes on their behalf. Peer note takers receive a stipend for their service. Interested peer note-takers recommended by their professors or by peers must complete and submit an application to suite L66 in the New Building.

For more information on our peer note-taking program, please call us at 212-237-8031 or stop by suite L66 in the New Building and ask to speak with our note taker coordinator.

Testing Accommodation and Services 

If you're eligible for testing accommodations during a test or a quiz, such as extended time, use of assistive technology, or a distraction-free room, you should notify your professors at the beginning of the semester. OAS provides you with an accommodation card/letter, which details the services to which you're entitled. You must follow the test accommodations policy outlined below, and take the following steps to receive this service:

  • Provide required documentation, which states the need for testing accommodations, to OAS in a timely manner. Documentation is then evaluated and appropriate accommodations are granted (such as extended time; use of a reader, scribe, or assistive technology; an alternative testing format; and/or a distraction-free testing environment.)
  • You must notify your professors and request alternative testing from them at the beginning of the semester. Your accommodation card/letter will state that you are entitled to receive this service.
  • If the examination is to be proctored by OAS, your must complete an Exam Request Form at least one week (7 days) prior to their exam.  Late submission of the exam request may result in lost accommodations.


Faculty may either email ( or hand-deliver exams to OAS in suite L66 in the New Building. Once the student has completed the exam, unless picked up by the faculty member, the completed exam will be scanned and emailed back to the faculty member.

Library Elevator Access

If you're registered with OAS and regularly need to use the library elevator between the 10th Avenue entrance and the Atrium level, you have access to the library elevator based on the documentation submitted to your specialist during your intake meeting. 

Once documentation is approved by OAS, we notify Public Safety and access is provided by coding your CUNY ID.

Screen Reader

A screen reader uses a Text-To-Speech (TTS) engine to translate on-screen information into speech, which can be heard through earphones or speakers.

Reading software records textbooks, articles and supplemental material on audio tapes or reads the material aloud in the presence of the student. 

If you require screen reader software, please submit an email request to our assistive technology coordinator at


The scribe accommodation is appropriate for students with a physical disability that severely limits or prevents the student’s motor process of writing, typing, or recording responses during testing. A scribe may administer the scribe accommodation only to one student at a time during a test session. The student must be tested in a separate setting.

Students who require a scribe will be assigned one, once they submit the exam request form.

Sign-Language Interpreters

OAS can provide eligible students who are deaf or hard of hearing with sign-language interpreters. 

During the student’s intake meeting, a specialist will review the documentation to determine the sign-language interpreter accommodations, and will then schedule the interpreters for the classes.

Voter Registration Information 

OAS is a New York State Agency-Based Voter Registration Site, where students with disabilities are offered information, voter registration application forms and the opportunity to register to vote.  We will be glad to help you fill out the form or provide assistance registering through CUNYFirst. There is no obligation to register to vote and the student's decision will have no effect on services offered by the Office of Accessibility Services.

Voter registration information and application forms are available at the website for the State Board of Elections of the State of New York (students).

New Guidelines and Important Reminders Pertaining to Accommodating Students with Disabilities at John Jay College

We wish to provide you with information regarding new guidelines and important reminders to all faculty and staff concerning students with disabilities.

John Jay is committed to fostering equity for all students. This is consistent with our mission and required by a variety of state and federal laws, including Title II of Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which provides otherwise qualified students with a right of reasonable accommodation.

All faculty and staff play a key role in ensuring that the College meets its legal and policy obligations pertaining to students with disabilities.

Regardless of learning modality, it is imperative that students receive their required accommodations. The Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) is available to address the needs of students with disabilities, ensure equal access to higher education and provide reasonable accommodations and auxiliary aids for such students.

There are several new guidelines that require your immediate attention: 

  1. In accordance with state law and existing CUNY policy, textbook and course materials information must be entered in Vitalsource or CUNYfirst at least two weeks prior to the date the schedule of classes is made availableTextbook information for Spring 2024 not previously entered must be entered immediately. Courses which do not require a textbook must also be identified as such. This information is necessary to ensure that course materials are accessible to students with disabilities by the first day of class to the greatest extent possible. Department chairs are responsible for ensuring textbook information is posted for all departmental courses.


  1. We strongly recommend that instructors upload their course materials in the University-supported LMS (Blackboard) for each class regardless of modality. A Blackboard course site has been created for every CUNY class scheduled for Spring 2024. This action will help instructors identify accessibility problems using Ally, a tool within Blackboard, and work with technical experts to improve accessibility of course materials. Ally generates alternative formats that enable students to choose how to engage with the course’s digital content. Guidelines on how to use Ally effectively will be provided shortly.


  1. In accordance with the ADA, NYS IT Accessibility Policy, and other laws, instructors should consider the accessibility of course materials, online learning products, platforms, and applications, including content they created, prior to use in the course. Ally will assist with this determination for content uploaded to Blackboard, and technical expertise will be made available to faculty as needed.


  1. Students remain responsible for self-identifying their disability status to the OAS. Please encourage students who require an accommodation to contact and register with OAS as soon as possible. You can share this reminder at the beginning of the semester. It is also strongly suggested that you insert a reminder on your syllabus (sample language is provided in guideline 7 below).


  1. Once OAS notifies an instructor of approved accommodations, the instructor is responsible for providing them as specified or seeking clarification from OAS regarding the appropriateness of an accommodation for a specific course. Instructors must follow the appropriate procedures with OAS. Instructors should direct all such questions to OAS, not the student.


  1. You may find additional information on John Jay’s accessibility website:


  1. Lastly, please read the guidelines below. They contain important information regarding accommodating students with disabilities.


For any questions related to providing services, accommodations, technical or other supports related to students with disabilities, please contact Dr. Elena Beharry, Interim OAS Director, at or contact Office of Accessibility Services
at or 212-237-8031. 

For questions related to providing faculty support or inclusive online and hybrid learning, please contact Gina Rae Foster, Director, John Jay Teaching and Learning Center at or contact

For general questions concerning CUNY’s Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy and harassment related to students with disabilities, please contact Gabriela Leal, Chief Diversity Officer and Director, Office of Compliance & Diversity, at or 646-557-4674.                                                                           

Important Guidelines for Ensuring Equitable Treatment of Students with Disabilities at John Jay College of Criminal Justice

August 17, 2023

1Online Learning. Please be aware that some students with disabilities may experience unique challenges accessing and using web-based technology or otherwise adapting to online learning and may require an accommodation, such as assistive technology, or a different kind of support. Please encourage students who have these concerns to contact OAS as soon as possible.

2Accommodation requests. All student requests for accommodations or academic adjustments (“accommodations”) that fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) must be vetted first by the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS). Such accommodations may impact classroom or exam protocols or other curricular or extracurricular activities. If the student directly requests an accommodation with an instructor or staff that has not been approved by OAS (or the instructor or staff has not received a copy of an Accommodation Card listing the particular accommodation), the student should be directed to OAS to initiate the process. Faculty and staff are prohibited from denying accommodation requests on their own or from discouraging students from seeking an accommodation with OAS. Once OAS has approved a student’s accommodation requestfaculty and staff must cooperate and assist in ensuring that the accommodation is delivered.


3Notification of accommodation. One of the Office of Accessibility Service’s (OAS) departmental goals has been to streamline the accommodation request process and reduce the amount of follow-up required of students and faculty. We are pleased to share that the Accommodation Card will be provided in lieu of the Accommodation Letter, thereby increasing efficiency. The Accommodation Card enables OAS to manage accommodation requests in a timely and efficient manner. Below is an example of the Accommodation Card.

4. Raising concerns around an accommodation. The objective of providing accommodations for students with disabilities is to ensure their equal participation and not to dilute or fundamentally alter academic or extracurricular requirements. If a particular accommodation would cause an undue hardship to the College or would fundamentally alter the nature of the activity for which the accommodation has been requested, the College may seek a different alternative. If you believe an approved accommodation is not suited to a particular situation, or if you have any questions about delivering an approved accommodation, please contact Dr. Elena Beharry at Alternatives to approved accommodations must be assessed in advance by OAS.  

5. Administration of exams in the OAS Testing Center. There are several points and clarifications regarding testing for OAS-registered students:


  • Students who request testing accommodations must do so with OAS at least seven calendar days before a scheduled exam. If a student fails to do so but has previously received an OAS-issued Accommodation Card that includes the testing accommodation, then the instructor and the OAS should work together to determine how the testing accommodation will be provided.


  • All testing accommodations for in-person exams must take place in the OAS Testing Center unless OAS approves a different arrangement in advance. Instructors should not provide a testing accommodation on their own in lieu of an approved testing accommodation. 


  • Once OAS notifies the instructor that a student in the instructor’s class will take an upcoming exam in the OAS Testing Center, it is the instructor’s responsibility to ensure that OAS receives the exam to be administered at least 48 hours before the beginning of the exam. Please contact the Office of Accessibility Services, at to arrange drop-off or electronic transmission of the exam to OAS.


  • OAS will attempt to accommodate instructors’ preferences for when an exam in the OAS Testing Center should be administered; however, the precise timing of the exam will also depend on the student’s schedule and the operating hours of the OAS Testing Center. This means that some exams, as determined by OAS, may occur before, during, or after the time when other students in the class take a particular exam. OAS will notify instructors when their students’ exams have been scheduled to take place in the OAS Testing Center. Instructors who have concerns about asynchronous administration of exams should contact the OAS or the Academic Integrity Unit for strategies on how to maintain or foster academic integrity while upholding the requirement to accommodate students with disabilities.


  • OAS normally arranges the return of exams administered in the OAS Testing Center to instructors by the following day that the College is open. Instructors should coordinate with OAS about when and how exams are returned to them. In some cases, particularly when instructors are not available to retrieve exams in person within 72 hours, OAS may be required to scan and deliver exams to instructors electronically. Under no circumstance should students be penalized for any delays in returning exams to the instructor

6. Pregnant or parenting students. John Jay College does not discriminate against any student on the basis of pregnancy or related conditions or parental status. Absences due to medical conditions relating to pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions will be excused for as long as deemed medically necessary by a student’s doctor. Students must be given the opportunity to make up work missed due to pregnancy or childbirth. In addition, failing to accommodate pregnant or parenting students may violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. If you have questions related to Title IX, please contact Gabriela Leal, Title IX Coordinator and Director, Office of Compliance & Diversity, at

7. Course syllabus guidelines. If possible, instructors are strongly encouraged to include the following statement in their course syllabus:

“Students who believe that they may need an accommodation due to a disability are encouraged to immediately contact the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) in the New Building, Room L.66 (212-237-8031), or Students are welcome but not required to speak with the instructor privately to discuss specific needs for the class. Students with disabilities are entitled to confidentiality over disability-related status or details. Students are not required to disclose their specific disability to their instructors or anyone else.”

8. Maintaining confidentiality. As indicated in the syllabus statement above, students with disabilities are entitled to confidentiality over disability-related status or details. Students are not required to disclose their specific disability to their instructors or anyone else. (Instructors are entitled to know when their students have registered with OAS and what accommodations they have been approved to receive.) Instructors and staff must take care not to seek the disability-related status or information from students or to disclose a student’s disability status to others in or outside the classroom.   


9. Additional Resources. CUNY has a Blackboard “Accessibility Course” online, located at, that is self-paced in 8 short modules. This course also links to CUNY’s accessibility website, which is full of training resources and tools.

For any questions regarding accommodations, please contact Dr. Elena Beharry, Interim OAS Director, at or contact:

Office of Accessibility Services
Suite L66 in the New Building
524 West 59th Street
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212.237.8031