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# 132 III-4.

2000 November 16, 1993

The Honorable Sam Farr Member, U.S. House of Representatives 380 Alvarado Street Monterey, California 93940 Dear Congressman Farr: This is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, XXXXXXXXXX. XXXXXXXXXXX inquiry concerns his wife, a student at a private university, who has been prevented from taping a classroom lecture or having another student take notes of the lecture on her behalf. XXXXXXXXXXX wife reportedly has a disability, the nature of which is not set out in the letter, and is unable to write. Mr. Marsh inquired whether the instructor's prohibition of note-taking or tape recording constitutes a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities regarding their rights and obligations under the act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist you in responding to your constituent. However, this technical assistance does not constitute a legal interpretation by the Department and it is not binding on the Department. According to XXXXXXXXXXX letter, the professor forbids copying of lecture notes or tape recording of the lectures because he is preparing a book on the course topic and does not wish to have the materials otherwise disseminated. The ADA requires that persons with a disability be afforded an equal opportunity to benefit from the services of a public accommodation. Furthermore, the ADA requires public

accommodations to make reasonable modifications in policies and procedures if necessary to afford an equal opportunity. Therefore, if students are generally permitted to take notes of the course lectures, the professor must modify his policy of forbidding tape recording or copying of lecture notes in order to accommodate the student who cannot write due to a disability, unless there is afforded some other equally effective means of providing the student an opportunity to benefit from the course. Such reasonable modifications in policies and procedures are required unless they would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods or services being offered or cause an undue burden. If the concern is unauthorized dissemination of course contents, the professor could require the student with a disability to agree that the copied materials would not be used for any purpose other than individual study, so long as other students in the course are similarly restricted in their use of course notes. I have enclosed a copy of the ADA Handbook for XXXXXXXXX. The Handbook contains a copy of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I hope this information is helpful in responding to your constituent. Sincerely,

James P. Turner Acting Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosure