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Student Accessibility Services

Faculty and Staff Resources

Professor standing in front of board with textbook in hand

Our office believes that all Southern Miss employees (faculty and staff), including adjunct instructors and graduate assistants working in classrooms, should be aware of disability topics, issues, and laws.

Upcoming SAS Training for Faculty and Staff
  • Fall Coffee Chats with Faculty Development
    • September 14, 12 to 1pm "Student Accessibility Services Test Accommodations"
    • October 5, 12 to 1pm "Student Accessibility Services Overview"
Schedule SAS Training for your Department or Organization

 SAS Training Request Form

Complete our SAS Training Request form to arrange trainings, workshops, or discussions regarding SAS services, accessibility, or other disability issues for your department. We offer presentations in-person and via Zoom on the Hattiesburg campus; currently we only offer Zoom training for the Gulf Park campus and GCRL. Our presentations are tailored to meet the needs of the audience. The following are topics that SAS has previously presented to departments on campus:

  • SAS Training: How Disability Accommodations work at USM
    To increase awareness of our services and the university’s responsibilities in accommodating people with disabilities. Available for academic and non-academic departments on campus.
  • SAS Test Accommodation Training: How do Test Accommodations work at USM
    To increase awareness on how test accommodations work at USM. Available for academic and non-academic departments on campus. Includes information about the test scheduling and exam proctoring processes, an overview of the SAS test facilities, student responsibilities, and guidance on what specific test accommodations mean. 
  • Disability Sensitivity and the Spirit of ADA: Providing Access and Promoting Inclusion
    SAS welcomes the opportunity to speak on Disability Sensitivity, Access, and Inclusion. SAS and students with disabilities partner to address important issues with classes and organizations on campus. 
  • Accessibility 101: How to make your Course and/or Published Information Accessible
    Learn how to build accessible courses and how to ensure that published print/online information is accessible. Guidance includes information on the legal requirements, best practices, and universal design. 

Please check out our Faculty/Staff FAQ for more information about our office. 

Our syllabus statement is required for all syllabi that are given out to USM students unaltered. Faculty can find our up-to-date statement included within the syllabus template provided by the Center for Faculty Development and the Office of Online Learning. Please find our current statement below:

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) is Southern Miss’s designated office to assist the University in its commitment to protect the civil rights of students with disabilities. SAS protects students from discrimination and offers reasonable accommodations to give them equitable access to university courses and resources. Disabilities covered under the ADA may include but are not limited to ADHD, learning disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, physical disabilities, chronic health disorders, temporary injuries, and pregnancies. If a student feels that they need classroom or housing accommodations based on a disability they should contact SAS by phone at 601-266-5024, by email at sasFREEMississippi, in person by visiting the SAS office located in Bond Hall Room 114, or online at

All USM employees (faculty, staff, GAs, and student workers) should contact the USM Office of Employment and Human Resources directly to request work accommodations. They can be reached at 601.266.4050 or hrFREEMississippi

To promote disability access, we ask colleges, departments, and programs to include access statements about the availability of assistance on their programming and materials. Providing information about how to request accommodations creates a welcoming environment for persons with disabilities. The advance notice of participants’ needs makes it easier to plan and implement accommodations. If you are not sure about how to respond to questions about accommodations or accessibility, please contact our office directly. 

Below are three (3) model statements that are designed to be used for events, on web pages, or on publications. You should be able to adapt one to almost any situation. However, if you have questions, please contact the SAS office. Please note, that these statements are not intended to replace the approved SAS Syllabus Statement that should be included on all course syllabi. You can find the current SAS Syllabus Statement listed above on this page.

NOTE: It is important to list a phone number and an email address. Some individuals with disabilities may have differing communication needs or preferences due to their disability, such as preferring written communication if hearing impaired or verbal communication if visually impaired.


To appear on flyers, posters, social media posts and event registration forms for events such as workshops, seminars, organizational meetings, sporting events, camps, etc.:

"If special assistance or auxiliary aids are needed to accommodate a disability, please contact John Doe at 555.555.5555 or to discuss accommodations at least one week prior to {the event}."


To appear as text on webpages if you are not sure of usability:

"If you have difficulty accessing any portions of this website with adaptive technology or because of a disability, please contact John Doe at 555.555.5555 or"

Print Materials & Publications

To appear on catalogs, brochures, and other university print publications:

"If you need to request this information in an alternate format, such as electronic file, large print, audio or braille, please contact John Doe at 555.555.5555 or" 

Our office has connections and contracts to schedule ASL interpreters or CART (live) captionists for your events. You can schedule these either because you had a request for one or because you wish for your public event to be more accessible.

If you have had an accommodation request for an ASL interpreter or CART (Live) captionist for an event, by federal ADA law, USM is required to provide these accommodations

Our office typically needs at least 5 business days advance notice to schedule these services. Ideally, earlier notice is preferred. If your event is less than 5 business days out, please still contact our office directly for assistance; there is no guarantee the service can be provided at this point but we can still try and assist.

Please note that our office can only fund these services if the following conditions are met: 

  • The service is for a student actively enrolled in classes and registered with our office with ASL or captioning accommodations. If you are unsure of the student's status, please contact our office directly.
  • The event is for the academic success of the student, such as class, tutoring, office hours, or advisement. 
    The event is will give the student academic credit, such as attending a workshop, performance, speaker engagement, etc. This can be for both required and extra credit assignments. 

If the attendee making the request or if your event does not meet the above criteria, then the department or the office funding this event will need to cover the cost of these accessible services.

To comply with university policy, federal ADA law, and universal design best practices, all course materials should provide equal access to students with disabilities. This includes textbooks, articles, videos, exams, Microsoft PowerPoints or other forms of classroom presentations and materials posted in Canvas. Even if a class is not fully online, it is important to ensure that materials are available in formats that can be used by persons with disabilities.

The adjustments needed to make the materials accessible will depend on the nature of a student’s disability. For guidance in determining how to ensure that all teaching materials are accessible, contact SAS directly.


Instructors, departments, and/or textbook liaisons are expected to provide advance notice of their required course materials through Barnes and Noble's Textbook Adoption site. This includes clarifying on the Adoption site if a course has no required course materials. Be completing the textbook adoption on time, SAS can ensure students that who need alternative and accessible textbooks will have them by the first day of class. 

Issue with Photocopies

If providing a journal article or other reading material to students in class, be sure to provide an Accessible PDF and NOT just a photocopy. By definition, a photocopy is just an image of text. It is print material that is copied or scanned with a copier or printer and cannot be read by a computer. Scanned documents are not accessible just because they are in a digital format. If the text cannot be selected word by word on your screen then it is not accessible as it cannot be enlarged without distorting the text or read aloud using screen reader (text to speech) software.

The following steps can be taken to ensure that reading materials are in an accessible PDF format and not just a photocopy. Additionally, SAS can provide assistance with conversion of documents into an accessible PDF format.

  • Save documents as PDFs on your computer in lieu of scanning a printed document as a PDF.
  • Keep saves of documents in both MS Word document and PDF formats on your computer. When saving a MS Word document as a PDF be sure that you have the following options selected within the options of the save window: "Document structure tags for accessibility" and "PDF/A compliant".
  • Scan documents using the OCR feature of your copier or printer. This will create an accessible text, but should check the scan for accuracy and edit it if needed.
  • Use adobe software to create an accessible PDF from a photocopy.
  • Use digital journal articles that can be accessed online from the USM library network or ResearchGate
Multimedia Presentations
Video, Audio Clips, PowerPoints with Audio Narration
  • At a minimum auto-captioning should be enabled.
    • If using video clips you do not control the auto-caption feature for, upload the links to Canvas via Canvas Studio and enable auto-captioning with the upload.
    • Remember that auto-captioning is not perfect. 
      • Speak Concisely.
      • Eliminate Background Noise
      • Edit the captioning afterwards for accuracy. The Office of Online Learning at onlineFREEMississippi can assist with this step. 
  • If this material is being given directly to a student who is hearing impaired, then captions should be 100% accurate and not just auto-captioned. SAS will directly contact any instructors that have SAS students with hearing impairments in their courses to assist them with captioning or transcription.
    • If a student ask for captions for a hearing impairment, but they are not registered with SAS - they will need to register with our office before we can assist. 

Contact Us

Student Accessibility Services

Bond Hall 114
118 College Drive #8586
Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Hattiesburg Campus

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Contact Us

Hardy Hall 201
730 East Beach Blvd
Long Beach, MS 39560

Gulf Park Campus

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