For those who aren't familiar with it, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act ("504" for short) is the U.S. law that protects the civil rights of students with disabilities at institutions that receive federal funds for any part of their budget.

Section 504 is important in its own right, and it was also an important step towards passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Section 504 spelled the beginning of the end of "separate but equal" for people with disabilities.

Who is protected under 504? "Any person who (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, (2) has a record of such an impairment or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. Major life activities include walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself, and performing manual tasks."

For a fascinating and inspiring account of the history of 504, see the article Short History of the 504 Sit-In and the video Power of 504.

504 is made up of two parts -- a law ("No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States shall, solely by reason of his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance") and a set of regulations.

Question: What is the equivalent of Section 504 in institutions of higher learning in the European Union?

  • Also, you have asked this on Law already. Cross-posting a question on multiple SE sites is against SE policy.
    – ff524
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 0:34
  • 1
    Although several laws are common across countries in the European Union several others aren't. I think this is the later case for protection of diabilities.
    – llrs
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 7:24
  • @ff524 - Apologies, I totally forgot I had tried it on Academia already. Hmm. May I delete the older one? Maybe there will be more interest now. I could relate it to Walter Wetlab. I wouldn't mind deleting the one on Law -- frankly, I think I'm more likely to get useful information here than on Law for this particular question. Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 8:31
  • As pointed out by @Llopis, even if there can be an EU framework, then each country applies the EU framework through its own laws. For instance, for Italy, the relevant laws are listed in this web page from the disability office of my university. Each link opens the text of the corresponding relevant law (of course in Italian). Even if it's in Italian, you can appreciated the length and the intricacy of its structure. So, I don't know what kind of answer we can give you. Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 15:41
  • @MassimoOrtolano - I would hope there is a simple guide available on university websites. U.S. educational institutions that receive federal funds are required to make available such a guide. Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 18:24


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