Grievance Procedures for Accessibility Issues
A student grievance is defined as any dissatisfaction occurring as the result of a student’s belief that an issue relating to accessibility affects the student unjustly or inequitably. The student has the right to raise a complaint and to have that complaint considered with courtesy and objectivity, in a timely fashion, and without fear of prejudicial treatment or retaliation. A student with a complaint is encouraged to document and seek resolution within the following process:
- The student should discuss the matter with the person or persons directly involved, or, in the case of a physical barrier, the Office for Accessibility, in an attempt to resolve the complaint through informal discussion. Initial contact should occur within five days of the event.
- If the grievance is not resolved, the student may initiate a formal grievance by discussing the matter with a responsible employee or administrator in writing. Documentation should include a narrative of the situation and the name of the individual(s) contacted. For this step, please complete the Grievance Form, available in the following locations: the office of the ADA Coordinator (Curtis 209), the Office for Accessibility, (Fort D 201), or on the Accessibility webpage via the College website. The ADA Coordinator will issue a written decision on the grievance no later than 30 days after its filing.
- If the grievance is not resolved, the person filing the grievance may appeal the decision of the ADA Coordinator by resubmitting the grievance form to the appropriate vice president or the athletic compliance officer (if the student is an athlete) within 15 days of receiving the ADA Coordinator’s decision.
- If reconciliation has not been achieved, the student may then schedule an appointment with the Executive Vice President (Cooper West 103), after submitting a written complaint (Grievance Form, indicating inadequate resolution from Steps 2 and 3) to that office (within five business days of step 3, above). Please see the procedure for a grievance hearing below.
As needed, the Executive Vice President will convene the Grievance Committee and order an investigation. The Grievance Committee is composed of five members: three faculty and two administrators or staff members. At least five college business days in advance of the hearing, the chair of the committee will notify the grievant and the individual charged with the complaint of the date, time, and place of the hearing, the specific nature of the complaint, and the composition of the committee. Notification will occur by telephone or email, with confirmation that all parties have been notified.
The grievance hearing is a private, internal review. The grievant may be assisted by a faculty representative. However, persons external to the College shall be excluded from the grievance hearing.
All involved parties have the right to be present when grievances and evidence are presented to the committee and to provide evidence in support of their respective positions. Committee members may question relevant parties (present only during questioning) to evaluate all the relevant facts of a given case.
The report and recommendation of the committee shall be in writing, including the committee's rationale for the decision; the report may include any dissenting opinions. Only those committee members who have heard all testimony and evidence in a given case may vote on the committee's recommendation. The committee's report and recommendation shall be forwarded to the Executive Vice President within 10 business days of the hearing. The Executive Vice President will make the final determination and formally advise the parties involved in the grievance within five business days.
If after meeting with the Executive Vice President complaint is not reconciled, then the student may submit the revised Grievance Form to, and schedule an appointment with, the President of the College (within five business days of step 4, above). The President will issue a final determination on the grievance within ten days of meeting with the student.
Students are encouraged to first attempt resolution within the grievance procedure guidelines. Grievances must be addressed within one semester of the aggrieved event. However, students maintain the right to file a complaint directly with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at any time. OCR dictates a 180 day (from date of incident) Statute of Limitations for filing a complaint.
Confidentiality: Any information regarding the filing of a grievance, the investigation of the grievance, and the disposition of the case shall be treated confidentially and will be disclosed only as needed in the furtherance of the complaint and its resolution. Unauthorized breaches of confidentiality may result in disciplinary action.
Retaliation: Civil rights regulations prohibit institutions from retaliating against anyone because they have filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Education, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or the U.S. Department of Justice, or because they assist or take part in a subsequent investigation.
U. S. Department of Education (Office for Civil Rights) - (800) 421-3481
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – (800) 669-4000 voice (800) 669-6820 tty
U. S. Department of Justice – (800) 514-0301
Grievances related to grades/academic integrity are addressed separately in the Gaslight.