Mount Saint Mary’s University, in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, does not discriminate on the basis of disability in administration of its education-related programs and activities and has an institutional commitment to provide equal educational opportunities for disabled students who are otherwise qualified.
The grievance procedure set forth below applies to undergraduate and graduate students of the College. It is designed to address disputes concerning:
- Disagreements regarding a requested service, an accommodation, or a modification of a College practice or requirement;
- Inaccessibility of a program or activity due to disability;
- Harassment or discrimination on the basis of disability;
- Violation of privacy in the context of disability.
II. INFORMAL RESOLUTION
In the event a student believes (i) that he or she has been denied an accommodation or the modification of a University practice or requirement to which he or she is entitled under applicable disability law or (ii) a program or activity has been inaccessible to him/her due to disability or (iii) he/she has been harassed or discriminated against because of a disability or perception of a disability by a university faculty or staff member or (iv) his/her privacy has been violated in the context of his/her disability, the student shall attempt to resolve the matter informally. If the student is unable to resolve the matter through the informal process, a formal complaint may be filed at the option of the student.
Prior to initiating the formal complaint procedure, and as a prerequisite to it, the student shall first meet with the ADA Manager for assistance in resolving the matter informally within fourteen (14) calendar days of the alleged denial of accommodations or act of discrimination. If a satisfactory resolution to the student cannot be achieved in seven (7) calendar days, excluding university holidays and weekends from the date the student notified the ADA Manager requesting assistance with a resolution, the student may file a formal complaint.
III. FORMAL COMPLAINT
If the informal procedure described above does not yield a successful resolution, the student may file a formal complaint in the following manner:
- When To File A Complaint - Complaints shall be filed within seven (7) calendar days of the end of the informal resolution process described above.
- What To File - A complaint must be in writing and include the following:
- The student’s name, address, e-mail address and phone number;
- A full description of the problem, including names of individuals, departments and/or programs involved;
- A statement of the remedy requested; and
- A statement of confirmation that an Informal Resolution has been pursued.
- Where To File A Formal Complaint - The complaint shall be filed with the Vice President of Student Affairs.
- Notice Of Receipt - Upon receipt of the complaint, the Vice President of Student Affairs will review the complaint for timeliness and appropriateness for this grievance procedure, and will provide the student with written notice acknowledging its receipt.
- Membership of the Disability Grievance Committee - The Vice President of Student Affairs or his or her designee shall convene the committee within fourteen (14) calendar days of receiving the complaint unless unusual circumstances prohibit it. Once the committee is convened, they will select a member to serve as a chair for the formal complaint proceedings. The Vice President of Student Affairs, with the concurrence of the Provost, may take appropriate action on an interim basis, when there is reasonable cause to believe that such action is needed for the health, safety, or welfare of the student or other member of the College community, or to avoid disruption to the academic process. The Committee shall consist of:
- A faculty member appointed by the Faculty Policy Committee*
- One administrative staff member appointed by the Vice President of Student Affairs who is knowledgeable of the ADA and section 504
- One student representative appointed by the Vice President of Student Affairs
*The faculty member must not have had the student enrolled in any of his/her classes.
- Investigation/Hearing - The Committee shall promptly initiate an investigation. In undertaking the investigation, the Committee may interview, consult with and/or request a written response to the issues raised in the complaint from any individual the Committee believes to have relevant information, including faculty, staff and students. The student and any person towards whom the complaint might have been directed shall have the right to submit written materials to the Committee and suggest names of any faculty, staff, students or others from whom he/she believes the Committee should hear. The Committee may assign any member who has been adequately trained to conduct any part of the investigation as the Committee determines to be appropriate.
- Representation - The student and the person towards whom the complaint has been directed shall have the right to be represented at the hearing by the advocates of their choice. Since the hearing is administrative, not judicial in nature, the advocates may not be lawyers.
- Findings and Notification - Upon completion of the investigation, the Disability Grievance Committee, in consultation with the Vice President of Student Affairs or his or her designee, will prepare a final report containing a summary of the investigation, written findings and a proposed disposition. He/she will then transmit the report to the student and the party against whom the grievance is directed. The report should be submitted within fifteen (15) calendar days of the date the Committee is first convened unless prohibited by unusual circumstances.
- Disposition - The Vice President of Student Affairs shall take whatever actions are deemed appropriate (see Remedies section below). He/she shall report his/her decision in writing to the student, the Committee and all other relevant parties.
Possible remedies under this grievance procedure include corrective steps, actions to reverse the effects of discrimination or end harassment, and measures to provide a reasonable accommodation or proper ongoing treatment. The guidelines set forth in the Faculty and Employee Handbooks will be adhered to in the event that corrective steps or actions are necessary.
Within ten (10) calendar days of the issuance of the final report, the student or the party against whom the grievance is directed may file an appeal to the Provost.
The written request must specify the particular substantive and or procedural basis for the appeal, and must be made on grounds other than general dissatisfaction with the disposition. Furthermore, the appeal must be directed only to issues raised in the formal complaint as filed or to procedural errors in the conduct of the grievance procedure itself, and not to new issues.
The review by the Provost or designee normally shall be limited to the following considerations:
- Were the proper facts and criteria used to make the decision?
- Were any extraneous facts or criteria used to make the decision?
- Were there any procedural irregularities that substantially affected the outcome?
- Given proper facts, criteria, and procedure, was the decision one that might be reasonably made?
A copy of the Provost’s written decision will be expected within thirty (30) calendar days of the filing of the appeal and shall be sent to the appropriate parties. The Provost for good cause may extend the deadline. The decision of the Provost on the appeal is final.
No later than two years after the Disability Grievance Procedures have been in effect; the Faculty Policy Committee and the Student Life Policy Board will evaluate them and make recommendations to the Faculty Assembly for any improvements.