Grievance Process for Students Who Believe They Have Been Denied Reasonable Accommodations or Subjected to Discrimination Because of a Disability
Students with disabilities are responsible for contacting Student Access & Accommodation Services if reasonable accommodations are not implemented in an effective or timely manner. Student Access & Accommodation Services works with faculty, staff, and students with disabilities to resolve disagreements regarding recommended accommodations. This grievance process will facilitate an internal, informal basis for filing a complaint or appealing a denial of accommodations and for instances of inappropriate discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). Any student with a disability, who believes he or she has been discriminated against on the basis of that disability, may use this process to file a grievance with the Coordinator of Student Access & Accommodation Services located in Davis Memorial Library Room 203 or with the Office for Civil Rights.
A student may pursue a grievance if he or she believes that a Methodist University employee (faculty, staff member, or administrator) has discriminated against the student because of his or her disability or has denied the student a reasonable accommodation. Upon request from any student, the Coordinator of Student Access & Accommodation Services will provide guidance about proper processing of a particular complaint. If the complaint is against the Office of Student Access & Accommodation Services, the student may obtain guidance from the Assistant Provost for Student Retention & Persistence Initiatives, Dr. Doris Munoz.
A grievance that is found to be intentionally dishonest or willfully disregards the truth is a violation of the University honor code and will be referred to the University Honor Board for their determination.
The University prohibits retaliation against any student for filing a grievance under this process. Any retaliation directed to the student as a result of filing a grievance under this process is against state and federal laws and Methodist University Policy.
Grievances may be initiated by any student currently enrolled at Methodist University who feels he or she has suffered illegal discrimination because of his or her disability, and has made a request for an accommodation to the office of Student Access & Accommodation Services, and has followed appropriate notification procedures. Grievances regarding matters that are unrelated to a faculty/staff member’s job or role at the University, or decisions covered by other University policies may not be grieved under this process.
A student who has a grievance with an employee of Methodist University is encouraged to first attempt to resolve the matter by meeting with the faculty or staff member. The purpose of the meeting is to reach a mutual understanding of the student’s situation and the faculty or staff member’s actions. The student has seven calendar days from the action being grieved or the date the student should have known about the action to initiate this discussion. If the consultation with the faculty or staff member is unsatisfactory, or if it is impractical to consult with the faculty or staff member, the student should seek the assistance of the Assistant Provost for Student Retention & Persistence Initiatives, Dr. Doris Munoz, within seven calendar days of the meeting with the employee or within fourteen calendar days of the action. If the complaint is against the Student Access & Accommodation Services Office, the student should seek assistance from the Director of Counseling Services located in West Hall. The purpose of this process is to attempt to work with both parties to reach a resolution. In the event that a resolution is not found, the Coordinator of Student Access & Accommodation Services will contact the appropriate cabinet member to request his or her intervention. Use of the informal resolution process is recommended but not mandatory.
If an informal resolution is not successful, the student may file a formal grievance through the Coordinator of Student Access & Accommodation Services or, if the complaint is about the Student Access & Accommodation Services Office, through the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. If a formal grievance is received without using the informal process, the Coordinator of Student Access & Accommodation Services will perform the informal steps before processing the formal grievance. The appropriate cabinet member will be notified immediately upon receipt of a formal grievance. Every attempt to resolve an issue within the division will be made. This procedure will extend the formal process by seven (7) days.
All complaints must be in writing and signed by the student. The grievance must:
- Be filed within 30 days of original incident
- Contain a clear and precise statement of the complaint.
- State how the action is discriminatory or the decision unreasonable if it is a denial of a requested accommodation.
- Name the person(s) against whom the grievance is filed.
- State how this person(s) is responsible for the action or decision.
- State the requested remedy.
- State evidence to be presented and witnesses to be interviewed (No more than 2, unless otherwise necessary in the fact finding process).
Once the complaint is submitted to the Student Access & Accommodation Services Office it will be reviewed for adherence to proper procedure. If the complaint does not meet the above criteria, the complaint will be returned to the student for revision within seven calendar days. A revised complaint will be accepted and reviewed within seven calendar days of its return to the student. If criteria are not met within this timeframe the Coordinator of Student Access & Accommodation Services retains the authority to deny the complaint. When a complaint is denied, it is a legal requirement that the student be provided with contact information for the Office for Civil Rights.
When a grievance meets the above criteria on the first or second submission, the Student Access & Accommodation Services Advisory Committee will convene within 14 calendar days of receipt of the formal, properly executed, written complaint. The committee will be charged with collecting information by interviewing the grieved student and his or her witnesses, as well as the University employee(s) to whom the grievance is directed. All parties will have the right to a non-participating observer present during this interview. The decision of the committee will be forwarded to the student and the University President within 30 days of the receipt of the properly executed grievance. The grieved party will be notified of any unforeseen delay.
Summer & Fast Track Review
Any student may elect, at the beginning of the Formal Resolution process, to waive his right to a committee review and elect Fast Track Review. All grievances submitted between April 1 and September 1 will be processed as a Fast Track Review. In the Fast Track process, the Coordinator of Student Access & Accommodation Services or his/her representative, one senior student development staff member, and one senior staff member representing the appropriate division, will serve to complete fact finding and conduct the interview process in place of a full committee.
After hearing a student grievance, the committee or Fast Track review panel will discuss the grievance in a closed meeting. The decision of the committee will be provided in writing to the student within a reasonable time frame. A copy will also be forwarded to the University President. A summary of proceedings, a copy of all correspondence, and a copy of the committee decision will be filed in the Student Access & Accommodation Services Office. All decisions of the Student Access & Accommodation Services Advisory Committee are final and may not be appealed except to an outside agency.
Access to Outside Resource Agencies
Nothing in this process should be construed to impede or prohibit a student from filing an ADA or discrimination complaint with the appropriate external governmental agency or an internal grievance addressing other issues. Students with grievances, or complaints against the University based upon violations of Section 504 or the ADA ,also have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education and/or the Office for Civil Rights.