Procedures for Dispute/Grievance Resolution
This dispute/grievance resolution procedure was designed to reflect Elon University’s commitment to complying with requirements of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAA), which require that no qualified person, by reason of disability, should be denied access to, participation in, or benefits of any program that is operated by the University.
Individuals with disabilities who believe they have been subjected to discrimination on the basis of a disability, including any person who has requested an accommodation but whose request is not granted, may file a grievance according to this policy. Students’ grievances will be heard in accordance with the process outlined below. The University prohibits any retaliatory actions toward students as a result of filing a grievance or for participating in any manner in the investigation of a grievance.
This grievance procedure is not intended to and shall not supersede other University policies and procedures which may exist for addressing issues of concern unrelated to disabilities for which separate University policies and procedures exist (general grade appeals and honor code violations, for example). Students are encouraged to consult with Disabilities Resources staff members regarding the most appropriate University policy or procedure for addressing a particular concern unrelated to disabilities.
Students’ confidentiality shall be maintained by each person involved in the investigation or resolution of a student grievance under this policy. Any disclosures regarding the student or the investigation shall be limited to the minimum necessary to accomplish the investigation or address the student’s grievance
Step One: Procedure for Informal Process for Resolving Complaints
An informal process, while completely voluntary, is strongly encouraged whenever possible. The informal grievance process may also be skipped and the student may move immediately to Step Two below. Administrative review (Step Two) is a required step in this process.
The first step in this informal grievance procedure is for the student initiating the grievance (hereafter known as the Grievant) to meet directly with the person perceived to have not provided an accommodation or to have discriminated against them due to the student’s disability (hereafter known as the Respondent). They may be able to resolve the issue or agree on some corrective action in a cordial atmosphere.
The informal discussion, whether oral or in writing, should be initiated by the Grievant as soon as possible, but no later than 30 calendar days (excluding University holidays) after they first become aware of the act or condition that is the basis of the grievance. This informal procedure is the recommended first step as it allows for greater flexibility, is less adversarial, and does not preclude utilizing formal procedures thereafter. The Grievant or the Respondent may choose at any time to consult with or ask the Director of Disabilities Resources to assist during the informal process.
Step Two: Procedure for Administrative Review
If the grievance is not resolved at Step One or the Grievant wishes to move directly to an administrative review, the Grievant should consult with the ADA Compliance Coordinator, the University official designated to oversee compliance with disability laws.
A request for administrative review must be filed with the ADA Compliance Coordinator no more than 30 calendar days (excluding University holidays) after the Grievant first becomes aware of the act or condition that is the basis of the grievance, or within 14 calendar days (excluding University holidays) of the dispensation of an informal review, whichever is later. To initiate the administrative review, a Grievant is not required to submit the grievance in writing, but the ADA Compliance Coordinator may ask the Grievant to do so or to submit other evidence, if necessary to facilitate a satisfactory resolution.
The ADA Compliance Coordinator will attempt to resolve the grievance and facilitate a satisfactory resolution in a more structured but still informal manner through an administrative review. In order to do so, the ADA Compliance Coordinator, or their designee, will investigate and attempt to resolve the grievance. The investigation may include a meeting with the Grievant, Disabilities Resources staff members, the Respondent, the department head or academic dean or other parties who may have information or insight pertinent to the matter.
The Grievant should also sign and file a “release of information” statement regarding information in the Grievant’s disability file, permitting review of such information by appropriate individuals involved in the grievance process. These forms may be obtained from the Office of the ADA Compliance Coordinator.
The ADA Compliance Coordinator will attempt to complete the administrative review within 14 calendar days of receiving the request for administrative review (excluding University holidays). The time frame may be extended if the Grievant or the ADA Compliance Coordinator provides compelling reasons for a time extension. Once the administrative review has been concluded, the ADA Compliance Coordinator will issue a written notice of the outcome of the process to the Grievant, the Respondent, and the Director of Disabilities Resources. The written determination shall include the reasons for the decision, shall indicate the remedial action to be taken, if any, and shall inform the Grievant of the right to file a formal grievance.
If the Grievant is not satisfied with the disposition of the grievance at the administrative review level or if a decision has not been reached in 14 calendar days (excluding University holidays), the Grievant may initiate Formal Grievance Procedures.
Step Three: Procedure for Formal Grievance
A formal grievance must be filed with the ADA Compliance Coordinator no more than 30 calendar days (excluding University holidays) after the Grievant first becomes aware of the act or condition that is the basis of the grievance or within 14 calendar days (excluding University holidays) of written notice of the results of the administrative review, whichever is later. The time frame may be extended if the Grievant or the University provides compelling reasons for a time extension. To initiate Formal Grievance proceedings, the Grievant must submit a formal grievance in writing to the ADA Compliance Coordinator.
The grievance must include all of the following information and must be signed and dated by the Grievant.
- The name and contact information of the Grievant;
- The name of the person allegedly responsible for the act or condition that is the basis of the grievance, to include a description of the nature of the person’s relationship to the University;
- The accommodation not provided or type of discrimination alleged;
- A description of the circumstances of the alleged discriminatory act(s), including, dates, location(s), witnesses, and supporting documents, if available; and
- The names and contact information of any individuals with knowledge of the incident(s) comprising the Grievant’s complaint, who could serve as witnesses, if needed.
- The Grievant should also sign and file with the grievance a “release of information” statement regarding information in the Grievant’s disability file, permitting review of such information by appropriate individuals involved in the grievance process. These forms may be obtained from the Office of the ADA Compliance Coordinator.
Upon receiving the formal grievance, the ADA Compliance Coordinator or their designee will, in writing, send a timely acknowledgement of receipt to the student that a formal review has been initiated. Once the formal grievance has been received, a Disabilities Hearing Committee will be assembled for a hearing within 30 calendar days (excluding University holidays) of receiving the formal grievance to hear, read, and review all evidence presented in the formal grievance. The Provost will appoint three persons to serve on the committee. These three persons and the ADA Compliance Coordinator (non-voting member) will comprise the Disability Hearing Committee. The Provost will appoint a chair for the committee. The Hearing Committee shall not include the person(s) against whom the grievance is filed or anyone whose participation would create a conflict of interest.
The Hearing Committee will read the formal grievance and then interview the Grievant and any relevant witnesses named by the Grievant. The Hearing Committee may request additional information, interview other witnesses, request a written response from witnesses, and/or choose to examine relevant written materials, if any. Once the Hearing Committee has considered relevant statements and materials, it will meet in a closed session, deliberate, and render a finding. As expediently as possible and within 14 calendar days (excluding University holidays) of the conclusion of the hearing, the chair of the Hearing Committee will write a letter of determination to the ADA Compliance Coordinator, who will forward a copy of the letter to the Grievant, the Director of Disabilities Resources, and the Respondent.
The Grievant may have a Grievance Advisor present throughout the formal hearing procedures to provide guidance and support. The Grievance Advisor must be a currently enrolled student or current faculty or staff member; attorneys are not allowed to participate in these proceedings. The Grievance Advisor may not address the Hearing Committee unless permitted to do so by the chair of the Hearing Committee. In situations where the Grievant’s disability prevents them from presenting the grievance to the committee, the Grievant may request an accommodation to have the Grievant’s Grievance Advisor assist in the presentation of the Grievant’s complaint.
The decision of the Hearing Committee is final and represents the final word of the University on this matter.
All records regarding grievances based on disabilities will be kept for a period of at least five years in the Office of the Director of Disabilities Resources and the ADA Compliance Coordinator, unless otherwise provided by law. All standards with regard to disclosure or release of records will be in accordance with federal guidelines and regulations that govern student educational records.
Federal Agency Grievance Procedures and Complaints; Contacts
The above processes do not prevent any student from filing a complaint with the Federal Office of Civil Rights. Students may consult the web site of the Office of Civil Rights for information on this process.