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Disability Grievance Procedures

A. General

It is the policy of Midwestern State University that no otherwise qualified person, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any education program, activity, or employment  of the university. Any student/employee seeking accommodations on the basis of disability must register with the Office of Disability Support Services and must provide all required documentation of disability.

B. Direct Informal Resolution

Any student or employee with a grievance related to discrimination or lack of reasonable accommodation on the basis of a disability is encouraged to resolve the problem directly with the individual involved in the area where the problem exists. This process is intended to promote dialogue and understanding, as well as personal development through self-advocacy and open communication. If the matter remains unresolved, an informal grievance may be initiated through the Office of Disability Support Services. 

C. Informal Grievance Procedure

The Informal Grievance Procedure should be initiated within a reasonable time following an alleged incident of discrimination on the basis of disability. Generally, a reporting party should submit an informal grievance through the Office of Disability Support Services within ninety (90) days following an incident. However, it is important to understand the longer an individual waits to submit a grievance, the harder it can become for the ADA Coordinator or other university officials to obtain information, conduct a thorough investigation, make a determination, and address any reasonable resolutions or remedies in response to the alleged discrimination.

 

A student or employee initiates the Informal Grievance Procedure by contacting the ADA Coordinator in the Office of Disability Support Services. If the ADA Coordinator is the subject of the grievance, the reporting party initiates the Informal Grievance Procedure by contacting the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, who will assign a university official to investigate the complaint in lieu of the ADA Coordinator. A reporting party is not required to submit a grievance in writing when initiating an Informal Grievance, but the ADA Coordinator may ask the individual to do so or submit other written evidence, if necessary, to help facilitate the process of neutral fact-finding relevant to the grievance.

 

The ADA Coordinator may meet in person with the reporting party, meet with the responding individual(s) against whom the grievance has been filed, interview any third-party witnesses to the alleged discrimination, review available records or written evidence pertinent to the grievance, and/or attempt to arrange a meeting between the reporting and responding parties, or take any other steps the ADA Coordinator believes will be useful in promoting resolution.

 

The ADA Coordinator will attempt to facilitate a satisfactory resolution to the informal grievance in a reasonable amount of time, with the goal of both the reporting and responding parties receiving written notification of outcome and any resolution(s) within ten (10) university working days after notice of the informal grievance was provided to the ADA Coordinator by the reporting party. If the grievance is effectively resolved through the Informal Grievance Procedure, the process ends.

D. Formal Grievance Procedure

If the reporting student or employee is not satisfied with the result of the Informal Grievance Procedure, he or she may appeal the decision by filing a formal notice of grievance, in writing, to the ADA Coordinator. The formal notice of grievance should state the nature of the discrimination, by whom and on what date(s), the name(s) of any other witnesses or participants, why the outcome of the Informal Grievance Procedure is believed to be inadequate, the remedy or resolution the reporting student or employee seeks, and any other information directly relevant to the grievance. The notice must be signed by the reporting student or employee, and submitted to the ADA Coordinator within thirty (30) days after distribution of the written notification of outcome following the Informal Grievance Procedure (above).

 

A formal grievance hearing will be scheduled within fifteen (15) university working days following receipt of the formal notice of grievance. The case shall be heard by the MSU 504/ADA Grievance Committee. The responsibility of presenting the grievance rests with the student or employee who submitted the formal notice of grievance.

 

Both the reporting party and responding party (if applicable) will receive notification of the grievance hearing at least five (5) university working days in advance to prepare. Both the reporting and responding parties have the right to be accompanied by an advisor of their choosing for the 504/ADA Grievance Committee hearing. However, an advisor may not make a presentation, actively represent the reporting or responding party, or interact with the 504/ADA Committee or other party during the hearing. Should the reporting party fail to appear for the scheduled hearing, the formal grievance will be dropped. Should a responding party fail to appear, the hearing by the 504/ADA Grievance Committee will proceed as scheduled. The Committee, by majority vote, shall determine using a preponderance of the evidence standard, whether or not an incident of discrimination or lack of reasonable accommodation on the basis of disability, has occurred.

 

  1. If the determination is that an incident of discrimination has not occurred, the ADA Coordinator will notify, in writing, the reporting and responding parties of the Committee’s decision and rationale within five (5) university working days.

 

  1. If the determination is that an incident of discrimination has occurred, the 504/ADA Grievance Committee shall determine, in consultation with the ADA Coordinator, appropriate remedy or resolution to the discrimination. The ADA Coordinator will notify, in writing, the reporting and responding parties of the Committee’s decision, rationale, and resulting remedies or resolution(s) within five (5) university working days.

 

The decision of the 504/ADA Grievance Committee is final.

The availability and use of this grievance procedures does not prevent a person from filing a complaint of discrimination on the basis of disability with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights.

 

ADA Coordinator

Debra Higginbotham
Director, Disability Support Services
Clark Student Center, Room 168
(940) 397-4140
debra.higginbotham@mwsu.edu