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Filing a Grievance

 

 

A student may file a grievance if he or she believes that a University employee (including faculty, staff, and agents--hereafter, referred to only as the Employee) has discriminated against the student because of his or her disability, or has improperly denied the student a reasonable accommodation. Upon request from any student, the Coordinator of Access & Ability Services will provide guidance about the appropriate process for a particular complaint. If the complaint is against the Office of Access & Ability Services, the student may obtain guidance from the Dean of Students.

 

 

FALSIFYING A GRIEVANCE

A grievance which is found to be intentionally dishonest or that willfully disregards the truth is in violation of the LU’s Student Code of Conduct, Furnishing false information to the University with intent to deceiveStudents violating this code will be subject to disciplinary action. The University prohibits retaliation against any student for filing a grievance under this process. Any retaliation directed to the complainant as a result of the filing of a grievance under this process is against state and federal laws and LU Policy.

 

 

WHAT MAY BE GRIEVED?

An action or decision may be grieved only if it involves discrimination against a student because of his or her disability or if it results in the improper denial of a reasonable accommodation. This process may not be used to grieve:

·      claims based on purchases or contracts;

·      claims against an employee on matters

that are unrelated to the employee’s job or

role at the University;

·      decisions covered by other university

policies (e.g. residency appeals, grades,   financial aid)

 

WHO MAY FILE?

Grievances may be initiated by any student currently enrolled at Lincoln University who:

·      alleges he or she has suffered illegal discrimination because of his or her disability,

·      has been denied an accommodation on the basis of a disability to the Office of Access & Ability Services as a student seeking services under the American with Disabilities Act or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

 

INFORMAL RESOLUTION 

The informal resolution process is designed to reach an understanding of the situation and to resolve the differences in an informal and cooperative manner if possible.

 

Step 1

The student who has a grievance with a member of the University community is encouraged to first attempt to resolve the matter by meeting with the Employee.  The purpose of the meeting is to reach a mutual understanding of the student’s situation and the Employee’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.

         

Step 2

If the consultation with the Employee is not satisfactory, or if it is impractical to consult with the Employee, the student should seek the assistance of the Coordinator in the Office of Access & Ability Services within seven calendar days of the meeting with the Employee or within fourteen calendar days of the action. The purpose of this interaction is for the Coordinator to attempt to work with both parties to reach a resolution to the conflict.

 

If the complaint is against the Office of Access & Ability Services the student should seek immediate assistance from the Dean of Students. The Dean will conduct an informal investigation for resolution. If no resolution is achieved the student may proceed to the Formal Resolution process.

 

 

FORMAL RESOLUTION

Step 1

If an informal resolution is not successful, the student may file a formal grievance by sending to the Disability Coordinator a request for a hearing by the Section 504/ADA Grievance Committee. The student must file this within fourteen calendar days of the meeting with the Coordinator of Access & Ability Services or, if that office is the object of the complaint, within fourteen calendar days of the initial meeting with the Dean of Students that began Step 2 of the Informal Resolution process as described above.            

 

All complaints must be in writing and signed by the student. The grievance must:

·        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 respondent parties (the

         person(s) against whom the grievance is

         filed);

·        State how each respondent is responsible

         for the action or decision;

·        State the requested remedy;

·        State whether a non-participating observer

         will be brought to the hearing; and

·        Include a Grievance Statement of

      Authenticity Form signed by the grieving 

      student.

 

If it is clear on the face of the written grievance that the complaint has not been filed according to this process (such as, but not limited to, timeframe, matter is not grieve able under this process, complaint is frivolous in the Coordinator's judgment, is from a person without grievance rights under this process) the Coordinator shall so indicate in a letter to the grievant that the complaint is dismissed. Should the grievance be dismissed, the student has the option to file an external grievance.

 

Otherwise, within fourteen calendar days the Coordinator shall refer the grievance to the chair of the Section 504/ADA Grievance Committee. The Coordinator will inform the Employee in writing that a grievance has been received and refer the matter to the Committee.

 

The members of the Section/504ADA Grievance Committee must be approved by and serve at the pleasure of the President, who will also name the Chair of the Committee. 

 

Step 2

The Chair of the Committee shall convene the committee and provide them with the written complaint and all supporting documents provided by either party. The Chair of the Committee will be responsible for facilitating the work of the committee and proceeding in a timely manner.

 

The Chair of the committee shall notify the parties of a hearing date, time and place at least five calendar days in advance of the hearing. During a hearing, the grievant and the accused shall have the following rights:

 

·        The right to have a non-participating

         observer present;

·        The right to present the testimony of

         witnesses and other evidence, relevant to

         the grievance;

·        The right to confront and cross-examine

         witnesses; and

·        The right to examine all submitted

         documents and other evidence.

 

Legal counsel may not participate in the proceedings unless the law or policy at issue provides for a broader right to counsel.

 

 

THE DECISION

After hearing a student grievance, the Chairperson of the committee shall provide a written report to the Access & Ability Services Coordinator. The report should include a summary of the proceeding, recommendations, a copy of all correspondence with the parties, all evidence submitted to the committee, the recording or transcript of the hearing, and anything else considered by the committee in reaching its recommendation.  

The Access & Ability Services Coordinator shall review the official report of the committee and issue a written letter to the Employee’s senior administrative officer, within ten calendar days of receiving the Committee’s report. In the letter, the Coordinator shall inform the senior administrator of a determination of a Section 504/ADA Grievance Committee and include the Coordinator’s position statement. All supporting documents shall be forwarded to the senior administrator. The senior administrator may either adopt the committee report and recommendations in whole, modify it in part, or reject the report and reach different findings or conclusions for reasons expressly stated. The decision should be sent to all parties.

 

THE APPEAL

The student who filed the initial grievance and the Employee may appeal the decision (including any dismissal) by the Employee's senior administrator to the Coordinator of Access & Ability Services or to the President within ten calendar days of the date the written decision is sent to the student. The President’s decision shall be final with regard to the University's internal review process.

 

 

ACCESS TO OTHER COMPLAINT PROCEDURES

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 a designated federal agency. For LU, this agency is:

 

Kansas City Office of Civil Rights


U.S. Department of Education


8930 Ward Parkway, Ste. 2037 
Kansas City,

MO 64114-3302
Phone: 816-268-0550.