Process for Filing a Grievance
A student may pursue 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 Access and Ability Services Coordinator will provide guidance about the appropriate process for a particular complaint. If the complaint is against the Access and Ability Services Coordinator, the student may obtain guidance from the Director of Career Counseling and Disability Services.
FALSIFYING A GRIEVANCE
A grievance which is found to be intentionally dishonest or that willfully disregards the truth is a violation of the LU’s Student Code of Conduct, Furnishing false information to the University with intent to deceive. Students 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)
WHO MAY GRIEVE?
Grievances may be initiated by any student currently enrolled at Lincoln University who (1) alleges he or she has suffered illegal discrimination because of his or her disability, or (2) has made a request for an accommodation on the basis of a disability to the office of Disability Services as a student seeking services under the American with Disabilities Act or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and been denied that accommodation.
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.
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.
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 Access and Ability Services Coordinator 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 Access and Ability Services Coordinator to attempt to work with both parties to reach a resolution to the conflict.
If the complaint is against the Office of Disability Services the student should seek immediate assistance from the Director of Career Counseling and Disability Services. The Director will conduct an informal investigation for resolution. If no resolution is achieved the student may proceed to the Formal Resolution process.
If an informal resolution is not successful, the student may file a formal grievance by sending to the Access and Ability Services 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 Access and Ability Services Coordinator or, if that office is the object of the complaint, within fourteen calendar days of the initial meeting with the Director 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 grieveable 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. Once dismissed, the student shall be provided information to file a grievance external to the university.
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.
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.
After hearing a student grievance, the Chairman of the committee shall provide a written report to the Access and 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 and 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 student who filed the initial grievance and the Employee may appeal the decision (including any dismissal) by the Employee's senior administrator to the Access and Ability Services Coordinator 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