4. 504/ADA Student Grievance Procedure
I. Policy Statement: Fairfield University is committed to ensuring that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in University programs or activities due to his or her disability. The University is fully committed to complying with all requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and to providing equal educational opportunities to otherwise qualified students with disabilities.
II. Scope and Application of Grievance Procedure: Any University student who believes that he or she has been subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability or has been denied access or accommodations required by law shall have the right to invoke this Grievance Procedure. This Grievance Procedure is designed to address the following types of concerns: (1) Disagreements or denials regarding requested services, accommodations or modifications to University practices or requirements; (2) Alleged inaccessibility of a University program or activity; (3) Alleged harassment or discrimination on the basis of a disability; and (4) Any other alleged violations of the ADA and/or Section 504.
Grievances must be filed within 30 days of the event or action giving rise to the student’s complaint(s).
A. Informal Grievance Procedure:
A University student shall first attempt to resolve his or her complaint informally by meeting with the Director of Disability Support Services. If the grievance is not resolved informally, then the student shall have the right to invoke the appropriate formal grievance procedure, which is detailed as follows.
B. Formal Grievance Procedure:
1. An otherwise qualified student with a disability, as defined by the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, shall have the right to request that the ADA Coordinator of Equal Opportunity and Compliance review the denial of any requested accommodation or service by fully complying with the procedures detailed below. This provision shall also apply to a student requesting an accommodation who believes he or she has been wrongly denied certification of a disability by the University.
2. The Student shall fully complete an Accommodation/Service Review Request Form (“Review Request”) and submit it to the ADA Coordinator of Equal Opportunity and Compliance within 30 days following the date of the denial of the requested accommodation or service. A student may obtain a copy of the Review Request form online or from Disability Support Services in the Kelley Center. The student’s completed Review Request must clearly state: (a) The basis and rationale for the review; (b) The specific facts and/or policies supporting the students position; (c) The remedy and resolution desired by the student; and (d) All other information required on the form.
3. The ADA Coordinator of Equal Opportunity and Compliance shall assess the Review Request and review all information necessary to render a written determination. If requested, the student shall supply any additional information and/or documents as requested by the ADA Coordinator of Equal Opportunity and Compliance. After a thorough investigation, the ADA Coordinator of Equal Opportunity and Compliance will issue a written Letter of Determination on the student’s Review Request within 30 days after receiving the student’s completed Review Request or will provide the student with notice as to any need for additional time to complete the Letter, which shall not be unduly delayed. Further, the ADA Coordinator of Equal Opportunity and Compliance shall provide the student with a copy of the Letter of Determination and take any steps necessary to implement his or her decision, including, but not limited to, providing a copy of the Letter of Determination to appropriate University officials. The ADA Coordinator of Equal Opportunity and Compliance’s Letter of Determination shall constitute the final decision in response to the student’s grievance.
IV. Time Periods
For purposes of calculating all time periods set forth in this Grievance Procedure, official University holidays and breaks set forth in the University’s academic calendar (such as Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, and spring break) or dates the University officially closes (such as for inclement weather) shall be excluded in determining the time period for taking any required action. Moreover, the day of the act or event from which the designated period of time begins to run shall not be included. The last day of any time period provided in the Grievance Procedure shall be included, unless it is a Saturday or Sunday, and in such an event, the next business day shall be counted in the time period.
V. Right to Review Records
A student filing a grievance shall have the right to review all records maintained in the grievance file, or relied upon by any decision-maker, unless any such review is prohibited by federal or state law. Upon a student’s request, the University shall establish a mutually acceptable time and location for the student to review the requested records.
VI. No Retaliation
Retaliation against any person who files a bona fide complaint of discrimination, participates in an investigation, or opposes a discriminatory employment or education practice or policy is prohibited by University policy and federal and state law.
A student exercising his or her right to invoke this Grievance Procedure is free to consult with others but is expected to represent himself or herself directly in the grievance process.
VIII. OCR Complaint
Although students are encouraged to attempt to resolve complaints pertaining to disabilities by utilizing this Grievance Procedure, they have the right to file a complaint directly with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Information regarding applicable timelines and procedures is available from OCR.
5. University Designee
Fairfield University has designated Susan Birge as ADA Coordinator of Equal Opportunity and Compliance. Contact Information: Susan N. Birge, Ed.D., M.S., Assistant Vice President/ Director of Counseling & Psychological Services, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2146.