Disability Laws & Grievance Procedures

Disability Laws & Grievance Procedures

Applicable Disability Laws

ADA and Section 504 (Subpart E)

What is the intent of the law?
To ensure that no otherwise qualified person with a disability will be denied access to, the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination by any program or activity provided by any public institution or entity.

Who is covered under the law?
All qualified individuals with disabilities who meet the entry age level criteria or particular program entry criteria of the college and who can document the existence of a disability as defined by the ADA.

Who is responsible for identifying and documenting accommodation needs?
Students are responsible for self-identification and for obtaining disability documentation from a professional who is qualified to assess their particular disability. The student, not the institution, assumes the cost of the evaluation.

Who is responsible for initiating service delivery?
Students are responsible for notifying Diverse Abilities and Accommodations staff of their diverse ability and of their need for accommodations. Accommodations (not special education) are provided on a semester by semester basis in order for students with diverse abilities to have equal access to the institution’s programs, services and activities.

Who is responsible for enforcing the law?
Section 504 (Subpart E) is a civil rights statute enforced by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Education. The ADA is also a civil rights statute enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

What about self-advocacy?
Students must be able to communicate what their disability is, their strengths, weaknesses, and how the disability impacts and functionally limits major life activities. They must be able to identify and justify any requested accommodations.

Vincennes University Grievance Procedures

All colleges and universities are required by the law to publish grievance procedures for students to use if they feel they are the victims of discrimination, of any type. The following excerpt contains the Vincennes University Student Grievance Policy, obtained from the current, online VU Catalog  under "Student Policies..."

If students have grievances involving University professors or staff members, they are to process such grievances through the University administrative structure.

The student should first discuss any grievance thoroughly with the professor or staff member. If the grievance is not resolved, the student should discuss such with the faculty or staff member's immediate supervisor. Any unresolved grievances can be processed through the administrative structure to the President, if necessary.

The resolution of student grievances will be transmitted to the student and through the administrative structure to all involved parties.

  1. The student should meet with and discuss the matter thoroughly with the professor or staff member attempting to reach resolution immediately, but no later than 30 calendar days after the incident(s) has occurred.
  2. If resolution is not achieved and the student wishes to pursue his/her grievance, the grievance must be filed in written form with the direct supervisor of the faculty or staff member. The grievance must be filed within one week after the meeting with the faculty or staff member, subject to the availability of the parties involved.
  3. The supervisor receiving the grievance will do the following within three weeks:
    1. Inform the faculty or staff of the receipt of the grievance.
    2. Investigate the situation which may include but not be limited to requesting a statement of circumstances relevant to the grievance from the faculty or staff member, a conference with either or both parties, additional documents and other information relevant to the situation.
    3. The supervisor makes a ruling regarding the grievance within one week after the requested documents are received and conferences concluded.
  4. If either party wishes to appeal the ruling, a statement of appeal must be filed with the direct supervisor of the person making the previous ruling within one week of the postmark of the letter containing the original grievance decision.
  5. The hearing process is repeated with the addition of information from the original supervisor. If the appeal is filed by the faculty or staff, the student will be duly notified.
  6. The grievance may be continued by either party through the administrative structure to the President.

If a student feels he/she has been unable to resolve a grievance satisfactorily using these procedures, a discrimination complaint can be filed with the federal Office of Civil Rights. Online complaints may be submitted using OCR's electronic complaint form.   

For more information about filing an OCR complaint, contact the director of Diverse Abilities and Accommodations  by calling 812-888-4501, or by emailing ssteele@vinu.edu.

Some materials adapted from:  Kay McVay, Faculty Development Specialist, PROJECT CONNECT, Henderson State University

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