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Disability Services Grievance Policy

Introduction

Bellarmine University does not discriminate on the basis of disability in its programs or activities, or with regard to employment. In the event that the University determines discrimination has occurred, it will take steps to prevent its recurrence and will correct its effects on the student and others, if appropriate. The Grievance Procedure is not a legal proceeding but an internal process to enable the University to discover and remedy the effects of any alleged discrimination. Students who believe they have experienced disability discrimination may utilize these disability discrimination grievance procedures.

Preliminary Steps

To initiate or pursue a grievance based on discrimination related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the following steps must be observed within 90 days of the time in which the alleged discrimination occurred.

  • Students should attempt to resolve disputes informally with either the party alleged to have committed the violation, and/or with the head of the department or unit in which the alleged violation occurred. There is no requirement that a student alleging disability discrimination utilize these informal procedures before filing a formal complaint. However, experience has shown that the majority of complaints can be effectively resolved through the informal process. Students are encouraged to resolve disputes via these informal procedures when possible. The Disability Services Coordinator and the Dean of Students are available to provide advisory and mediation services to students.

Formal Resolution Procedures

  • Students alleging disability discrimination must contact the Disability Services Coordinator (or the Dean of Students if the Disability Services Coordinator is directly involved) within 90 days after the act of alleged discrimination to initiate their grievance.
  • Within 10 days after contacting and meeting with one of the designated officials above, the student must formally initiate his/her grievance with a complaint submitted in writing. The complaint must include the following: the specific act(s) or circumstance(s) alleged to constitute the discriminatory action that is the basis of the complaint, including the time and place of the alleged discrimination, the student's basis for believing that it was motivated by disability discrimination, and the remedy requested.
  • Within 10 business days after the student has submitted a written grievance, a University official designated by the Director of Human Resources will initiate an adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation of the complaint. During the course of the investigation, the student will be given the opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence.
  • The University investigator will complete the investigation within 30 days after submission of the written complaint. The decision will include findings of fact, and if discrimination is found:
    1. A determination of action to be taken to resolve the effects of the discrimination and;
    2. Appropriate action to be taken with regard to the discriminating individual. The student and all other parties will be advised of the outcome of the grievance to the fullest extent allowed by state and federal law.
  • The decision may be appealed within 10 business days of it issuance. The appeal must be made in writing to the Director of Human Resources or his/her designee, and must include the basis for the appeal.
  • The Director of Human Resources or his/her designee will issue a decision within 20 days after receiving the appeal. The appeal decision is final. The student and all other parties will be advised of the outcome of the appeal to the fullest extent allowed by state and federal law.
  • No time frame in this procedure may be extended except with the expressed and written permission of the student and under no circumstances will any specific timeframe be extended more than 20 days.
  • It is prohibited for any University employee, official, or student to retaliate against or hinder the testimony of any individual because s/he has filed a complaint under this procedure or who has otherwise assisted in the investigation of a grievance. Such retaliation may result in a variety of sanctions, including termination or dismissal.

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