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Disability Discrimination Grievance Process

Ursinus College is fully committed to providing equal educational opportunities for all qualified students in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and does not discriminate on the basis of disability in the administration of its education-related programs and activities. The College has adopted this Disability Discrimination Grievance Process Policy to provide prompt and equitable resolution of grievances alleging action prohibited by the ADA and/or Section 504.

 Any student who believes that they have been subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability or has been denied access or accommodations required by law, shall have the right to a prompt and equitable consideration of their concerns through this Disability Discrimination Grievance Process Policy. This Policy addresses the following concerns:

  • Disagreements or denials regarding disability designation and status.
  • Denial of requested accommodations, auxiliary aids, and/or services.
  • Claims of inaccessibility of a College program, activity, or facility.
  • Alleged harassment or discrimination on the basis of a disability by the College or any of its staff and faculty.

The Disability Discrimination Grievance Process Policy is not intended to supersede other College policies and procedures which may exist for addressing alleged violations of the ADA and/or Section 504, or other issues for which separate policies and procedures exist. For concerns of harassment or discrimination by another student, please refer to the Ursinus Student Code of Conduct, Community Expectations and College Policies, Section VI: Discriminatory Harassment.

The Policy requires a two-step process:  1) a Preliminary Grievance; and 2) if desired, a Formal Grievance.

Preliminary Grievance Process

Prior to initiating a formal grievance process, students must first attempt to resolve their grievance, academic or otherwise, through a preliminary grievance process. Under this preliminary process, the Director of Disability Services can directly address a particular concern using the appropriate College policies or procedures.

Students may initiate the preliminary grievance process by submitting in person, by mail, and/or by email the below Preliminary Disability Discrimination Grievance Form to the Director of Disability Services promptly after the alleged discriminatory action occurs (if possible). The Director of Disability Services will review the grievance and provide a response in writing within 10 working days.

Please Submit Preliminary Disability Grievance Forms to:
Director of Disability Services & Section 504 Coordinator
Ursinus College
601 E. Main Street
Collegeville, PA 19426
sbermudez@ursinus.edu
Phone (484) 762-4329

 Note: If your grievance is against the Director of Disability Services, please instead submit the following Form to the Dean of Students. 


Formal Grievance Process

If the student is dissatisfied with the outcome of the preliminary grievance process, they may initiate the formal grievance process by submitting the formal grievance via a written report within sixty (60) days of the alleged incident or thirty (30) days after the end of the preliminary process, whichever is later.

The student must submit in person, by mail, and/or by email a written report of relevant information and any related materials to the Director of Disability Services,[1] who will promptly review the information and related materials and forward them to the appropriate College administrator or designee for a prompt and equitable review:

  • Non-Academic-/Student Life-Related Grievances:

Melissa Bryant

Dean of Students   

Ursinus College

601 E. Main Street

Collegeville, PA 19426

Phone: 610-409-3590
Fax: 610-409-3555

mbryant@ursinus.edu

 

  • Academic-Related Grievances:

Kelly Sorenson, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of the College

Corson Hall

Ursinus College

601 E. Main Street

Collegeville, PA 19426

Phone: 610-409-3970

Fax: 610-409-3787
Ksorenson@ursinus.edu

 

The student’s formal grievance written report must clearly state:

  • The name, address, and phone number of the student.
  • The name(s) of the individual(s) (if any) alleged to have engaged in the discriminatory conduct and any possible witnesses.
  • The dates of and location(s) at which the alleged discriminatory conduct occurred.
  • The basis and rationale for the grievance.
  • The specific facts and/or policies supporting the student’s position.
  • The remedy and resolution desired by the student.

The College administrator or designee will:

  • Undertake a prompt and equitable investigation.
  • Interview all parties and obtain potentially relevant documents, information and witnesses.
  • Interview witnesses as deemed necessary and secure any relevant documentation (such as notes, emails, pictures, grades, etc.) and information.
  • Respect privacy to the extent possible. Students must understand that the College cannot guarantee absolute confidentiality because it cannot conduct an effective investigation without revealing certain information to witnesses or respondents.
  • Retain the right to utilize and inform persons who may have a need to know the information obtained during the investigation for legitimate College purposes.
  • Abide by Federal/State laws and College policies when reviewing the grievance.
  • Act as an impartial fact finder in the matter.
  • Render a written decision no later than thirty (30) days after receiving the student’s grievance, determining by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) whether the student’s grievance is supported by the evidence provided.

Appeal Process

Students who are dissatisfied with the decision issued by the College administrator or designee after the formal grievance process can request an appeal of the decision. The request for an appeal must be made in a written report that includes or attaches all relevant information.

An appeal may only be pursued on the following grounds:  1) the appealing student has material new evidence that was not previously available that would alter the underlying decision; 2) the appealing student has objective evidence of bias on the part of the prior decision maker; or 3) the appealing student has material evidence indicating that the prior decision was arbitrary and capricious.

Any appeal must be submitted within five (5) business days of issuance of the decision being appealed and must be submitted in person, by mail, and/or by email to the appropriate Vice-President:

  • Non-Academic-/Student Life-Related Appeals:

Heather Lobban-Viravong Ph.D.
Vice-President of for Campus and Community Engagement Ursinus College
601 E. Main Street
Collegeville, PA 19426
Phone: 610-409-3590
Email:hlobbanviravong@ursinus.edu
Fax: 610-409-3555

  • Academic-Related Appeals:

Mark Schneider Ph.D.
Vice-President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College
Ursinus College
601 E. Main Street
Collegeville, PA 19426
Phone: 610-409-3970
Email:mschneider@ursinus.edu
Fax: 610-409-3787 

Absent unusual circumstances, a written decision will be issued within twenty ten (20) business days after receipt of the request for an appeal. The decision of the Vice-President reviewing the appeal is final.  The decision could be any of the following:  1) upholding the prior decision, with a brief rationale; 2) reversing the prior decision, with a brief rationale; or 3) sending the matter back to the underlying decision maker for further investigation, with a brief rationale.

A student only gets one appeal for a particular grievance.

Please note that filing a grievance under this Policy does not preclude or negate an individual’s right to file an ADA or Section 504 complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.

U.S. Department of Education

The Wanamaker Building

100 Penn Square East, Suite 515

Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323

Telephone: (215) 656-8541

Facsimile: (215) 656-8605

Email: OCR.Philadelphia@ed.gov

 

Non-Retaliation

The College strictly prohibits retaliation against any individual who files or otherwise participates in the investigation of a disability-related grievance. A student who believes that they have been retaliated against for filing or otherwise participating in the investigation of a grievance shall submit in person, by mail, and/or by email a written report of relevant information and related materials to the Director of Disability Services.

If the individual’s non-retaliation grievance pertains to the Director of Disability Services, the individual shall submit in person, by mail, and/or by email a written report of relevant information and any related materials to the Dean of Students.

 

[1] Unless the grievance specifically relates to conduct by the Director of Disability Services, in which case the information will be provided directly to the Dean of Students, who shall in turn provide the information to an appropriate designee for final consideration.