ADA Grievance Procedure
If students feel they have not been served with reasonable accommodations as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act, they may file an ADA grievance by following the process outlined below. All ADA grievances must be initiated within three (3) weeks of the alleged occurrence, omission, or denial. The ADA Grievance Procedure is separate from all other college grievances.
1. Discuss the matter with the Office for Students with Disabilites Coordinator (OSD)
2. The decision of the OSD shall be made and communicated to the student within five (5) class days of the student conference. The decision is final unless within five (5) class days the student contacts the Dean of Instruction with a written narrative of the complaint. (Alternative means of filing complaints, such as personal interviews or a tape recording of the complaint, will be made available for qualified persons with disabilities upon request.)
3. The Dean of Instruction has five (5) class days to investigate, reach a decision, and respond in writing to the student. The decision is final unless within five (5) class days after the decision has been made, the student completes an “ADA Student Grievance and Appeals” Form (available in the OSD) and presents it to the ADA appeals committee through the OSD.
ADA Appeals Committee
The ADA appeals committee, appointed annually by the president, will have the authority to impose sanctions on any instructor, student, or staff member appearing before it. The chairperson of the ADA appeals committee is appointed by the President. The committee will consist of three faculty members, two staff members, three students, and the chairperson to equal a total of nine members. There shall also be appointed one faculty member, one staff member, and two student as alternates in the event that the appointed committee member(s) cannot be present. The Office for Students with Disabilities Coordinator will serve in an advisory capacity. The chairperson, two faculty/staff members, and two students must be present to constitute a quorum and hear a case. To ensure a fair and impartial hearing, any member of the committee who has a direct interest in the case should recuse himself/herself from the committee, and an appropriate alternate shall serve on the committee for that case. Upon a written (or alternative format) request to the ADA appeals committee, the committee chairperson will within three (3) class days contact the committee members to arrange a hearing date, time, and place and will advise the Dean of Student Services of such. The Dean of Student Services will issue notice to the student. The student will be given at least five (5) class days notice of the date, time and place of the scheduled hearing.
ADA Appeals Committee Hearing Procedures
All ADA committee hearings will be conducted in private in order to protect the confidential nature of the proceedings. Any student or employee requiring accommodations for this hearing shall make the request for such accommodations to the Office for Students with Disabilities Coordinator at least three (3) class days prior to the hearing. In the event that an essential accommodation cannot be provided by the College by the date of the hearing, the hearing shall be rescheduled with the respective date to be no more than one week later. The chairperson will preside at the hearing. The Dean of Student Services or his designee will be present to make sure procedural matters are followed. The hearing shall be of an informal nature and need not adhere to the rules of procedure or technical rules of evidence followed by courts of law.
Deviations from prescribed procedures will not necessarily invalidate a decision or proceeding unless significant prejudice to a student respondent or the College may result. A written record of the proceedings will be kept by the committee chairperson. No audio recordings will be permitted. The record of the hearing will be filed in the office of the Dean of Student Services and only for the purpose of appeal be accessible to the College and the student.
Hearings will proceed in the following order:
1. reading of the charges by the committee chairperson
2. the complainant’s statement of position with respect to the charges (no more than 5 minutes)
3. the private presentation of evidence by the respondent and questions by the ADA appeals committee (no more than 10 minutes total, including questions)
4. the private presentation of evidence by the complainant and questions by the ADA appeals committee (no more than 10 minutes, including questions)
5. brief closing statements by both parties (no more than 3 minutes with the respondent speaking first, followed by the complainant)
Upon conclusion of the hearing, the ADA appeals committee will consider the merits of the case. The appeals committee chairperson will transmit the committee’s findings and determinations in writing, to only the complainant, the respondent, and the Dean of Student Services within three (3) class days. The decision of the ADA appeals committee is final, unless within five (5) class days after the decision has been made the student makes a written (or alternative format) request to the President for review.
Appeals to the President
Within five (5) class days after the decision has been made by the ADA appeals committee, either or both parties may submit a written request for appeal to the College President. The President’s decision will begin with the record of the hearing. Both parties may, at the discretion of the President, submit oral or written arguments to support their position. The President may approve, reject, or modify the decision in question. The President may require that the original hearing be reopened for the presentation of additional evidence and reconsideration of the decision or for correction of a procedural error.
Note: After completing the ADA appeals process, students dissatisfied with Vernon College’s decision regarding their ADA complaint may also choose to file a complaint of discrimination directly with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), Texas Commission on Human Rights, or any other federal, state or local agency as is their right under the ADA.