Disability Grievance Procedure
Mohawk Valley Community College is committed to providing equal access to education, and programs for all qualified persons with disabilities through adherence to all applicable federal and state laws, regulations, and guidelines. The College will provide reasonable accommodations necessary to afford equal education, and access to programs.
The purpose of this procedure is to provide an equitable process for resolving alleged forms of discrimination based on disability. It will address disability related disputes involving the following:
1. Disability eligibility and/or accommodations.
2. Inaccessibility of a program, event, or activity.
3. Harassment or discrimination on the basis of disability in a college program or activity.
4. Violation of privacy in the context of disability.
Informal Resolution (optional):
An individual with a disability who believes that he or she has been discriminated against is encouraged to first attempt to resolve the complaint informally through a discussion with the person(s) directly involved in the situation. The informal process is the opportunity to voluntarily discuss allegations and concerns with the person directly involved in the situation in an attempt to resolve the situation.
• The engagement of the informal resolution process must be initiated within 30 calendar days of the last occurrence. Office of Accessibility Resources staff members may assist with this process if the situation does not involve the office. The Accessibility Resources representative will work with the parties involved to resolve complaints related to disability.
• If, or as necessary, the Accessibility Resources representative will involve the supervisor of any employee alleged to be involved in the discrimination and will consult with the Executive Director of Human Resources regarding any representation necessary.
• When the issue is directly related to Accessibility Resources staff or to services or decisions rendered by an Accessibility Resources staff member, the issue will be directed to the Executive Director of Human Resources as the other compliance officer.
• Timelines may be adjusted based on circumstances at the discretion of the 504 Coordinator.
• If accommodations are required in order to undertake this process, the Office of Accessibilities Resources should be contacted.
If no resolution is reached through the informal process, the individual may file a formal grievance through one of the ADA Compliance Officers: 1) the Director of Accessibility Resources or 2) the Executive Director of Human Resources (if the complaint involves the Director of Accessibility Resources) within 30 days of the last occurrence or within 5 business days of conclusion of the informal resolution process.
• All formal grievances shall be submitted in writing and shall provide the following information:
o Informal process (if any) that was initiated and the outcome;
o Alleged discrimination based on disability; nature of violation, date and detailed description;
o The individual(s) responsible for the alleged discrimination (name and title);
o Desired remedy/solution and arguments in support of;
o Any additional background information or documentation relevant.
The investigator will review the submitted file(s) and thoroughly conduct an investigation that may include interviews, request for additional written responses and/or supporting documents. During the course of the investigation, the Investigator may re-interview the Reporter and Respondent, who may have an advisor of their choice present. The Investigator may interview additional members of the college community and shall have access to any files and documents necessary for investigating the report. The Reporter, Respondent, witnesses, supervisors and others are expected to cooperate with the investigation. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action and/or may have adverse consequences.
*MVCC reserves the right to take action against any individual who has willfully provided a statement/report that is found to be false.
Decision & Notification:
A written report containing a summary of the investigation, findings, a recommendation of whether discrimination occurred will be provided to the Vice President of Student Affairs who will review and approve of the decision. The approved decision and written report will be provided to all parties involved and records of the process will be retained in accordance with College policy and procedure. This process will take place 60 days from start of the investigation, however, the timeline may be extended to account for unforeseen/unpredictable circumstances throughout the duration of the investigation.
A request for appeal should be submitted to the original Investigator and must take place within 5 business days following the meeting in which the written decision was received. The appealing party must provide a narrative pertaining to one or more of the criteria listed below in order to support their request. The investigator will provide the appeal request to the Vice President of Student Affairs who will determine if one or more of the following criteria has been met in order for the appeal to be considered. The Vice President of Student Affairs is not determining the validity of the appeal, he or she is determining whether the request meets a criterion:
A. A Procedural error was made that unfairly and materially affected the outcome of the investigation:
B. “After acquired” information that is relevant to the alleged violation [information that was discovered only after the conclusion of the investigation, could not reasonable have been discovered prior to or during the investigation, and which, if previously known, would have had a significant bearing on the outcome of the investigation];
C. Clear abuse of discretion on the part of the Investigator.
Appeal Process Timeline:
• The timeline by which the Investigator notifies the Vice President of Student Affairs of request for appeal decision will be 2 days.
• The Vice President of Student Affairs may then take up to 4 days to render a decision on the appeal.
o The decision of the appeal is communicated to the appealing respondent by the Vice President of Student Affairs in writing.
The availability and use of this grievance procedure does not prevent a person from filing a complaint of discrimination based on disability with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights.