Procedures and Policies
Disability Services Grievance and Appeal Procedures
The purpose of grievance and appeal procedures is to attempt to resolve all types of grievances in a timely manner. It is to the student's advantage to keep communication open with faculty, staff, and peers, thus avoiding the necessity for grievance or appeals. In the event that a student believes that a grievance is directly related to that student's disability, the student should contact the Disability Services Office. The Director of Disability Services will support and assist in the process.
If the problem has not been resolved through usual channels, then a formal written grievance may be filed. The following procedures will be followed for grievances or appeals related specifically to services for students with disabilities provided by the Disability Services Office as required under the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Students should address the grievance to the Disability Services Director.
- The grievance should contain the name and address of the person/s filing it, and a brief description of the alleged violation of the regulations. It should be filed with the Director of Disability Services within 30 workdays from the date of the alleged grievance.
- An investigation conducted by the Director shall follow the filing of a grievance. The investigation shall be informal, but thorough, and it should afford all interested persons and their representatives, if any, an opportunity to submit evidence relevant to the grievance.
- Following the grievance investigation, at least three members of the Disability Committee will convene a special meeting to meet with the complainant and, at a separate time, the other party or parties involved for review of the incident. The committee will make recommendations to the Director.
- A written determination as to the validity of the grievance and a description of the resolution, if any, shall be issued by the Director and forwarded to the complainant no later than 15 workdays after the filing.
- The Director shall maintain the files and records relating to grievances for a period of three years.
- If a grievance is against the Director of Disability Services, the above procedures are to be followed with the exception that the grievance will be made to the Dean of Students.
- The complainant can request a reconsideration of the case in instances of dissatisfaction with the resolution. The request for reconsideration should be made to the ADA compliance officer (the Dean of Students) within 10 workdays of the resolution of the complaint.
- The right of a person to a prompt and equitable resolution of the complaint filed hereunder shall not be impaired by nor shall the use of this procedure be a prerequisite to the pursuit of other remedies.
- These rules shall be construed to protect the substantive rights of interested persons, to meet appropriate due process standards, and to assure that the university complies with the ADA.
Although the student is encouraged to attempt to resolve a grievance within the campus process, s/he has the right to file any complaint directly to the Office for Civil Rights at any time. The Statute of Limitations for filing a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights is 180 days from the time the incident occurred, or within 60 days after the Avila University investigation. Forms may be obtained from the ADA compliance officer or the Disability Services Office.
Course Substitution Policy for Students With Disabilities
Course requirements for degrees granted by Avila University are designed to provide a comprehensive education in general liberal arts and in the student's major field of study. In awarding a degree, Avila University is recognizing the satisfactory completion of a set of courses it deems representative of the academic standards it upholds. In addition, all admitted students are regarded as “otherwise qualified” to participate in any program of academic study with or without reasonable accommodations. Therefore, students with disabilities are not excused from degree requirements.
However, in some limited circumstances, substitution of a course requirement may be determined to be a reasonable and appropriate accommodation for a student with a properly documented disability. An accommodation of this nature is considered only when it has been confirmed that the student's disability makes completion of the requirement impossible. Such confirmation can only be made after the student has attempted, but has been unsuccessful, at completing the course with all other appropriate accommodations in place. Consideration of a course substitution is done on a case-by-case basis.
Gaining approval for a course substitution may be a lengthy process. Therefore, it is recommended that the student initiate the request early in his or her academic career. In most cases, it will be necessary for the student to have declared a major before the request can be considered. This will allow a determination to be made as to whether or not the requested course substitution represents a fundamental alteration in the chosen field of study. The University retains the right to revoke a substitution in the event that the student changes majors and the substituted course is found to be essential to the newly declared major field of study as determined by the School/College. A determination of any course substitution will require communication between the Director of Disability Services, the student’s Advisor, Department Faculty, the Dean of the School/College and the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
The final decision regarding a course substitution will rest with the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
At the time of request, a student with a disability who would like to request a course substitution as a reasonable accommodation will submit the following to the Director of Disability Services:
- Appropriate written documentation verifying a disability that substantially limits the skills required for the successful completion of the required course. Please refer to the University documentation guidelines for information as to what constitutes appropriate written documentation (available from the Director of Disability Services).
- A completed Exception to Academic Requirements and/or Policies listed in the Avila University Catalog form (available in the Office of Registration and Student Records).
- A written personal statement describing difficulties the student has encountered in past attempts to perform successfully within the subject area. In this statement, the student should explain how the disability has impacted these attempts.
- A completed Authorization to Release Information form to document written permission for the Director of Disability Services to share relevant disability related information with appropriate faculty, staff, and administrative members of the University as part of the decision-making process. The Authorization to Release Information form may be obtained from the Director of Disability Services.
The student may also solicit documentation from the faculty person, who taught the course in question; if the student believes it will strengthen his or her case. Comments may include the faculty member's observations about the student's efforts in the course, whether or not the student made use of the faculty member's office hours, whether or not the student attended tutoring sessions or study group sessions, and any accommodations that may have been utilized.
The Director of Disability Services will forward the above information to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will convene a meeting consisting of the Director of Disability Services, a representative from the Disability Committee, a member of the faculty representing the discipline, the Dean of the School/College or his/her designee and the Vice President for Academic Affairs or his/her designee. The convened committee will make a recommendation to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will make the final decision. The Office of Academic Affairs will notify the student in writing of the final decision.
Please contact Disability Services at DSO@avila.edu to request policies.