ADA Grievance Policy
It is the policy of St. Mary’s College of Maryland not to discriminate against any individual on the basis of handicap or disability in matters of admissions and educational activities, and programs and services, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and applicable state law. Upon request and as required by law, the College will provide reasonable accommodation to a qualified student with a disability. The procedures for requesting an accommodation and processing those requests are contained below. In addition to these procedures, a student may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, for alleged violations of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.
Examples of disability and accommodations:
|Functional Limitation||Reasonable Accommodation||Possible Disability|
|Substantial difficulty with reading rate and/or reading comprehension.||
|Difficulty writing quickly and/or legibly.||
|Difficulty understanding or following a classroom lecture.||
|Limited mobility in walking or moving about the classrooms, or other buildings||
Step I: Initial Request for an Accommodation
After the admissions process has been completed and the student has been accepted, a student with a disability may contact the coordinator for disability services to request reasonable accommodation for his/her disability. The student is required to provide adequate documentation of his or her disability. Failure to provide adequate documentation of his or her disability may be grounds for denying the request for an accommodation.
Step II: Review and Decision
Upon receipt and review of the request and required documentation, the coordinator for disability services will respond in a timely manner to all requests and will provide the student with written notice of his/her decision. Students are not guaranteed the specific accommodations they request. While the coordinator shall give consideration to the accommodation requested, the coordinator has discretion to suggest an alternative reasonable accommodation, including one that is less expensive or easier to provide than the accommodation requested by the student.
The coordinator for disability services shall meet with the student to discuss his or her request for accommodation. The coordinator may communicate with faculty and staff, as appropriate, to determine the logistics of making a reasonable accommodation for the student. The coordinator may request that additional information or documentation be provided by the student or his or her health-care provider. The coordinator shall issue his or her decision in writing within ten (10) days of the request for an accommodation. The written decision shall contain an explanation of the basis for the decision, including, if the decision is to deny the request, an explanation of the reasons for the denial.
If the decision is to provide a reasonable accommodation, the coordinator for disability services will promptly communicate with faculty and staff, as appropriate, in order to arrange and implement the accommodation as expeditiously as possible.
If a student disagrees with the coordinator’s decision, the student may seek review of the decision by appealing in writing to the associate dean for academic services within ten (10) working days from the date of the written decision from the coordinator. The appeal should contain an explanation of the grounds for appeal and any additional written materials that the student believes should be considered in processing his or her appeal.
Step III: Review of Appeal
The purpose of the review of the appeal by the associate dean is to determine whether or not College policy has been followed and, if not, to address the consequences that may have resulted and that may need to be corrected. The associate dean for academic services may decide the appeal based on the written record already created before the coordinator for disability services and the student’s written appeal of the coordinator’s decision. Alternatively, at his/her sole discretion, the associate dean may request additional information relevant to the appeal and may conduct interviews of any person who may have information relevant to the appeal.
Within ten (10) working days following receipt of the written appeal, the associate dean for academic services will provide a written decision to the student regarding the student’s appeal. This deadline may be waived by the associate dean if further investigation is needed.
Step IV: Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Review and Final Decision
If the student disagrees with the associate dean’s decision, an appeal may be made to the vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty within ten (10) working days of the written decision by the associate dean. The vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty will decide the appeal based on the written record and the student’s written appeal. The vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty’s decision is the final decision of the College and may not be appealed. The vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty will take all action necessary to implement his/her final decision.
A student who makes use of the review process shall not be retaliated against.
Receiving and Maintaining Confidential Student Records
A student’s disability documentation is considered confidential. Documentation of the disability is maintained at the Office of Academic Services and is not part of a student’s permanent student record. Communications about a disability or accommodations should respect a student’s right to privacy at all times. Conversations between instructors and students about disability-related matters, including accommodation arrangements, during class, or in other public settings are discouraged.
When a faculty member has a question about the appropriateness of the accommodation for a specific course or course activity, the associate dean for academic services should be contacted to address the faculty member’s concern.