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Student Policy and Procedures For Resolving University 504/ADA Accommodation Disputes

I. Introduction

It is the policy of California Polytechnic State University that "otherwise qualified" students who have disabilities shall have access to academic adjustments and auxiliary aids necessary to accommodate functional limitations (resulting from verified disabilities) impairing one or more major life activities. Accommodations are generally determined on an individual basis. This document describes the remedies available to students in the event that there is a dispute regarding the appropriateness of a particular student accommodation. Every effort will be made to resolve the dispute as expeditiously as possible. During the time that the accommodation is under review, the Disability Resource Center recommendation for accommodation will remain in effect. The following procedures have been developed in response to Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act, State of California ACR 201 (1976), ACR 3 (1985), AB 746 (1987), and the "Policy for the Provision of Services to Students with Disabilities," coded memorandum AAES 89-07, The California State University System.

II. Informal Resolution Procedures

Students, faculty or staff should attempt to resolve disputes informally with either the party alleged to have committed the violation, and/or with the head of the department or unit in which the alleged violation occurred, or the Dean of Students. There is no requirement that a complainant use these informal procedures before filing a formal complaint. Experience has shown that the majority of complaints can be effectively resolved through the informal process. In the interest of efficiency all complainants are encouraged to resolve disputes via these informal processes when possible. The Dean of Students and the Disability Resource Center are available to provide advisory, mediation, and conciliation services to students raising such complaints.

III. Formal Complaint Resolution Procedures

  1. To initiate the formal resolution process, a “Student 504/ADA Accommodation Appeal/Complaint Form” must be filed with the Dean of Students within thirty (30) calendar days of the time the complainant could reasonably be expected to have had knowledge of the injury allegedly caused by the discriminatory action. Complaints must include the following information:
    • The complainant's name, address, and phone number
    • The specific act(s) or circumstances(s) alleged to constitute the discriminatory actions that are the basis of the complaint, including (1) the date, time and place of the alleged discriminatory action; (2) the names of those involved and the names of any witnesses who can document the alleged discriminatory action; and (3) the names of other university officials the student has approached to help resolve the issue informally prior to filing the complaint; and
    • The remedy requested
  2. The Dean of Students or designee will direct the complaint within five (5) working days to the appropriate campus vice president (Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice President for Student Affairs, Vice President for Administration and Finance or Vice President for Advancement).
  3. The vice president or designee will, within five (5) working days, evaluate the complaint and send it to the appropriate dean, department chair, department head, or director for resolution.
  4. If the dean, department chair, department head, or director is unable to resolve the dispute within five (5) working days, the complaint form will be referred to the Accommodation Review Board (ARB) chairperson by the vice president/designee and include a written summary of actions taken in the preceding steps to resolve the dispute.
  5. Within ten (10) working days of the receipt of a written complaint, the ARB shall review the complaint to determine whether it has standing, meaning that, if substantiated, the alleged conduct would be a violation of the student’s right to an accommodation. The ARB reserves the right to request additional information from any of the parties in order to determine standing.
  6. If the complaint is determined to have standing, a hearing shall be held within fifteen (15) working days of that determination.
  7. The ARB will issue written findings to the appropriate vice-president/designee within ten (10) working days. The findings shall address the merit of the complaint and may include recommendations on appropriate remedies.
  8. The vice president/designee will issue an implementation letter within ten (10) working days of receipt of the ARB findings. The vice president/designee has the authority to accept, reject, or modify the findings of the ARB. The vice president/designee's decision is final and ends the formal University 504/ADA Accommodation Disputes Resolution process.
  9. The above deadlines can be modified, upon request from either party or the ARB, if all parties agree to the modifications. If the student is dissatisfied by the resolution, they are encouraged to continue reviewing their concerns with the Dean of Students office.  

IV. Accommodation Review Board

Members of the Accommodation Review board (ARB) are selected from the Disability Access and Compliance Committee (DACC) by the DACC chair as needed, as well as up to two representatives appointed by the Academic Senate. The ARB will be comprised of no less than three (3) members. A quorum shall consist of a majority of the ARB members assigned to the Board. All DACC members are eligible to serve on the ARB. Student members may only serve if requested by the complainant (on the Appeal/Complaint form). The Associate Vice Provost for Academic Programs or designee shall also participate and serve as the chairperson of the ARB. The 504/ADA Coordinator or designee will serve as a non-voting, ex officio member of the Accommodation Review Board. The University's ADA/504 Compliance Officer and the Disability Resource Center will provide training for the Board annually. (Originally adopted 5.13.99 as AS-513-99; revised by DACC 7.27.06 as motion 2.2006-07; revised by DACC 5.24.06 as motion 9.2006-07; revised by DACC 6.25.07 as motion 12.2006-07 and adopted 7.30.07; revised 4.11.2008, pending action item #12; revised 5.22.10).

Hearing Procedures

  1. Upon receipt of the complaint, the chairperson of the ARB will schedule a meeting of the ARB to determine if the complaint has merit. If the complaint is determined to have merit a hearing shall be scheduled.
  2. In order to avoid potential conflicts of interest, board members will recuse themselves if they have a significant direct involvement in the dispute or a personal relationship with one or both parties.
  3. During the hearing, the ARB will allow each principal party, who may be accompanied by an advisor, to present his/her case personally, call and question witnesses, and present exhibits. The Board may request copies of any materials it believes are relevant to the hearing. If the complainant or his/her advisor is an attorney, the ARB chairperson must be notified in writing of that fact at least three (3) working days prior to the scheduling of the hearing. In such cases, the University will be represented by the University Legal Counsel.
  4. Each Board member may ask questions of either party or any witnesses.
  5. The Board itself may call witnesses or recall witnesses.
  6. The Board will keep a summary file of each case and will tape record the hearing.
  7. The Board will close the hearing when it is satisfied that both sides have been heard.
  8. The Board will deliberate in private.
  9. Decisions will be reached by simple majority vote with the Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Undergraduate Education or designee voting only when needed to break a tie. The 504/ADA Coordinator or designee serves as a non-voting, ex officio member.
  10. The chairperson of the Board will send a copy of its recommendation to the vice president/designee.
  11. Should any Board member wish to file a minority recommendation, it will be attached to the Board's majority recommendation.

Formal Complaint Resolution Procedures Timeline

The dispute resolution process may proceed by the following timeline.

NOTE: The timeline dates are maximum amounts and account for absences of individuals involved, complexities of scheduling faculty and staff during the middle of a quarter or in the summer, and the potential need for legal consultation prior to making findings. It is hoped that in most situations the process is completed in less than the allotted time.

The dispute resolution process may proceed by the following timeline.
Policy Section Action Working Days
III.2 Dean of Students/designee receives complaint, validates disability, and directs to appropriate vice president 5
III.3 Vice president/designee evaluates complaint and sends to appropriate dean, department chair, department head, or director for resolution 5
III.4 Dean, department chair, department head, or director resolves dispute or refers complaint to Accommodation Review Board (ARB) by way of the vice president/designee 5
III.5 ARB receives complaint, reviews and determines standing 10
III.6 ARB holds hearing if complaint has standing 15
III.7 ARB issues written findings following hearing to the vice president/designee 10
III.8 Vice president/designee issues implementation letter following receipt of the ARB findings 10
III.9 These deadlines can be modified, upon request from either party or the ARB, if all parties agree to the modifications. 0
Total   60



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