Disability Resource Center

STUDENT DISABILITY GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

PURPOSE

The University of North Carolina Wilmington protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of disability, and is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to enable qualified students with documented disabilities to accomplish their educational goals.

 This grievance procedure is established to meet the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (amended 2008). It may be used by any student who alleges discrimination on the basis of disability in the provision of services, activities, programs, or benefits by UNCW, except where ability represents a bona fide educational or occupational qualification. In accordance with academic freedom in an academic setting, expression that is reasonably designed or reasonably intended to contribute to academic inquiry, education or debate on issues of public concern shall be exempt from coverage.

These procedures are intended to encourage resolution of the student’s complaint informally and expeditiously.

STUDENT RESPONSIBILITY

Reasonable accommodations are provided based on individual need as assessed through appropriate/qualified documentation using an interactive process. It is the responsibility of the student who desires a reasonable accommodation to notify the Disability Resource Center (DRC) and to provide appropriate/qualified documentation as necessary.

Students are not required to identify themselves as disabled if they do not want to avail themselves of accommodations.

INFORMAL RESOLUTION

  1. Any student who believes that they have been the subject of discrimination based on their disability or who believes that the accommodations and services afforded are inappropriate to provide access should seek resolution. The university has adopted internal procedures designed to provide prompt and equitable resolution to disability complaints at the earliest and lowest level possible.

  2. When appropriate, informal resolution with the individual, organization, or department giving rise to the complaint is encouraged and should be attempted prior to formal filing of a grievance. The informal procedure affords all interested persons an opportunity to respond and make modifications if necessary.

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE 

  1. If not informally resolved, students with complaints concerning alleged discrimination or inappropriate accommodations should make these complaints known to the Director of the Disability Resource Center. The Director will investigate the complaint in accordance with DRC process and suggest solutions.

  2. If resolution is not achieved or the individuals involved are not satisfied with the resolution, the student may discuss their complaint with the ADA Coordinator, who will advise the student of the steps in the grievance process and receive their formal written complaint.

  3. There are three categories of grievances:

    1. Physical Barriers Preventing Access

    2. Failure to Accommodate; Attitudinal Discrimination; Disability-based Harassment

    3. Policy and Procedures Preventing Access

      Determining discrimination or harassment is based on evidence that the conduct was sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive enough to deny or limit the complainant’s ability to participate in or benefit from UNCW’s programs, activities, or services.

  4. The formal, written grievance must be submitted by the grieving student as soon as possible but no later than 60 calendar days after the alleged violation, except when extenuating circumstances prohibit such submission (i.e., hospitalization, incapacitation) to:

    Dr. Brian Victor
    ADA Coordinator/504 Compliance Officer Campus Box 5985
    DePaolo Hall 1007
    Wilmington, NC 28405
    (910) 962-3282
    Email: ADA-504-Coordinator@uncw.edu

  5. The written grievance must contain specific information about the alleged discrimination or failure to make a reasonable accommodation, including:

    1. the name, address, phone number of grievant;

    2. the identity of the respondent – the individual or department whose action gave rise to the matter;

    3. the category of grievance;

    4. any requests for accommodations sought, a description of the injury, and resolution sought; and

    5. a summary of the time, place and results of any informal resolution discussion that took place to attempt to clarify or resolve the complaint with the respondent. 

  6. Students unable to file a written grievance due to a documented disability will be given the option of responding through alternate means in order to establish their grievance.

  7. Within 15 calendar days after receipt of the formal written grievance, the ADA Coordinator or designee will meet with the grievant to discuss the allegations and the possible resolutions.

    If a grievant seeks personal redress for an attitudinal discrimination or disability-based harassment, the grievant must be willing to be identified to the respondent. The ADA Coordinator will notify, in writing, the respondent, stating the nature of the grievance and indicating that an inquiry will be conducted. If the grievant is not willing to be identified or ceases to seek personal redress, the institution may pursue an inquiry on the institution’s behalf and in its name rather than the grievant’s, if it determines that such action is necessary. These latter inquiry procedures are initiated by the institution to ensure appropriate conduct by its employees (e.g., when the institution seeks to prevent recurrence of apparent improper conduct, even though no individual wishes to pursue a personal grievance).

  8. Within 15 calendar days after meeting with the grievant, the ADA Coordinator/designee should conduct an investigation and offer options for a substantive resolution, if warranted. The ADA Coordinator will issue the resolution in written form and, where appropriate, in a format accessible to the greivant.

APPEAL

The grievant or respondent may appeal the decision and/or resolution on the following grounds:

  1. The alleged behavior persists;

  2. The proffered resolution was not implemented;

  3. Material procedural irregularities occurred during the grievance process; or

  4. New evidence has been discovered that had not been available during the grievance process and that may have a substantial impact on the outcome.

Dissatisfaction with the decision and/or proffered resolution is not grounds for an appeal.

A party seeking to appeal on approved grounds must file a formal appeal within 10 calendar days after receipt of the ADA Coordinator’s resolution with the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (VCSA). The VCSA will review the grievance and proffered resolution.

Within 15 calendar days of receipt, the VCSA will render the final resolution in writing to both the grievant and respondent and, where appropriate, in a format accessible to the grievant. The VCSA will also inform the appropriate vice chancellor who has administrative jurisdiction over the respondent.

RECORDS

All written complaints received by the ADA Coordinator/designee, appeals to the VCSA, and all documented, formal resolutions from the offices involved will be retained for at least three years.

EXTERNAL REMEDIES

At any point, the student complainant has the right to file a complaint with the appropriate federal or state agency. The use of the internal grievance procedure shall not be a prerequisite to other external remedies.

Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-1475

Telephone: 800-421-3481
FAX: 202-453-6021;

TDD: 800-877-8339
Email: 
OCR.DC@ed.gov

Civil Rights Division 
N.C. Human Relations Commission
1318 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-1318

Telephone:  919-431-3035

RETALIATION PROHIBITED

Retaliation (including intimidating, threatening, coercing, or in any way discriminating) against a person who files a complaint of discrimination or participates in an investigation is prohibited under university policy and by state and federal law.

ADA Grievance Form