Accessibility Services at Aquinas College

ADA/Section 504 Disability Services Grievance Procedure For Students

It is the policy of Aquinas College that all students with disabilities will be provided with equal educational and employment opportunities including the classroom and college sponsored programs and activities. Students will not be excluded from participation in or subjected to discrimination in any college activities or programs. The grievance procedure is applicable to undergraduate and graduate students of Aquinas College and covers all complaints of disability discrimination alleged to have occurred in any college program or activity. It is intended to address disability related disputes involving the following:

  1. Disagreements regarding disability eligibility or accommodations.*
  2. Inaccessibility of a program, event, or activity.
  3. Harassment or discrimination on the basis of disability in any college program or activity.
  4. Violation of privacy in the context of disability.
  5. Complaints of retaliation based on filing a prior complaint of disability discrimination involving Aquinas College.

 *If the grievance is filed based on grading or grades, please follow the Aquinas Academic Grievance Procedure, found at Academic Grievance Procedure.

Grievance Procedure

Students may file a grievance through an informal and/or formal process. In general, students are encouraged to attempt an informal resolution before filing a formal complaint; however, this is not always the most appropriate action and students have the right to request a formal resolution at any time.  This procedure does not supersede the student’s right to pursue a remedy via the Office of Civil Rights.  Contact information for OCR is available below.

Informal Resolution

Students are encouraged to directly discuss the matter in person or in writing with the individual(s) of concern. If a resolution is not reached, a formal written complaint may be filed.

Formal Complaint

  1. If an informal meeting does not result in resolution, or if direct contact is not appropriate under the circumstances, the student should then report the concern to  Shani Feyen, Director of Accessibility Services, Aquinas College, Wege Center 103C, 616.632.2177, slf004@aquinas.edu. This complaint must be in writing. File using this link, ADA/504 Grievance Form. (If the Accessibility Services Coordinator is involved in the concern(s), the student should file the complaint directly to the Dean of Students Services.)  The Accessibility Services Office will investigate the complaint and provide the student with written notice of a decision within 15 calendar days.
  2. The decision of the Director of Accessibility Services may be appealed by writing to Lisa Hetzel, Aquinas College, 1700 Fulton St. E, Grand Rapids MI 49506, 616-632-2439, lch001@aquinas.edu within 15 calendar days of the student’s written receipt of the decision.  The appeal is to contain the reasons why the person believes the decision should be changed and state the change(s) sought. The Dean will issue a written decision in response to the appeal no later than 15 calendar days after its filing.
  3. The decision of the Dean of Student Development may be appealed in writing to Stephen Barrows, PhD, Aquinas College, Executive Vice President, Provost and Dean of Faculty, 1700 Fulton St. E, Academic Building 113, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506, 616.632.2150, s.barrows@aquinas.edu, within 15 calendar days of receiving the decision.  The appeal is to contain the reasons why the person believes the decision should be changed and state the change(s) sought.  The Provost will issue a written decision in response to the appeal no later than 30 calendar days after its filing.  The Provost’s decision is final.

When to File Complaint

All complaints should be filed within 15 calendar days of the alleged incident.

What to File

A complaint must be in writing. Please use this link, ADA/504 Student Grievance Form, to file a complaint.

Where to File Complaint

The complaint shall be filed with the Director of Accessibility Services or if the complaint involves the Director of Accessibility Services, it shall be filed with the Dean of Students office. Use of the link, ADA/504 Student Grievance Form, will automatically submit the grievance to both offices, however the Accessibility Services Coordinator will be responsible for the primary investigation, unless appealed.

Shani Feyen
Director of Accessibility Services
Student Support Services
Aquinas College
Wege Center 103C
616.632.2177
slf004@aquinas.edu
Lisa Hetzel
Aquinas College
1700 Fulton St. E
Grand Rapids MI 49506
616-632-2439
lch001@aquinas.edu

Investigation

The Accessibility Services office shall promptly conduct a thorough and impartial investigation. While conducting the investigation, the Director of Accessibility Services may interview, consult with and/or request a written response to the issues raised in the grievance from any individual believed to have relevant information, including faculty, staff, and students. 

After all relevant information has been reviewed, the Director of Accessibility Services will determine if the evidence substantiates the grievance.  As appropriate, the Director of Accessibility Services may also consider whether the accommodation would: 1) result in a fundamental alteration of the program or an essential academic requirement; 2) impose undue financial or administrative hardship on the institution.

The Accessibility Services Office will prepare and submit a final written report containing a summary of the investigation, written findings, determination of whether discrimination occurred, and a proposed disposition to the Dean of Student Development who will review and approve of the decision. The final written findings will then be provided to the student, the party whom the complaint is directed, and the Dean of Student Development. A copy of this report will be kept in the student's file.  The final report shall also be provided, as appropriate, to the college administrator whose authority will be needed to carry out changes or to determine whether any personnel action is appropriate.

Office of Civil Rights

Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education Headquarters
400 Maryland Avenue, SW, 
Washington, DC 20202-1100
Customer Service Hotline #: (800) 421 - 3481
TTY#: (800) 877-8339
Email: OCR@ed.gov
Web: www.ed.gov/ocr
Michigan, Ohio
Office for Civil Rights, 
Clevland Office
U.S. Department of Education
1350 Euclid Avenue
Suite 325
Cleveland, OH 44115
Telephone: (216) 522-4970
Facsimile: (216) 522-2573
Email: OCR.Cleveland@ed.gov