Resolving Grievances

It is the policy of St. Olaf College not to discriminate on the basis of disability. The Academic Support Center and The Disability and Access Center have adopted an internal grievance procedure providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S. C. 794) and The Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 and as amended 2008.

Students who believe they have been denied equal access to services, in the form of appropriate academic accommodations, modifications, auxiliary aids, effective communication, or have experienced discriminatory harassment, may file a grievance by following the procedures detailed below. Although the law does not require a student to follow the college’s grievance procedure before filing a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education, both OCR and the college encourage use of the internal grievance procedures before filing a complaint with OCR .

Procedures

Level I

Students are encouraged to discuss a complaint with their Disability and Access Center Specialist (DAC Specialist). The DAC Specialist and student will discuss the complaint with faculty member and/or department chair/associate dean/provost in an attempt to resolve the complaint.  Most complaints can be positively resolved and/or mediated with DAC Specialist involvement.

Level II

If an agreement cannot be reached in Level I, a student or faculty member may file a written (letter format and/or email) complaint with the Director of the Academic Support Center.
The complaint must address the following:

  1. Date of complaint
  2. Nature and scope of the complaint
  3. Steps taken to resolve complaint
  4. Discuss the outcome, including the area(s) unresolved 

The Director of the Academic Support Center, along with a designated a committee of at least two faculty and one ASC/DAC staff member, will conduct a thorough investigation that offers to all interested persons an opportunity to submit evidence relevant to the complaint.

This committee will review the gathered evidence, meet with all parties in the dispute with their permission, and decide upon a fair plan of action. A written determination as to the validity of the complaint and a description of the resolution, if any, will be issued and delivered by email and mail by the Director of the Academic Support Center to the complainant and other concerned parties no later than 10 workdays after the filing of the grievance.

Procedure for Appeals of Decision

If the complaint is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student and/or DAC staff, the student should notify the Provost of the College within 10 work days of the proposed resolution email and mail. The Provost of the College, one faculty, and one DAC staff member, as designated by the Provost, will make a final decision. Accommodations in question will continue to be provided until a final contrary decision is made.

Files and records will be kept in the student’s file in The Disability and Access Center (DAC) office for seven (7) years after the student’s expected/actual graduation date.

While it is hoped the student can resolve a grievance within the campus process, the student has the right to file any grievance directly to the Office of Civil Rights at any time. The Statute of Limitations for filing a complaint with OCR is 180 days from the time of the incident.