Students who have concerns or complaints about University-provided disability accommodations, denials, or the accommodation process, or who have complaints regarding compliance with approved accommodations by University employees, are directed to this complaint procedure. While students are strongly encouraged to follow the steps in this procedure, a student need not go through each step herein before making a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education.
Note about Discrimination Complaints: If a student feels that he/she has been subject to discrimination based upon a disability, as described in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the student should report the matter to the University’s Equal Opportunity Officer (tel. 202-319-4177) per the University’s Non-Discrimination, Anti-Harassment and Title IX Compliance Policy. Reports of discrimination are addressed by the Equal Opportunity Office rather than by DSS. However, a student may file a grievance with the DSS office and a discrimination complaint concurrently to address separate but related issues.
II. Complaint Procedure
A. Step 1: Informal Resolution
Before filing a formal complaint with the University per these procedures, students are asked to speak directly with DSS staff or with the instructor in order to resolve the student’s concern. Every reasonable effort should be made to resolve such an issue at this level.
If the matter is not resolved, the student should make an appointment with the DSS Assistant Director. If the student’s concern pertains to the DSS Assistant Director, the student should make an appointment with the DSS Director.
The Assistant Director or Director, as applicable, will meet with the student as soon as possible and attempt to resolve the concern through support and mediation. If the matter is resolved, the student and involved parties will be notified by the DSS Assistant Director or Director by email of the resolution. If the matter is not resolved, the student may proceed to Step 2 below.
B. Step 2: Review by an Equal Opportunity Officer
If a student’s concern is not resolved through informal resolution, the student may file a written complaint to the University’s Equal Opportunity Officer that clearly articulates the concern and the resolution sought. Students must raise their concerns as soon as possible. The Equal Opportunity Officer will review the students concern, reach a determination, and communicate that determination in writing to the parties involved.
C. Step 3: Appeal to the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer
If the student wishes to appeal the Equal Opportunity Officer’s determination, the student must submit a written statement to the University’s Chief Ethic and Compliance Officer within the Office of the President identifying the specific grounds therefore. The Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer will review the appeal, reach a determination, and communicate that determination in writing to the parties involved. The Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer’s determination shall be the final review of the student’s concerns at the University level, and no further internal review or appeal shall be permitted.
D. Step 4: Complaint with the Office of Civil Rights
If the student’s concerns or complaints are not resolved at the University level, the student may choose to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education. The Office of Civil Rights investigates timely complaints for which they have jurisdiction. www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/howto.html