There are two procedures to address disability-related complaints, as explained below:
The most efficient way to resolve a potential issue related to disability accommodation or accessibility is to communicate concerns directly to the responsible VCU official. VCU encourages students who believe they have been denied a reasonable accommodation or sufficient access by a VCU instructor or a VCU office, including Disability Support Services or the Division for Academic Success, to attempt to resolve the issue directly with that person or office. To facilitate timely resolution of such concerns, students should raise the issue as soon as possible following the denial and clearly articulate in a written statement their concerns and the resolution that they seek. Students may contact their case manager in Disability Support Services or the Division for Academic Success case manager for advice on handling such matters and support related to an accommodation approved by that office, including mediation if appropriate.
Most concerns about accommodation and accessibility can be resolved in this manner, and students should make every reasonable effort to achieve this resolution. If the issue is resolved to the student’s satisfaction, no formal grievance is necessary.
If such direct communication does not resolve concerns related to accessibility or accommodation, VCU encourages students who believe they have been denied a reasonable accommodation or sufficient access because of their disability to use the Student Disability Accommodation and Accessibility Grievance Procedures set forth below.
Important: Student complaints alleging harassment or forms of discrimination based on disability unrelated to access or accommodation and all employee and third-party disability discrimination complaints should be filed directly with Equity and Access Services and not through the Student Disability Accommodation and Accessibility Grievance Procedure.
If the student’s concern is not resolved through direct communication as indicated above, the student may file a written grievance by submitting a detailed account of the issue and the remedy sought to the appropriate office by email at the following address – Disability Support Services (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Division for Academic Success (email@example.com). These offices maintain grievance records, including complaints and resolution, and report as appropriate to the university’s Section 504/ADA Coordinator in Equity and Access Services.
Once Disability Support Services or the Division for Academic Success receives a complaint, the student may be required to meet with the Disability Support Services/Division for Academic Success representative assigned to the student for accommodation requests and assessment. The representative will gather relevant information and may speak with involved parties in an effort to clarify and resolve the issues underlying the grievance. As part of this information gathering, the student will have the opportunity to suggest witnesses who may have relevant information or present other evidence to the representative. The representative will notify the student and involved parties via email of the outcome, including any relevant finding, rationale, and resolution, within ten (10) business days of receiving the complaint or as soon as is reasonably practical thereafter.
If the grievance is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction in Step 1, the student may pursue Step 2. If the Disability Support Services/Division for Academic Success representative is also the Director of Disability Support Services or the Director of the Division for Academic Success, however, the student may skip Step 2 and pursue Step 3 directly.
If the student disagrees with the Step 1 decision, they can appeal via email to the Director of Disability Support Services or the Director of the Division for Academic Success (whichever is applicable) or the Director’s designee. An appeal must include a written statement of the reason for contesting the Step 1 decision and must be submitted within five (5) business days of the Step 1 outcome email notification.
The Director will review the submitted material and may contact the student and any involved parties in an effort to clarify and resolve the grievance. The Director will notify the student and involved parties of their decision to uphold or modify the Step 1 decision via email within ten (10) business days of the appeal or as soon as reasonably practical thereafter.
If the grievance is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction in Step 2 (or in Step 1 when the Director is the assigned representative), the student may file a disability discrimination complaint with Equity and Access Services pursuant to the Affirmation of VCU’s Equal Opportunity Policy – Interim [PDF] as set forth below.
Equity and Access Services reviews reports of discrimination based on disability submitted by students, employees, and third parties to determine whether the complainant was subject to discrimination as prohibited by the university’s Affirmation of VCU’s Equal Opportunity Policy – Interim (Policy), consistent with Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended.
EAS receives reports by the Equal Opportunity Incident Reporting Form. While the online reporting form is the most efficient way to communicate relevant information, EAS will also receive complaints by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at (804) 828-1347 or in-person by scheduled appointment. EAS follows the complaint resolution procedures and timeframes consistent with the Policy.