Accessibility Services at Aquinas College

Accessibility Grievance Procedure

In alignment with the mission of the college, and in accordance with Aquinas policy, students with disabilities will be provided with equal educational and employment opportunities including classroom and college sponsored programs and activities. Should an Aquinas student experience discrimination in any college activities or educational programs, the student can follow the grievance procedure below (as related to disability or access in a campus activity). The grievance procedure is applicable to undergraduate and graduate students of Aquinas College (including students in one of Aquinas College's partnership programs) 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.

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 (OCR). 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, by using the ADA/504 Grievance Form. If the Director of Accessibility Services is involved in the concern(s), the student should file the complaint directly to Dr. Lisa Hetzel, Dean of Student Development. The Director of Accessibility Services 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 Dr. Lisa Hetzel, Dean of Student Development, 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 will state reasons why 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 Dr. Stephen Barrows, Executive Vice President, Provost, and Dean of Faculty Aquinas College, 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 will state 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, when possible.

What to File

A complaint must be in writing. Please use this link, ADA/504 Student Grievance Form. If an individual experiences difficulty using the form, please contact the Director of Accessibility Services at 616-632-2177.

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 Director will be responsible for the primary investigation, unless the complaint is related to the Director of Accessibility, and/or if the decision is being appealed.

Shani Feyen
Director of Accessibility Services
Student Support Services
Aquinas College
Wege Center 103C
(616) 632-2177
slf004@aquinas.edu

Dr. Lisa Hetzel
Dean of Student Development
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, students, and other individuals who may have knowledge of the incident.

After all relevant information has been reviewed, the Director of Accessibility Services will determine if the evidence substantiates the grievance, using the preponderance of evidence standard.

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 resolution 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 within Accessibility Services and with the Dean of Student Development. 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

Office for Civil Rights, Regional Office
Cleveland 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