504 Grievance Procedure
Springfield College strives to provide prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging action prohibited by pertinent federal, state, and local disability anti-discriminatory laws.
These procedures apply to discrimination on the basis of disability including: disagreement with the decisions made about accommodations; physical inaccessibility of a College program or activity; disability harassment; or any other form of discrimination on the basis of a disability or perception of a disability.
A student may (1) attempt to resolve the matter informally or (2) immediately file a formal grievance, at the option of the student.
To resolve the matter informally, the student should first meet with Deb Dickens, 504 coordinator and director of Learning Support Services, to see if the matter can be resolved. If the student has concerns about meeting with Deb Dickens, he or she can meet with the appropriate department head or dean of the division concerned, and that person will try to resolve the matter. If Deb Dickens or the appropriate department head or dean of the division concerned is not successful in quickly achieving a satisfactory resolution (that is, generally within seven calendar days), he or she will inform the student of his or her efforts and the student’s right to file a formal complaint.
If the student chooses to file a formal grievance, the following steps should be followed:
1. The student shall file a formal grievance within forty-five (45) calendar days after he/she becomes aware of the alleged violation or denial of accommodation. The student shall file the grievance in writing to Deb Dickens, 504 coordinator and director of Learning Support Services, 263 Alden Street, 109 Hickory Hall, Springfield, MA 01109, 413-748-3747 (Voice/TTY), 413-748-3725 (fax), email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The grievance shall be in writing and include the following:
(a) The grievant’s name , address, telephone number, and e-mail address;
(b) A full description of the problem;
(c) A description of what efforts have been made to resolve the issue informally; and
(d) A statement of the remedy requested.
2. Within fourteen (14) calendar days of receipt, Deb Dickens or her designee (hereinafter referred to as the “grievance officer”) shall read the complaint and conduct an investigation. In undertaking the investigation, the grievance officer may interview, consult with, and/or request a written response to the issues raised in the grievance from any individual the grievance officer believes to have relevant information, including faculty, staff, and students. If necessary or requested, the grievance officer will hear testimony or receive written testimony from the student, relevant faculty or staff member(s), and other knowledgeable people. The student has the right to ask for testimony from any faculty or staff whom he/she deems relevant to the case.
3. After completing the investigation, the grievance officer shall report his/her conclusions and proposed disposition in writing to the grievant and all other relevant parties. This transmission will be expected within forty-five (45) calendar days of the filing of the formal complaint. The deadline may be extended for good cause (e.g., reasons related to breaks in the academic calendar). The final report may also be provided, where appropriate, to any College officer whose authority will be needed to carry out the proposed disposition or to determine whether any personnel action is appropriate.
4. The disposition proposed by the grievance officer will be put into effect promptly.
5. Within ten (10) calendar days of the issuance of the final report, the grievant may appeal the grievance officer’s determination by filing a written request for review to Mary Ann Coughlin, Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs (“VPAA”). The written request for review must specify the particular substantive and/or procedural basis for the appeal, and must be made on grounds other than general dissatisfaction with the proposed disposition. Furthermore, the appeal must be directed only to issues raised in the formal complaint as filed or to procedural errors in the conduct of the grievance procedure itself, and not to new issues.
If the grievance involves a decision that is being challenged, the review by the Assistant VPAA or her designee usually will be limited to the following considerations:
- Were the proper facts and criteria brought to bear on the decision?
- Were improper or extraneous facts or criteria brought to bear that substantially affected the decision to the detriment of the grievant?
- Were there any procedural irregularities that substantially affected the outcome of the matter to the detriment of the grievant?
- Given the proper facts, criteria, and procedures, was the decision a reasonable one?
A copy of the Assistant VPAA’s written decision will be expected within thirty (30) calendar days of the filing of the appeal and will be sent to the parties, the grievance officer and, if appropriate, to the College officer whose authority will be needed to carry out the disposition. The deadline may be extended by the Assistant VPAA for good cause (e.g., reasons related to breaks in the academic calendar). The decision of the Assistant VPAA on the appeal is final.