Amherst College is committed to promoting an equitable and respectful environment for all community members. Discrimination and harassment based on a person’s legally protected identity can cause both individual and community harm, is unlawful, and is contrary to the College’s mission. 


The purpose of this procedure is to provide anyone in the College community with options to resolve a disability discrimination concern. If you believe that you have been subject to discrimination based on your disability, you may use these procedures in response to situations such as:

  • You disagree with any decision made on behalf of the College in response to a request for accommodation.
  • You believe discrimination has resulted from a failure to implement an agreed-upon accommodation, the quality of the accommodation provided, the timeliness of the accommodation’s receipt, or any other accommodation-based claim.
  • You allege other discriminatory actions or inactions based on disability.
  • You believe you have experienced discrimination in the form of disability-based harassment.
  • You have been unable to participate in academics, programs, or other college-based activities because the College has not provided a response or resolution to an urgent Accessibility Barrier Report, typically within 15 days of submission.
  • Someone has retaliated against you because of your participation in this grievance process.

Options for Resolution

Informal Resolution 

In most instances, you can resolve your concerns quickly through informal discussions. You can seek informal resolution by reaching out to: for students - Accessibility Services, 201 Converse Hall, 413-542-2337,; for faculty and staff - Human Resources, 200 79 South Pleasant St, 413-542-2372,; for visitors - Accessibility Barrier Reporting Form. For more information, visit the Accessibility at Amherst College website

Formal Grievance

To initiate a formal grievance, you must submit it in writing to Amherst College’s ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (referred to as Coordinator going forward), Jodi Foley, Director of Accessibility Strategy and Resources You must submit the grievance within 60 days of the alleged discriminatory action. However, the College may extend the filing time frame for delays due to circumstances beyond your control, such as illness.

The grievance must contain: 

  1. Your name and address; 
  2. A detailed description of the problem or action alleged to be discriminatory, including:
    1. What happened;
    2. Those involved;
    3. Where and when the incident occurred;
    4. A detailed description of the incident(s);
  3. A summary of the steps you have already taken to try to resolve the issue or concern;
  4. The remedy or relief you are seeking.


Determination of Applicable Procedures

The College may investigate a grievance filed under this procedure through other applicable policies/procedures, including (but not limited to) the Staff Grievance Policy, Trustee Appointed Employee Grievance Policy, and Faculty Grievance Procedures. If the College investigates the grievance under any of these other policies/procedures, those policies/procedures will govern the process and the outcome.

If there is ambiguity regarding which policy/procedures apply to a particular discrimination complaint, the Coordinator and the appropriate college administrator will decide which process to use. For example, the Coordinator and the Chief Student Affairs Officer will decide which is the appropriate policy/procedure for grievances against a student; the Coordinator and Provost and Dean of the Faculty will decide which is the appropriate policy/procedure for grievances against a faculty member; the Coordinator and Chief Human Resources Officer will decide which is the appropriate policy/procedure for grievances against a staff member.


If the Coordinator decides to investigate the grievance under the Section 504 Grievance Procedure, the Coordinator will determine the scope of the investigation. The Coordinator will investigate the grievance in a prompt, effective, fair, and impartial manner. The investigation may include (but is not limited to) a review of the information you’ve submitted to either Accessibility Services, Human Resources, or through the Accessibility Barrier Reporting Form; interviews with you and any relevant witnesses; a review of any accommodation(s) previously offered; a chronology of events; and any additional information relevant to the accommodations sought. You may identify any witnesses and information that you believe may be relevant to the resolution of the grievance.


The Coordinator will aim to complete the grievance process within 30 business days from the receipt of the grievance. Depending on the investigation’s complexity, the Coordinator may need more or less time to complete the process.  


The Coordinator will use the information gathered in the investigation to determine the outcome and will send you the results in writing. 

Examples of possible conclusions and outcomes include:

  1. Conclusion: The accommodation was improperly denied and should be provided.
    Outcome: The Coordinator will share the report with the appropriate administrator and help them to implement the accommodation(s).
  2. Conclusion: The interactive process was not followed properly, but the conclusion was correct.
    Outcome: The Coordinator will share the report with the appropriate administrator and guide them on how to change the interactive process.
  3. Conclusion: The accommodation was properly denied, and there were no alternative accommodations offered/provided.
    Outcome: The Coordinator will share the report with the appropriate administrator, who will reopen the interactive process with you to discuss any alternate accommodations available.
  4. Conclusion: The interactive process was followed properly, and the accommodation offered was appropriate but was not implemented correctly.
    Outcome: The Coordinator will work with the appropriate administrator and guide them on how to implement the accommodation.
  5. Conclusion: A violation of College policy appears to have occurred.
    Outcome: The Coordinator will share the report with and refer the matter to the appropriate administrator. If appropriate under applicable policies and procedures, the administrator will determine whether a violation occurred and, if so, what remedy to assign. Otherwise, the administrator will decide whether to initiate applicable disciplinary procedures.
  6. Conclusion: All processes were followed, the accommodation offered was appropriate and reasonable, and the accommodation was implemented properly.
    Outcome: The Coordinator will close the matter.


The Coordinator may designate someone to fulfill any or all of the responsibilities identified in this procedure, such as when the Coordinator had a part in advising or determining the accommodation(s) the grievance seeks to address.


Retaliation against an individual who, in good faith, initiates this grievance process or otherwise alleges discrimination on the basis of disability is prohibited.

Additional Resources

As applicable under the Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy, any member of the Amherst College community who believes they have been discriminated against on the basis of their identity may pursue educational outcomes through The Center for Restorative Practices. The educational outcomes of bias incidents include facilitated engagement, education, and community outreach.

If you have questions about applicable laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability at Amherst College, you may direct them to the Coordinator or to the Office for Civil Rights, US Department of Education, 5 Post Office Square, 8th Floor, Boston, MA 02109, 617-289-0111.