Office of Student Affairs

SECTION 504 DISABILITY GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

It is the policy of Amherst College not to discriminate on the basis of disability. Amherst College has adopted an internal grievance procedure.  This procedure provides for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints which allege any action prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and applicable state law.  These laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability in any programs, activities, and employment opportunities available at Amherst College.  These laws also prohibit retaliation against an individual who files a complaint regarding disability discrimination, files a grievance under this procedure, or cooperates in the investigation of such complaint or grievance.

 In accordance with the disability laws, persons (including students, faculty, staff, and applicants) who are qualified individuals with disabilities as defined by law may request reasonable accommodations which afford them equal opportunity to access, use, and/or participate in the programs, activities, facilities and employment available at Amherst College.  The College will provide those reasonable accommodations unless they would present an undue financial or administrative burden or make a fundamental alteration to the nature of the program or activity.  If a requested accommodation presents an undue burden or makes a fundamental alteration, the College will attempt to propose alternative solutions and/or accommodations which do not create such hardship or make such alteration.  The College will work in good faith with the person requesting the accommodation to determine the availability of an acceptable alternative.  Individuals who wish to request a reasonable accommodation, or who have questions about that process, should contact Dean Charri Boykin-East, Senior Associate Dean of Students, Section 504 Disability Coordinator, 201 Converse Hall, 413-542-2529413-542-2337; cjboykineast@amherst.edu or Ernest LeBlanc, Benefits Administrator, 206 79 South Pleasant St, 413-542-5407413-542-5407; eleblanc@amherst.edu.  For more information, see https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/deanstudents/disability.

Procedure:

 Grievances are to be submitted to the Section 504 Disability Coordinator, generally within 45 days of the date the person filing the grievance becomes aware of the alleged discriminatory action.  

  • The grievance is to contain the name and address of the person filing it, a description of the problem or action alleged to be discriminatory or retaliatory, and the remedy or relief sought.
  •  The Section 504 Coordinator (or her designee) shall conduct an investigation of the grievance.  The investigation generally will include interviews of the person who submitted the grievance, relevant individuals referenced in the grievance, and may include additional interviews as appropriate.  The person bringing the grievance and the person responding to the grievance may identify additional persons and/or documents they believe would be relevant and helpful to the investigation of the grievance.  
  •  Absent exceptional circumstances, the Section 504 Coordinator (or her designee) typically will issue a written decision on the grievance no later than 30 days after its filing.  The complaining party and responding party will be notified of the decision.
  •  The decision of the Section 504 Coordinator (or her designee) may be appealed by writing to Maria-Judith Rodriguez, Director of Human Resources, 202 79 South Pleasant Street, 413-542-2372413-542-2372; mjrodriguez@amherst.edu  within 15 days of receiving the decision.  The appeal is to contain the reasons why the person believes the decision should be changed and state the change(s) sought.  Absent exceptional circumstances, the Director of Human Resources typically shall issue a written decision in response to the appeal no later than 30 days after its filing.

The College may investigate a grievance regarding disability discrimination, harassment or retaliation through procedures set forth in other applicable college polices, including those for staff at  https://www.amherst.edu/offices/human_resources/employeehandbooks/staffhandbook_alpha/grievancepolicy; trustee-appointed employees at https://www.amherst.edu/offices/human_resources/employeehandbooks/trusteeappemphandbk_alpha/grievancepolicy; and faculty at https://www.amherst.edu/academiclife/dean_faculty/fph/fachandbook/facstatus/termination

Amherst College will make arrangements to ensure that people with a disability are provided other appropriate accommodations, if needed, to participate in a grievance process. Such arrangements will be made by the Section 504 Coordinator.