The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Since its Initial enforcement in 1990 (Public law 101-336), ADA was enacted to “establish a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability.” The main idea behind ADA is that “no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded form participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity (42 U.S.C. 12132).
The Rehabilitation Act, Section 504:
Section 504 was enacted in 1973 (Public Law: 93-112) to ensure that “no otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States…shall, solely by reason of…disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation, or be subjected to discrimination under any program any activity receiving federal financial assistance” (29 U.S.C. 791).
The basic idea behind these two acts, and additional state laws, is that an educational institution should accommodate an otherwise qualifies student in order to ensure equal access to what is being provided to all students and equal opportunity to learn.
Notice of Disability
One very important aspect of the laws regarding students with disabilities in the post-secondary institution is that it is the students’ responsibility to give notice of disability to initiate accommodations; this notice should be given to the appropriate offices of the institution which have been established to handle students’ with disabilities records and requests. Until students identify themselves as students with a disability, they are not entitled to any accommodations.
A. Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK) and the Disability Resource Center support students in their right to file a grievance when they believe equal access has been denied in regard to appropriate accommodations, modifications, auxiliary aids, or effective communication or when they believe they have been discriminated against as described in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).
B. A student who feels he or she has been subject to discrimination in a academic program based on disability may file a written grievance with the DRC which would be submitted to the Director of Compliance. The DRC and Director of Compliance will work in partnership to investigate and attempt to resolve the complaint using the following steps:
- Review the grievance report from the student
- Gather any additional pertinent information from the student
- Gather any pertinent information from the DRC office
- Obtain a response or any additional information from the classroom instructor
- Consult with administration as deemed appropriate and the Office of General Counsel regarding applicable rule and legal requirements, as appropriate
- Document and assess the finding of facts, including those agreed upon and those disputed
- Attempt a resolution of the grievance between the student and the classroom instructor, if appropriate
- Make a decision regarding the alleged complaint with the respect to the academic program
C. The Director of Compliance and DRC should complete there investigation and produce a written report within 10 working days. A copy of the report is provided to the student, the dean or designee of the college offering the academic program, the student's Dean or designee, if different, and the DRC office. All documentation related to the grievance should be placed in an Appeal Summary File.
D. To appeal the decision of the findings, the student must file a written request for a review with the Dean of the appropriate department for which the complaint was filed.
E. There are also two additional grievance procedures established specifically for students with disabilities who feel their rights have been violated under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).
1. The first procedure is recommended for resolving disability-related conflicts with faculty, staff, campus organizations and/or other students.
- A student is encouraged to discuss his/her concerns with the Student Health and Wellness DRC Coordinator who will contact the parties involved, as appropriate, to determine resolution. For example the DRC Coordinator may attempt to resolve the situation by assisting the student in discussing issues with a faculty member, by facilitating a meeting of the parties involved, or by calling the faculty member and/or head of the department in an effort to clarify and resolve issues. In some instances, other DRC staff may be consulted. The student, and other involved parties, will be notified by the DRC office of the resolution of the situation within 7 business days. Due to the urgency of many issues, it is likely that many problems will be resolved much sooner.
- A student may take further action if he/she does not believe a satisfactory resolution was reached after intervention by the DRC Coordinator. Students should notify the Vice President of Student Affairs of the appropriate disability-related academic concerns.
2. The second procedure is recommended for resolving conflicts with the DRC office and/or a particular DRC staff person.
- When a student has a complaint against DRC and/or one of its staff members, the student should first discuss the complaint with the DRC Coordinator of Student Health and Wellness. Resolution of the issue may be reached at this level.
- If the complaint is not satisfactorily resolved or for a specific reason cannot be discussed with the DRC Coordinator, the student should contact the Student Health and Wellness Director. After investigating the situation, the Vice-President of Student Affairs will inform the student and the involved parties of progress.
3. If after utilizing these procedures a satisfactory resolution is still not obtained, the student may choose to file a complaint with the Federal Office of Civil Rights. The Office of Civil Rights will take complaints and will investigate when appropriate.
Regional Manager Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
1301 Young Street, Suite 1169
Dallas, TX 75202
This page was last updated on: February 20, 2014