Grievance Procedure

Applicability of Grievance Procedure

  1. Students who believe that they have been subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability, or have been denied access to services or accommodations as required by law, or denied participation in University programs and activities, have the right to use this grievance procedure.
  2. This grievance procedure is designed to address disputes regarding:
    • Disagreements regarding a requested service, accommodation, or modification of a University practice or requirement;
    • Inaccessibility of a program or activity; and
    • Harassment or discrimination on the basis of disability.

For the purposes of this policy, the above conduct is termed “discrimination or harassment.”

 Informal Resolution Process

  1. As an alternative to the formal complaint procedure described below, students are encouraged to submit the matter in writing with the ARC. The written complaint should specify the time, place, and nature of the act claimed to be in violation and may be supplemented by supporting documents and/or written statements from persons having firsthand knowledge of the facts or other documentation and evidence, which the student believes supports the complaint.
  2. Within twenty (20) working days of receipt of the claim, the ARC will collect and investigate all pertinent facts and circumstances in support of the alleged violation. Investigation will include review and verification of all documentation, evidence and testimony by involved and/or knowledgeable parties.
  3. The ARC may attempt resolution of a complaint through mutual agreement of the affected parties at any point during the course of the investigation. Should such resolution be achieved, the investigation shall be ended.
  4. If no resolution results, or if direct contact is inappropriate under the circumstances, the student should then consult with the Section 504-ADA Coordinator who will attempt to facilitate a resolution through the formal grievance process.

Formal Grievance Process

If the informal grievance process above does not result in a successful resolution, then the student may file a formal grievance as follows.

  1. Complaints should be filed as soon as possible with Sheilah Vance, Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator, located in the Suite 237, Administration Building (39), 4200 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20008; e-mail:
  2. A complaint must be in writing and shall include the relevant name(s), date(s), and time(s), a detailed description of the allegations of discrimination or harassment, the type of discrimination alleged occurred, the names of any witnesses to the discrimination or harassment, requested corrective action and any other relevant information on which the complaint is based. A complaint of discrimination or harassment in educational programs or activities must be filed with the University within one hundred and eighty (180) calendar days following the date the alleged discrimination or harassment took place.
  3. The Section 504-ADA Coordinator will promptly initiate an investigation consistent with the University’s Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policy.
  4. In undertaking the investigation, the Section 504-ADA Coordinator 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.
  5. The Section 504-ADA Coordinator will investigate the allegations brought by the complainant and work to conclude the investigation and conduct the exit interviews within sixty (60) calendar days, depending on the allegations presented. During the investigation, the Section 504-ADA Coordinator will:
    1. Formally apprise the respondent of the charge of discrimination or harassment, in writing.
    2. Elicit from the respondent an explanation of what occurred from his/her perspective.
    3. Arrange for interim relief for the complainant, if appropriate.
    4. Provide both parties with the opportunity to provide information and identify witnesses.
    5. Investigate the allegations by conducting interviews or gathering other relevant information.
    6. Attempt in a non-legalistic, non-threatening manner to facilitate a solution acceptable to both the complainant and the respondent.
  6. The Section 504-ADA Coordinator evaluates allegations and evidence to determine if, based on the totality of the circumstances, it is more likely than not that the alleged conduct in the complaint occurred. The findings of the Section 504-ADACoordinator is memorialized in a written report, which is solely for the University’s use.
  1. At the conclusion of the investigation, the Section 504-ADA Coordinator shall conduct an exit interview with the parties and issue exit letters notifying the parties of the outcome.
  2. Students who believe that they have been subjected to discrimination and/or harassment may be able to file a complaint with Federal and/or District government agencies, e.g., the D.C. Office of Human Rights or the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The University encourages students to utilize the internal complaint process prior to filing an external complaint.