It is the policy of Simmons University ("University") not to discriminate on the basis of disability. The University has adopted an internal grievance procedure providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794 ("Section 504"), a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
The University has designated the following individual as the person responsible for coordinating its efforts to comply with Section 504 ("Section 504 Coordinator"):
Assistant General Counsel
300 The Fenway, Suite A-230
Boston, MA 02115
Who May File a Grievance?
Any student currently enrolled at the University and any University employee who believes they have been subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability, or who disputes a determination by the University’s Office of Accessibility Services ("OAS") or Department of Human Resources ("HR"), as applicable, regarding their accommodation request, may file a grievance under this procedure.
How Long Do I Have to File A Grievance?
Grievances must be submitted to the Section 504 Coordinator within thirty (30) calendar days of the date the person filing the grievance becomes aware of the alleged discriminatory action. For example, if a student wishes to file a grievance relating to a decision by the OAS on the student’s request for an accommodation, the student will have thirty (30) days from the date they receive the notice from the OAS denying their accommodation request to file their grievance.
What is the Process For Filing a Grievance?
A grievance must be in writing, and must contain the following information:
- The name and email address of the person filing the grievance; and
- A description of the problem or action alleged to be discriminatory and the remedy or relief sought. For example, an individual filing a grievance due to the denial of their accommodation request must describe the requested accommodation.
The grievance shall be submitted by email to the Section 504 Coordinator at the email address listed above.
What Happens After I File a Grievance?
The Section 504 Coordinator (or their designee) shall conduct a review of the grievance, which may include reviewing written documentation and other information and speaking with various individuals. The Section 504 Coordinator (or their designee) will issue a determination on the grievance within a reasonable amount of time.
In matters in which the grievance relates to a decision made by a University administrator, including any decision made on a request for an accommodation, the Section 504 Coordinator (or designee) shall apply the reasonableness standard of review. This means the Section 504 Coordinator (or designee) will only overturn the underlying decision or return the matter to the original decision-maker for further consideration if no reasonable person could have made that decision based on the available information. The appeal is not a fresh or "de novo" review of the entire matter.
The determination made by the Section 504 Coordinator (or designee) is final.
The University strictly prohibits retaliation against any person who files a grievance or cooperates in the investigation of a grievance.