|Procedure for Resolving Instructional Disputes Involving Students With Disabilities
Date Approved: 8/8/00
Updated & Approved: 10/10/05
- One week before the beginning of each term the Counselor for Students with Disabilities (CSD) will send instructors a description of the recommended accommodation(s) for each such student. The CSD arrives upon such recommended academic accommodations through a case-by-case analysis of the documentation which the student has presented to the institution, the applicable law, and the student's expressed choice during an interview. If the student is a late registrant, the CSD will make every effort to notify the instructor as to the student's anticipated presence in his/her classroom. For purposes of this procedure, the ADA Compliance Officer shall be the Associate Provost for Student and Learning Support Services.
- Each term the students with disabilities registered with the CSD are expected to obtain a letter of accommodation in the Learning Center and present it to each of their instructors from whom they are requesting accommodations. This is to be completed and signed by the second week of the term. The instructors will be asked to sign and date the letter indicating an understanding of the requested accommodations.
NOTE: A student with a disability may choose to attend certain courses without utilizing his/her accommodations. He/she will simply not present the accommodation letter to the instructor of those courses.
- How the Faculty Indicate They Have A Problem With A Proposed Adjustment
- If the instructor believes that the accommodation requires a fundamental alteration in his/her classroom practice, or has any other reason for objecting to its implementation, he/she must contact the CSD within five (5) working days of the receipt of notice.
- Attempt at Informal Resolution of Problem
- Upon receipt of an instructor's indication of a disagreement with the recommended accommodations, the CSD shall contact the instructor within two (2) days to initiate an informal discussion. Lakeland Community College believes that it is at this stage that the greatest efforts should be expended to arrive at resolution; past history supports this view because very often the differences hinge on a better understanding of the problem.
- The purposes of this initial information step are to allow the instructor to explain the reason for disagreement, to allow the instructor to suggest an alternative accommodation, to allow the CSD to provide additional information if appropriate, and to afford the parties an opportunity for disagreement to be amicably resolved. After these discussions, the CSD shall contact the involved student to determine whether the proposed resolution reached is acceptable to him/her. Any agreed upon adjustment(s) to the accommodations must be noted on the student's accommodation letter.
- If the discussion in (b) above does not resolve the problem to the instructor's or student's satisfaction, then the CSD will contact the appropriate Divisional Dean who shall, in turn, facilitate further information discussion following the procedures in (b) above.
- The informal discussion shall be completed by the end of the first calendar week of classes (a calendar week running from Saturday - Friday).
- Preparation of a Written Statement Setting Forth Specifics of Unresolved Classroom Adjustment Problem
- If the discussion in (2) above does not resolve the problem to the instructor's or student's satisfaction, the instructor or student shall prepare a short statement explaining the grounds for the unresolved dispute and deliver it to the ADA Compliance Officer on the next day. The requested accommodations must be implemented and maintained, however, during the formal process of resolution of the dispute and at all steps preceding this one.
- Convening of a Review Panel to Hear the Problem
- Upon receipt of a statement from a faculty member or student detailing the grounds of an unresolved dispute pertaining to requested accommodations for a disabled student in the faculty member's classroom, the ADA Compliance Officer's administrative assistant shall stamp the date and time of receipt on the face of the statement and shall convene a meeting of a panel of the review committee within seventy-two (72) hours.
- With respect to the composition of the review committee, the Lakeland Faculty Association shall appoint a pool from which panel members will be drawn, on an ad hoc basis. When an unresolved instructional concern involving a disabled student arises, the President of the Lakeland Faculty Association shall select two such appointees from the division in which the problem arises and one appointee outside the division to serve on the committee. The President of the college shall appoint the CSD and the Dean of the Division from which the concern arises to work with the three faculty according to the guidelines set forth in the following paragraphs. The committee's goal is to arrive at a resolution of the matter which takes into consideration sound pedagogical principles, the expressed learning style preferences of the student, the accommodations the student has had in the past, applicable law, and other relevant factors.
- The Conduct of Hearings
- The faculty member and/or the disabled student who has an unresolved dispute shall be non-voting participants at the ad hoc review committee hearing and each shall be entitled to bring a person of his/her own choosing as moral support, although that person shall function as an observer rather than a participant. An inquiry, as may be appropriate, shall be conducted with respect to the positions maintained by the respective parties and how these positions can be reconciled with the needs of the disabled student. The review committee, subject to the approval of the ADA Compliance Officer, reserves the right to bring in an expert in the particular area of disability that is reflected in the student whose accommodations are at issue, or an individual with special knowledge and training in methods of learning indigenous to the discipline under study. This individual shall serve as an information resource for the panel as a whole.
- The Issuance of a Written Finding of Fact and Recommendation as to Resolution of the Matter by the Panel
- A written finding of fact and recommendation as to resolution of the matter shall be issued by the panel within twenty-four (24) hours of its convening for the purpose of conducting a hearing as detailed in the preceding paragraph. A copy of the finding of fact and recommendation issued by the panel shall immediately be mailed to the home of the faculty member and of the student.
- Option of Further Review
- Upon receipt of the panel's written finding of fact and recommendation, the faculty member and the student shall review the document and determine whether they are satisfied with the proposed resolution of the matter. If they are not, the dissatisfied party shall notify the ADA Compliance Officer in writing within two days of receipt of the finding of fact and recommendation of his/her intention to appeal the matter further (the next step being to the ADA Compliance Officer).
- The Compliance Officer May Review the Matter
- If the outcome of (8) is that either the faculty member or the student formally requests a review of the matter by the ADA Compliance Officer, then the ADA Compliance Officer shall immediately proceed to contact the necessary parties to obtain additional evidence as appropriate. The ADA Compliance Officer shall complete the review and issue the opinion either accepting or rejecting the recommendation of the review committee within 48 hours of receipt of the letter requesting review from the faculty member or the student. The decision of the ADA Compliance Officer shall be final.
NOTE: The privacy/confidentiality needs of the student may prevent disclosure of the details of his/her specific condition to the faculty.