Howard College seeks to maintain an educational environment free from any form of discrimination or harassment including but not limited to discrimination or harassment on the basis of disability in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA).
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended provides that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. The ADAAA contains a similar requirement that no governmental entity may discriminate against or permit discrimination against an otherwise qualified individual on the basis of the person’s disability. Harassment is considered under these laws to be a form of discrimination.
Howard College prohibits discrimination against or harassment of qualified students with disabilities on the basis of disability in connection with all academic, educational, extra-curricular, and other programs of the College, whether they take place in the facilities of the College, at a class or training program sponsored by the College at another location, or elsewhere. This policy applies whether the alleged harasser is a Howard College employee, a fellow student, a visitor to the College, or a vendor of the College.
Howard College prohibits discrimination or harassment of all forms, including but not limited to behavior such as physical, verbal, or nonverbal misconduct based on a student’s disability that is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that the misconduct:
- Affects a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity, or creates an intimidating, threatening, hostile, or offensive educational environment;
- Has the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with the student’s academic performance; or
- Otherwise adversely affects the student’s educational opportunities.
Nonacademic and extracurricular services shall be provided in a manner as is necessary to afford handicapped students an equal opportunity for participation in such services and activities.
The College shall exercise reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct discriminating or harassing behavior and shall develop preventative or corrective measures to address these behaviors.
Howard College also prohibits retaliation against anyone for reporting discriminating or harassing behavior or for participating in discrimination or harassment investigations or lawsuits.
Notice of Student Rights and Complaint Process
Any student with a qualifying disability who believes he or she has been the object of discrimination or harassment on the basis of such disability has the right to file a complaint with the Accessibility Services Coordinator.
Accessibility Services Coordinator
Students may also file a complaint with the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights by using the online complaint form at the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights website.
Resolution of a Student Complaint of Disability Discrimination or Harassment
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act provides that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. Howard College prohibits discrimination against or harassment of qualified students with disabilities on the basis of disability in connection with all academic, educational, extra-curricular, and other programs of the College, whether they take place in the facilities of the College, at a class or training program sponsored by the College at another location, or elsewhere.
This policy applies whether the alleged harasser is a Howard College employee, a fellow student, a visitor to the College, or a vendor of the College.
This Complaint resolution procedure applies to all complaints by students with qualifying disabilities who believe they have been the object of discrimination or harassment on the basis of such disability.
All complaints of alleged disability harassment or discrimination against students will be promptly investigated under the oversight of the Accessibility Services Coordinator. Howard College prohibits retaliation against anyone for reporting discriminating or harassing behavior or for participating in discrimination or harassment investigations or lawsuits.
Every student and every person against whom a complaint is made is entitled to due process. Therefore, the college’s investigation will include interviews with all relevant persons including the complainant, the alleged harasser, and other potential witnesses. The results of the investigation will determine the appropriate course of action. Howard College will take steps to prevent recurrence of any harassment and to correct its discriminatory effects on the complainant and others, if appropriate. The College President will assign appropriate college official(s), based on the details of the complaint and the individuals involved, to conduct the investigation.
Disability Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Procedures
- The student shall make the complaint to the Accessibility Services Coordinator:
Jim Walterhouse (432-242-4290; firstname.lastname@example.org)
- A complaint may be submitted to the Accessibility Services Coordinator in writing or verbally, and should include dates, times, places, witnesses, and specifics of what was said and done. The complaint may also include proposed resolutions acceptable to the student.
- The student shall also be informed of his or her right to file a complaint with the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.
- The Accessibility Services Coordinator shall coordinate with the appropriate administrator and review the complaint. If the situation cannot be resolved through informal means, to the satisfaction of all parties, an investigator will be appointed by the College President.
- All complaints will be promptly addressed. Based upon an initial assessment of the allegations by the Accessibility Services Coordinator and the appropriate administrator, pre-investigation measures may be temporarily taken to insure the safety and peace of mind of the student. Such measures may include, without limitation, placing the person against whom the complaint was made on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation or separating the student and the person against whom the complaint has been made. All complaints will be confidential to the extent permitted by law, and will be revealed only on a “need to know” basis (i.e. access to the information is necessary to the investigation and/or the safety of the accused and the accuser or required by law).
- The investigator will review the written material submitted by the student and meet with the student in a private area to discuss the complaint as soon as possible but not later than ten (10) college business days after the complaint has been received. The investigator will also meet with any witnesses and secure a witness statement from each witness. The investigator may consult with the appropriate supervisor to identify alternative methods for resolving the complaint.
- The investigator will meet with all persons with information relevant to the complaint. If the complaint is filed against an individual, the person(s) against whom the complaint was filed should be given at least three (3) college business days to review the complaint and any relevant supporting documents and to prepare a written response to the complaint prior to meeting with the investigator. At the meeting, the investigator should provide the person against whom the complaint was filed an opportunity to respond verbally to the complaint. The person(s) may also respond to the complaint in writing, and may identify additional witnesses the investigator should interview. The investigator will determine from this meeting whether additional witness interviews are warranted and if any additional information needs to be gathered or considered.
- After meeting with the person(s) against whom the complaint was filed, gathering any additional information or witness statements, and concluding the investigation, the investigator will make a recommendation, in writing, to the Accessibility Services Coordinator and the appropriate administrator. The recommendation will set forth the following: complaint, persons interviewed, documents reviewed, findings, conclusions, and recommendations. The investigation of the complaint should be concluded within twenty (20) business days of the receipt of the complaint.
- If additional time is needed, the investigator shall notify the complainant and respondent. In any event, the investigation is considered “open” until the written final action document is issued.
- The appropriate administrator, in consultation with the Accessibility Services Coordinator, will determine the final action to be taken on the complaint. The Accessibility Services Coordinator will also sign-off on the final action document indicating approval of the final action. If the Accessibility Services Coordinator disagrees with the final action determined by the administrator, the Accessibility Services Coordinator may submit a written position statement to the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs in the event of an appeal.
- The person(s) against whom the complaint was filed will be advised in writing of the outcome to the extent permitted by applicable federal and state law. The investigator and/or appropriate administrator may also meet with them to discuss the outcome to the extent permitted by applicable federal and state law.
- The student who filed the complaint will also be notified in writing of the disposition of the complaint, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable state and federal law. The investigator and/or appropriate administrator will also meet with the student who filed the complaint to discuss the outcome to the extent permitted by applicable federal and state law.
- If during the investigation a student is found to be in violation of the Student Standards of Conduct, they are subject to disciplinary sanctions as outlined in the Student Handbook.
If dissatisfied with the resolution, the person against whom the complaint was filed or the student who filed the complaint may submit an appeal, in writing, within five (5) college working days, to the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, chair of the Appeal Panel. The Appeal Panel will hold a conference within seven (7) college working days of the request. The panel consists of three members, including the chair. The Vice President will select faculty and/or staff members according to the case.
Appeals shall be granted only on one or more of the following grounds:
- If there was a specified procedural error (or errors) in the interpretation of the College regulations that were so substantial as to effectively deny the party appealing a fair investigation or resolution process;
- If new and significant evidence has become available which could not have been discovered by a properly diligent person during the original investigation; or
- If the final action(s) is/are disproportionate to the offense for which the respondent was found responsible.
The fact that one of the parties disagrees with the outcome of the investigation does not in and of itself constitute grounds for appeal.
Failure to appeal within the allotted time will render the original finding final. The appeal will be based upon the written complaint and response contained in the investigative record. Both parties may, at the discretion of the Appeal Panel, submit oral and/or written statements to support their position. The chair will exercise discretion regarding meeting procedures. The appeal should be resolved within ten (10) college business days of the date of the filing of the appeal.
The Appeal Panel may uphold, reject, or modify the decisions made during the investigation or may require that the investigation be reopened for the presentation of additional evidence and reconsideration of the decision. The chair will notify, in writing, all involved parties of the decision.
Appeal to College President
If dissatisfied with the decision of the Appeal Panel, the person against whom the complaint was filed or the student who filed the complaint has five (5) college working days to request, in writing, a review by the college President, who will render a final opinion within five (5) college working days.