The Center for Accessible Education (“CAE”) is committed to a fair process for the resolution of complaints related to disability discrimination or the failure to reasonably accommodate disability-related academic needs.
The following process may be used by students with disabilities through the Accommodations Appeals Process to resolve complaints about the following matters:
- Denial of academic accommodations,
- Decisions regarding eligibility for academic accommodations
- Determinations of specific appropriate academic accommodations, provision of accommodations and auxiliary services, provision of communication services,
- Administrative decisions of the CAE’s Program.
Students may address concerns about academic accommodation decisions affecting them in two ways. The first is to pursue an informal resolution (I). The second is to pursue a formal complaint (explained further below). While we encourage students to begin with an informal resolution, a student may choose to start with a formal complaint. Formal complaints involving instructors will be managed by the CAE as described below (II). Formal complaints regarding CAE decisions or implementation of services may be appealed as described below (III).
I. Informal resolution
In general, when a student is dissatisfied with any academic accommodations, the fastest process for resolving the issue is to directly contact the student’s CAE Disability Specialist.
A student may pursue informal resolution of a complaint by scheduling a meeting with the CAE Associate Director to discuss the complaint and explore possible avenues of resolution. If a satisfactory solution cannot be reached, the student may then initiate formal resolution by putting the complaint in writing.
II. Formal process when an instructor denies an accommodation
If a student has received an accommodation letter from the CAE, and an instructor indicates to the student that a specific accommodation described in the letter is academically inappropriate with regard to that instructor’s course, the student seeking the accommodation should inform their CAE Specialist of the instructor’s position and seek resolution through the CAE Specialist. Students are encouraged not to discuss any disagreement with the instructor regarding accommodations directly with the instructor. If the instructor initiates such a conversation, the student is encouraged to refer the instructor to the student’s CAE Specialist. Generally, complaints that an instructor has not observed the provisions of an accommodation letter cannot be resolved until after the student has advised the student’s CAE Specialist of the situation, as described above.
Initial accommodation letters issued through the online Portal are typically general and are not tailored to any specific course. Instructors provide input as to whether or not accommodations proposed by the CAE Letter of Accommodation are academically appropriate for an instructor’s specific course. When an instructor informs the CAE that an accommodation proposed by CAE is not appropriate for a specific course, the instructor and CAE confer and agree regarding an alternate accommodation (or agree that no accommodation is appropriate), and that agreement is reflected in a new accommodation letter for that course issued by CAE to the student (or by affirming to the student that the current letter will be observed by the instructor).
When CAE and an instructor disagree regarding the appropriateness of an accommodation for a particular course, the matter is referred by the CAE Specialist to the CAE’s leadership team, who decides what accommodation is appropriate, and directs the CAE Specialist to either issue a new accommodation letter or inform the student that the existing accommodation letter will be observed by the instructor. CAE, not the student, is responsible for managing disagreements between CAE and an instructor. The student may provide CAE with information that the student wishes the CAE leadership team to consider in making the decision.
When the complaint concerns the refusal of an instructor to follow CAE’s recommendations as set forth in an accommodation letter issued by CAE after CAE has considered the concerns of the instructor regarding such accommodation, the CAE will involve other parties as necessary, including, but not limited to, the Assistant Vice Chancellor overseeing the Center for Accessible Education, or UCLA Legal Counsel.
Filing a Formal Complaint or Appealing a Decision:
A formal complaint must be made in writing, must state unambiguously that it is a “formal complaint,” and must be sent to the attention of the Director of CAE or may be filed through the CAE Appeal Form located by selecting the blue button.
III. Formal Process for appealing CAE decisions
A formal complaint regarding a decision made by CAE or provision of (or denial of) an academic disability accommodation or service must be made in writing, must state unambiguously that it is a “formal complaint,” and may be sent to the attention of CAE Leadership.
Complaints may also be filed here: The Center for Accessible Education Student Complaint Resolution Form
The formal complaint must describe the following:
- The specific accommodation or service issue that is the subject of the complaint,
- The date that the issue arose,
- The facts on which the complaint is based, and
- The resolution requested.
Due to the nature of the quarter system, in order to assess and resolve a complaint or appeal, formal complaints must be submitted within thirty days from the time the student knew or could reasonably be expected to have known of the CAE staff or supervisor action that is the subject of the complaint. The campus may treat untimely complaints as having been waived by the student based upon failure to assert the complaint in a timely manner.
CAE will seek to complete its review and notify the student of the outcome of the complaint within ten days of the date it was received. Complex complaints may not be resolved within ten days. Complaints made during summer and inter-quarter recesses also may not be resolved within ten days. All time frames referred to in this procedure refer to calendar days and are subject to modification as necessary.
Upon receipt of a written complaint, CAE Leadership may convene the Accommodation Appeals Board or assign an individual to evaluate the complaint and make a recommendation to the appropriate decision regarding the outcome of the complaint. At a minimum, the evaluation should include an attempt to interview the complainant, a review of any relevant written materials submitted by the complainant, and an effort to obtain information from relevant individuals (i.e. interviews, written statements or documents). CAE Leadership or that person’s designate shall notify the student in writing of the decision regarding the complaint.
The decision regarding formal complaints shall be made by CAE Leadership, with the following exceptions. When the complaint concerns a decision issued specifically by the Director of CAE, the decision shall be made by an appeals board or evaluation of the complaint facilitated by another member of CAE Leadership, or by the Assistant Vice Chancellor overseeing the CAE.
Complaints that the student believes amount to discrimination under UCLA Procedure 230.2 may contact the ADA/Section 504 Compliance Officer.
Examples of formal complaints might include the following allegations of the following matters:
- Procedural error or violation of policy by CAE staff or supervisor. (III)
- Specific mitigating circumstances beyond the student's control not properly taken into account in a decision affecting the student's services. (II&III)
- Ongoing, repeated failure by CAE to provide an auxiliary aid or alternative media for which CAE has determined the student is eligible. (III)
- Refusal of an instructor to observe recommendations in an accommodation letter issued by CAE (following notice of to the CAE Specialist of the instructor’s disagreement with a proposed accommodation). (II)
- Decision of CAE Director to deny an accommodation request. (III)
Forms and Documents
UCLA Procedure (No Policy) 230.2 : Student Grievances Regarding Violations of Anti-Discrimination Laws or University Policies on Discrimination on Basis of Disability
In compliance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-112), as amended, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-336), as amended, University of California policy prohibits unlawful discrimination on the basis of disability in its programs, services, and activities. Students who believe they have been subjected to discrimination on the basis of a disability are to follow the procedures set forth in UCLA Procedure 230.2. The purpose of this Procedure is to enable the resolution of Student grievances alleging violations of Anti-Discrimination Laws or of University policies against harassment or discrimination based on physical or mental disability, or perceived physical or mental disability, which result in harm to the Student, and to enable the resolution of Student grievances alleging that the University failed to take appropriate steps to investigate Disability Discrimination. This Procedure also applies to grievances filed by Students for conduct by Students or non-affiliates where the alleged offending behavior occurred in University programs or activities.
Per University Procedure 230.2, a student has the right to file a grievance if they believe they have been discriminated against or denied an accommodation on the basis of disability. A student who complains about Disability Discrimination or Harassment should be referred to the ADA/504 Compliance Office for assistance.
Disability-Based Discrimination includes:
- Exclusion of a qualified student, on the basis of disability, from participation in any academic, research, or other University service, program, or activity;
- The denial of a qualified student, on the basis of disability, of the benefits of any academic, research, or other University service, program, or activity;
- Otherwise subjecting a qualified student, on the basis of disability, to discrimination in any academic, research, or other University service, program, or activity.
Disability-Based Harassment includes:
- Verbal acts and name-calling; graphic and written statements which may include use of cell phones or the Internet;
- Other conduct that may be physically threatening, harmful, or humiliating.
The Grievance Process Strives to Be:
Prompt, equitable, confidential, accessible, and retaliation-free. Once the grievance process is initiated, the ADA/504 Compliance and Grievance Officer will conduct an investigation into the student's claims and submit a written report within sixty days of the initial receipt of the grievance. If you believe you have experienced discrimination or harassment on the basis of disability, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. As described in UCLA Procedure 230.2, the grievance may be submitted in writing to the Grievance Coordinator in the Office of the Dean of Students at 1104 Murphy Hall or by email to email@example.com from the Student’s official email address.