Academic Grievance and Appeals Procedure for Students with Disabilities
1. (a) When a student seeks a determination of eligibility to receive accommodations for a self-disclosed disability from DASS and receives a negative decision, the student may appeal this decision to the Office of Institutional Access and Equity. An appeal under this subsection should be filed in written form with the Office of Institutional Access and Equity.
(b) When a student has received a determination of eligibility to receive accommodations for a documented disability from DASS but subsequently believes the implementation of such accommodation(s) has not been handled appropriately at the school or university level, the student may file a written appeal with the Provost (Room 219, Perkins Administration). The appeal should be in the form of a letter identifying the academic policy, practice, or procedure the student considers applicable to the student's circumstances, and should request as an accommodation an exception or alternative to the policy, practice, or procedure in question. Verification of the student's disability from DASS must accompany the letter of appeal. The Provost or the Provost's designee will send a copy of the student's appeal to the academic administrator whose decision is being appealed.
2. Each year, the Provost or the Provost's designee, in consultation with the Deans of the schools, will appoint 12 faculty and academic administrators from across the schools and university to serve two-year, staggered terms on an Academic Grievance and Appeals Committee for Students with Disabilities.
3. The Provost or the Provost's designee will appoint three members of the Academic Grievance and Appeals Committee for Students with Disabilities to serve on a Subcommittee to consider the student's appeal. Each Subcommittee will be comprised of two faculty members, one from the student's school and the other from a different school, and one academic administrator who is not the administrator whose decision is being appealed.
4. The Provost or the Provost's designee will appoint at least one additional person to each Subcommittee to serve in an advisory capacity. These advisors will be drawn from the university community. If the Provost determines that appropriate expertise is not available within the university community, personnel from outside the SMU community may be called upon to advise the Subcommittee. Advisors will serve as non-voting members of the Subcommittee and will be responsible for providing information on specific disability issues in which they have expertise. The Associate General Counsel, Director of Affirmative Action, Dean of Student Life, Director of the Counseling and Psychiatric Services, among others, may be asked to serve in an advisory role. In certain cases, it may be appropriate for more than one advisor to serve on a Subcommittee. Not eligible for this position are university employees whose role is to advocate for students with disabilities.
5. The Provost or the Provost's designee will contact in writing the student submitting the appeal and the academic administrator whose decision is being appealed naming the members of the Subcommittee that has been appointed to consider the appeal. The Provost or the Provost's designee will give the student an opportunity to submit within ten (10) working days written documentation from faculty, staff, or outside professionals supporting the request for an exception or alternative to academic policies, practices, or procedures. Similarly, the Provost or the Provost's designee will allow ten (10) working days for the academic administrator whose decision is being appealed to submit written documentation explaining why an exception or an alternative to the general academic policies, practices, or procedures in question should not be granted.
6. The Academic Review Subcommittee will consider the student's written appeal and supporting documentation, consider the response and documentation provided by the academic administrator whose decision is being appealed, confer with the non-voting advisor(s) of the Subcommittee, and submit its written recommendation directly to the Provost or the Provost's designee. The Provost will make a final decision regarding the student's request within ten (10) days of receiving the Subcommittee's recommendation. The Provost or the Provost's designee will send a written copy of the final decision to the student, to the administrator whose decision is being appealed, and to the Subcommittee members who reviewed the case. The entire process must be completed as expeditiously as possible in order to avoid inappropriately impeding the student's academic progress, but may take no longer than thirty (30) working days from the day the student's appeal is received in the Office of the Provost. The Provost may grant extensions of time under this policy as may be needed to ensure fairness.
*The determination of eligibility to receive requested accommodations for a disability must be on file in Disability Accommodations & Success Strategies office at the time of the original decision that is being appealed under subsection 1(b) through section 6 of this Procedure.
Last revision -- July 2010