Policies & Procedures
ADA Complaint Resolution Procedure
(This procedure replaces all previous procedures for investigation of complaints of discrimination.)
Disability Support Services reviews complaints by students regarding discrimination and/or harassment on the basis of physical or mental disability relating to disability accommodations in the classroom and physical access to facilities. This would include:
- student-to-student complaints (example, a student complains that another student gets an advantage because of a disability-based accommodation)
- student-to-faculty accommodations complaints (example, a student and a faculty member disagree on an agreed upon disability-related accommodation)
- student-to-university accessibility complaints (example, a student encounters a barrier on the MSUB campus, such as an inoperative wheelchair lift, icy sidewalks, blocked access ramp, etc.)
The Human Resources office investigates student complaints of unlawful discrimination and/or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, or veteran status of any faculty, staff or visitor. Contact the Director, Office of Human Resource/EEO-AA, 1500 University Drive, 310 McMullen, Billings, MT 59101, (406) 657-2278 for information regarding filing a complaint.
The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs can either review complaints from students when they relate specifically to the Code of Student Conduct (student-to-student offenses or acts of discrimination) or assist the DSS department or Human resources in the review of student complaints when they are made toward DSS staff (as outlined in V. Transfer of Function).
II. Filing Process
Complaints must be filed with DSS. A complaint should be filed within 180 calendar days of the most recent incident. The University will consider requests to extend this period where the complainant can show he or she needed additional time due to circumstances beyond his or her control.
The complainant will meet with a representative from Disability Support Services to discuss options (informal, formal) for proceeding. The complainant is not required to follow the informal procedure before filing a formal complaint. The respondent (the individual accused of discrimination) will be notified of the complaint within 10 working days after it is filed.
Informal. Discuss allegations and concerns with respondent (the accused) and attempt to resolve the situation. The respondent is reminded that Montana State University Billings expects all to adhere to our equal opportunity policies. Respondent is put on notice that behavior has been questioned, and informal resolution sought, if possible. If attempts to resolve the situation are not successful, the complainant may pursue a formal complaint.
Formal. A full written report describing the alleged discrimination is filed with DSS which is located in the Academic Support Center on both the university and the City College campus. Assistance will be arranged if needed. The report must contain the grievant name, address, the date and a description of the alleged act. DSS will review report received from the grievant. After review of the complaint, DSS will take the necessary steps to resolve the complaint.
Appeal. A finding may be appealed in writing to the Director of Disability Support Services by either party within 10 working days of receipt of DSS’ determination. A party may appeal a decision based on discovery of new evidence previously unavailable or a significant irregularity in the procedural process which could affect the outcome of finding. The appellant should be as specific as possible in setting out basis for appeal; general dissatisfaction with the decision will not be sufficient. The determination of Disability Support Services will be forwarded to the Chancellor for final approval.
At any time, prior to filing a charge, or while a complaint proceeding is in progress, a complainant may file their complaint with the appropriate external agencies. A list of agencies, along with contact information, is available on the Disability Support Services website. (See Internet Resources).
IV. Time Line for Investigation Process
Disability Support Services will complete its investigations as expeditiously as possible. The investigation shall normally be completed within 45 working days from the filing of a formal complaint, including notification of the parties of the outcome of the investigation. In extraordinary circumstances, DSS reserves the right to extend this time to a reasonable period. All parties will be notified if such an extension is necessary. Many factors can interfere with an investigative fact-finder’s commitment to complete a determination promptly, including unavailability of witnesses or the complexity of the issues involved or new evidence resulting in an appeal. DSS will maintain contact with the Complainant and Respondent throughout the course of the investigation to keep them up to date on the process.
DSS takes any allegation of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation seriously and is committed to protecting the integrity of the investigation process including confidentiality and the due process rights of all individuals. Note that all those involved (the respondent, the complainant, and the witnesses) have privacy interests. Therefore, outside the scope of the investigation, all parties are requested not to publicize or divulge the nature of the proceedings, or the identity of those involved.
VI. Right to Advisor
The complainant and the respondent each have the right to bring an advisor to the investigative meeting. If either party chooses to exercise this option, please give DSS prior notice that an advocate will attend. If either the complainant or the respondent's advisor is a person degreed or qualified in law, DSS must be notified within two business days of the hearing.
VII. Transfer of Function
If a complaint, whether informal or formal, is directed against Disability Support Services, the functions assigned to DSS by these procedures will transfer to the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs or to the Human Resources Department.
The Office for Civil Rights serves student populations, promotes equal educational opportunities, and resolves complains of discrimination under federal civil rights laws. Information about OCR is located at http://www.edu.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html. They can be contacted at:
Office for Civil Rights, Seattle Office
U. S. Department of Education
915 Second Avenue, Room 3310
Seattle, WA 98174-7900
FAX: (206) 220-7887 Telephone (206) 220-7900 TDD (206) 220-2907