Students have found faculty at The University of Texas at Austin accommodating and supportive. When difficulties with accommodations occur, it is often due to misunderstandings or miscommunication between parties. If a student has difficulty with a faculty member he/she should try first clarifying his or her needs during an individual appointment or the professor’s office hours. If the student is not comfortable with this approach or the difficulty is still not resolved, he/she should contact SSD immediately. The SSD staff person will work with the student and faculty member to resolve the situation. Specific grievance procedures are outlined below.NOTE: This is not the official statement of University policies and procedures regarding discrimination or harassment based on disability. The official policy is outlined in the Handbook of Operating Procedures Policy Number 4.B.1, which may be found at www.utexas.edu/policies/hoppm/04.B.01.html. If a student believes he/she has been discriminated against or harassed on the basis of disability, he/she has two options: informal resolution or formal complaint. The incident should be reported as soon as possible. No person is required to report discrimination to the alleged offender.
Informal resolution may be an appropriate choice when the conduct involved is not of a serious or repetitive nature and disciplinary action is not required to remedy the situation. It is most appropriate when attitudinal or behavioral conduct is involved. Informal resolution is an opportunity to have an educational moment. No formal investigation is involved in the informal resolution process.
Steps involved in informal resolution:
- A request for informal resolution must be made within 90 calendar days of the date of the alleged incident.
- Students may make the request to the director of Services for Students with Disabilities or to the Office for Inclusion and Equity. Students may discuss the issue with his/her assigned SSD coordinator to begin an informal resolution process.
- The SSD coordinator will help determine whether the issue can be resolved informally and which office is most appropriate to be involved. If the student’s concern is about his/her SSD coordinator, the director of SSD or the Office for Inclusion and Equity is the most appropriate first contact.
- A request for informal resolution will not extend the 90-day time limit for filing a formal complaint.
- An informal resolution meeting is not to be considered a precondition for the filing of a written complaint.
A complaint alleging discrimination or harassment must be submitted in writing to the Office for Inclusion and Equity. A written complaint must be filed within ninety (90) calendar days of the occurrence of the alleged violation. In the case of a currently enrolled student, if the last day for filing a complaint falls prior to the end of the academic semester in which the alleged violation occurred, then the complaint may be filed within thirty (30) calendar days after the end of that semester.
Complaints against students should be filed with Student Judicial Services in the Office of the Dean of Students.
Complaints against non-students should be filed with the Office for Inclusion and Equity who will investigate such complaints.
The complaint should include the following information:
- Name and UT Identification Number of the person submitting the complaint (complainant)
- Contact information, including address, telephone, e-mail
- Name of person(s) directly responsible for alleged violation(s)
- Date(s) and place(s) of alleged violation(s)
- Nature of alleged violation(s) as defined in the policy
- Detailed description of the specific conduct that is the basis of the alleged violation(s)
- Copies of documents pertaining to the alleged violation(s)
- Names of any witnesses to alleged violation(s)
- Action requested to resolve the situation
- Complainant’s signature and date of filing
- Any other relevant information
The Office for Inclusion and Equity may not proceed with a complaint investigation under a variety of circumstances, for instance:
• a person fails to meet the elements and requirements for filing a complaint;
• the conduct described in the complaint is not covered by a policy enforced by OIE;
• a person alleges facts that, if true, would not constitute a violation of federal or state law, or a policy enforced by OIE;
• a complaint is not timely;
• the Complainant declines to cooperate in the University’s investigation;
• the complaint has been withdrawn; or
• an appropriate resolution or remedy has already been achieved, or has been offered and rejected.
Complaints filed with agencies outside The University
The filing of a discrimination or harassment complaint under this policy does not excuse the complainant from meeting the time limits of outside agencies.
For more information, consult with Services for Students with Disabilities at 512-471-6259; VP: 1-866-329-3986, or the Office for Inclusion and Equity at 512-471-1849.