The requirement of Bentley University to provide reasonable accommodations, modifications, and/or auxiliary aids for students with disabilities and/or impairments is in compliance with two federal civil rights regulations, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-112) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-336), as well as one state regulation, the Massachusetts Constitutional Amendment 114.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (PL 93-112) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance:
"No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States shall, solely by reason of his or her handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." (29 U.S.C. 794)
In order to be granted protections afforded to a person with a disability under Section 504, individuals must meet the following eligibility criteria: (a) have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life functions; (b) have a history of such impairment; or (c) be regarded as having such impairment.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (PL 101-336), signed into law on July 26, 1990, was established to further prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. It provides equal opportunity for qualified individuals with disabilities in employment, public accommodations (including public and private colleges and universities), and public transportation.
Finally, the Massachusetts Constitution Amendment 114 adopted in 1980 provides an important tool for achieving accessibility and prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities by government as well as private organizations in the state. In 1990, the Massachusetts Equal Rights Act was passed, providing an additional law under which Amendment 114 can be enforced. This act provides, in part, that:
"Any person within the commonwealth, regardless of handicap, shall with reasonable accommodations, have the same rights as other persons to ... give evidence and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property, including, but not limited to, the rights secured under Article  of the Amendments to the Constitution."
Bentley University and the Office of Disability Services are committed to providing equal educational opportunities for students with disabilities and impairments. In compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, it is our policy that no qualified student be excluded from participating in any university program or activity, be denied the benefits of any university program or activity, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination with regard to any university program or activity unless undue hardship ensues or the integrity of an academic program is compromised.
Therefore, any student who believes there has been a violation of these laws (e.g. perceived discrimination based on disability, denial of an accommodation) is asked to approach the Director of Disability Services directly to voice their concerns and ask for some resolution. If after a thorough discussion with the Director and all attempts to resolve the concerns are unsatisfactory, students may then wish to file a grievance by following the procedure below:
Note: If the Grievance Procedure is not pertinent to the student’s complaint, the Director of Disability Services will recommend the best course of action.
Submitting a Grievance
1. The student should submit their complaint in writing to the Associate Dean of Academic Services. The complaint should include:
- Who was involved
- What happened
- Where it happened, the date, and the time
- The perceived discrimination and how it affected the student
2. The complaint should be filed no later than 30 days from the perceived incident of discrimination.
3. In addition to completing a written complaint, the student may wish to set up a meeting with the Associate Dean of Academic Services.
4.The Associate Dean of Academic Services will investigate the complaint and will notify the student in writing of the decision within 7 business days of receiving the complaint.
5. If the student is not satisfied with the decision, the student may wish to pursue an appeal. The appeal should include:
- The initial letter written to the Associate Dean of Academic Services
- The written decision by the Associate Dean of Academic Services
- An additional letter written by the student detailing the reasons for dissatisfaction and appeal
6. The appeal will be sent to the Disability Grievance Committee:
- Alex Hirs, Chief of Staff, Office of the Provost
- Anjini Virmani, Associate Dean for Health, Wellness and Counseling, Health Center
- George Cangiano, Vice President Chief Human Resources Officer, Human Resources
- Peter Forkner, Director of Counseling, Counseling Center
7. The student may also wish to schedule a meeting with the Disability Grievance Committee.
8. The Disability Grievance Committee will investigate the grievance and render their final decision by submitting a written letter to the student within 14 days. This letter will also be sent to the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Associate Dean of Academic Services, and the Director of Disability Services.
Please note that a grievance may not be considered if the student has not followed official procedure by submitting complete and current documentation and registering with Disability Services. For more information regarding the policies and procedures please contact us.
If the student is employed within the University, the grievance arises out of the student’s employment, and the student wishes to report the grievance, the student should refer to the Student Employment Manual.
Exceptions to these procedures may be granted by the Associate Dean of Academic Services or the General Counsel.
In compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, it’s our policy that no qualified student be excluded from, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination within any university program or activity. Bentley’s Americans with Disabilities Act compliance officer is Judy Malone. She can be reached at 781.891.2016 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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