Grievance Procedures

At the University of Northern Colorado (UNC), students with disabilities are responsible for contacting Disability Support Services (DSS) if reasonable accommodations are not implemented in an effective or timely manner. DSS will work with faculty, staff, and students with disabilities to attempt to resolve issues or disagreements regarding recommended accommodations. The Informal Complaint Resolution Process, described below is the procedure within UNC for resolving a complaint of denial of a requested accommodation and/or of discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). Any student with a disability who believes he or she has been discriminated against on the basis of that disability may use this process to file a complaint with DSS.

Informal Complaint Resolution Process:
Any student who believes he/she has experienced discrimination at UNC based on a disability has a right to invoke the complaint resolution procedures described on this page regarding:

  • Disagreements regarding recommendations concerning or the denial of accommodations to which the student believes he/she is entitled to on the  basis of his/her disability
  • Inaccessibility of a UNC program or activity
  • Harassment or discrimination by a UNC employee against a student on the basis of the student’s disability
  • Any other alleged violation(s) of the ADA and/or Section 504

Where this informal resolution procedure is utilized, the student must first meet with the DSS Director to discuss the complaint in detail.  If the complaint involves the Disability Director, then the student will meet with the Dean of Students.  This discussion may include a review of the student’s disability documentation and file with DSS, as well as any additional information submitted by the student.  DSS reserves the right to request releases from the student to discuss the complaint with other individuals and departments within UNC in order to gather additional information relevant to the complaint prior to making a decision. 

The Director of DSS (or Dean of Students, if the complaint is regarding the Director) will investigate the student’s complaint including gathering additional documentary information that may be relevant to the complaint and speaking with any individuals who may have relevant information. 

Upon completion of the investigation, the DSS Director will issue a decision regarding the complaint.  If the student is dissatisfied with the decision of the DSS Director, the student has the right to make a formal complaint by contacting the UNC ADA Coordinator, Marshall Parks at 970-351-1814 or

Formal Complaint Resolution Process:
All complaints must be in writing and signed by the student. The complaint must be filed within 30 days following the date on which the disagreement the requested accommodation arose.  The written complaint must contain:

  • A clear, precise statement of the complaint;
  • State how the action is discriminatory or the decision unreasonable if it is a denial of a requested accommodation;
  • Name the respondent parties (the person(s) against whom the grievance is filed);
  • State how each respondent is responsible for the action or decision;
  • State the requested remedy;
  • State whether a non-participating observer will be brought to the hearing; and
  • A Formal ADA Grievance Form (doc, pdf) signed by the grieving student.

If it is clear on the face of the written grievance, the complaint has not been filed according to this process (such as, but not limited to, the timeliness of the complaint, that the issue is not grievable under this process, that the complaint is frivolous, or is filed by a person without grievance rights under this process) the Dean of Students shall so indicate in a letter to the grievant that the complaint is dismissed. Once dismissed, the student shall be provided information to file a grievance external to the university.

If the complaint is not dismissed, within fourteen calendar days of the receipt of the complaint the Dean of Students will appoint a fact-finding panel.  The persons appointed to this panel will conduct an investigation of the complaint and consult with any interested parties.  They will provide the complainant with a written notice of their decision within 30 days of submission.
If the complainant wishes to appeal the decision of the fact-finding panel, the next avenue will be to contact the Provost’s office.