AFFIRMATIVE ACTION OFFICE
328 Boucke, University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-0471
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It is the policy of Penn State not to discriminate on the basis of disability. Penn State has an internal grievance procedure providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. ADA Coordinator, phone 814-863-0471, has been designated to coordinate the efforts of Penn State to comply with Section 504. The regulations are available on-line at: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/disabilityoverview.html Any person who believes she or he has been subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability may file a grievance under this procedure. It is against the law for Penn State to retaliate against anyone who files a grievance or cooperates in the investigation of a grievance.
Grievances must be submitted to the Section 504 Coordinator within 360 calendar days of the date the person filing the grievance becomes aware of the alleged discriminatory action
- A complaint should be in writing, containing the name and address of the person filing it. The complaint must state the problem or action alleged to be discriminatory and the remedy or relief sought
- The Section 504 Coordinator (or designee) shall conduct an investigation of the complaint. This investigation may be informal, but it must be thorough, affording all interested persons an opportunity to submit evidence relevant to the complaint. The Section 504 Coordinator will maintain the files and records of Penn State relating to such grievances.
- The Section 504 Coordinator will issue a written decision on the grievance no later than 60 calendar days after its filing.
- The person filing the grievance may appeal the decision of the Section 504 Coordinator by writing to the Vice Provost for Affirmative Action within 15 calendar days of receiving the Section 504 Coordinator’s decision. The Vice Provost for Affirmative Action shall issue a written decision in response to the appeal no later than 15 calendar days after its filing.
- The availability and use of this grievance procedure does not prevent a person from filing a complaint of discrimination on the basis of disability with the U. S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
Penn State will make appropriate arrangements to ensure that persons with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations, if needed, to participate in this grievance process. Examples of such arrangements may include, but are not limited to, providing interpreters for the deaf, providing audio files or materials in braille for the blind, or assuring a barrier-free location for meetings. The Section 504 Coordinator will be responsible for such arrangements.
The University has a duty to respond to allegations of discrimination (including sexual harassment) and therefore cannot guarantee absolute confidentiality once allegations are disclosed to university officials. The confidentiality of information disclosed during the course of investigations or informal resolution efforts will be respected to the extent feasible and practical. This means that information about the complaint is shared only with those individuals within the University community who “need to know” in order to effectively investigate and/or resolve the complaint. Parties with a need to know may include witnesses or university officials who need to be informed of the complaint in order to cooperate with an investigation or to implement resolution. These parties will be advised that they should keep the information confidential in the best interests of all parties.