Grievances

If a student or employee of Gardner-Webb University or a visitor to the Gardner-Webb campus believes he or she has been discriminated against based on a disability or has a complaint or concern regarding accommodations/services, the student, employee or visitor has the option of bringing the concern to the staff of the Noel Center for Disability Resources. If the issue cannot be resolved at this level, the grievant may file a complaint following the grievance policy as outlined below.

Notice of Non-Discrimination

Gardner-Webb University prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability for faculty staff students and visitors. Gardner-Webb University has adopted an internal grievance procedure providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints by any member of the Gardner-Webb University community alleging any action prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (§29 U.S.C. 794) of the U.S. Department of Education regulations implementing the Act, and the Americans With Disabilities Act, 1990 Title II & III (§42 U.S.C. 126). Section 504 and the ADA, Sections Title II & Title III prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. The Law and Regulations may be examined in the office of Dr. Cary F. Poole, Associate Vice President for Title IX Compliance and ADA Coordinator, 303 Tucker Student Center, 704-406-2155, cpoole3@gardner-webb.edu, who has been designated to coordinate the efforts of Gardner-Webb University to comply with Section 504 and the Americans With Disabilities Act ( ADA).

Any participants, beneficiaries, applicants, or employees, including students, staff, faculty, and visitors who believe they have been subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability (or who are unsatisfied with accommodations provided by Dr. Cary F. Poole) may file a grievance under this procedure. Current law prohibits retaliation against anyone who files a grievance or cooperates in the investigation of a grievance. The ADA Coordinator should be notified immediately if anyone associated with the grievance procedure is subjected to retaliation as a result of that person’s participation in the grievance process.

Gardner-Webb University has both informal and formal mechanisms in place to resolve concerns about disability discrimination, denial of access to services, accommodations required by law, or an auxiliary aid they believe they should have received (“disability-related issues”), such as:

  • Disagreements regarding a requested service, accommodation, modification of a University practice or requirement, or denial of a request
  • Inaccessibility of a program or activity
  • Violation of privacy in the context of a disability

Informal Process

Gardner-Webb University encourages anyone with concerns about a disability-related issue to first discuss the matter with Dr. Cary F. Poole, Associate Vice President for Title IX Compliance and ADA Coordinator, 303 Tucker Student Center, who will attempt to facilitate a resolution. Individuals are not required to pursue the informal process first and may engage the formal grievance process as their first step if preferred.

The Noel Center can be reached at: disabilitiesservices@gardner-webb.edu.

If Dr. Cary F. Poole, 303 Tucker Student Center, is not successful in achieving a satisfactory resolution, within ten working days, or as expeditiously as possible, from the date the disability-related issue is raised, or the complaint is against the Office itself, a formal grievance may be filed as described below.

The purpose of the informal process is to make a good faith effort to resolve the issue quickly and efficiently; however, the individual may ask to implement the formal process at any time during the informal resolution or instead of the formal resolution.

Formal Grievance

A formal grievance must be filed with the ADA Coordinator within 21 working days of the date of the Informal decision, if applicable, or within 30 calendar days of the occurrence of the disability-related issue. The grievance must be in writing and include the following:

  • The grievant’ s name, address, email address and phone number
  • A full description of the situation
  • A description of the efforts which have been made to resolve the issue informally, if any
  • A statement of the requested remedy, e.g. requested accommodation

If the grievance involves confidential medical information, the ADA Coordinator will maintain the confidentiality of that information and will not release that information without the individual’s permission, except as allowed by law.

The ADA Coordinator will review the grievance for timeliness and appropriateness under this grievance procedure and notify the grievant if the grievance has been accepted.

The ADA Coordinator either commences an investigation or will select a trained investigator who will promptly initiate an investigation. The investigator will be an individual who is trained on disability or civil rights issues. In undertaking the investigation, the ADA Coordinator or investigator may interview, consult with and/or request a written response to the issues raised in the grievance from any individual the investigator believes to have relevant information, including but not limited to faculty, staff, students, and visitors to Gardner-Webb University. All parties will have an opportunity to provide the investigator with information or evidence that the party believes is relevant to his or her grievance. All parties involved will receive a fair and equitable process and be treated with care and respect. The investigator will respect the privacy of all parties.

The investigation will be completed within thirty calendar days of the filing of the written complaint. At the request of the grievant, the ADA Coordinator will determine whether the formal grievance process can and should be expedited.

Findings and Notification

Within 10 working days, or as expeditiously as possible, of the completion of the investigation, the investigator will make a recommendation regarding appropriate actions to be taken. The investigator will summarize the evidence that supports the recommendation, and the grievant will be advised in writing of the outcome of the investigation.

Appeal

Within 10 calendar days, or as expeditiously as possible, of receiving the determination from the ADA Coordinator, the grievant or the party against whom the grievance is directed, if any, may appeal the determination. To appeal, the party must file a written request for review with the ADA Coordinator. The written request for appeal must be based on the grounds of improper procedure, or new evidence that was unavailable at the time of the investigation. The ADA Coordinator will refer this appeal to the Appeal Board if the individual appealing the decision establishes standing for the appeal consideration.

The ADA Coordinator will provide the person appealing with a copy of the appeal written decision within 10 calendar days of the filing of the appeal. The appeal decision will be the final determination of the Gardner-Webb University.

The individual also may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, at any time before, during or after the University’s ADA Coordinator grievance process.

Complaints may be directed to the following areas:

Title IX Deputy Coordinator: for complaints related to faculty or academic personnel within their respective areas

Dr. Doug Bryan, Associate Provost for Academic Development
Tucker Student Center
Ext. 4398
dbryan@gardner-webb.edu

Title IX Deputy Coordinator: for complaints related to athletics

Ms. Pam Scruggs, Associate Athletics Director and Senior Women’s Administrator
Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center
Ext. 4341
pscruggs@gardner-webb.edu

Title IX Deputy Coordinator: for complaints related to non-faculty employees

Frances Sizemore, Associate Director of Human Resources
Webb Hall
Ext. 3502
fsizemore@gardner-webb.edu

Title IX Deputy Coordinator: for complaints related to students

Ms. Sarah Currie, Dean of Students
Tucker Student Center
Ext. 2081
scurrie@gardner-webb.edu

Title IX Deputy Coordinator: for complaints related to Admissions personnel or procedures

To be announced

Title IX Deputy Coordinator: for complaints related to off-campus and distance learning students

Ms. Elizabeth Pack, Director of the Degree Completion Program
Washburn Hall
Ext. 2173
epack@gardner-webb.edu

Title IX Deputy Coordinator: for complaints related to Graduate programs

Ms. Elizabeth Pack, Director of the Degree Completion Program
Washburn Hall
Ext. 2173
epack@gardner-webb.edu

This document was adapted from Grand Canyon University’s Grievance Policy. ATIXA extends thanks for allowing the adaptation of their policy.