Background

Northampton Community College  (NCC) welcomes qualified students with disabilities and endorses the principles of nondiscrimination and reasonable accommodation as described in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (504), the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2009 (ADAA). The College prohibits discrimination against a person on the basis of disability or who has a history or record of such impairment or is regarded as having such impairment as well as persons who are associated with a disabled person.  This procedure applies to complaints alleging disability discrimination carried out by students, faculty and staff, and third-party vendors.The College's Section 504 Coordinator handles complaints and appeals of accommodation decisions and allegations of discrimination on account of disability. The Section 504/ADA Coordinator is Brett Last, Executive Director of Human Resources. He may be reached at 610.861.5460 or blast@northampton.edu.

Procedures for Complaints of Discrimination Based Upon a Disability

If a student feels that he/she has been discriminated against based upon a disability by another student, faculty or staff or a third party, a complaint should be filed with the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator who will conduct an investigation of the allegations in the complaint. If the report alleges misconduct by the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator, then the report should be made to the President.  Within fifteen (15) days the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator will initiate an impartial, adequate, and reliable investigation. In determining whether the alleged conduct constitutes discrimination, the totality of the circumstances, the nature of the conduct and the context in which the alleged conduct occurred will be investigated. The individual accused of discrimination will be advised of the allegations, the source of the complaint, and then given the opportunity to respond to the allegations. Parties are allowed to present witnesses and other evidence during the investigation Within 60 days from the date that the complaint was received, the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator, or designee, will prepare a written report, unless additional time to complete the investigation is required. The report will include findings with respect to whether discrimination occurred. If an investigation cannot be concluded within 60 days, the appropriate parties will be advised and a projected conclusion day will be announced. Should cause be found to support the allegations, the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator will identify appropriate remedial actions which may include disciplinary action up to and including termination, and he/she will report those recommendations to the person responsible for the division/department in which the alleged discrimination/harassment occurred. The College will also take steps to prevent the reoccurrence of any discrimination/harassment and to correct its discriminatory effects on the complainant and others if appropriate. Within 15 days from the date that the report is prepared, the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator will provide notice to both parties of the findings, including the findings with respect to wrongdoing, and the outcome resulting from the complaint, including the final remedial actions and the basis for the decision.  The notice provided will include the procedure to appeal. 

Appeals of Results of Complaints of Discrimination Based Upon a Disability

Both parties may file an appeal if there is a disagreement with the findings and/or remedies of the complaint. An appeal must be made in writing. All appeals must be filed with the President or his/her designee within 10 working days of the receipt of the Coordinator's decision. The appeal must state why the appellant believes the result and conclusion is unsatisfactory. The President or his/her designee shall review the record and investigate further if deemed necessary. Within 30 working days of the date of the filing of the appeal, all parties will receive notice of the President's or his/her designee's decision in writing. The President's or his/her designee's decision will be final and binding on all parties.

Confidentiality

All actions taken to investigate and resolve complaints through this procedure shall be conducted with as much privacy, discretion and confidentiality as possible without compromising the thoroughness and fairness of the investigation. All persons involved are to treat the situation with respect. To conduct a thorough investigation, the investigator(s) may discuss the complaint with witnesses and those persons involved in or affected by the complaint, and those persons necessary to assist in the investigation or to implement appropriate disciplinary actions.

No Retaliation for Filing a Complaint 

Retaliation against any individual for making a complaint of disability discrimination, or for assisting in the investigation of such a complaint is a violation of this policy and will not be tolerated. Any acts of retaliation will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, such as but not limited to reprimand, change in work assignment, loss of privileges, mandatory training or suspension and/or immediate termination.