What if I don’t get the accommodations I need?
If you do not get the accommodations you need or were approved for in a timely manner, there are steps you can take to advocate for your access. Many times your concerns can be addressed without having to file a formal complaint.
Sometimes you may need to go through a complaint process when your concerns are not being addressed appropriately. Below are some steps and tips to be aware of when you have to file a complaint due to discrimination or accessibility and accommodation issues.
Review the school’s policy on how to file a complaint
Most colleges and universities have a student handbook that explains how to file a complaint related to accessibility and discrimination. You may have to go through the disability student services (DSS) office or many campuses have an ADA Coordinator, Dean of Students, or Office of Equity and Diversity that handle these types of issues.
Collect all the information
In preparation for filing a complaint, gather the following information:
Copies of emails, requests you made, or any other documented evidence that can be shared electronically.
A list of people (and their contact information) who have been involved with your concerns, including coordinators, schedulers, management, interpreters, service providers, instructors, etc.
A list of dates and times when you made requests (and who the request was sent to), including any follow-ups to your requests, and the outcome of the request.
A clear statement of how the current accommodations process failed to provide you with equal access.
A short statement that outlines what changes you would like to see to resolve the situation.
FAQ: Who pays for accommodations? Read full video description
Additional advocacy support
If the school does not provide an appropriate response or access after your complaint, reach out to the following organizations for additional support:
Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is the oversight agency that handles discrimination complaints against educational institutions, such as colleges and universities. As a federal agency investigating a complaint on the basis of disability, there are various outcomes that can occur, including enforcement letters (if they find an institution is out of compliance), settlements, or federal litigation. Find your regional OCR office and contact them for additional support.
Every state has a disability rights organization that provides legal advocacy services for people with disabilities. Search the National Disability Rights Network list of state affiliates and contact them for legal guidance and support.
ADA National Network has regional centers with ADA specialists who can provide information about access and accommodations under the law.
National Association of the Deaf (NAD) Law and Advocacy Center has a legal team that addresses a wide range of civil rights concerns for deaf individuals around the country. They provide free support for routine inquiries, information, advocacy support, advice, and referral. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. They also have the following resources: