A second complaint was filed Nov. 26 with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) against Grand Rapids Community College alleging violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the letter sent to GRCC President Steven Ender on Jan. 8 by the OCR, two instructors failed to “provide approved academic adjustments and auxiliary aids” to a student with a visual impairment.
The Collegiate filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the OCR for the documented formal complaint but has yet to receive it.
GRCC General Council Kathy Keating said the OCR case manager said this particular complaint is “amenable to a process called early complaint resolution.”
“It’s a meeting—a dialogue—between the college and the particular student to make sure that we can address the concerns that were raised and to try to resolve those satisfactorily,” Keating said. “So we’re looking forward to doing that, I think. It’s a healthy, positive process for all of us to further understand both the student’s needs and how to make sure that we’re more proactive to be able to address those in the future.”
She was not able to say whether or not disciplinary action will be taken against either of the professors because that process has not yet started.
A complaint of a similar nature was filed against GRCC in May involving a blind student who reported she could not access parts of the school website. The college then “entered into a voluntary resolution agreement with OCR to resolve the allegations” and examine compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which included faculty trainings by an outside professional.
“One of the things the college has been working on…is a better understanding of how we can make all of our materials more accessible to students with a variety of different kinds of disabilities,” Keating said.
Keating said students with disabilities who are experiencing issues with accommodation are strongly encouraged to seek out Disability Support Services, either informally or through the internal complaint system on the department’s website.
“That enables us at the college to be able to be aware that there is an issue very early and assist that student to resolve that before it impacts their educational experience here,” Keating said.