Disabled Student Services

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Brandon Chaidez

Brandon Chaidez
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Hometown: San Jose, CA
Major: Political Science & Environmental Studies

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Policy Handbook for Students with Disabilities

Revised as of July 10, 2017

Index

  • I. Introduction
  • II. General Policy
  • III. Students with Disabilities
  • IV. Eligibility
  • V. Documentation
  • VI. Service Animals and Companion Animals
  • VII. Student Records
  • VIII. Grading & Advancement Petitions
  • IX. Bar Examination
  • X. Grievance Procedure
  • XI. National Association of Law Students with Disabilities

I. Introduction

We are happy that you have chosen The University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (hereinafter Law School) to embark on your legal education. We look forward to providing you with ample opportunities for growth both inside and outside of the classroom. In addition, we strive to provide a safe and supportive environment for all faculty, staff, students and visitors on our 13 acre campus. You may feel confident that the Law School does not discriminate in the administration of any of its educational and other programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender and age, except where age is a bona fide occupational requirement.

It is the policy and practice of the Law School to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and state and local requirements regarding students and applicants with disabilities. The Law School is committed to achieving equal educational opportunities for qualified persons with disabilities in a manner consistent with Law School's obligations under the law. No qualified person with a disability shall be excluded from participating in any Law School program, nor be denied benefits of any Law School program, or otherwise be subject to discrimination on the basis of such a disability.

The Law School is committed to providing access for qualified students, faculty, staff, and visitors to Law School programs. This policy applies to all qualified applicants or students who seek to or do participate in employment, in access to facilities, student programs, activities and services.

The Assistant Dean for Student Affairs is the contact person for ADA accommodations and academic issues for students, as well as for faculty and staff who are facilitating student concerns. Accordingly, only the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs may approve an accommodation.

The policies contained in this handbook serve as the guidelines under which the Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs will deliver services to Law School students with disabilities.

II. General Policy

The Law School does not discriminate against students and applicants on the basis of disability, in the administration of its educational and other programs. The Law School will reasonably accommodate students and applicants with disabilities as defined by applicable law, if the individual is otherwise qualified to meet the fundamental requirements and aspects of the program of the Law School, without undue hardship to the Law School. Discrimination or harassment on the basis of actual, asserted, or perceived disability status is prohibited by the Law School's policies. This General Policy will be contained within the Black Book and is subject to interpretation by the Dean and/or the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in a manner consistent with the policies therein.

In response to a request for accommodation the Law School will offer to make reasonable accommodations if the student is otherwise qualified, if the accommodation would be effective and if it will not alter a fundamental aspect of the Law School's program or impose an undue hardship on the Law School and there are not equivalent alternatives. If appropriate, the Law School may choose to consult with individuals, internal or external to the Law School, to provide further assistance needed to evaluate the request for accommodation.

III. Students with Disabilities

A. Identifying the Need for Accommodations

Students with disabilities who seek accommodations must make those needs known to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs prior to enrollment or immediately upon diagnosis. It is the responsibility of the student to make his/her needs known in a timely fashion and to provide appropriate medical documentation, evaluations and recommendations. Information on a student's disability and accommodations is treated as confidential information under applicable federal, state, and local laws.

Students who do not seek accommodations need not make their disabilities known. In some cases where only minor accommodations are required (e.g. request to sit in the front row of a classroom due to visual or hearing impairment), the student may request such accommodations directly from the faculty member if comfortable doing so. If such requests do not receive an adequate response, the student may confer with the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.

B. Types of Accommodations Available

Academic accommodations may include, but are not limited to, reduction in a student's course load to a part-time program, classroom notes, audio recordings of class lectures, or assistance for the hearing impaired. Examination accommodations may include, but are not limited to, additional time to take any graded exam or assessment, large print examinations, quiet room, dictating answers to examination or assessment questions to a transcriber, or breaks between the completion of exam questions. Accommodations do not include exemption from academic evaluation standards or from the McGeorge Code of Student Responsibility.

Class attendance is a fundamental aspect of legal education and is therefore required by the American Bar Association. Faculty members will not waive attendance requirements for students with disabilities. A reduced course load or medical leave of absence may be requested if excessive absences become necessary due to a disability. Students who believe their situation is extraordinary may direct requests to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs who will consult with the respective faculty member.

C. How to Request Accommodations

To qualify for services and accommodations, the student must identify him/herself to the Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs by providing recent and specific evidence that documents a physical, psychological or learning disability diagnosed by a qualified professional. The documentation must include information regarding assessments used and their outcomes, as well as specific recommendations for services and accommodations that are directly related to the diagnosis. Student records are kept confidential except to the extent review and implementation of accommodations warrant.

A student or applicant who requires an accommodation(s) and who believes he or she is qualified under the Law School's policy should contact the Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. Applicants and prospective students are also encouraged to contact this office to request general information by calling 916.739.7089. Students who seek academic accommodations should contact the Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs well in advance of the commencement of classes, and should provide the requested supporting information at least four weeks before classes begin. Read Section V of this handbook titled "Documentation" or contact the Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. Accommodations are prospective. Retroactive accommodations to adjust deadlines or to mitigate or disregard prior academic performance are not available.

Faculty and staff members who receive student-initiated inquiries or requests regarding accommodations should promptly refer those students to the Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.

D. How Accommodations Will Be Provided

Once your accommodations have been approved:

Note-Taker Request — Please obtain a Note-Taking Services Request Form from the Office of Student Affairs and complete for each class in which you wish to have a note-taker. This form must be completed and submitted to the Office of Student Affairs at the beginning of each semester, including Summer.

Self-Recording Request — Please obtain a Recording Services Request Form from the Office of Student Affairs and complete for each class you would like to self-record. This form must be completed and submitted to the Office of Student Affairs at the beginning of each semester, including Summer.

Exam Accommodations — All pre-scheduled graded exams and assessments will be scheduled in advance each semester, including Summer, by the Office of Student Affairs once the add/drop period has ended. You will be notified by email of the date/time/location of your graded assessments and midterms at least two weeks prior to the assessment and/or midterm date. For final exams, you will be notified by email of the date/time/location at least three weeks prior to the start of the Final Exam Period. It is your responsibility to contact our office at least one week prior to any assessment/midterm/final exam date if you have questions regarding your exam accommodations. Please also let the Office of Student Affairs know, as soon as possible, of any unplanned graded assessments that your professors may schedule, as our office may not be aware of them.

E. Decisions Regarding Accommodations Requests

Provided that all requested documentation is furnished by the student in a timely fashion, the Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs will orally or in writing respond to the request for accommodation and will do so in a manner consistent with the Law School's policy. Each student's accommodations are individually tailored to meet the student's disability-related needs and are based upon the student's current functional limitations and the requirements of the specific classes in which the student is enrolled or examination is being taken. If examination accommodations are provided, the student should not inform his or her professors of the accommodations in order to preserve anonymity. Extended time to meet deadlines for written assignments or take home exams where a student has more than 48 hours in which to complete an assignment is unlikely to be approved as an accommodation, except in unusual circumstances.

In the event that a request for an accommodation is denied, the Law School may choose to exercise its discretion to afford the student some temporary measure or flexibility, which is not based on the asserted disability issue, but which otherwise is considered appropriate, if it does not alter a fundamental element of the program and is not viewed by the Law School as inequitable toward other students. In these rare cases, such a temporary measure or flexibility will not be a precedent, nor will it be regarded by the Law School as a reasonable accommodation, and the student therefore will not be regarded as an individual with a disability.

F. Student Responsibilities

Each student bears the responsibility for initiating and then documenting a disability-related request for accommodation in the manner requested in this policy. The Law School's available forms should be used and the student must provide documentation to support the request to the office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. Documentation from the appropriate health professional should: (1) reflect the nature and present level of disability, (2) how the disability affects the student's needs in an educational setting, and (3) how the requested accommodation will resolve the needs. The Law School has discretion to determine what type of professional documentation is necessary, how current it must be (typically, with the last three years) and this may vary depending on the nature of the disability and/or accommodation.

The cost of obtaining professional medical advice is the responsibility of the student. If the initial documentation is incomplete or inadequate to determine the present extent of the disability and the appropriate accommodations, the student may be asked to furnish a supplemental assessment of the disability. The Law School may, at its option and own expense, have a student's documentation reviewed by a consultant for the purpose of obtaining a second professional opinion. Information reviewed by a consultant is treated in accordance with applicable confidentiality requirements.

The application (or intake) process includes a thorough review of the documentation and recommendations. This evaluation process may generate a list of potentially reasonable accommodations that will then be reviewed based on potential effectiveness, preferences of the requester and of the academic or administrative office involved, maximum level of integration, and the potential for an undue financial or administrative burden on the institution.

Students seeking accommodations must sign an "Authorization and Release" to authorize the Law School and its designees to contact qualified staff members on the Stockton Campus for the purpose of reviewing the request for accommodations and any supporting documentation and to discuss request with a student's medical provider(s).

IV. Eligibility

In determining eligibility for accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American's With Disabilities Act (ADA), a student must demonstrate that a qualified professional has currently or in the recent past established a formal diagnosis of a disability, one which is currently applicable. However, the diagnosis alone is not enough to establish eligibility for accommodations under the ADA. There must also be evidence of a "limitation" in a major life activity, such as walking, seeing, hearing, breathing, etc. These guidelines are provided to help the evaluating professional document his/her findings in a manner that meets requirements of the ADA and supports the request for accommodations. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain his or her documentation and to timely present a copy to the Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.

For purposes of reasonable accommodation, a qualified disabled student or applicant is a person who: (a) has a physical or mental impairment which limits one or more major life activities (such as walking, seeing, speaking, learning, or working) or (b) has a record with the Law School by which the Law School has officially recognized such impairment. A public secondary school record or of a condition in the past, without current documentation of an existing disability, ordinarily will not meet the definition. Major life activities include functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, and experiencing leisure. A "limitation" exists when one is unable to perform a major life activity that the average person can perform OR is significantly restricted as to the condition, manner or duration under which one can perform a particular major life activity as compared to the average person, who also is an individual who meets the academic or technical standards for admission or participation in the education program or activity, with or without the delivery of reasonable accommodations.

To be eligible to continue at the Law School, the student or applicant must meet the qualifications and requirements expected generally of its students, and must also be able to perform the requirements of the individual program in which s/he is enrolled. Accommodations are available to all currently enrolled students who believe they have a documented disability as defined in this policy handbook. Individuals eligible for services include, but are not limited to, those with the following types of disabilities:

  • ADD/ADHD
  • Hearing Impairment, including partial hearing loss or deafness
  • Mobility Impairment
  • Psychological/Psychiatric disorders
  • Learning Disability
  • Speech Impairment
  • Visual Impairment, including partial vision loss or blindness

V. Documentation

If no prior accommodation has been provided, the evaluator must include an explanation about why no accommodations were used in the past, and why accommodations are needed now. Should the documentation provided to the Law School by the student not be considered sufficient, the student will be asked to provide supplemental documentation. When requested, it is the student's responsibility to obtain additional information or testing in a timely manner. The final determination of appropriate accommodations rests with the Law School, based on a review of the provided documentation, as outlined below. A prior history of accommodations, without demonstration of current need, does not in and of itself warrant the provision of a like accommodation.

All information obtained in diagnostic and medical reports will be maintained and used in accordance with applicable confidentiality requirements. It should be noted that delivery of services in public K-12 schools is based on standards different from private higher education institutions. Particularly, private colleges and universities are not subject to the separate legal duty required in K-12 public schools to provide an individualized educational program for disabled students.

The type of accommodation provided will be based on the accuracy, breadth, and timeliness of the documentation as well as what is effective in the Law School's judgment. The Law School may offer accommodations that are different from those requested to the extent they would be effective.

A. Documentation Required Generally

As appropriate to the disability, the documentation should include the following six elements:

  1. A diagnostic statement that is no more than three (3) years old identifying the disability, date of the most current diagnostic evaluation, and the date of the original diagnosis. The diagnostic systems used by the Department of Education, The State Department of Rehabilitative Services or other State agencies and/or the current edition of either the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of The American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV) or the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems of the World Health Organization (ICD) are the recommended diagnostic taxonomies. Initial qualifying documentation should generally be within the past year and thereafter; documentation should be no more than three (3) years old. Documentation older than three years may be partially useful in certain situations if in the Law School's judgment it is still relevant to the individual's situation and otherwise meets the guidelines outlined herein (e.g. transfer student who has been continuously enrolled in college and has a history of receiving services and accommodations in a similar setting, non-traditional aged student whose documentation accurately describes his/her current ability to function academically). A new assessment may be necessary to determine the current need for accommodations if the existing documentation is outdated, inadequate in scope or content, or if the student's observed performance indicates that significant changes may have occurred since the previous assessment was conducted.
  2. A description of the diagnostic tests, methods, and/or criteria used. The description should include the specific results of the diagnostic procedures, diagnostic tests utilized, and when administered. When available, both summary and specific test scores should be reported as standard scores and the norming population identified. When standard scores are not available, the mean, standard deviation, and the standard error of measurement are requested as appropriate to the construction of the test.
  3. A description of the current substantial functional impact of the disability on a major life activity and how the disability impacts participation in law school courses, activities, or examinations. This section should include specific test results and the examiner's narrative interpretation. The current substantial functional impact on physical, perceptual, cognitive, and behavioral abilities should be described either explicitly or through the provision of specific results from the diagnostic procedures.
  4. Treatments, medications, and/or assistive devices/services currently prescribed or in use. Include a description of treatments, medication, assistive devices, accommodations and/or assistive services in current use and their estimated effectiveness in reducing the impact of the disability. Significant side effects that may impact physical, perceptual, behavioral or cognitive performance should also be noted.
  5. A description of the expected progression or stability of the impact of the disability over time, particularly the next five years. This description should provide an estimate of the change in the functional limitations of the disability over time and/or recommendations concerning the predictable needs for reevaluation.
  6. The credentials of the diagnosing professionals, if not clear from the letterhead or other forms. Information describing the certification, licensure, and/or the professional training of individuals conducting the evaluation should be provided.

Based on the context of the diagnostic evaluation adhering to the six elements, the certified professional should recommend necessary accommodations, adaptive devices, assistive services, compensatory strategies, and/or collateral support services. Recommendations from professionals with a history of working with the individual provide valuable information for the review process.

B. Mandatory Student Forms

All students requesting accommodations must fill out and return a "Request for Accommodations" and "Authorization and Release" to the Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. In addition, a student must have his or her professional health care provider submit the proper documentation for his or her disability, as outlined below. All forms are available by request at sacstudentaffairs@pacific.edu or by calling 916.739.7089.

C. Physical Disability

A Student requesting accommodations based upon a physical disability must provide professional documentation. The professional may be a licensed physician, audiologist, speech pathologist, rehabilitation counselor, physical therapist, occupational therapist or other professional health care provider who is qualified in the diagnosis of the disability. Your professional health care provider should fill out and must return the "Physical Disabilities Verification" to the Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.

A Student requesting accommodations through the use of accessible classroom furniture must provide documentation from their treating physician verifying they are unable to use existing furniture. Documentation must specify both the medical condition or disability requiring furniture, and the way in which the furniture accommodates their need(s). Eligibility for this service is determined on a case-by-case basis. Students must notify the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs of the need for specific furniture in advance of the start of the semester (preferably four weeks or more) so as to evaluate the request and provide the accommodation. Students must bring their own cushions or orthopedic supports as needed to use in a chair (the Law School is not responsible for items lost, stolen, or left unattended in the classroom).

D. For Non-Physical Disability (Excludes Learning Disabilities or ADD/ADHD)

A student requesting accommodations based upon a non-physical disability (excluding learning disabilities or ADD/ADHD) such as a psychological or psychiatric condition must provide professional documentation. The professional may be a licensed physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, or other professional health care provider who is qualified in the diagnosis of the disability. Your professional health care provider should fill out and must return the "Psychiatric Disabilities Verification" to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.

E. Learning Disability

A student requesting accommodations based upon a learning disability must provide professional documentation. The professional may be a licensed clinical psychologist, licensed neuropsychologist, licensed educational or school psychologist, educational diagnostician, learning disability specialist, educational therapist, or other professional health care provider who is qualified in the diagnosis of the disability. Your professional health care provider should fill out and must return the "Learning Disabilities Verification" to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.

The professional evaluation must include diagnostic test results and scores that have been administered within the last five (5) years and after the individual's 18th birthday, describing the diagnosis, how the disability affects the individual's ability in the classroom and/or for examinations, and what accommodations are needed and why. For more information, please read the "Guidelines for Learning Disabilities", which were adapted from those provided by the California Committee of Bar Examiners as of July 2011, for accommodations for the California Bar Examination.

F. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

A student requesting accommodations based upon Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) must provide professional documentation. The professional may be a licensed psychiatrist, licensed clinical psychologist, licensed neuropsychologist, or other professional who is qualified in the diagnosis of the disability. Your professional health care provider should fill out and must return the form entitled "Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) Verification" to the Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.

The professional evaluation must include diagnostic information from an examination that has been conducted within the last five (5) years and after the individual's 18th birthday. Information is required supporting the diagnosis, how the diagnosis qualifies as a disability, how the disability affects the individual's ability to prepare for classes, function in the classroom and/or take examinations, what steps have been taken to ameliorate the ADD/ADHD symptoms, what accommodations are recommended, and why these accommodations are recommended. Test results and scores, if any, should be included. For more information, please read the "Guidelines for AD/HD", which were adapted from those provided by the California Committee of Bar Examiners as of July 2011, for accommodations for the California Bar Examination.

G. Temporary Disability

Although the Law School's obligations relate to disabilities of a substantial and long-term nature, accommodations may be approved for temporary disabilities (e.g. broken bone or other physical/medical condition of a temporary nature) when supported by documentation.

A student requesting accommodations based upon temporary disability must provide documentation verifying the nature of the condition — stating the expected duration of the condition — and describing the accommodations recommended. Such documentation must be provided by a medical professional who is qualified in the diagnosis of the condition. The assessment or documentation must reflect the student's current level of disability.

VI. Service Animals and Companion Animals

Service Animals

The definition of service animal in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is "any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders or pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items." If an animal meets this definition it is considered a service animal regardless of whether or not it has been certified by a training program.

Service animals must be permitted to accompany a person with a disability in nearly all locations on campus. Students who request to have a service animal must contact the Office of Student Affairs before the animal comes to campus. If there is any question whether an animal is a service animal, a decision will be made in consultation with the Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.

Requirements of service animals and their partners/handlers:

  • Animals must be licensed in accordance with any and all State and local laws/ordinances.
  • Animals must be in good health. Animals to be housed in Law School housing must have an annual certification establishing that it is good health from a licensed veterinarian.
  • Animals must be on a leash at all times.
  • The handler/partner must be in full control of the animal at all times.

Disruptive and aggressive animals may be asked to remove their animal from the Law School facilities. If the improper behavior happens repeatedly, the student may be told not to bring the animal into any facility until the student takes significant steps to mitigate the behavior. This mitigation may include muzzling a barking dog, or refresher training for the animal and handler.

Companion Animals

A companion animal is one that is used as a tool, has reliable, predictable behavior, and is selected to encourage people with disabilities or people who are experiencing frailties of aging. A companion animal may be an integral part of therapy treatment. The companion animal does not accompany a person with a disability into the classroom or specific areas where other students, faculty or staff frequently comingle. Thus, laws protecting service animals do not cover companion animals and eligibility for this service is determined on a case-by-case basis. Students who live in on-campus housing and who request a companion animal must apply for permission with the Sacramento Campus Housing Office.

VII. Student Records

Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), students have the right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education record. One exception to FERPA is disclosure to a school official who has a legitimate "educational interest" in seeing the record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Information about a student's disability that is maintained in the Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs within an education file is entitled to protection under FERPA.

Typically, there are three types of scenarios in which a teaching faculty member may legitimately and reasonably seek information regarding the nature of a student's disability:

  1. A faculty member questions the reasonableness of the accommodations being provided to a particular student;
  2. A faculty member questions how such accommodations may impact or modify the standards applicable to the educational program in which the faculty member is involved;
  3. A faculty member is requested by the Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs to accommodate a classroom accommodation (e.g. that a student not be called on during class).

When it has been three or more years since a student has either attended the Law School or received accommodations as a student with a disability, the Law School may destroy any disability-related documentation that it has in its possession without providing further notice, absent existence of a dispute, legal issue or inquiry from a governmental entity. The Law School will not be responsible for the replacement cost of any medical or disability-related documentation destroyed pursuant to this policy, or for any new documentation that may be required in order for a student to re-apply for accommodations. For this reason, students are encouraged to retain copies of their own medical records and disability-related records, and not to depend on the Law School maintaining such records.

Students who would like to have their disability-related records and medical documentation returned to them may contact the Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and make arrangements to pick up their records prior to destruction of such records.

If the student wishes to have their records and documentation mailed to them, the student must provide the Office of the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs with a signed release including a complete and updated address.

VIII. Grading & Advancement Petitions

Students who are disqualified from their legal studies sometimes raise a disability as their basis for academic difficulty when petitioning for readmission to the Grading and Advancement Committee. While this may justify allowing the student a second chance to prove his or her academic ability, the burden will be on the student to explain as applicable why the disability was not previously brought to the attention of the administration, why accommodations were not requested, or why any accommodations that were provided were not adequate.

IX. Bar Examination

Students with disabilities who believe they will require accommodations when taking the bar examination should inquire early in their legal education as to what will be necessary to obtain accommodations from the State Bar of California (http://www.calbar.ca.gov) or any Bar to which the student may apply. Information on how to contact the bar examiners for all states is available in the Registrar's Office. Many state boards of bar examiners request that the law school provide information about the accommodations a student received while in law school. Such information will only be provided upon written request from the student, addressed to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. Please note that the accommodations provided during the bar examination may NOT be the same as provided by the Law School. The fact that a student has received accommodations in college or law school does not guarantee that the student will receive similar accommodations for the respective State Bar Examination.

X. Grievance Procedure

The Law School has established the following procedure to promptly resolve disagreements of students with decisions related to requests for accommodations and grievances asserting discrimination based on disability.

Step 1: Present a letter of complaint to the Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. The letter must state in detail the issues with which the student is dissatisfied and the pertinent facts and must have the important documents attached. A copy will be furnished to the Law School's ADA Compliance Officer and the Law School Office of Human Resources.

The Assistant Dean for Student Affairs will provide a letter of determination of the complaint to the student within 15 working days.

Step 2: If the student is dissatisfied with the determination at step 1, the student may within 15 working days appeal to the Director of Human Resources by transmitting a letter of appeal, explaining the basis for disagreeing with the determination at step 1. The Director of Human Resources will evaluate the appeal and issue a letter of determination of the appeal as soon as possible, which shall constitute a final resolution within the Law School.

Thereafter, if the student wishes to file a complaint with the Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights ("OCR"), the student may do so by contacting OCR in San Francisco at:

Office for Civil Rights
Region IX U.S. Department of Health & Human Services 50 United Nations Plaza - Room 322
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 437-8310 (Voice)
(415) 437-8311 (TDD)
(415) 437-8329 (FAX)
E-mail: OCRcomplaint@hhs.gov

Complaints to OCR should be filed in writing, either on paper or electronically. Your complaint should include the following information:

  • Your name, address and telephone number.
  • If you are filing a complaint for someone else, include that person's name, address and telephone number.
  • The name and address of the organization or person you believe discriminated against you.
  • How, why and when you believe you (or the person on whose behalf you are filing the complaint) were discriminated against.
  • Any other information that would help OCR understand your complaint.

You must file your complaint within 180 days of the date when the discrimination happened. OCR may extend the 180-day period if you can show "good cause."

You can file your complaint by email at OCRcomplaint@hhs.gov, or you can mail or fax your complaint to the OCR Regional Office that is responsible for the state in which you allege the discrimination took place:

You can also file your complaint via the Discrimination Complaint Form: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr

You can either: (a) print the completed form and mail or fax it to the appropriate OCR Regional Office; or (b) email the form to OCR.

If you have any questions, or need help to file your complaint, call OCR (toll-free) at 1-800-368- 1019 (voice) or 1-800-537-7697 (TDD). You may also send an email to OCRMail@hhs.gov.

XI. National Association of Law Students with Disabilities

The National Association of Law Students with Disabilities (NALSWD) is a coalition of law students with disabilities dedicated to disability advocacy and achievement of equal access, inclusion, diversity, and non-discrimination in legal education and the legal profession.

NALSWD was founded in 2007 with the support of the American Bar Association (ABA) section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities. The organization aims to support the growing number of law students with disabilities by providing mentors, study and survival tips, and career advice for the legal profession. Please visit www.nalswd.org to learn more and/or to become a member. You may also contact the NALSWD President at nalswd.president@gmail.com.