The Community College of Allegheny County has adopted an internal grievance procedure providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by the US Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended, (29 USC 794) which prohibit discrimination on the
basis of disability.
Complaints should be addressed to Esther M. Mason, Compliance Coordinator, Community College of Allegheny County, 1750 Clairton Road, West Mifflin, PA 15122, phone 412.469.6215 (voice), 412.469.6005 (TTY), who has been designated to coordinate the college's compliance activities pursuant to the above noted regulations.
1. A complaint should be filed in writing, contain the name and address of the person filing it and briefly describe the alleged violation of the policy and/or rules.
2. A complaint should generally be filed within 45 days after the complainant becomes aware of the alleged violation, though the college may be able to pursue complaints made after 45 days depending on the availability of evidence.
3. An investigation, as may be appropriate, will follow the filing of the complaint. The investigation will be conducted by Esther M. Mason, unless Ms. Mason is the subject of the complaint, in which case the investigation will be conducted by the functional dean for Supportive Services. These rules contemplate informal but thorough investigation, affording all interested persons and their representatives, if any, an opportunity to submit evidence relevant to a complaint.
4. A written determination as to the validity of the complaint and a description of the resolution, if any, will be issued by Esther M. Mason and a copy forwarded to the complainant no later than 45 days after its filing. Any finding will be based on whether evidence shows it is more likely than not that the alleged behavior violated CCAC policies.
5. The college's designated compliance coordinator will maintain the files and records of the Community College of Allegheny County relating to the complaints filed.
The complainant can request an appeal of the case in instances where he or she is dissatisfied with the resolution.
a. Student or complainant may petition within seven school days of receiving the written decision of the Compliance Coordinator for the review. Such petitions will be in writing and will be delivered to the dean of student development or designee.
b. If the dean of student development or designee determines that one of the five bases for appeal below has been met, the dean may re-open the complaint to allow reconsideration of the original determination for reconsideration. The dean of student development or designee serves as the final level of review in the matter.
c. Except as required to explain the basis of new information, a review will be limited to review of the record of the initial investigation and supporting documents for one or more of the following purposes:
i. To consider new information, unavailable during the original complaint, that could be outcome determinative;
ii. To assess whether a material deviation from written procedures impacted the fairness of the review;
iii. To decide if a sanction(s) is grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offense;
iv. To determine that the finding does not accord with the information;
v. To assess whether bias on the part of a conduct board member deprived the process of impartiality.
d. On appeal by any party to the complaint, the dean of student development or designee may support or change a decision, increase, decrease or modify the outcome. The reviewing body will be deferential to the original decision maker, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error and to the outcome only if a compelling justification to do so exists.
7. The rights of a person to a prompt and equitable resolution of the complaint filed hereunder will not be impaired by the person's pursuit of other remedies such as the filing of a Section 504 complaint with the responsible federal department or agency. Utilization of this grievance procedure is not a prerequisite to the pursuit of other remedies.
8. These rules shall be construed to protect the substantive rights of interested persons, to meet appropriate due process standards and to ensure that the Community College of Allegheny County is complying with Section 504 and Title IX and their implementing regulations.