ADS Appeals Process
The Office of Accessibility and Disability Service (ADS) is the unit at the University of Maryland which determines reasonable accommodations for students, pursuant to the University of Maryland Disability & Accessibility Policy and Procedures (UMD Policy No. VI-1.00(D) (the “Disability Policy”)). As set forth in the Disability Policy, reasonable accommodations shall be made in a timely manner and on an individualized and flexible basis. Following are the General Procedures by which ADS makes accommodation decisions.
In most situations, accommodation decisions are made at Step 1, in which the student works directly with the disability specialist. On occasion, a student may not agree with the identified accommodations made available and offered to the student. Steps 2 and 3 of these General Procedures set forth the processes by which a student can request review of the decisions made in Step 1.
Each of the steps contained herein set forth time limits by which events shall be completed and decisions made. ADS retains the authority to extend these time limits, both for students and for itself, for good cause and based on the circumstances of each individual case. In such cases, ADS shall notify the student of the revised time limits. In all cases, ADS shall strive to provide responses in a timely manner.
Step 1: Student Works Directly with Disability Specialist
In Step 1, an ADS disability specialist makes the initial decision as to whether the student is entitled to an accommodation and what the accommodation will be. Students should provide all necessary information and documentation connected to their request for an accommodation at that time. After the initial decision is made by the disability specialist, students will be notified in writing through their UMD email address. If the student has questions or does not agree with this decision, they should re-engage in the interactive process with their disability specialist. Students should respond to the email with the original decision within fifteen (15) days to request that the disability specialist review the initial decision, in which communication they can include their reasons why they think the decision was incorrect, submit new documentation and/or provide self-reported information not previously shared.
The newly disclosed information may impact the original decision. Disability specialists may request to meet with the student to discuss any relevant follow-up questions, if needed. The disability specialist will issue a final decision as to any approved or not approved accommodation requests.
If, after this process, a student does not agree with an approved/not approved final accommodation decision made by the student’s assigned disability specialist, the student may file an appeal through the ADS Appeal Process. The following steps outline this process:
Step 2: Student Submits ADS Appeal Request
If informal discussions with disability specialists have not resolved the issue, students shall complete the Reasonable Accommodations Appeal Form within fifteen (15) days of the final accommodation decision.
Process note: When an appeal is being reviewed if the student shares additional information and/or supporting documentation that was not provided during Step One (1), the ADS Appeals Committee reserves the right to refer the student back to their assigned disability specialist for reassessment. The presence of new information may have impacted the original decision if shared initially.
Step 3: ADS Appeals Committee Reviews Appeal Request
Upon receipt of the Reasonable Accommodation Appeal Form, the ADS Appeals Committee will review all submitted information. If deemed necessary, a member of the ADS Appeals Committee will meet with the student to discuss the concern and obtain clarifying information. The ADS Appeals Committee will notify the student in writing via their UMD email address of the final decision within fifteen (15) days of receiving the Reasonable Accommodation Appeal Form.
Process note: The ADS Appeals Committee resolves the majority of all appeals within fifteen (15) days or less. As noted above, in some cases this process will take longer, for example in the event an ADS Appeals Committee member needs to speak with external third parties (ex. medical provider etc.).
Step 4: Right to File Complaint
The Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct (OCRSM) shall receive all complaints of discrimination and harassment made pursuant to the University of Maryland Non-Discrimination Policy and Procedures. All such complaints will be reviewed in accordance with VI-1.00(B) University of Maryland Non-Discrimination Policy and Procedures.
Individual students, staff, faculty members, or visiting third parties who believe that they have been denied reasonable accommodations or otherwise discriminated against on the basis of disability or retaliated against in violation of this policy may file a complaint with OCRSM.
External Government Agencies That Address Discrimination Complaints
Filing a discrimination complaint under this policy or an alternative campus procedure does not preclude an individual from filing a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education.
Complainants who wish to file discrimination complaints that are not connected with the official functions of the university or not falling within the scope of this policy, will be referred to appropriate university, county, state, or federal agencies by the OCRSM.
Office for Civil Rights U.S. Department of Education
Philadelphia Office (Regional Office for Maryland)
The Wanamaker Building
100 Penn Square East, Suite 515
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323
Office for Civil Rights U.S. Department of Education website
It is important to note that in order to protect certain legal rights and remedies, complainants must comply with certain time limits and deadlines. Affected persons should contact the relevant agencies listed above to verify time limits for filing. Failure to meet required deadlines may result in a loss of rights to seek a legal remedy.