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ADA/Section 504 Non-Discrimination

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ADA/Section 504 Non-Discrimination

To Report Student Complaints, Contact:
Chris Greer, Dean of Students
Section 504 Coordinator
Dean of Students Office
2001 Hedgcock

To Report Faculty, Staff, or Applicant Complaints, Contact:
Janet Koski, Director of Equal Opportunity
Equal Opportunity Officer and Title IX Coordinator
Section 504 Coordinator
Equal Opportunity Office
105 Cohodas Hall

Date Approved:4-20-2011
Last Revision:12-10-2021
Last Reviewed:12-10-2021
Approved By:President
This policy has a related procedure. Click to view the procedure below.


The two primary laws which are related to disability in higher education are the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  Both of these laws protect the rights of individuals with disabilities.  The ADA protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination and guarantees protection of equal access to programs and services.  Section 504 provides specific information for post-secondary institutions and requires that reasonable accommodations be provided so that students with disabilities have an equal access to education.


Students, faculty, staff, and applicants for employment.


Northern Michigan University formally affirms its commitment to prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including persons with mental health disabilities, in any aspect of University life including, but not limited to, physical plant access, employment, services, and the academic process.  To this end, Northern Michigan University declares its intention to adhere to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and all other applicable federal and state disability law.  Applicants and students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in or benefit from the services, programs, and activities provided by Northern Michigan University.

Non-discrimination includes making reasonable accommodation where appropriate to allow members of the University community with disabilities to fully participate in the University’s programs, services and activities.  The University offers consultation, assistance and problem resolution to the University community through the Office of the ADA Coordinator and will provide information regarding other applicable University processes.  Click to review the Reasonable Accommodation Policy.

Northern Michigan University will make reasonable modifications to its policies, practices and procedures when the modifications are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless making the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program or activity.  For all reasonable modification determinations, the University will conduct an individualized assessment and case-by-case determination as to whether and what modification(s) can be made to allow a student with a disability to participate in the programs, services and activities of the University, including allowing the student to continue to participate in and benefit from these programs, services and activities while receiving treatment for a mental health condition.

Northern Michigan University will not impose or apply eligibility criteria that screen out or tend to screen out an individual with a disability or any class of individuals with disability from fully and equally enjoying any program, service or activity unless such criteria can be shown to be necessary for the provision of the program, service or activity being offered.

Northern Michigan University has adopted an internal grievance procedure providing for prompt and equitable resolution for complaints alleging any action prohibited by this policy.  Any person who believes that they have been subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability may file a grievance.  Click to view the ADA/Section 504 Grievance Procedure.  

The University welcomes and encourages you to report all complaints of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and sexual misconduct.  All complaints or inquiries should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator.  In the event there is a complaint against an executive level administrator or a member of the Board of Trustees, reports may be made directly to the University’s General Counsel, who reports directly to the Board of Trustees, or to the Chair or Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees.  All complaints will be thoroughly investigated and appropriate action will be taken based on the investigation findings, facts, and circumstances.

Complaints should be addressed to:

Student Complaints
Chris Greer, Dean of Students
Section 504 Coordinator
Dean of Students Office
2001 Hedgcock

Faculty, Staff, or Applicant Complaints
Janet Koski, Director of Equal Opportunity
Equal Opportunity Officer and Title IX Coordinator
Section 504 Coordinator
Equal Opportunity Office
105 Cohodas Hall

Retaliation against anyone who files a grievance or cooperates in the investigation of a grievance is prohibited.


ADA/Section 504 Grievance Procedures


This procedure is designed for most discrimination complaints other than sex discrimination/harassment.  Please see the Sexual Misconduct Policy for complaints of sex discrimination/harassment.

The Dean of Students Office, 2001 Hedgcock, 227-1700, handles student on student discrimination/harassment complaints.  Violations of the Student Code are handled through the Dean of Students Office. 

The Equal Opportunity Office, 105 Cohodas, 227-2420, handles employee, applicant, and student employee discrimination/harassment complaints. 

If you are uncertain which procedure applies to your complaint, please contact the Equal Opportunity Office at 227-2420 or e-mail

Retaliation:  Retaliation against anyone who files a claim, who is named as a respondent, or who participates in the resolution of a case, regardless of the outcome of the case, is expressly prohibited and could lead to discipline and possible dismissal or expulsion.

False Claim:  Deliberate filing of a false claim is expressly prohibited and could lead to discipline and possible dismissal or expulsion.

Confidentiality:  Confidentiality is expected to the fullest extent possible from all who are involved in a claim, directly or indirectly.


1.           All reports of discrimination/harassment involving employment or employees shall be promptly reported to an immediate supervisor or the Equal Opportunity Officer/Title IX Coordinator.  Supervisors are responsible for immediately notifying the Equal Opportunity Officer/Title IX Coordinator of discrimination complaints.

2.           All reports shall be assessed and, where appropriate, may result in a formal investigation with associated follow up.

3.           When a report is made, the Equal Opportunity Office will assess the facts and circumstances and consider the complainant’s expressed preference for manner of resolution.  The University will seek action consistent with the complainant’s request when possible.

The following outlines the University’s timeline, investigation process, final summary of findings, and appeal process for employees.


1.           The University will use its best efforts to complete its investigation within 60 calendar days of the commencement of a formal investigation, although this time line may be extended for good cause. Good cause may include, but is not limited to the complexity of each allegation, the availability of witnesses, University breaks or vacations, or other legitimate reasons.

2.           In the event a time frame is extended, both the complainant and respondent will be notified of the extension and the reason for the extension.

Investigation Process

1.           Any student, staff member, or faculty member may file a complaint of discrimination with the Equal Opportunity Office against any other member of the university community who is believed to have violated the policy.

2.           The Equal Opportunity Office may initiate an investigation to determine if there has been a policy violation, and if so, whether sanctions are warranted. The Equal Opportunity Office has the discretion to consolidate multiple reports involving a respondent into one investigation and resolution if the evidence related to each incident would be relevant in reaching a determination on any other incident.

3.           Faculty and staff investigations will be typically completed by the Equal Opportunity Office, although the investigator(s) may be any appropriately designated employee of the University, or external investigator(s) assigned by the Equal Opportunity Office.   The investigator(s) chosen to conduct the investigation must be impartial and free of any conflict of interest.

4.           During the investigation, both the complainant and the respondent will have the opportunity to provide evidence and names of witnesses to the investigator(s).

5.           The investigator(s) will update both the complainant and respondent regarding the status of the investigation at reasonable, regular intervals.

Final Summary of Findings

1.           The investigator(s) provides the final investigation summary of findings and recommendation remedies and/or sanctions to the complainant and the respondent. 

2.           The complainant and the respondent will be sent notification of the outcome of the investigation, using email, which serves as a method for documenting distribution.


Appeal Process

1.           The complainant or respondent may submit written notice of appeal based on fact to the Vice President for Finance and Administration within seven (7) calendar days of receiving the summary of findings and notice of determination. Appeals based on fact are to consider new information, sufficient to alter a decision or other relevant facts not brought up in the initial investigation, because the person appealing did not know such information and/or facts at the time of the investigation.  Information which was known to the person appealing, but withheld, will not be considered on appeal.

2.           The receipt of the appeal will be acknowledged by the Finance and Administration Office via email.

3.           Parties will be notified via email of the filing and status of appeals by the Vice President for Finance and Administration Office.

4.           After receiving the appeal request, the Vice President for Finance and Administration or the Vice President for Finance and Administration’s designee will convene an Appeal Review Group of three (3) people.  This group shall be empowered to review the case file, gather additional information and interview witnesses, including the parties, if the group deems necessary, within twenty-one (21) calendar days from the convening of the Appeal Review Group. The Equal Opportunity Office will provide assistance to the Vice President for Finance and Administration and the Appeal Review Group upon request.  The appealing party or parties may be asked to submit additional information supporting the basis for the appeal, if not previously submitted. Any additional material requested must be submitted within five (5) calendar days upon request. Failure to respond will result in the information not being considered for review during the appeal review.

5.           Within seven (7) calendar days after completion of the appeal, the chairperson of the Appeal Review Group will issue a determination to the Vice President for Finance and Administration.

a.           If the Appeal Review Group determines a violation, it will submit a written report supporting these findings, along with the recommendation for further action, to the Vice President for Finance and Administration.

b.           If the Appeal Review Group finds that a policy was not violated, it shall recommend to the Vice President that the appeal be denied.

6.           The Vice President for Finance and Administration will review the recommendation of the Appeal Review Group and make a determination.  The Vice President for Finance and Administration will notify the appealing party, via email, of the appeal outcome.  The decision of the Vice President for Finance and Administration shall be final and shall become part of the record.

Sanction Process for Employees (Faculty and Staff) as Respondent

1.           Sanctions for respondents, who are employees, will be determined by Academic Affairs and/or Human Resources, with input from other offices as appropriate.

2.           Represented Employees: sanctions will be imposed in accordance with the applicable collective bargaining agreement and University policy and procedures.

3.           Unrepresented Employees: sanctions shall be determined in accordance with University policies and procedures, individual contracts, and/or appointment letters.

4.           Potential Employee Sanctions: The potential sanctions for an employee may include, but are not limited to, training, referral to counseling, no contact order, no trespass, loss of privileges, written warning, reprimand, withholding of a promotion, reassignment, temporary suspension without pay, or separation from the University.

5.           All rights afforded to the respondents in a collective bargaining agreement, Human Resources policy or procedure, individual contract or appointment letter will be afforded to the complainant was well.

Investigation Documentation

Individuals involved in the investigation and appeal process will adequately document the testimony of the parties and witnesses, relevant investigation documents, all facts and evidence reviewed, the rationale for determinations, and interim and final remedies and sanctions imposed, if any.  All documentation will be submitted to and maintained in the Equal Opportunity Office.

Misconduct by Third Parties

University students participate in NMU academic programs (examples:  student teaching, internships, clinical lab practicums, conferences, student trips, etc.) with or under the supervision of persons who are not University faculty or staff. If a student believes that she or he has been subject to discrimination/harassment in a University academic program by an individual who is not a University employee or student, the student should report the alleged discrimination/harassment to the faculty member, department head or dean responsible for that academic program or to the Equal Opportunity Office.

When performing their jobs, University faculty and staff interact with contractors, suppliers, or customers who are not University faculty, staff or students. If a University employee (including a student employee) believes that he or she has been discriminated/harassed within the scope of his or her employment activities by an individual who is not a University employee or student, the University employee should report the alleged discrimination/harassment to his or her supervisor or to the Equal Opportunity Office or to Human Resources.

Individuals who are not students or faculty and staff of the University are not subject to discipline under the University's internal processes. Nonetheless, if the University determines that a third party has perpetrated discrimination/harassment within the scope of her or his employment, the University will take corrective action, which may include terminating a contract. 

*All dates noted are considered days when the university is in operation.  Days are weekdays when the university is open.