ADA Compliance

Fitchburg State University is committed to equal and integrated inclusion of individuals with disabilities and is continually improving accessibility of our campus, programs and activities. The university’s Title II, ADA/504 Coordinator is Dr. William Cummings, Director of Compliance in Human Resources.

For Employees

Human Resources is a referral point for:

  • seeking reasonable workplace accommodations
  • information, services and resources regarding ADA and Section 504
  • consultation on policy reviews and facilities planning
  • workshops and training on disability related topics/legal requirements
  • implementation of reasonable requested accommodation

For more information, or to request a workplace accommodation, please contact Human Resources at 978.665.3172 or humanresources@fitchburgstate.edu.

Employees requesting accommodations based on religious or spiritual beliefs should contact Human Resources at 978.665.3172 or humanresources@fitchburgstate.edu.

For Students

Disability Services is a resource for the campus community to ensure academic and housing access and inclusion. They provide:

  • academic accommodations
  • resources
  • training in assistive technology
  • information to increase the understanding of disability throughout the university community

Information about student academic or housing accommodations can be found at Disability Services.

For pregnancy or related conditions, accommodations are available through the Title IX Coordinator. Please email wcummings@fitchburgstate.edu, or call 978.665.3236.

IT Accessibility

Fitchburg State is committed to a barrier-free electronic information and technology environment. Fitchburg State works hard to update facilities, events, classes, books, videos, and the website to meet universal design principles and to be compliant with the American with Disabilities Act.

When you are creating media or publishing text that will go on a screen, computer, video, internet, or slideshow, please follow these simple recommendations:

  • add professional ADA-Compliant closed captioning
  • add professional ADA-Compliant alternative text to images
  • try to add content such as headlines and title in text on a page rather than photo text
  • consider size, color, and contrast when creating content
  • consider making content mobile friendly

Disability Services is available to assist the Fitchburg State community with making their content accessible.

Facilities Accessibility

Fitchburg State is committed to removing barriers that prohibit access to buildings and programs. Updates regarding construction and improvement projects can be found at Capital Planning & Maintenance

Appeals/Grievance Procedure

Students, employees or other community members who believe they have been denied reasonable accommodations or otherwise discriminated against on the basis of their disability may file a complaint with the Director of Compliance, who also serves as the ADA/504 Coordinator. Complaints should be submitted via email to wcummings@fitchburgstate.edu, or via the online complaint form. Individuals who are unable to file a complaint by these methods or require assistance may call 978.665.3236. Complaints will be resolved pursuant to the Massachusetts State Universities Equal Opportunity Plan and the Fitchburg State ADA/Section 504 Supplemental Grievance Process.

Human Resources and Payroll Services
Disability Services
December 2021

Fitchburg State University is committed to providing equal access to otherwise qualified persons with disabilities. The university recognizes that individuals with disabilities may need reasonable accommodations to have equal access to participation and benefits from educational programs, services, activities and employment.

In accordance with state and federal requirements, Fitchburg State will provide necessary reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids, and academic adjustments (including support services) to otherwise qualified students with disabilities to assure equal access to its programs, facilities and services. Reasonable accommodations will also be afforded to applicants with documented disabilities who appropriately request accommodations during the admissions process in order to enable them to adequately pursue all opportunities for enrollment.

Fitchburg State University’s ‘Policies for Reasonable Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities’ are governed by the university’s System Equal Opportunity Plan. The Equal Opportunity Plan (“EO Plan”) also discusses the Complaint Investigation and Resolution Procedures. This policy is intended to supplement the university's EO Plan and provide the specific grievance procedures for disability-related complaints.

Students

Any student seeking reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aid and/or academic adjustments for a disability must contact Disability Services. The decision to grant or deny a requested accommodation is made by Disability Services after engaging in a documentation review and in the interactive process with the individual.

Disability Services
Hammond Hall 303
978.665.4020
disabilityserviceslist@fitchburgstate.edu

Employees

Any employee seeking reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aid and/or work related adjustments for a disability must contact Human Resources. The decision to grant or deny a requested accommodation is made by Human Resources after engaging in a documentation review and in the interactive process with the individual. 

Human Resources
Sanders 202
978.665.3172
humanresources@fitchburgstate.edu

Concerns

If an individual has a concern about a disability accommodation that was denied or only partially granted by Disability Services or Human Resources, that individual should first discuss their concern with the relevant office.

If an individual has a concern about how a disability accommodation (approved by Disability Services or Human Resources) is being implemented in their work or classroom environment, that individual should first discuss their concern with the staff or faculty member responsible for putting the disability accommodations into place and include the Director of Disability Services or the Director of Human resources as appropriate. The individual may also reach out to the Director of Disability Services or the Director of Human Resources for assistance in having the approved disability accommodation put into effect. If these conversations do not resolve the matter, the individual may then contact the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (Director of Compliance) to discuss these concerns. The individual may then request that a grievance/complaint be initiated regarding these concerns. 
 

When a grievance is initiated, the individual who brought the concern forward will become the complainant in that process. The ADA/Section 504 Coordinator, or their designee1, will then initially review the grievance, review relevant materials, meet with the complainant if applicable, for the purposes of determining if there is grounds for the grievance, and whether an investigation into the matter should be conducted. As appropriate the university may offer an informal resolution to the matter in accordance with Appendix 4 of the Equal Opportunity Plan.

If the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator, or their designee, determines that the complaint has been properly filed, or the university otherwise determines that an investigation is necessary they will move forward with an investigation into the matter. The investigation (may include but is not limited to) a review of the information submitted by the complainant to Disability Services or Human Resources, interviews with any relevant witnesses, a review of any accommodation(s) offered, a chronology of events, information regarding any undue burden or hardship on the operations of the university’s programs or activities and information regarding the fundamental nature of the program or the essential functions of the position in which the accommodations are sought. The complainant has the right to identify any witnesses and/or information which they believe may be relevant to the resolution of this grievance. The ADA/Section 504 Coordinator will determine the scope of the investigation. The goal is  to complete any grievance process within 30 business days from the receipt of the grievance. Depending on the complexity of the investigation, more or less time may be required to complete the process.

Based upon the results of this investigation, the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator will determine whether the requested or approved disability accommodation(s): (1) is reasonable; (2) poses an undue hardship or burden for the university; (3) alters the fundamental nature of the program or the essential functions of the position where the accommodation is sought; and/or (4) was properly implemented. The finding will be communicated to the complainant in writing.

If the ADA/504 Coordinator or designee finds that the requested accommodation was improperly denied, the matter will be referred back to the relevant office (Disability Services or Human Resources) who will review the requested accommodation in light of the result of the investigation and who will reopen the interactive process with the complainant.  If the ADA/504 Coordinator finds that the approved accommodation(s) was not properly implemented, the Coordinator will work with the relevant office (Disability Services or Human Resources) and the staff or faculty member responsible for implementing the accommodation to determine how best to put the accommodation into place for the complainant. In the event that a staff or faculty member responsible for implementing the accommodation refuses to do so, the ADA/504 Coordinator will follow the procedures included in Appendix 4 of the EO Plan for formal resolutions.

If the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator finds that the approved accommodation(s): (1) was not reasonable; (2) posed an undue hardship or burden for the University; or (3) was a fundamental alteration of the program or the essential functions of the position, the matter will be referred back to the relevant office (Disability Services or Human Resources) who will review the requested accommodation in light of the results of this investigation and who will initiate the interactive process with the complainant regard what alternate accommodations may be available.

1 In situations where a student is grieving the denial of an accommodation or an accommodation that was only partially granted by Disability Services, the matter will typically be referred to the Assistant Dean of Student Support Services for review. Alternatively, another staff member from Student Affairs, as appointed by the Vice President for Student Affairs may serve as the designee. When a conflict of interest is present, the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator may conduct the review.