Appeals and Grievance Procedures

The University of Southern California is committed to full compliance with laws protecting qualified individuals with disabilities. It is the goal of the University of Southern California that students with disabilities are actively engaged in the fullness of campus life and are recognized as valued, diverse members of the campus community. If a student feels that they have been denied a reasonable accommodation or been treated improperly because of a disability, this Grievance Procedure provides the steps a student may take.


Appealing Disability Services & Programs Accommodation Eligibility Determinations

If a student feels that Disability Services and Programs (DSP) did not provide the student the appropriate accommodations or auxiliary aids and services required by law, the student can choose from among several different options.

    1. A student may contact the DSP staff member with whom the student has worked and request that their file be reviewed for further accommodations. Students may provide the staff member with additional documentation supporting their need for such accommodations. DSP staff genuinely wish to engage in these interactive conversations with students, and DSP strives to create an environment where students feel comfortable discussing their needs.
    2. If a student does not wish to speak to the staff member with whom they have been working, a student may contact Ms. Lisa Toft, Director of Disability Services and Programs, and request that the file be reviewed by Ms. Toft for additional consideration. Ms. Toft can be reached by email (ltoft@usc.edu) or telephone (213) 740-5243.
    3. A student may file a formal written grievance regarding DSP’s decisions with Ms. Christine Street, Executive Director, ADA/504 Coordinator. Ms. Street can be reached by email at streetc@usc.edu. The grievance should be in writing and include the following information:
      1. The contact information and Student ID number for the student filing the claim.
      2. A full description of the situation, including a statement of the requested solution.

The Executive Director, ADA/504 Coordinator will review the matter and will provide the student with a written statement outlining her findings and next steps available to the student. Where appropriate, the Executive Director may instruct DSP to implement temporary and/or permanent approved accommodations.

  1. A student may file a formal grievance with The Office of Equity and Diversity (OED), which is the institutional unit charged with responsibility of investigating incidents of protected class discrimination. To initiate a complaint with OED, the student will need to contact the office. Contact information can be found at equity.usc.edu. OED investigates complaints in keeping with established university protocols.

Appealing Actions or Inactions by Faculty or Staff Related to Academic Adjustments and/or Auxiliary Aids

A student who believes that a faculty member or teaching assistant at the University of Southern California has discriminated against the student because of disability status or has not provided approved accommodation or auxiliary aids and services may choose to proceed in one of several ways.

  1. A student may choose to resolve the matter by speaking directly with the faculty member and requesting that the accommodations or auxiliary aids previously approved by DSP be put in place. A student may request advice from DSP prior to having these conversations with faculty. Discussion with the faculty member, teaching assistant, and/or department coordinators may lead to resolution of the matter.
  2. Students should expect that they will be able to use their approved accommodations, and DSP will work with faculty members on a student’s behalf to make sure this happens. A student may choose to discuss the matter with the DSP staff member with whom they have been working. In some situations, DSP may be able to clarify matters with the faculty member and determine an appropriate solution. The student may also choose to speak with Ms. Lisa Toft, Director of DSP or Ms. Christine Street, Executive Director, ADA/504 Coordinator.
  3. The student may choose to report the matter to the Office of Equity and Diversity (OED), which is charged with responsibility of investigating incidents of discrimination. To initiate a formal complaint, the student will need to contact the Office of Equity and Diversity. Contact information can be found at equity.usc.edu. OED investigates complaints in keeping with established university protocols. At any time, a student may request advice from Disability Services and Programs.