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Appeal and Grievance Procedures

Statement of University Policy Regarding Non-Discrimination

Northwestern University does not discriminate or permit discrimination by any member of its community against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, parental status, marital status, age, disability, citizenship, or veteran status in matters of admissions, employment, housing, or services or in the educational programs or activities it operates.

It is also Northwestern University policy to ensure that no qualified student with a disability (one who has provided documentation of disability and is registered with AccessibleNU-Q) is denied the benefits of, excluded from participation in, or otherwise subjected to discrimination in any University program or activity. In response to a request made by a qualified student with a documented disability, the University will arrange, at no cost to the student, for the provision of educational auxiliary aids, including note-takers, materials in e-text or audio format, sign language interpreters and captioning services, and assistance in activity relocation that the University determines are necessary to afford the student with a disability the opportunity for full participation in University programs.

Description of Appeal, Resolution, & Grievance Procedures

If a University student believes any University employee has discriminated against them because of a disability or has not appropriately accommodated them, they have the right to seek a review of such concerns. Students have the option of appealing an accommodation determination, pursuing an informal resolution, or filing a formal grievance. If a student opts to appeal and/or pursue an informal resolution, they may later pursue a formal grievance if not satisfied with the resolution of the accommodation appeal and/or informal resolution processes. 

Accommodation appeal process

If a University student requests a particular academic accommodation and the request has been denied by an AccessibleNU-Q staff member, the student may appeal the decision by requesting a review of the determination with the staff member’s supervisor.

Informal resolution procedure

It is recommended but not required that a student speak first about their concerns with the department chair, program coordinator, or a dean in the college in which the course is taught. As a result of these discussions, including the interactive development of strategies to address the concern, a satisfactory resolution may be readily found. A student who is uncertain about filing a formal grievance may consult informally with the Director of Student Affairs, or, if the student has already met with the Director of Student Affairs, another individual designated by the Dean of the NU-Q. 

Filing a formal grievance

A student who wishes to file a formal disability grievance should file it with the University’s Section 504 Coordinator, who coordinates compliance with the nondiscrimination requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and applicable federal and state regulations. The Section 504 Coordinator can be contacted at The purpose of the formal grievance procedure is to determine whether University policy has been followed and, if not, to provide for prompt, equitable, and impartial resolution.

A student who makes use of any of the above procedures shall not be retaliated against for doing so.

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