Appeals & Grievances

UCSF determines disability accommodations through an interactive process involving disability services professionals, appropriate members of the university community, and the individuals with disabilities themselves; this is called the interactive process.

We recognize that in any deliberative process and with the best efforts of everyone involved with your service delivery at UCSF, disagreements may occur. UCSF offers a range of options to resolve concerns about accommodation and eligibility decisions, services received, treatment by University staff and faculty, and University policies related to students with disabilities.

Throughout the resolution process individuals involved should expect timely responses and where concerns are addressed in a respectful manner. Disability-related law and University policy prohibit retaliation in any form against persons who file complaints.

We strongly encourage you to let SDS know about any concerns as soon as possible and provide clear and detailed information so that we can work together to solve the problem as quickly as possible. If you wish to know more about your rights as an individual with a disability under Federal and State law and University policy, SDS can refer you to the appropriate entity.


Occasionally, a disagreement as to appropriate accommodations can arise during the interactive process where open communication can lead to a quick and effective solution. It is often best to work towards a satisfactory resolution through informal appeal before making a formal appeal. An individual who believes that their accommodation determinations were not appropriate is encouraged to work with UCSF to resolve their concerns. While attempts at internal resolution are always recommended as a first step, external means for resolving concerns are also available and may be exercised at any time.

Appeal of Accommodation Determination:

  1. Informal Appeal - If you would like a review of your accommodation determination, our initial, informal process is a review by the alternate co-director as to accommodation determination. Please reach out to the director you have worked with to request this type of review, or feel free to reach out to the alternate co-director directly. Contact information can be found here:
  2. Formal Appeal – A Formal Appeal is a written appeal to address when a student is not satisfied with the informal review or if they are not satisfied by the services provided by SDS. The interactive process will be used to determine if an agreeable solution may be identified.

    Contact Assistant Vice Chancellor, Student Life
    Alece Alderson, (415) 502-1484


Students who feel that they have been discriminated against on the basis of their disability have many options to resolve issues using UCSF’s grievance processes, or by using private means. The grievance process is not an appeal, review, or redetermination of accommodation recommendations; please see the appeals section above for issues or concerns with accommodation determination. In addition to the options listed below, a student may choose to discuss their concerns with the Office of the Ombuds, The Ombuds will listen and review matters; help identify options; make inquiries and make referrals as appropriate; and/or facilitate resolutions in an impartial manner. This is an informal, but confidential option. (415) 502-9600

If you feel discrimination has taken place on the basis of disability, the processes for resolving that situation are below (this is not for appeal of accommodation determination, please see above for that process):

  1. Informal Resolution - This first step is an informal process where SDS works to resolve concerns in conjunction with the student and faculty, or staff through the interactive process. SDS does not conduct investigations, but rather works to promptly identify an agreeable solution.

Contact Director of Student Disability Services
Tim Montgomery or Clay Littrell, (415) 476-6595

  1. Informal Resolution (step 2) – A written request to address when a student is not satisfied with the initial informal resolution if they feel they have been discriminated against by their faculty, school, or SDS on the basis of disability. The interactive process will be used to determine if an agreeable solution may be identified.

Contact Chief Access and Inclusion Officer,
Wendy Tobias

  1. Formal Complaint Resolution - Prompt and equitable complaint resolution is an important component of ensuring nondiscrimination. Any person who believes he or she has been subjected to discrimination, including harassment and retaliation on the basis of a protected category may contact the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD) to open an official investigation.

Contact Office of Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD)
Conflict Resolution and Complaint Processing
[email protected], (415) 502-3400

  1. Office of Civil Rights Discrimination Complaint - This option is available to any person who believes he or she has been subjected to discrimination on the basis of a protected category may contact the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Education. OCR advises that a potential complainant may want to explore and utilize the institution’s grievance process to resolve the complaint prior to filing a complaint against an institution. However, individuals are not required by law to use the institutional grievance process before filing a complaint with OCR.

    ***OCR Complaints must be filed within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory event.

Seek resolution through the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Education 
Voice: (415) 486-5555, TTY: (877) 521-2172

  1. Seek resolution through private legal means


UCSF developed this information in accordance with these references: Public Law 101-336; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (ADA AA); Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; applicable regulations; and the University of California Policies Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations and Students, Section 140.00.