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 Dispute resolution

At UMass Law our goal is to serve the intellectual and, to the extent possible, personal needs of our students. Because we are training future advocates, it is important for students to learn how to become advocates for their own needs.

Our duty is to treat those requests professionally and with dignity and respect.

Requests under the Americans with Disabilities Act

Students with documented physical and learning disabilities, by law, are entitled to reasonable accommodations. Our staff is prepared to address such requests when provided with proper documentation. We want everyone to have the level playing field mandated by the law. We are committed to honoring the letter and spirit of the law.

Students who feel that they may need an accommodation based on the impact of a documented disability should contact Anne Folino in the Academic Resources and Writing Center at 508.985.1162 or awalshfolino@umassd.edu to set up an appointment. At that meeting, the student will provide recent documentation from a qualified health care provider that describes the functional limitation to learning that the disability creates. If the documentation is not available at the time of the initial meeting, the student will be expected to provide the documentation before any accommodations will be provided. A determination will be made about what accommodations will help the student’s learning environment. No accommodations will be provided unless the student has met with Anne Folino and the requested accommodations have been deemed appropriate and reasonable. More information about ADA accommodations

Students requesting examination accommodations for the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) or state bar examinations should know that the interpretations of the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements used by the various bar examining authorities may differ from those used in undergraduate education.

Students are advised to ascertain the testing accommodation standards for each jurisdiction in which they plan to take the bar examination.

Information about testing accommodations for the MPRE and individual state bar examinations

Grade appeals

Students who have questions about their grades should, in all cases, discuss the matter first with the relevant faculty member. In certain, very limited circumstances, students may pursue a formal grade appeal. Please note that the law school's grade appeal policy differs in some respects from the university's.

The law school Grade Appeal Officer is Professor Ralph Clifford (ralphclifford@umasslaw.edu) - 508.985.1137.

Information about formal grade appeals may be found in the Grade Appeal Policy (Law School) (PDF).

Other complaints

During the academic year, a variety of issues may arise where a student believes that he or she has been treated poorly or unfairly or may have some other concern. Typically these students feel the circumstances are a detriment to their success.

Complaints can be made by filing a Student Petition (PDF) in the Law Enrollment Center. All complaints must be in a signed writing. We will not entertain anonymous complaints.

The complaint should set forth the nature of the concern. All complaints will be reviewed by the dean of students or other person designated by the dean.

The dean of students will generally acknowledge receiving the complaint no later than three business days after its filing. In the notice, the student will be advised of the steps which will be taken. In many cases, action to address the focus of a complaint will require further inquiry. If this is the case, the complainant will be so informed. It is our responsibility to ensure that the rights of everyone involved in the matter are protected.

Not every complaint warrants action. If this is the case, the student will be so informed within a reasonable period of time.

There is generally no right to appeal a decision made by the dean of students. In extraordinary circumstances, however, a student may appeal to the dean of the law school. Both the dean of students and the dean may conclude that a complaint should be referred to a committee within the law school or to the appropriate university offices.

A record of all complaints will be maintained for seven years along with an explanation of how the matter was addressed.

The complainant’s identity will be kept confidential if and to the extent possible. Complainants should be aware, however, that the circumstances of their complaint or the due process rights of the other persons involved in the matter may require the disclosure of their identity.

University rules & procedures

In addition to the procedures set forth above, the university provides several avenues for dealing with the resolution of various disputes. The rights and responsibilities of UMass students, including the students’ rights under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) are found in the statement of student rights and responsibilities.

Ombuds Office

The university Ombuds Office provides informal, impartial, and confidential dispute resolution services for students, staff, faculty, and administration.

The Office of Student Conduct and Dispute Resolution

The Office of Student Conduct and Dispute Resolution handles complaints for violations of the Student Code of Conduct or other laws and regulations.

The Office of Equal Opportunity, Diversity & Outreach

The Office of Equal Opportunity, Diversity & Outreach deals with equal opportunity and sexual assault/harassment complaints.


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