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 by email 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 may be obtained here.
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 may be obtained here.
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.
Information about formal grade appeals may be found in the UMass Law Student Handbook (PDF) .
Students who have been continued in courses under supervision or on probation by the Academic Standards Committee may appeal the committee’s determination of their academic status or the conditions imposed by the committee to the full faculty.
Information about such appeals may be found in the UMass Law Student Handbook (PDF) .
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 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 associate dean or other person designated by the dean.
The associate dean 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 associate dean. In extraordinary circumstances, however, a student may appeal to the dean of the law school. Both the associate dean 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 along with and 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 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 Equal Opportunity, Diversity & Outreach
The Office of Equal Opportunity, Diversity & Outreach deals with equal opportunity and anti-harassment complaints.