Mediation is a structured process in which an impartial person, the mediator, facilitates communication between the parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, or an understanding between them.

If the parties reach a mutually acceptable understanding, the mediator guides them in developing a written agreement.

Mediation is scheduled at the convenience of the parties involved and generally occur within 10 days to 2 weeks from the time parties agree to enter into mediation. Mediation is not a substitute for legal advice or representation.

Congress specifically encouraged the use of alternative methods of dispute resolution, including mediation, to resolve ADA disputes. The Ombudsman are ADA-trained mediators, and provide a confidential, voluntary way to resolve ADA complaints fairly and quickly. The mediation process brings parties together with a neutral mediator to resolve their differences through discussion and problem-solving. Complaints under both title II (State and local government services) and title III (public accommodations) can be mediated.

What types of issues can the ADA Mediation Program resolve?

Both title II (State and local government services) and title III (public accommodations) issues can be mediated. Examples of the types of issues most appropriate for this process are:

  • Barrier removal: access issues inside and outside of the classroom
  • Effective communication: opening the lines of communication for better understanding about how public accommodation issues effect individuals
  • Modification of policies, practices, and procedures: including access for service animals
  • Program accessibility: helping to align programs with federal regulations

What are the advantages to participating in the ADA Mediation Program?

Some of the potential advantages of mediating ADA complaints include:

  • Allows parties, not a judge, jury or mediator to develop their own solutions to ADA disputes.
  • Mediation can offer a quick and satisfactory resolution of a dispute and can be far less time-consuming than a formal investigation.
  • Mediation can provide the ability to mend relationships between parties.
  • Parties do not lose any rights in attempting mediation.
  • Mediation is confidential and voluntary.

The Center provides mediation services free of charge to members of the South Texas College community on a wide variety of issues and types of disputes.

Mediation is not appropriate in the following cases:

  • Instances of domestic violence, stalking, or other instance covered by Federal Law known as Title IX
  • Instances where criminal charges have been filed
  • Instances where one of the parties has filed a lawsuit
  • Instances where there have been threats and/or intimidation

Note: the list above is not intended to be a comprehensive list; the use of any alternative dispute resolution process will be determined on a case by case basis.

Mediation Process

  • Introductory Remarks – This is the first state of the mediation process that the mediator will meet with both parties at the same time.
  • Initial Statements – During this stage parties are allowed an opportunity to talk about the dispute from their perspective without interruption.
  • Information Gathering – During this stage the parties will be able to discuss the history of the dispute and the issues that are most important to them.
  • Problem Identification – During this stage the mediator will be helping the parties clarify and agree to what the problems are prior to moving on to the next step of the process.
  • Option Generation – During this stage parties will be asked to develop as many options as possible that could potentially resolve that conflict. Parties should be encouraged to be creative.
  • Bargaining and Negotiation – During this stage parties will choose options that will best meet their interest. Parties are encouraged to negotiate with each other.
  • Agreement Writing – During this stage parties are will attempt to reach an oral, written, interim written agreement or draft proposal.
  • Closure – The mediation should have a formal ending. The mediation session should also be evaluated by the parties at its end.

ADA Mediation Process

  • Expected Tasks To Complete The Course Successfully
  • Discuss And Eliminate Items The Student Does Not Need Accommodations For
  • Facilitate Discussion On Each Of The Remaining Items
  • Develop Written Agreement

For more information about how mediation work, and how it may help you, contact the Department of Student Rights and Responsibilities and ask to speak to one of our highly trained Ombudsman about the mediation process and the benefits of mediation.