Grievance Procedures for Faculty
The Faculty Welfare Committee and the Faculty Senate have been reviewing the feasibility and design of a faculty grievance process.
TWO FACULTY HANDBOOK ADDITIONS
Effective August 1, 2006
CHAPTER 10. FACULTY GRIEVANCE POLICY
Grievances covered by this policy include but are not limited to complaints arising from compensation or working conditions, salary determination, sabbaticals, leaves of absence, individual academic workloads, course scheduling, office space, use of department resources, and outside activities. The present policy is for grievances only within the academic affairs area. On those occasions when a faculty member believes that he or she has been treated unfairly by persons exercising authority in some other area of the college, the faculty member is encouraged to use whatever complaint process is available in that other area.
Excluded from this procedure are (1) all matters within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Faculty Status and the Evaluation Review and Appeals Committee, (2) matters such as harassment that are covered by other existing policies, and (3) matters that are covered by civil or criminal law such as racial discrimination, family leave, defamation, threatening, and others.
In recognition of the collegial nature of the grievance process, no party is allowed to bring legal counsel to any meeting sanctioned by or implementing this policy. To do so would be to step outside the framework of this Grievance Policy.
By pursuing the grievance procedure, the grievant waives no rights conferred by law.
- Informal Stage Using Existing Lines of Authority
All grievances must first be pursued through an informal stage using the existing lines of authority. The first step in the informal procedure is for the grievant to take his or her matter to the administrator whose decision or action is the cause of the grievance. This administrator is hereafter referred to as the subject of the grievance. If no resolution occurs at this level, the grievant next takes the matter to the immediate supervisor of the subject of the grievance. If no resolution occurs at this level, the grievant may continue by taking the matter through higher levels of authority up to the Academic Vice President. For most faculty grievances this sequence will be: Program Director (if appropriate), Department Chair, Dean, and Academic Vice President. This informal stage does not go beyond recourse to the Academic Vice President, unless the Academic Vice President is the subject of the grievance; in that case recourse is to the President or his designate.
In this informal stage no written petition is needed and no records of meetings or decisions are needed. The grievant is free to take notes on the events as they transpire. The grievant also has the right in the informal stage to be accompanied by a trusted colleague, faculty member, or administrator. This colleague may act as an advisor, problem solver, or advocate for the grievant. The emphasis in the informal stage is on a collegial review of the dispute and seeking a reasonable solution. If the grievance is resolved in the informal stage, no official records of any proceedings are kept. All parties are notified orally of the resolution.
- Formal Stage Using a Faculty Grievance Panel
If, despite reciprocal and good faith efforts, every opportunity for informal resolution has failed to satisfy the grievant, the grievant may petition a formal grievance. The steps in this process follow.
This is a formal, complete, written statement of the grievance. It follows an outline.
a. a statement of particulars including specification of the basis of the grievance and the subject of the grievance;
b. a summary of the steps taken in the informal stage;
c. a statement of how the grievant has been harmed;
d. a proposed remedy for the dispute;
e. any relevant information or documents that support the grievance.
Faculty Grievance Panel
- Three faculty members appointed by the Chair of the Faculty Senate
- Two persons appointed by the Academic Vice President (or by the President or the President’s delegate if the Academic Vice President is the subject of the grievance):
- a current administrator at a level comparable to the administrator who is the subject of the grievance; and
- a current faculty member with prior experience as an Academic Chair, Program Director, Associate Dean, Dean or Vice President.
The panel selects a chair from among its members.
Procedures of the Faculty Grievance Panel
- Determine whether the substance of the petition is or is not grievable and whether the informal stage has or has not been exhausted. If ruled not grievable or not exhausted at the informal level, the petition is returned with an explanation.
- Request additional data in writing from the grievant or the subject of the grievance.
- Attempt an informal resolution by consultation with the parties.
- Confidential minutes will be kept, but no verbatim transcript, voice recording, or video recording will be made or kept by anyone.
- Only the members of the panel and the parties to the grievance are to be present at all times during the hearing
- The panel has the right to summon witnesses and question them, and to request and review records relevant to the grievance.
- The parties to the grievance do not have the right to question witnesses. They do have the right to address the panel after all the evidence has been presented.
- The burden of proof is on the person bringing the grievance.
- No legal counsel to any party is permitted at the hearing. Also, any colleague who served as an advisor to the grievant in the Informal Stage may not be present as an advisor during the hearing.
- The hearings and deliberation of the panel are confidential. This includes the testimony, proceedings, and the panel’s report. All parties involved in the hearings and deliberation of the panel are bound by the confidentiality rule. Violations of confidentiality will be looked upon as serious violations of the collegiality by which the college must function.
- Confidential materials compiled by the grievance panel shall be placed in a separate file created for this purpose. The President is responsible for maintaining this file. Files of previous deliberations shall not be accessible to a functioning grievance panel absent a need to know. A decision to examine past deliberations shall require an affirmative vote by three of the five members of the functioning grievance panel.
A simple majority of the panel suffices for adoption of the report and recommendation.
Actions after the Hearing
Grievance Procedure Time Line
A faculty member may initiate a grievance within 90 days from the time the grievable decision or action becomes effective and is known by the grievant.
After receipt of the petition, the Chair of the Faculty Senate and the Academic Vice President have 15 days to empanel the proposed members of the Grievance Panel. After the announcement of their appointments the grievant has 7 days for the single peremptory challenge and 7 additional days for challenges for cause. After reviewing the challenges for cause, the appointing parties, if they agree with the challenges, have 7 days to appoint new members.
Once an acceptable Faculty Grievance Panel has been formed, the Panel has 60 days to complete its work, including, if appropriate, holding a formal hearing and rendering a decision.