7.5 Faculty Academic Grievance Procedure
7.5.1 Definition: A faculty grievance is defined as an allegation by a faculty member that an action taken by a College official or committee was a violation of provision(s) of the Faculty Handbook or written College policy. Grievances can include but are not limited to: decisions on reappointment, tenure, renewal of contract, promotion, dismissal (including revocation of tenure), sabbatical leave, reduction in rank, assignments and reassignments. Grievances concerning aforementioned issues shall be limited to allegations that College policies or procedures have been violated, and shall not include the reevaluation of qualitative judgments allowed or required under College policies.
Faculty should follow the complaint procedures set forth in the College’s Employee Manual (and not this grievance procedure) for concerns regarding discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, genetic predisposition, national origin, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, or any other category protected by applicable law.
At all stages of the Grievance Procedure, every person involved with a grievance (including, but not limited to, parties to the grievance, the Faculty Grievance Committee, and any person involved in an Informal Procedure) shall endeavor to keep the subject matter of the grievance, as well as all information pertinent to or elicited during the Grievance Procedure, confidential to the maximum extent practicable.
7.5.2 Purpose: The purpose of the faculty grievance process is to ensure that College policy and procedures are followed.
- There shall be a standing Faculty Grievance Committee to which all members of the faculty shall have access.
- A Faculty Grievance Committee will be elected annually by the Faculty Council.
- Membership: The Committee will be comprised of:
- Three tenured members of the faculty, from three different academic departments or divisions.
- Two tenured faculty members will serve as alternate committee members in the event that a grievance involves a committee member in any way. Alternate members will participate in hearing and deliberating on a grievance only when the grievance cannot be heard by a member of the regular committee.
- A Chair shall be chosen from among the regular members of the Committee by the three regular members of the Committee.
- The term of membership shall be one academic year.
B. Duties and Responsibilities of the Faculty Grievance Committee:
- advise faculty on established procedures for handling grievances;
- consider formal written grievances submitted by faculty members;
- evaluate a grievance through a fact-finding and deliberative process
- make recommendations to the Provost regarding disposition of the grievance.
C. Members of the Faculty Grievance Committee consider grievances in their managerial capacity as members of the faculty of the College applying College policy, and not as representatives of departments or individual faculty or as a jury.
III. Informal Procedure
A member of the faculty must initially discuss a complaint with the individual (faculty member or committee or chairperson or dean, etc.) responsible for the action to which the faculty member takes exception.
This informal procedure must be initiated within ten (10) calendar days of the occurrence or discovery of the alleged violation.
Failure to resolve the complaint during this informal stage does not compromise the faculty member’s opportunity to file a Formal Grievance.
IV. Grievance Procedure:
- If the complaint is not resolved through the Informal Procedure, the complainant can file a Formal Grievance.
- A Formal Grievance must be filed in writing with the appropriate administrator of the department in which the alleged grievance occurred. Grievances against individual faculty members or department committees shall be filed with the appropriate chairperson; against chairpersons or committees with the Provost; or against the Provost with the President.
The Formal Grievance will include:
- the basis for the grievance, in most instances, specification of the policy or procedure violate;
- the particulars of the alleged violation;
- the remedy desired by the grievant.
- An administrator with whom the Formal Grievance is filed shall provide a copy to the individual or committee whose action is being grieved and to the Grievance Committee.
- A Formal Grievance must be filed within twenty (20) calendar days of the occurrence or discovery of the alleged grievance but not fewer than five (5) calendar days after the initiation of an informal procedure.
- The Faculty Grievance Committee shall hold a meeting within fourteen (14) business days of receipt of a written Formal Grievance. A business day is a day College offices are open.
- The Committee shall determine whether an issue has been raised which is grievable and, within seven (7) calendar days, shall communicate its determination, in writing, to the grievant, the Provost, and the individual, committee, or department against whom the grievance has been filed.
- In the event that the Committee determines that no grievable issue has been raised, such a determination shall be final and no hearing shall be conducted.
- If the Committee determines that a grievable issue has been raised, the Committee will so notify the Provost, the grievant, and the individual or committee against whom the grievance has been filed. Once the Committee has decided to conduct a formal hearing, the Committee must initiate such a hearing within fourteen (14) business days of receipt of notification.
- Conduct of Hearings
The Faculty Grievance Committee Chair may, at the Chair’s sole discretion, hold preliminary meetings with the parties in an attempt to define issues, arrive at stipulation of fact, obtain documents, outline hearing procedures, and define hearing objectives.
The Faculty Grievance Committee may consider written or oral statements or any other information which they find pertinent to the grievance.
The Committee may have the assistance of College counsel in reviewing procedures, policies, and evidence. However, neither the grievant nor any respondent(s) may have the assistance of an attorney (this includes attorneys who are members of the faculty).
The Committee shall not be bound by rules of legal evidence or legal standards of guilt or innocence. The Committee may admit and consider any information which is of probative value in determining the issues involved. Admission of any information is at the discretion of the Committee. Every reasonable effort shall be made to obtain the most reliable information available.
At any point in the proceedings prior to the time at which the Faculty Grievance Committee meets to consider its decision, the grievant may withdraw the grievance with the consent of the Committee. A request to the Committee for withdrawal of the grievance shall be in writing to the Chair.
- Findings and Recommendations of the Faculty Grievance Committee
- Within fourteen (14) business days of the close of the grievance proceedings, the Faculty Grievance Committee shall submit a written report to the Provost.
- this report will include the findings of the Committee and the Committee’s recommendation.
- the Provost shall issues the grievant a written decision on the grievance within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of the Faculty Grievance Committee’s report.
V. Process for Appeal
- The grievant may appeal the decision made by the Provost in writing to the President within 14 business days of receipt of the decision. All files and other materials from all steps in the Grievance process shall be provided to the President. The determination of the President is final.
Approved May 12, 2009