Section G. Grievance Policy
Faculty Senate Bill 07-A-04 begins here
The purpose of this grievance policy is to provide faculty members with a process
to address and resolve differences only on matters pertaining to the specific application
of University policies and operating procedures. It is appropriately utilized to address
allegations of violations of due process. These matters include, but are not limited
to, operating procedures, policies, practices, or standards in connection with specific
application of decisions, academic freedom, retention, promotion, tenure, privileges
and responsibilities, and terms and conditions of employment, etc. This grievance
process does not apply, however, to issues that arise out of the application of a
policy or procedures for discrimination and harassment issues, which should be addressed
to the Assistant to the President for Equity Issues and Diversity. With respect to
tenure and promotion, the Grievance Policy applies only to the misapplication of policy
and procedure during the tenure or promotion process. When faculty disagree with tenure
or promotion decisions reached through the appropriate application of tenure or promotion
policies, these disagreements must be resolved using the existing tenure or promotion
The grievance process is an advisory process. The role of both the administrators
and the Faculty Senate Grievance Committee is to hear and make appropriate decisions
and recommendations on grievance complaints. The role of the Faculty Senate Grievance
Committee is to determine whether established policies and procedures have been appropriately
applied and properly followed and to advise the Faculty Senate Executive Committee
of their findings. Faculty and administrators are strongly encouraged to resolve their
differences through informal means whenever possible. Should such informal efforts
fail, however, the grievance process provides an opportunity for a faculty member
or group of faculty members to seek formal resolution of complaints.
I. Informal Dispute Resolution Procedure
The informal grievance process is initiated by the grievant without the submission
of a Faculty Senate Grievance Form, which formalizes the grievance process. Individuals
are strongly encouraged to follow the informal grievance process, although it is not
required. The informal process is designed to facilitate a timely resolution at the
lowest level possible and with minimal paperwork. The first meeting is initiated in
writing to inform those who will participate in the informal resolution and to document
the beginning date of the process, but is not to be part of any personnel file.
- The faculty member, or "grievant," who believes he/she has a grievance concerning
the application of a specific policy or procedure should first discuss the matter
informally with his/her department chair and attempt to develop a satisfactory resolution.
The faculty member should initiate this informal discussion by making a written, dated
request for a meeting with the chair. The request should also identify the specific
policies and procedures in question, and briefly describe the nature of the action(s)
- During the meeting with the Chair, the faculty member should: (1) indicate that the
grievance is at the informal discussion stage, (2) explain the action(s) giving rise
to the grievance; (3) explain how the faculty member believes the specific policies
and procedures in question have been violated; and (4) indicate how the faculty member
believes the issue(s) should be resolved.
- The informal meeting(s) may include the department chair, the grievant, and the party
against whom the grievance is directed. The meeting(s) of the chair with the grievant
and the individual (or administrative committee or body) against whom the grievance
is directed may also be conducted separately if it would be helpful in facilitating
resolution of the issues. The objective of the informal discussion process is to see
if the issues can be resolved at the informal meeting stage without the faculty member
having to initiate the formal grievance resolution procedure.
- Any resolution and/or decisions arrived at during the informal discussion stage should
be communicated verbally by the department chair to each participant within ten (10)
business days from the date of the informal discussion meeting. The chair's statement
of resolution(s) and/or decision(s), if deemed acceptable by all parties, the matter
will be considered closed. If a resolution is reached, any submitted documentation
will be returned to the grievant. If the resolution has been made clear to all parties,
but the grievant is not satisfied, the grievant may initiate a formal grievance. If
no satisfactory resolution is reached through the informal discussion process, the
chair should so indicate to each participant. The chair should also record the date
and that the grievance was not resolved, but should not include details of the informal
grievance in any official file. The faculty member may then elect to file a formal
written grievance by following the process outlined below.
- Department chairs may not propose or approve any resolution that is inconsistent with
University policies, procedures or practices.
- The informal discussion should be held with the party's immediate supervisor or next
level of supervision. For example, if the grievance is initiated by or against a department
chair, the informal discussion should be held with the grievant's college dean, following
the same process outlined above.
II. Formal Dispute Resolution Procedure
The formal grievance procedure includes the submission of a Faculty Senate Grievance
Form, interviews with administrative personnel at successive levels, and respective
opportunities to resolve the grievance. It may also include a review and hearing by
the Faculty Senate Grievance Committee, with a recommendation to the Faculty Senate
Executive Committee, a letter to the Provost from the Faculty Senate Executive Committee
which addresses the Grievance Committee's recommendation, and a review and response
by the Provost.
- STEP I: Formal Written Grievance
1. If an acceptable resolution is not reached informally, the faculty member may pursue
his/her grievance by submitting a formal written grievance to his/her department chair
within ten (10) business days of the conclusion of the informal process. The formal
written grievance should (a) indicate whether the informal discussion process has
occurred, that the grievance has not been satisfactorily resolved, that the grievance
is proceeding to the formal procedure; (b) describe the issue(s) and action(s) encompassed
by the grievance and, if appropriate, state the reasons why the informal process did
not satisfactorily resolve the problem in the faculty member's view; (c) explain how
the faculty member believes the specific university policies or procedures at issue
have been improperly applied; and (d) indicate how the faculty member believes the
problems(s) should be resolved. Copies of these materials should also be provided
to the individual(s) against whom the grievance is directed.
2. The department chair will investigate/review the matter and will provide a written
response to the faculty member and the individual(s) against whom the grievance is
directed within ten (10) business days of receiving the formal written grievance.
The chair's response will be deemed acceptable by the grievant and the matter will
be considered closed unless the grievant initiates a Step II grievance with the dean
of the college within ten (10) business days of receiving the chair's response.
3. The department chair may not propose or approve any resolution that is inconsistent
with University policies, procedures, or practices.
4. If the grievance is by or against a department chair, Step I of the formal process
should be submitted to and conducted by the chair's college dean, following the same
process outlined above.
- STEP II: Review of Step I Grievance Response
1. If the grievant is not satisfied with the response provided at Step I of the formal
grievance process, he/she may appeal the decision by submitting a written appeal to
the appropriate college dean (or a vice provost if the grievant is a college dean)
within ten (10) business days of receiving the Step I response. This appeal must include
copies of the original formal grievance, the department chair's or college dean's
response at Step I, a statement by the grievant specifying why he/she believes the
Step I decision is incorrect or unacceptable, and a proposed resolution. Copies of
these materials should also be provided to the Step I responder and the individual(s)
or parties against whom the grievance is directed.
2. The appropriate college dean/vice provost will meet with the grievant and conduct
an investigation/review of the grievance appeal. Within ten (10) business days of
receipt of the appeal, the appropriate college dean/vice provost will provide a written
response to the grievant, with copies to the Step I responder and the individual(s)
against whom the grievance is directed.
- STEP III: Request for a Hearing with the Faculty Senate Grievance Committee
1. If the decision at Step II of the grievance procedure is not satisfactory to the
faculty member, the faculty member may request a review and a hearing before the Faculty
Senate Grievance Committee. Any such request for review shall be filed with the Faculty
Senate Grievance Committee within ten (10) business days after the grievant has received
the Step II response.
2. The request for review shall include (a) a copy of the original formal grievance,
(b) copies of the written response to the grievance provided at Step I and Step II,
(c) copies of the appeal filed at Step II, (d) an explanation of why the grievant
believes the Step II decision is unsatisfactory or unacceptable, and (e) a proposed
resolution. The faculty member shall simultaneously provide copies of these materials
to the Step I and II responders and to the individual(s) against whom the grievance
3. Within twenty (20) business days of the request for review, the Faculty Senate
Grievance Committee Chair shall notify the faculty member and the individual(s) against
whom the grievance is directed in writing whether the committee believes a hearing
is warranted and if so, the notice should include the date, time, and location of
the hearing. The parties must be given at least twenty (20) business days written
notice of the hearing date. The hearing date may be rescheduled by the parties only
upon a showing of good cause as determined by the Faculty Senate Grievance Committee.
4. The Faculty Senate Grievance Committee chair shall also instruct the parties to
identify the witnesses, if any, that they may wish to present and the general subject
matter of each witness's anticipated testimony. This information should be provided
to the Faculty Senate Grievance Committee Chair and to the other party or parties
no later than ten (10) business days before the hearing date. The Faculty Senate Grievance
Committee chair has the authority to limit the number of witnesses if it is determined
that the proposed witnesses will present repetitive, unnecessarily cumulative, or
irrelevant evidence. The parties shall be responsible for ensuring that their witnesses
are present for the hearing.
5. The hearing is not a formal legal proceeding and formal rules of evidence shall
not apply. The committee shall, however, have the authority to reject or curtail evidence
that is repetitive, that unnecessarily protracts the proceedings, and/or has no relevance
to the grievance. The proceedings will be recorded by a professional transcriptionist
6. The hearing will be a closed proceeding, with only the committee members, the parties,
and the witnesses (who will be present only during their testimony). The grievant
and the individual(s) against whom the grievance is directed may, however, each be
accompanied by an observer. The observer may consult with and assist the grievant,
but may not conduct any portion of the hearing. The observer may not be acting in
the capacity of an attorney; no party may be represented by an attorney at the hearing.
7. The Faculty Senate Grievance Committee shall make a written recommendation within
ten (10) business days of the conclusion of the hearing and receipt of the transcribed
proceedings. The recommendation will be sent the same day to the grievant, the individual(s)
against whom the grievance is directed, and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.
The Faculty Senate Executive Committee will be provided with materials regarding the
grievance. The Faculty Senate Executive Committee shall within ten (10) business days
review the recommendations of the Faculty Senate Grievance Committee and will construct
a written response that includes the following: the recommendation of the Faculty
Senate Grievance Committee and a statement of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee's
support or nonsupport of those recommendations. The Faculty Senate Grievance Committee's
recommendation and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee's response will be forwarded
by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee simultaneously to the Provost, the grievant,
the individual(s) against whom the grievance is directed, and the Faculty Senate Grievance
Committee. The Provost will be provided with the materials regarding the grievance.
- STEP V: Review of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee Recommendation by the Provost
The Provost will conduct whatever review he/she deems necessary, and will make a recommendation.
The Provost will provide a written response within ten (10) business days of receiving
the recommendation from the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. This written response
will be sent simultaneously to the grievant, the individual(s) against whom the grievance
is directed, the appropriate department chair and dean, the Faculty Senate Grievance
Committee, and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. If the Provost's decision is
appealed by the grievant, then the documentation materials, including all previous
recommendation materials and the written response from the Faculty Senate Executive
Committee, will be forwarded to the University President. If no appeal is made, and
the grievance process is concluded, the documentation materials will be sent to the
Faculty Senate Chair (see section III.F.).
- Appeal to the President
1. If the grievant is dissatisfied with the decision of the Provost, he/she may request
reconsideration by filing a written request with the President no later than ten (10)
business days following the receipt of the Provost's written decision.
2. Following receipt of the request for reconsideration, the President shall con-
duct whatever review he/she deems necessary to resolve the issues that have been raised.
The President will provide a written decision regarding the appeal within ten (10)
business days of receipt of the request for reconsideration. The President's decision
shall be final. The original documentation materials can then go to the Faculty Senate
Chair for storage.
- Report to the Faculty Senate
Following resolution of the grievance, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee may
report issues to the Faculty Senate when it believes a grievance has raised an issue
of broader relevance to the faculty. The report shall not include names or identifying
information, and may be reserved for a semester end or year-end summary of the state
of all grievances brought against the University in the previous semester or year.
III. GENERAL PROVISIONS
- Failure to Meet Timelines
1. A faculty member's failure to submit a grievance or appeal within the time frames
set forth in the grievance procedure will end the faculty member's ability to pursue
the matter and the grievance shall be deemed resolved based on the University's last
action or response.
2. For purposes of the time frames set forth herein, "business day" will be defined
for timeliness purposes as any weekday, Monday through Friday, when regular Fall,
Spring, or Summer semester classes are in session and cam- pus offices are open. University
break times will not be counted.
3. In the event the appropriate administrator or committee fails to make a timely
response as herein stipulated, the faculty member may proceed to the next step in
the grievance process.
- Extensions of Timelines
1. The timelines at each level may be extended by the parties involved and the appropriate
administrator or committee chair.
2. For good cause shown, including, but not limited to, sick leaves, funeral leaves,
university-related business travel, unavoidable absences from campus or other unavailability
of participants, the appropriate administrator or committee chair may grant a request
for extension by either party. Any extension granted should be as brief as possible
and practicable under the circumstances.
3. At any level, if the appropriate administrator or committee chair deems the complexity
of the grievance such that the response deadline is unrealistic, up to an additional
ten (10) calendar days may be added to the response deadline by the administrator
or committee chair, who shall be responsible for providing notice and justification
of the extension to the parties within the originally designated time frame.
4. Notice of any change in timelines or scheduling must be provided in writing to
all participants by the appropriate administrator or committee chair. For purposes
of the Step III hearing, the respective parties are responsible for notifying their
- Joint Proceedings
If more than one faculty member grieves the same action, they may, by mutual agreement
between themselves and the Provost, pursue their grievances jointly under these procedures.
The group may, by mutual agreement, elect one or more of their number to act on behalf
of the group throughout the grievance procedure. In such circumstances, the Faculty
Senate Grievance Committee reviewing the grievance will conduct a joint hearing, which
all members of the group may attend.
The grievance procedure shall be conducted with the highest level of sensitivity to
the privacy of all concerned. Members of the Faculty Senate Grievance Committee, Faculty
Senate Executive Committee, the Provost, the grievant(s)', respondents, colleagues,
witnesses, and all others concerned are expected to treat as highly confidential the
oral and documentary evidence presented and the deliberations occurring at all stages
of the processing of grievance, except as necessary for the preparation of a grievance
or grievance response, or consistent with the notice requirements set forth herein,
and/or as otherwise may be required by law. Similarly, except as otherwise provided
herein or as authorized by the Provost or the Chair of the Faculty Senate, or as may
be required by law, the decisions and responses at each level shall be treated as
confidential by all participants and by all members of the University community.
- Reprisal or Retaliation
No faculty member shall be subjected to disciplinary action or retaliation because
he/she has initiated or participated in good faith in the processing of a grievance.
- Storage of Materials Related to the Grievance
Supporting documents, files, transcription, or any other media shall be stored in
a locked file cabinet in the Faculty Senate office for a period of seven (7) years,
after which time they will be destroyed.
Faculty Senate Bill 07-A-04, Approved by the Board of Regents 12/14/07