Faculty Grievance Procedures

10.0 Faculty Grievance Procedures

The following provides a description of 1) the procedures to be followed when a faculty member wishes to resolve a grievance under the bylaws of the University and by the Faculty of Arts and Science, 2) the make-up of the Grievance Committee and the manner in which it functions, 3) the make-up of the Faculty Senators Council Grievance Committee, the means by which it is selected, and its functions.  Note: The numbers in square brackets found after this point in the report refer to sections of the University procedures under the heading Faculty Grievance Procedures.

Procedure to be followed when a faculty member wishes to seek settlement of a grievance.

  1. Faculty grievance procedures must begin with the Dean or the appropriate Divisional Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science.  The university procedures make it clear that the Dean alone has the right to summon the Grievance Committee to hear a case. [A-5].  This provision is intended to regularize a practice generally followed in the past and one which underscores a traditional function of the Dean of the Faculty who should seek to resolve or mediate any differences between faculty members in the first instance.  However, if after consultation with the Dean the faculty member does not receive satisfaction, the Dean must convene the Grievance Committee to considerthe case within fifteen (15) working days. [A-5].  Furthermore, if for some reason (e.g. that the grievance is with the Dean himself) a faulty member should not wish to discuss the details of his grievances with the Dean, he may inform the Dean of this in writing and request the Dean to convene the Grievance Committee within (15) working days to proceed with a hearing of the case.
  2. The Grievance Committee may decide to consider or not consider the case if they feel it is not within their purview to do so.  Having decided to consider the case, the Grievance Committee will then hear evidence and report to the Dean in writing on its findings of fact and its opinion on a fair disposition of the case. [A-5].  After considering the advice of the committee, the Dean will inform the grievant in writing of his decision, and include a copy of the Grievance Committee Report.  If the committee's report is accepted by both the grievant and the Dean, the matter shall be considered settled.  However, if the Dean shall deny any findings of fact, or refuse to implement suggestions by the committee made as a part of the committee's recommendations on the disposition of a case, the Dean is required to reply in writing giving in detail his reasons.  This memorandum must be sent both to the grievant and to the committee. [A-5].
  3. In cases involving questions of appointment, reappointment, promotion and tenure, an appeal from the Dean's decision may be made at the University level. Two grounds have been established in the bylaws as suitable bases for such an appeal, 1) that the procedures used to reach the decision were improper, or that the case received inadequate consideration, 2) that the decisions violated the academic freedom of the person in question, in which case the burden of proof is on that person. [B-1].
  4. The procedure which must be used for making such an appeal is the following: The grievant shall notify the Provostof the University in writing of his intention to appeal within 15 days after receiving written notification of the Dean's decision.  [B-2].  The written notification will be either the notification to the grievant of the Dean's position, or the notification in which the Dean enumerates the reasons for which he is rejecting part or all of the grievance committee report.  The 15-day period for filing notice of appeal does not begin until the Dean's decision has been delivered in writing to the grievant. 
  5. The President and the Provost shall decide the case and notify the grievant, but only after receiving advice from a Faculty Council Grievance Committee. [B-3 through 7].

The Make-Up and the Role of the FAS Grievance Committee

The Grievance Committee of the Faculty of Arts and Science is a standing committee of the Faculty. [A-4].  It consists of nine tenured full Professors elected by the faculty of FAS, with three members from each academic division. Department chairs or program heads are excluded from the committee.  The full committee or a subcommittee with equal representation from each academic division may consider a grievance.  The Grievance Committee has two basic functions, 1) to recommend to the faculty for action proposals related to grievance procedure, and 2) when it is convened by the Dean, [A-4] to study a grievance and to report to the Dean in writing its findings of fact and its opinion on the suitable disposition of each case.  As a standing committee of the faculty, it must regularly report to the faculty on the number of cases heard or under study and the ultimate disposition of such cases, (for example, amicably settled, on appeal to the Provost or President, or committee report rejected by the Dean).  

The Make-Up and the Role of the Faculty Senators Council Grievance Committee

This is a standing committee of at least three tenured faculty members, which shall be convened in each instance when a faculty member appeals to the President and Provost.  [B-3].  The committee shall be selected by the Faculty Senators Council, but may draw its membership from outside the Council if the Council so wishes.  After notification from the Provost of a pending appeal, the committee must hold a hearing and notify the Provost of its recommendations preferably within 30 days of the hearing, but not later than 60 days thereafter.  The committee shall receive from the Dean [B-3] the earlier recommendations of the Grievance Committee, the Dean's reply thereto (if any), or a report by the Dean of the proceedings in the case at its earlier stages, but it shall not judge professional merits, but only ascertain whether procedural safeguards have been observed.  "...Evidence that a decision appealed from is so arbitrary that it has no rational foundation may be considered on the issue of 'inadequate consideration'." [B-1a; B-5].