Grievance Procedure for Faculty

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[The following was approved on May 4, 1995, with amendments on January 13, 2006, May 24, 2007, and January 1, 2017 in accordance with provisions set forth in SIU Board of Trustees 2 PoliciesC.3.d.]

This document a) defines the procedures by which a member of the faculty may appeal administrative action or inaction; b) defines procedures by which charges of unethical conduct may be made; and c) establishes a Judicial Review Board.

  1. Introduction
    1. Each member of the faculty shall have the right to a hearing and appeal for redress of grievance through established channels. Access to these channels is restricted to faculty or those who were faculty when the action or inaction leading to the grievance occurred. In general, it is preferable that problems be solved within the university at the level at which they arose, and persons or agencies outside the university should not be asked to rule on such difficulties until university channels are exhausted.
    2. For purposes of this document, "faculty" should be defined as those who hold faculty rank, whether full-time or by joint- or cross-appointment. Grievances shall be initiated under this document only insofar as the grievance relates to faculty duties or concerns. Those who hold joint-appointments shall not bring a grievance under this document if the grievance does not relate to the grievant's faculty duties.
    3. Faculty members may initiate a grievance under this document against an action or omission to act by administrators, members of the administrative/professional staff, faculty members, civil service employees, or students which affects the grievant individually. This document shall be construed so that "respondent" shall refer to that person against whom the grievance is lodged.
    4. In assessing a tenure or promotion grievance, the JRB shall only consider matters of procedures, including whether standards were applied fairly and consistently.
  1. Initiation of a Grievance
    1. Before any formal grievance is filed, if it is a grievance against an administrator, there shall be an informal discussion looking toward a settlement between the grievant and the administrative officer who made the initial decision which is being grieved. In case of doubt as to the administrator whose decision caused the grievance, the immediate supervisor is the appropriate administrative officer with whom to initiate informal discussion. Upon request of the respondent or the grievant, other administrators may intervene in the informal discussion process. Upon request the respondent shall provide to the grievant a written copy of the decision being grieved. If the grievance involves an allegation of unethical conduct, before filing an official charge, the grievant shall notify his/her immediate supervisor and together they shall initiate informal discussions with the respondent with the aim of settling the complaint if at all possible. If the respondent is the immediate supervisor of the grievant, the complainant shall notify the administrator immediately above the respondent.
    2. If a settlement cannot be reached informally, the grievant may submit a formal grievance, which shall include a statement that informal efforts were made to settle the dispute, including the date, time, and place of such informal discussions.
      1. It shall be made in writing, shall provide sufficient detail to allow for a response, and shall state the remedy sought.
      2. It shall be filed within 20 calendar days of the determination by the grievant of the inability to come to a settlement informally, but in no case later than 60 calendar days after the grievant has become aware of the action which is being grieved.
      3. It shall be filed with the administrator who made the decision which is being grieved, except in the cases of a) denial of promotion and/or tenure by the Provost and Vice Chancellor, or b) charges of unethical conduct, as defined by the "Code of Ethics" (see Appendix A), in which cases the grievance may be filed directly with the JRB or the chancellor.
    3. There shall be no formal hearing involving finding of fact at any administrative level.
    4. For the purposes of this grievance procedure, the term "working day" shall be defined as a day during which classes are held during the fall and spring semesters of the school year. Days during which classes are held during the summer term may also be considered "working days" by mutual agreement of all parties to a grievance, as certified by the JRB.
    5. The chair of the JRB shall be apprised of the filing of a formal grievance and shall monitor the progress of the grievance through the grievance process. Failure of the grievant to meet filing deadlines shall result in dismissal of the grievance. Failure of the administrator at each level of the grievance process to respond within specified time periods shall result in automatic appeal to the next higher level.
    6. Within 15 working days after receipt of the grievance, the administrator shall make a written decision either granting or denying the remedy sought in whole or in part.
    7. All proceedings and time limits of this grievance procedure are subject to suspension for the period of time of an approved university leave or of an incapacitating illness affecting a party to the grievance. It shall be the responsibility of the JRB to determine the validity of such suspension and to certify when the conditions of the suspension have ceased, thus re-starting the time clock of the grievance procedure.
    8. All "working day" time limits and suspensions for cause may be waived upon agreement of all parties to a grievance, as certified by the JRB.
  2. Appeals from Administrative Decisions through Administrative Channels: 
    A member of the faculty objecting to a decision by the administrative officer may make further written appeal through the regular administrative channels.
    1. Such written appeal shall be made within 15 working days of the receipt of the decision and shall include the original grievance, the written decision, and the reasons for the appeal.
    2. The appeal shall be transmitted to the next level of administration above the source of the decision. At each level of appeal, the administrator who receives the appeal shall proceed in accordance with the procedure in Section II.A.
  3. Appeals from Administrative Decisions through the Judicial Review Board
    1. Any member of the faculty who feels that a grievance has not been resolved after appealing to and receiving a decision from the administrative level immediately below the chancellor has the option of continuing the appeal process through administrative channels (see Section III) concluding with an appeal to the chancellor, or through filing a formal appeal with the Judicial Review Board (see Section VIII). The time limit expressed in Section III.A. shall apply to each level of the appeal process, including the filing of a formal appeal with the JRB.
    2. Upon receipt of an appeal, the JRB chair shall assure that steps in II.A and B have been followed such that the respondent is fully aware of the grievance and that there is a written record of the results of all attempts at resolution. In addition, the chair should encourage the grievant to consult with the Faculty/Staff Ombudsman if this has not already happened. The JRB, pursuant to VIII.D.3., shall form a panel within 10 working days of receipt of an appeal. The panel shall operate under the provisions of Section VIII of this document. The decision of the panel shall be in the form of a written recommendation to the chancellor. A copy of this recommendation shall be provided to the principal parties on the same day. In the absence of compelling circumstances, the chancellor shall give a written decision as promptly as possible, but within 15 working days. The chancellor shall notify the JRB and the principal parties of the decision. In the event that the chancellor overturns the recommendations of the JRB Panel, he/she shall submit a complete report to the JRB and the principal parties to the grievance citing evidence and/or procedural grounds upon which the decision was based.
  1. Appeals to the Board of Trustees
    1. The grievant may appeal the chancellor's decision to the Board of Trustees. Such an appeal shall be initiated in compliance with the revised procedures of the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees VI Bylaws 2 (Appeals of Administrative Actions).
    2. The Board and the grievant may jointly agree to submit the matter to arbitration and to accept the arbitrator's decision.
      1. The grievant and the Board must both agree on the choice of an arbitrator and the issue being arbitrated. If the parties cannot otherwise agree on an arbitrator, the American Arbitration Association will be asked to supply a panel of arbitrators familiar with the academic environment from which the arbitrator will be chosen.
      2. The arbitration hearing will be conducted under the voluntary labor arbitration rules of the American Arbitration Association.
      3. The arbitrator's fee and expenses, the administrative costs of the American Arbitration Association, and the cost of obtaining a record of the arbitration hearing shall be borne by the university if the arbitrator finds in favor of the grievant and by the grievant if the arbitrator finds in favor of the university. If a compromise decision is reached, costs should be proportional to the decision reached.
      4. Each party shall bear whatever other costs it may incur.
  2. Right to Counsel 
    At all stages of appeal the principal parties shall have the right to have present with them an adviser of their choice.
  3. Withdrawal of Grievance 
    The grievant may withdraw a formal grievance at any stage of the proceedings but may not reinstate it once it is withdrawn. The withdrawal should be made in writing to the individual hearing the appeal.
  4. The Judicial Review Board
    1. Purpose: The Judicial Review Board exists to assist the faculty and the administration in resolving grievances and charges of unethical conduct.
    2. Duties of the Judicial Review Board
      1. The JRB shall have the authority to supervise the procedure of the grievance process.
      2. The JRB shall consider all grievances appealed to it over which it has jurisdiction, namely
        1. appeals from administrative decisions relating to such matters as tenure, promotion, assignment of duties, and other conditions of employment of individual faculty members which have gone through administrative channels as outlined on the chart, "Grievance Process Channels" (Appendix B);
        2. charges of unethical conduct as defined by the "Code of Ethics" (see Section II.B.);
        3. charges of improper hiring procedures which violate the "Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Hiring Procedures," provided the faculty member was an applicant (or potential applicant) and the violation adversely affected the faculty member's chance to be hired.
      3. When other university policies and procedures specify procedures and channels of appeal to be followed in considering matters that might affect a faculty member's tenure, promotion, assignment of duties, or other conditions of employment, the JRB shall exercise jurisdiction in a manner consistent with these procedures and channels of appeal. The other university policies and procedures shall include, but be not limited to
        1. the policy on Research Misconduct;
        2. the policy on Sexual Harassment;
        3. the Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Hiring Procedures.
    3. Procedures for the JRB
      1. The JRB shall hold an organizational meeting each January or within two months after the Faculty Senate conducts its JRB elections. The chair and vice chair shall be appointed to serve by a joint meeting of the Faculty Senate Executive Council and the Faculty Senate Committee on Committees upon approval of the Faculty Senate. The chair of the JRB shall not serve on JRB panels. Chair and vice chair may be reappointed by the Senate for a second year.
      2. The JRB shall review the Chancellor's responses to its recent recommendations. To ensure continuity, continuing JRB members shall review polcies and procedures with incoming members.
      3. Upon written request of either party to a grievance, the JRB shall review, interpret, and enforce the grievance and appeals procedures of this document. For example, procedural matters which may be brought to the JRB include, but are not limited to, a) proper methods of filing a grievance, b) meeting of deadlines.
        1. In an appeal to the JRB, the chair of the JRB may rule on the procedural issue personally or may refer it to the entire JRB. However, any ruling on procedure by the chair may be appealed to the JRB.
      4. Upon receipt of the written request for a procedural ruling the chair of the JRB may review the case to determine whether procedural requirements of this document (Sections II and III) have been met, or may refer the matter to the JRB. If the chair determines that the procedural requirements have not been met, the chair shall rule on the matter and that decision, together with the basis for the decision, shall be communicated to both parties in writing.
      5. If the chair has ruled, and either party disagrees with the ruling, the matter shall be referred to the JRB. The JRB shall be the final arbiter on matters of procedure.
    4. Procedures of the JRB Panels 
      The JRB's position in the appellate process is indicated in the chart, "Grievance Process Channels," attached as Appendix B.
      1. Upon receipt of a request which necessitates review by a JRB panel, a JRB panel shall be formed. A JRB panel shall consist of five members, all chosen at random from among the JRB. One member shall serve as chair of the panel.
      2. Grievant and respondent will be notified by the JRB chair of the appointment date and names of the panel members by certified U.S. mail return receipt requested. Either the grievant or respondent may challenge a panel member because of conflict of interest. The challenge must specify in detail the perceived conflict. A ruling by the other 4 panel members will be made as to whether the challenge is valid. The Board must receive any challenge within 10 working days of the receipt of such notice.
      3. A hearing shall be mandatory in a grievance of denial or loss of tenure. In any grievances in which the issues are unclear without finding of fact, a panel shall be formed and a hearing held. The cause of a grievance or charge of unethical conduct must relate directly to the duties and status of a university employee, and shall not be a trivial or an entirely private matter. The JRB may decline to form a panel on any matter until all procedural requirements have been met.
      4. If the JRB recommends a hearing, the administrator whose decision is being appealed or the respondent shall have the right to submit to the JRB a request that the appeal or charge be dismissed as failing to meet the above criteria, and that there are, therefore, insufficient grounds for proceeding to a hearing of the evidence. The grievant may reply with an argument as to why the appeal or charge should stand as written, or may elect to clarify the appeal or complaint. If the JRB decides that the appeal or charge is not actionable, it shall dismiss the appeal or charge.
      5. The administrator defending the action or omission that is the subject of the grievance shall be that administrator who made the first negative decision which the grievant is grieving.
      6. JRB panel hearings shall be recorded on audio tape.
      7. The JRB panel shall hold hearings as promptly as possible, but shall begin no later than 15 working days after receipt of the appeal or charge, unless the panel extends this deadline for good cause shown, and shall report as promptly as possible, but not later than 15 working days after the conclusion of the hearing. In the absence of extraordinary circumstances, neither the JRB nor the JRB panel shall extend a deadline if the extension will thereby prevent the JRB panel from reporting on a promotion or tenure grievance by May 1.
      8. The principal parties appearing before the JRB panel shall each have the right to be accompanied by personal General Counsel or other adviser. The advisers will be permitted to advise their clients in the hearing and, with consent of the JRB panel, speak on their behalf.
      9. The JRB panel shall require of both the grievant and the respondent a list of witnesses to be called and a copy of any documents that may be introduced into evidence or which may contain evidence that may be introduced by witnesses or which are the basis for professional judgments that may be asserted during the hearing. The JRB panel shall make the information available to all parties.
      10. Hearings shall be closed, only the members of the JRB panel, the principal parties, and their advisers shall be admitted to the hearing, and witnesses for either party shall be present only while they are giving testimony.
      11. The principal parties and their representatives shall be permitted to see and hear all evidence, to cross-examine any person giving evidence, and to present their own relevant evidence and arguments. To expedite the hearing process, presentation of arguments-based on previously submitted evidence by grievant and respondent-shall be limited to one hour each, with an additional hour available for cross examination and questions from the JRB panel. Additional time may be allowed with the consent of the panel.
      12. Although the JRB panel may question principals and witnesses, no public statements shall be made by the members of the panel before or during the hearings, or before or during deliberation.
      13. The JRB shall rule on procedural matters identified in the Employee Handbook and/or the Faculty Association Contract, whichever is pertinent to the grievance. Each panel member must vote to sustain or dismiss the grievance - no abstentions. In the absence of compelling circumstances the chair, within 15 working days of the close of the hearings, shall send the JRB panel's report to the chancellor, the grievant, the respondent, and the JRB. This report shall contain a specific recommendation of relief or no relief. In the event of undue delay on the part of the JRB panel, all materials pertaining to the grievance shall be returned to the JRB, which shall review the case and submit a report within 10 working days. 

        When a grievance is upheld, the JRB shall make a recommendation regarding relief. The purpose of any relief shall be to remediate the procedural violation(s) and the negative effects of these violations on the grievant. The JRB recommendations related to remedies may include a range of options including, but not limited to, a recommendation that no remedy be awarded because the procedural violation(s) were too trivial to warrant a remedy to a recommendation that promotion and/or tenure be awarded to the grievant. The JRB shall include the reasoning for its recommendation related to the remedy in its report.
      14. If either party to a grievance declines or otherwise fails to appear at the hearing held by the JRB panel, the panel shall nevertheless issue a report of its findings containing a specific recommendation of relief or no relief.
      15. After the completion of the JRB panel's action, all documents or copies thereof and tape recordings shall be deposited for safekeeping in the chancellor's office with access to be made available to the principal parties or their designated representatives in case of appeal.
      16. The Chancellor shall recuse himself/herself from participating in the decision of any grievance involving promotion and tenure caes in which s/he has had prior consultation with the Provost over the substance or propoer disposition of the case, unless the faculty member and the JRB consent to his or her participation. In cases where the Chancellor has not recused himself/herself, the Chancellor and the Provost shall provide the Judicial Review Board and the grievant with specific information regarding the nature, content, and scope of their prior consultations in a tenure and promotion matter that was grieved before the JRB.

        The Chancellor shall make a decision based on the JRB's report, supporting documents, and in cases where the Chancellor chooses to review the testimony, the tape recording of the hearing. Unless both parties are present, the chancellor shall not entertain any new information. The Chancellor shall refrain from consulting with either party to the grievance prior to making a decision on the JRB's recommendation. A decision by a 5-member JRB panel shall replace the decision of the administrator that is being appealed. The Chancellor or appropriate administrator shall treat the JRB panel decision in the same manner as s/he treats similar decisions of the administrator. Following the submission of the JRB panel’s decision, the Chancellor and the JRB panel may meet in a timely manner in order for the JRB panel to answer questions in clarification of its report.
      17. The JRB chair shall present a written report to the Faculty Senate annually. The report shall include such information as a) the membership of the JRB; b) the number of cases referred to the JRB; c) the number of cases resolved and/or withdrawn; and d) other matters the JRB members deem relevant. No specific faculty cases shall be directly mentioned in the report. The report shall meet with the approval of a majority of the JRB members.
    5. Procedure for Selection of the JRB
      1. There shall be 12 members of the JRB serving staggered 3-year terms. The voting faculty of the colleges (as defined by the Faculty Senate Operating Paper) will nominate potential members equal to the number of senators from the college. From these nominations, a slate of potential new JRB members will be determined by a joint meeting of the Faculty Senate Executive Council and the Faculty Senate Committee on Committees, to be chaired by the Senate President, after a thorough vetting process to include but not be limited to the following criteria: nominees must be full professors who are not presently serving in an administrative position nor have served as an administrator during the past 3 years, have no current grievance or have filed a grievance within the past 3 years, and be willing to serve a 3-year term. Nominees shall reflect the diversity of colleges on campus. The faculty Senate must approve each nominee on the slate by vote.
      2. No one may be named without giving consent. No one should give consent who is unwilling to serve, if necessary, during the summer months and when the university is not in session.
      3. Released time for members of the JRB equivalent to one three-hour course each semester of service is strongly suggested.
      4. Members are eligible for appointment to no more than two consecutive 3-year terms.
      5. Members whose terms expire while they are serving on panels are expected to continue to serve until the business of the panel is finished.
      6. Appointments shall be made at the end of the fall semester each year. A term shall begin one week after appointment.
      7. Vacancies shall be filled by the same method as original appointment, i.e., being named by a joint meeting of the Executive Council and the Committee on Committees, and approved by the Faculty Senate.
      8. It is the responsibility of the member to indicate inability to serve on the JRB.
    6. General Counsel: When deemed necessary by the JRB chair and the president of the Faculty Senate, independent general counsel shall be provided to render technical legal advice to the chair of the JRB. Fees for such legal advice shall be paid from the Faculty Senate budget.
  5. Amendment

    This document may be amended by the normal procedures for amending university regulations as specified in Board of Trustees V Bylaws.

    Appendix A (see Code of Ethics, Personnel Policies, IV.C.3)

    Appendix B

    Grievance Process Channels

    Grievance Process Channels

1. Promotion and tenure grievances are instituted at the JRB level upon decision by the Provost and Vice Chancellor.