Policy 045.00 - Faculty Grievance Procedures

  This Replaces
File 045.00 045.00
Date 3/7/12 3/29/11

ORIGINATOR: Provost

SUBJECT: Faculty Grievance Procedures

  1. Introduction
    1. In accordance with the University System of Maryland ("USM") Policy on Faculty Grievances (II.4.00), approved by the Board of Regents on November 30, 1989, these Faculty Grievance Procedures ("Procedures") are for faculty members who wish to address problems, differences of opinion or complaints.
    2. University of Maryland University College ("UMUC") is a collegial institution that understands policies are formal mechanisms by which faculty can raise formal grievances. As such, and in accordance with the USM Policy on Faculty Grievances, these Procedures provide the steps for faculty members to follow for a formal review and resolution of complaints that cannot be resolved through informal discussions.
    3. No complaint shall be reviewed under these Procedures if the complaint pertains to an official policy, regulation, or procedure of the University System of Maryland or UMUC; a decision or action by the Board of Regents, the Chancellor, or the President; or any matter the remedy for which would contravene or interfere with any such official policy, regulation, procedure, decision, or action.
    4. Allegations of misconduct in scholarly work shall be processed under Policy 150.50 – Misconduct in Scholarly Work. Allegations of discrimination or harassment shall be processed under Policy 40.3 - Policy and Procedures on Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity, and Sexual Harassment. Promotion decisions shall be governed by Policy 181.00 – Faculty Appointment, Rank, and Promotion.
    5. In the Procedures outlined below, the burden rests upon the faculty member filing a grievance to provide clear and convincing evidence supporting the rights to go forward with a grievance and to have a disposition of a grievance in his or her favor.
  2. Definitions
    1. "Faculty" refers to all individuals appointed under faculty contracts and other UMUC employees serving in faculty roles.
    2. The "Grievant" refers to the UMUC Faculty member who files a grievance under these Procedures.
    3. The "Respondent" refers to the individual UMUC faculty or staff member or UMUC academic department(s) or administrative unit(s) against whom the grievance is filed. If the grievance is filed against an academic department or administrative unit, the appropriate Dean, Vice President, or Vice Provost shall act as the Respondent.
    4. The term "conference" refers to a communication between two or more individuals by telephone, in writing (including but not limited to e-mail, fax, or posted letter), through videoconferencing, or in person.
    5. "Grievance Committee" refers to the appropriate regional Faculty Grievance Committee. An ad hoc Faculty Grievance Committee shall be established as needed in each of the geographic regions: Adelphi, UMUC-Asia and UMUC-Europe.
    6. "Faculty Grievance Panel" refers to a group of at least eight Faculty members who shall be recommended by the Deans and Vice Presidents of each region and approved individually by the Faculty Advisory Council. The term of membership shall be two years.
  3. Procedures
    1. Faculty who wish to bring a grievance under these Procedures must first request a conference with the appropriate Dean or Vice President or their designee and attempt to resolve the matter informally within 20 working days of reasonable knowledge of the alleged act or omission.
    2. If a satisfactory resolution is not reached, the Grievant may file a grievance in writing with the Assistant Provost or designee ("Assistant Provost") within 40 working days of reasonable knowledge of the alleged act or omission. If the grievance is filed against the Assistant Provost, the grievance shall be filed with the Provost. The grievance shall include:
      1. A concise description of the act or omission,
      2. All facts relevant to the grievance,
      3. The resolution sought,
      4. Evidence of attempted informal resolution,
      5. All arguments in support of the desired solution, and
      6. Relevant supporting documentation.
    3. Within 5 working days of receipt of the grievance, the Assistant Provost shall convene a Grievance Committee consisting of three Faculty members selected by the Assistant Provost from the Faculty Grievance Panel. The Assistant Provost shall designate one member of the Grievance Committee as "Chair." No member of the Grievance Committee may be personally or professionally associated with the Grievant's allegation. The Assistant Provost shall be an ex-officio member of the Grievance Committee. Faculty agree to serve on a Grievance Committee in a voluntary capacity and are not compensated for such service.
    4. Once the Grievance Committee is convened, the Assistant Provost shall immediately inform the Respondent, the appropriate Dean and Vice President, the appropriate Grievance Committee, and the Provost in writing of the alleged act or omission. All material reviewed shall be considered confidential and shared only with those with a need to know. The Assistant Provost shall forward the contents of the grievance pertaining to the Respondent to him or her.
    5. Within 30 working days of being convened, the Grievance Committee shall complete an investigation, which may include a fact-finding conference. The Grievance Committee shall communicate with the Grievant and the Respondent and give the Grievant and the Respondent the opportunity to present any relevant evidence. The Grievant may submit questions in writing for the Respondant regarding the alleged act or omission that is the subject of the grievance, and likewise the Respondent may submit questions in writing for the Grievant. The Grievance Committee may be advised by legal counsel during this process.
    6. If a fact-finding conference is held, the Grievant and the Respondent shall be entitled to participate. The Grievant and the Respondent may be accompanied by a representative, who may be an attorney. The Grievant shall bear the expenses of his or her representative. Representatives may advise during the course of a fact-finding conference, but shall not personally participate. Parties who wish to be accompanied by an attorney must inform the Chair of the Grievance Committee in writing at least 5 working days before the scheduled date of the fact-finding conference. Representatives may not participate in lieu of the Grievant or Respondent(s).
    7. Within 5 working days of completing its investigation, the Grievance Committee shall deliberate and issue a brief written opinion containing its findings and any recommendations to the Provost. The opinion and recommendations must be supported by a majority vote of the Grievance Committee members.
    8. Within 5 working days of receiving the Grievance Committee's opinion, the Provost shall review the opinion and render one of the following decisions, with explanatory rationale:
      1. A ruling in favor of the Grievant that grants the Grievant's proposed resolution;
      2. A ruling in favor of the Grievant that provides a different resolution; or
      3. A ruling in favor of the Respondent.
    9. In addition, the Provost or designee shall notify the Grievant, the Respondent, the Grievance Committee, the Assistant Provost, and the appropriate Dean and Vice President of the decision and rationale in writing.
  4. Appeals
    1. If the Grievant or Respondent believes that the process outlined in these Procedures was not followed, an appeal may be submitted in writing to the President within 10 working days of receipt of the Provost's decision.
    2. Within 10 working days of receipt of the appeal, the President or designee(s) shall review any relevant materials and may communicate with the Grievant, the Respondent, the Assistant Provost, the Provost, and the Grievance Committee to determine whether the process was followed. The President shall render one of the following decisions:
      1. If the President finds evidence of violation of these Procedures, the President may direct the Provost to review the case anew or issue a new decision and resolution, if appropriate.
      2. If the President finds no evidence of violation of these Procedures, the President shall uphold the ruling of the Provost.
    3. The President shall notify the Grievant, the Respondent, the Grievance Committee, the Assistant Provost, the appropriate Dean and Vice President, and the Provost in writing, within 20 working days of receipt of the appeal.
    4. The decision of the President is final and not appealable.