Faculty Grievances Process and Procedures Policy
It is the policy of Delta State University to provide an immediate and fair method to address grievances of faculty or academic staff members in order to resolve work related problems or conditions that may arise between the University and an employee or between two employees. A faculty or academic staff member who feels aggrieved should first seek an informal resolution at the unit, department, or college level before filing a formal grievance under this policy. If a problem cannot be resolved informally, the employee has recourse to this established grievance procedure. Faculty or academic staff members do not have the right to appeal through the grievance policy and procedures related to salary, appointment or reappointment.
This policy does not address matters of discrimination or harassment, both of which are covered under separate University Policies (see Equal Employment Opportunity: Harassment Policy). This policy does not address matters related to tenure and promotion or merit pay which are addressed under the Tenure and Promotion or Merit Pay Policies of the University. Other exclusions may apply where University Policy or external policy or law is identified that takes precedence.
Grievance: The claim of an individual employee that there has been a violation, misinterpretation or misapplication of a rule, policy, or procedure in relation to personnel policies, including working hours, working conditions, leaves, and other conditions of employment.
Faculty: All DSU employees, except student employees, listed in the official budget as occupying one of the accepted faculty ranks including professor, associate professor, assistant professor, visiting professor, adjunct professor, or instructor. For the purpose of this document, faculty are also defined as employees with a paid University appointment at the rank of academic specialist, lecturer, assistant instructor, research associate, or librarian, including those in a continuing appointment system and those with fixed term and visiting status.
Working Days: Includes the period from Monday through Friday of each week, excluding those days which are designated as holidays by the official University calendar or by action of the President.
Whenever possible, problems should be solved within the University at the level at which they arise. However, each member of the faculty shall have the right to a hearing and an appeal for redress of grievance through established channels. Access to these procedures is restricted to University employees.
A faculty member holding an administrative position will have access to these procedures with regard to his/her faculty duties, but will not have access to the procedures with regard to his/her administrative duties.
At all stages of the formal process, the grievance must be submitted in writing and provide sufficient detail to allow a response. The grievance will contain a statement of the perceived facts of the case and a precise description of the remedy sought by the grievant. The grievance will be accompanied by the Faculty Grievance Report form, initiated by the faculty member, throughout the process.
Legal counsel for the grievant may not be present at any stage of the internal grievance process though the grievant may have ongoing consultation with counsel as desired. If the grievant insists on bringing legal counsel, the process is then led by the Attorney General’s Office associated with the Institutions of Higher Learning of the state of Mississippi.
The Grievance must contain the following information:
- The specific policy or established practice that has allegedly been violated;
- The date of the alleged violation and the date on which the grievant became aware of the alleged violation;
- The facts relevant to the alleged violation;
- The person(s) against whom the grievance is filed; and,
- The redress sought.
The grievant may withdraw a formal grievance at any stage of the proceeding but may not reinstate it once it is withdrawn. The withdrawal request should be made in writing to the individual hearing the grievance at the time of the withdrawal.
Steps to be followed:
- The Employee discusses his or her grievance directly with the Department Chair within ten working days of the occurrence. The Department Chair discusses the grievance fully with the employee, renders a decision and provides reasons for the decision in writing within five working days of the first meeting.
- If the Department Chair’s decision is not acceptable to the grievant, the grievant may request, in writing, a review by the College or School Dean through Department Chair within five working days of notification of the Department Chair’s decision. The Department Chair establishes a meeting with College or School Dean and the faculty member. The meeting must be scheduled within ten working days of the notification of the review. The College or School Dean hears the grievance, renders a decision and provides reasons for the decision in writing. The decision is either rendered at the meeting or within but not later than five working days after the meeting.
- If the College or School Dean’s decision is not acceptable to the grievant, the grievant may request, in writing, a review by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) through the College or School Dean within five working days of their notification of the College or School Dean’s decision. The College or School Dean establishes a meeting with the Provost/VPAA and the faculty member. The meeting is scheduled within ten working days of the notification of review. The Provost/VPAA hears the grievance, renders a decision, and provides reasons for the decision in writing. The decision is either rendered at the meeting or within; but, not later than five working days after meeting.
- If the Provost/VPAA’s decision is not acceptable to the grievant, the grievant may request, in writing, a review by the Faculty Grievance Committee through the Provost/VPAA within five working days after notification of the Provost/VPAA’s decision (See description below of Faculty Grievance Committee). The Provost/VPAA establishes a meeting with the Faculty Grievance Committee and the faculty member within ten working days of receiving the written request. The Committee hears the grievance and makes a recommendation to the President within five working days after meeting. The President’s decision and reasons for that decision shall be communicated to the faculty member in writing within fourteen working days after receipt of the recommendation.
The Faculty Grievance Committee shall be comprised of six members of the faculty (as previously defined). One member and an alternate will be appointed by the President of the Faculty Senate. Each of the Colleges, School, and Library shall elect one member and an alternate. Committee members shall serve for an academic year and shall be eligible for successive terms. The Committee shall select its own Chairperson, who shall assemble the Committee timely, acquire all documents related to the filed grievance, record the recommendation of the Committee, and communicate this recommendation to the President. No member of the hearing committee shall be from the same department, college, school, or unit as the grievant or respondent. Therefore, the committee will be comprised of five members for any grievance.
Faculty Grievance Committee Hearing Procedure
- Upon receipt of a request from the Provost of the University, the Committee will schedule a hearing. This hearing should be held within ten working days after convening by the Provost/VPAA. The Committee will elect its own chairperson, who will act as presiding officer. The Chairperson’s notice of a time and place for the hearing must be delivered to the parties involved at least two working days prior to the hearing. These time limits are a guide and may be changed by mutual written agreement of the Committee and the parties to the grievance. A copy of the notice and a copy of the written appeal will be furnished to the members of the Committee.
- The formal hearing will be conducted in private. During the proceedings, the parties concerned will be permitted to have a nonparticipating advisor of their choice. The grievant will present his or her own case and has the right to present whatever evidence, written or oral, he or she consider relevant or material to the grievance. This may includes the calling of witnesses.
- After the presentation by the grievant, the respondent about whose actions or decisions the grievance was filed will be given an opportunity to present his or her case under the same rules as the grievant. The Committee may also call witnesses as it considers appropriate. Both the grievant and the respondent may question all witnesses.
- The Committee will not be bound by strict rules of legal evidence. The Committee may receive any evidence of probative value in determining the issues involved. Every reasonable effort shall be made to obtain the most reliable evidence possible. All questions relating to the admissibility of evidence or other legal matters will be decided by the Chairperson.
- Within five working days after the hearing, the Chairperson shall communicate its recommendation in writing to the President.
Within fourteen days of the receipt of the recommendation, the President shall render a decision and notify the Chairperson of the Hearing Committee with a copy to the grievant and respondent. Decisions of the President are final with no right of appeal to the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.
Responsible Office and/or the Policy Owner: Office of Academic Affairs
Academic Council Minutes 12/13/11
Faculty Grievance Report Form (available — Academic Affairs)
Policy Effective Date: December 13, 2011
Approval Date: December 13, 2011