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Approved in March
Revised in Apr. 2000, Oct. 2006, Oct. 2007, Nov. 2008
Senate of St. Bonaventure University
Grievance Committee Procedures
(a) Offense – An offense is a (i) violation of a policy, a procedure, or a less formal norm of operation, or (ii) an inequitable application of these policies, procedures, or norms.
(b) Complaint – A complaint is a written allegation of an offense. The complaint shall be sent to the Chair of the Grievance Committee, and must include the name(s) and position(s) of the aggrieved party, the name(s) of the filer(s) (if different), the offense allegedly committed, the time and place of the alleged offense, the party allegedly committing the offense (if known), a general statement of the nature and circumstances of the offense, and the remedy sought.
(c) Grievance – If the complaint is accepted by the Committee, it becomes a grievance. The complaint will be accepted if and only if the alleged offense deals with a faculty matter for which the Faculty is legislative, or which is specified in the Faculty Status and Welfare Handbook, or which is part of the contract of the aggrieved party, or with a University policy or procedure which is applicable to the faculty or to adjuncts. Examples of appropriate complaints would include issues such as (i) what criteria were or were not used in a promotion decision, (ii) which measuring instruments were selected to see if those criteria had been met, and (iii) differing levels of expectation on those measures applied to faculty in similar situations. An example of a complaint that would not be appropriate for grievance would be an administrative judgment (such as to recommend against a promotion), based on proper use of the evaluation procedure outlined in the Handbook, and consistent with judgments passed in similar situations. In order for a complaint to be received from the Grievance Committee Chair for consideration by the Grievance Committee, it must be free of “ad hominems” (attacks, appeals or references to characteristics, beliefs or circumstances of a person) and other elements disrespectful to individuals or to the University community.
(d) School Day – A school day is any day during the regular Fall or Spring semesters that day-time classes are in session. Summer sessions and evening classes are not considered in counting school days.
2) Who can file a complaint: All members of the faculty (as defined in the Faculty Senate Constitution, Article III, Section 1), as well as adjunct, are eligible to file a complaint. Complaints may be filed by an individual or by a group. The person or group filing the complaint need not be the aggrieved party.
3) Time table: (a) The written complaint must be filed within 90 school days of the aggrieved party (or the filing party, which ever occurs first) becoming aware of the alleged offense. (b) The committee will determine whether or not the complaint will be accepted as a grievance within 10 school days of receipt of the complaint. (c) If the complaint is not accepted as a grievance, the remaining items in this time table (except for the reports mentioned in items I and j below) will not apply. (d) If the complaint is accepted, the grievance shall be investigated by the Committee when (i) the alleged violation results in some injury, wrong, or harm to some member of the faculty or adjunct, and (ii) a resolution through administrative channels is not forthcoming within 30 school days of acceptance. The filer of the complaint will be responsible for pursuing resolution through administrative channels. (e) If the complaint is accepted, the chief academic officer will be notified within 10 school days of the existence of a grievance. This notice shall state the issues involved, but will not name the parties. (f) The Committee will notify the parties of the grievance of the case status in writing within 10 school days of accepting the grievance. (g) The Committee will notify the parties involved as to the status of the case again within each thirty calendar days thereafter. (h) As soon as possible after a decision has been reached, the Committee will make its recommendations to the parties of the grievance, and to anyone who would be involved in implementing the recommended redress (if any). (i) In the event that a recommendation for redress is made, any person responsible for implementing the recommendation shall provide the Chair of the Grievance Committee with a written response to the recommendation within thirty calendar days of receiving the recommendation. The response shall indicate whether or not the recommendation for redress will be implemented. In the event the recommendation, or some part of the recommendation, will not be implemented, a rationale explaining the reasons for non-implementation shall be included in the written response. (j) For each complaint received (whether accepted as a grievance or not), the Committee will, as soon as possible, submit a final report to the parties of the complaint, appropriate administrative officials, the University President, and the Faculty Senate. This report shall include the issues, finding, and recommendations of the committee while protecting the confidentiality of the parties involved. (k) At the end of the academic year, the Committee will file a summary report with the Senate listing the nature of each complaint filed and the Committee’s decisions and recommendations on the complaint, while protecting the confidentiality of the parties involved.
4) Evidence: The Committee, in its deliberations, might collect as evidence, in addition to the filed complaint: (a) all recommendations, correspondence, and documents related to the matter of contention, (b) all policies and procedures related to this matter, (c) any other written documents related to the case, and (d) oral or written testimony in clarification, interpretation, or support of any of these documents. To maintain decorum, the Grievance Committee will not consider oral evidence or testimony that utilizes “ad hominems” (attacks, appeals or references to characteristics, beliefs or circumstances of a person) or in other ways is disrespectful to individuals or to the University community.
5) Disposition of cases: The Committee can not adjudicate cases. The three options available for decisions are: (a) dismissal of the case, (b) recommendations to prevent similar violations, and/or (c) recommendations for redress.
6) DISPOSITION OF EVIDENCE: Upon submitting its final report, the Chair of the Committee will destroy all but one copy of all evidence, communications, records, etc., related to the case in the Committee’s possession. The one remaining copy will be kept securely filed by the Faculty Senate for one year. At that time, with written permission from the filing party and the University President, the remaining case material will be destroyed. In any event, all materials will be destroyed after seven years.
7) Disqualification: A member of the Committee may voluntarily disqualify himself or herself for personal reasons from a particular case. Any party of the complaint may request that a member be disqualified for stated reasons, in which case the Committee will decide if the disqualification is warranted. If the chair is disqualified, the remaining members of the Committee will elect a Temporary Chair from among themselves. The disqualification of only one member will not necessarily require a replacement. If more than one member is disqualified, the Chair (or the Temporary Chair, if the Chair has been disqualified) shall nominate (with input from the remaining Committee members) temporary replacements from the Schools no longer represented, with the advice and consent of the Faculty Senate. These temporary positions are only for the case in question.
8) Amendments: This document may be amended by mutual agreement between the University President and the Faculty Senate.