Grievance Procedures

These procedures for processing a faculty grievance were developed by the committee which prepared the ByLaws of the Faculty Senate, and were adopted, as amended, by the Faculty Senate at its meeting of April 23, 1992. (Amended by Faculty Senate, April 22, l993; March 24, l994; May 25, 1995; November 2, 1995.)

  1. Scope

    The Faculty Grievance Committee has authority to conduct inquiries into grievances by faculty who have exhausted the University's appellate channels from the department, to the college or divi­sion, to the Vice President for Academic Affairs; to attempt the resolution of those grievances by mediation; and to present to the President its recommenda­tions for appro­priate response to the grievances it has considered. 

  2. Initiating a Grievance 

    1. A faculty member should attempt to resolve a grievance by discussing the matter with
      1. the Department Head;
      2. the Dean of the College;
      3. the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
      A faculty member has the right to bring a chosen ob­server to these meetings. 
    2. If efforts at resolution fail after the faculty member discusses the matter with the Department Head, the Dean, and the Vice President, the faculty member may seek advice informally with a member of the Faculty Griev­ance Commit­tee or initiate one of the following formal procedures. The faculty member who does not follow one of the following formal procedures places his or her right to a hearing by the Faculty Grievance Committee at risk. 
      1. The faculty member may appeal to the elected Faculty Griev­ance Com­mittee after attempting to resolve a grievance by discussing the matter with the Department Head, the Dean of the College, and the Vice President for Academic Affairs. (See Chapter 4, Article VI, of the Statutes for details of election and composition of the Faculty Grievance Committee.)

        OR 

      2. The faculty member may appeal to the President. Such appeal must be in writing. If efforts at resolution fail after the faculty member appeals the matter to the President and receives a final decision, the faculty member may appeal to the Board of Regents.(See Board of Regents Bylaws, 03/02/93, "Appeals," pp. 21-22.)

      The President is understood to have made a final decision when that decision is put in writing. 

  3. Appealing to the Faculty Grievance Committee 

    1. If a faculty member chooses route B2a above, then the petitioner will send to the Chairperson of the Faculty Grievance Committee a written request for a hearing, stating the particulars of the grievance. Copies are to be sent to the other parties involved in the grievance. 
    2. The Chairperson will convene the entire Faculty Grievance Committee for a plenary session within seven days of receiving a written request for a hearing. 
    3. The petitioner will be invited to appear in person at the plenary session and the Faculty Grievance Committee will then decide, based on the written request for a hearing, whether or not to hear the particular grievance. 

      1. If the Faculty Grievance Committee decides not to hear the grievance, the Chairperson will notify the President and all parties involved within seven days of the decision not to proceed with a hearing. 
        OR 
      2. If the Faculty Grievance Committee does decide to hear the grievance, the Chairperson will notify the petitioner and all involved parties within seven working days of the Committee's decision that the Committee will form a Hearing Panel. The petitioner may at any time waive the right to a Hearing Panel. In this case the Faculty Grievance Committee will evaluate all available evidence and the Chairperson will send its recommendations to the President and all parties to the grievance within seven working days of its completed evaluation. 
  4. The Formation of a Hearing Panel 

    1. Two members and a first and a second alternate from the Faculty Grievance Committee are to be chosen by the petitioner, and two members and a first and a second alternate are to be chosen by the other party to the grievance. The names of these nominees will be sent to the Chairperson of the Committee within two working days of the notice of a Hearing. Members so chosen may recuse themselves because of conflicts of interest, in which case the replacement(s) are to be chosen in the same manner as the recusants(s). One member from the Faculty Grievance Committee will be chosen by the four selected members to complete the five-member Hearing Panel.
    2. The Chairperson of the Hearing Panel is chosen by its five members.
    3. The Chairperson of the Hearing Panel will notify all parties to the grievance of the membership of the Hearing Panel. 

  5. The Procedure of a Hearing Panel 

    1. Written notice of the hearing, listing the specific charges and the date of the hearing, will be sent by the Chairperson of the Hearing Panel to all parties involved, no more than ten working days after the formation of the panel and at least seven days prior to the hearing.
    2. The hearing must be convened within fifteen working days of the date of the written notice of the hearing unless both parties to the grievance and the Hearing Panel determine that there are substantive reasons for delay. The Hearing Panel will be the final adjudicator in granting or denying a delay.
    3. During the proceedings, any party to the grievance is permitted to have present one personal and one professional adviser.
    4. Within seven working days of the date of the written notice of the Hearing, each party to the grievance must provide the Chairperson of the Hearing Panel with a complete list of counsel, faculty adviser, and expected witnesses. The Chairperson of the Hearing Panel will communicate this information to each party of the grievance. Additional witnesses must be approved by the Hearing Panel.
    5. The Hearing Panel has the right to choose a faculty advisor and/or legal counsel for its benefit. The cost for the counsel will be borne by the institution.
    6. The Hearing Panel, in consultation with all par­ties, will decide whether the hearing shall be public or private. 
    7. The Hearing Panel will accept no substantive information from any party prior to the hear­ing except the written request presented to the full Faculty Grievance Committee stating the particulars of the grievance. 
    8. A tape recording and an official transcript of the proceedings are to be made with the exception that an official transcript may be waived upon agreement of both parties to the grievance. The Hearing Panel is the final authority in this decision. On request, copies of the tape recording and/or official transcript are to be made avail­able to all par­ties to the grievance. The cost of recording, transcrip­tion, and one copy thereof for each side of the grievance will be borne by the institution. Costs for additional copy(is) will be borne by the party requesting the additional copy(is). 
    9. The Hearing Panel may grant adjournments to enable any of the parties to investigate newly presented evidence. 
    10. All parties shall be afforded the opportunity to obtain necessary witnesses, documents, or any other evidence. The grievant should expect reasonable cooperation from the institution in this respect. Each party has the right to reasonable discovery as it relates to witnesses and documentation. 
    11. All parties will have the right to confront and cross-examine all witnesses. Where the witness cannot appear, the Hearing Panel may by affidavit record the sworn statement of the witness, and, if possi­ble, provide interrogatories. 
    12. In the hearing of charges of incompetence against a faculty member, testimony may include that of qualified peers. The burden of proof that adequate cause exists rests with the institution. 
    13. The Hearing Panel will not be bound by formal rules of legal evidence. However, every possible effort will be made by the Hearing Panel to obtain the most reliable evidence, and to distinguish fact from mere hearsay. The Hearing Panel, with the advice of counsel when appropriate, is the final authority on the admissibility and reliability of evidence. 
    14. The recommendation of the Hearing Panel is to be based solely on the presented oral and written record. At any time prior to the formal conclusion of the proceedings, the Hearing Panel may seek a satisfactory settlement agree­able to both parties. The Hearing Panel may designate a faculty member not involved in the hearing to serve as a mediator between the parties to the grievance to seek a satisfactory settlement agreeable to both parties. These attempts are permitted until the hearing is closed. 
    15. Within fifteen working days of the close of the hearing, the Hearing Panel must prepare a written recommendation which the Chairperson of the Hearing Panel will send to the Chairperson of the Faculty Grievance Committee and to the President. Copies of this recommendation are sent to all parties to the grievance. 
    16. With the submission of the Hearing Panel's recommendations to all parties to the grievance, the Hearing Panel is discharged. 
    17. Within thirty working days of receipt of the Hearing Panel's recommendation, the President will officially inform the Chairperson of the Faculty Grievance Committee and all parties involved in the grievance regarding actions taken in response to the Hearing Panel's recommendation. The Chairperson of the Faculty Grievance Committee will notify the members of the Hearing Panel of those actions. 
    18. Appeals in response to the President's action by the involved parties will be filed in writ­ing with the Executive Secretary of the Board of Regents. The filing of an appeal must transpire within ten days of receipt of notice of the President's actions. 
    19. The Chairperson of the Faculty Grievance Committee will be the custodian of the evidence presented in the hearing. The Chairperson of the Faculty Grievance Committee will retain this evidence in a secure fashion for three years from the date of the Hearing Panel's written recommendation, after which the Chairperson will destroy all the evidence. The cost of securing the evidence shall be borne by the Faculty Senate. 
    20. Within ten working days after the President has officially informed the Chairperson of the Faculty Grievance Committee regarding actions taken (see E17), the recommendations of the Hearing Panel and the official response will be made available under the provisions of the Georgia Open Records Act. 
    21. Within ten working days after the President has officially informed the Chairperson of the Faculty Grievance Committee regarding actions taken, the Chairperson of the Hearing Panel will send the recording and/or transcript of the hearing to the Chairperson of the Faculty Grievance Committee. The Chairperson of the Faculty Grievance Committee will be the custodian of the recording and/or transcript of the hearing. The costs for maintaining these records shall be borne by the Faculty Senate.