The Marquette University Faculty Grievance Procedure is designed to establish a process for the prompt, efficient and just resolution of faculty grievances. Although formalistic in structure, it embodies a flexibility appropriate to the nature of individual grievances. Its processes are intended to complement informal approaches to resolving faculty complaints and not to substitute for them.
Article 1. General Provisions
1.01 - Administration of Grievance Procedure. The Marquette University Faculty Grievance Procedure is administered by the Faculty Council's subcommittee Faculty Hearing Committee (hereinafter "the committee").
1.02 - Definition of "Grievance." As used in the Marquette University Faculty Grievance Procedure:
- A "grievance" is a written complaint submitted under section 4.02 below alleging that an administrative decision affects the grievant and is either unfair, unjust, or in violation of established policies, procedures, or statutes of Marquette University.
- The term "grievance" includes a complaint lodged in response to a denial of promotion and/or tenure or the termination of an untenured faculty member, which alleges procedural irregularities in the promotion and tenure or termination processes.
- The term "grievance" does not include a complaint lodged in response to a denial of promotion and/or tenure or a termination of an untenured faculty member which challenges the validity of assessments made by a complainant's superiors or colleagues on the substantive merits of the complainant's bid for promotion and/or tenure or reappointment.
- The term "grievance" does not include a complaint about the suspension or termination of tenured faculty which, under provisions of the Faculty Statutes, is within the competence of the Faculty Hearing Committee.
1.03 - "Definition of "Normal Channels of Authority." As used in the Marquette University Faculty Grievance Procedure, the term "normal channels of authority" means the Provost, the grievant's dean or director, and the grievant's department chair (if any), if the grievance complains about an administrative decision in the grievant's own academic unit. Otherwise, the term means the Provost and the dean or director of the unit in which the administrative decision complained about was made.
1.04 - Who May File Grievance. The Faculty Hearing Committee is a subcommittee of the Marquette University Faculty Council (hereinafter "FC"). Accordingly, any faculty member or librarian whose interests are represented by the FC may file a grievance with the subcommittee under the procedures outlined in this document.
1.05 - Prejudice Not to Accrue by Filing Grievance. Submission of a grievance shall not in any way prejudice the grievant nor shall it cast any adverse reflection upon the grievant's professional standing within the university.
Article 2. Informal Resolution of Complaints
2.01 - Some complaints may be more effectively addressed and resolved by informal means than by invoking the formal grievance procedure. The grievance procedure should not be construed as a substitute for informal attempts to resolve complaints nor should its existence be taken to minimize the potential effectiveness of informal processes.
2.02 - An attempt to informally resolve a complaint is not a prerequisite to invoking the formal grievance procedure.
Article 3. Initiation of a Grievance.
3.01 - A complaint becomes a grievance at the point it is reduced to writing and submitted to the administrator identified in section 4.02 below.
3.02 - The grievance document should identify the person filing the grievance and his or her employing unit. It should describe the nature of the complaint, the evidence in support of it, and the remedy sought. Supporting documentation (if any) should be attached.
3.03 - Prompt Submission of Grievances.
- If the formal grievance procedure is to be invoked, the grievant should initiate the process as soon as reasonably possible after he or she becomes aware of the basis for the complaint and after any efforts to resolve the matter informally under Article 2 above prove unsuccessful. Normally, a reasonable period of time within which to file a formal grievance is one month after learning the basis for it.
- If the grievant complains about a denial of promotion and/or tenure or about a termination of an untenured faculty member, the grievance document must be submitted under section 4.02 below within one month of the date on which the grievant became aware of the basis for the complaint.
Article 4. Processing a Grievance Within the Normal Channels of Authority
4.01 - A grievance must first be pursued through the normal channels of authority before it may be filed with the committee.
4.02 - Grievances should initially be submitted to administrators in the normal channels of authority as follows:
- If the grievance arises from a denial of promotion and/or tenure, it should be submitted to the Provost.
- If the grievance arises from the termination of an untenured faculty member, it should be submitted to the grievant's dean or director.
- If the grievance arises from any other administrative decision in the grievant's academic unit, it should be submitted to the administrator in the normal channels of authority who made the decision complained about.
- If the grievance complains about a decision by an administrator in a unit other than the grievant's own academic unit, it should be submitted to the dean or director with jurisdiction over that unit.
4.03 - Timetable for Processing a Grievance within the Normal Channels of Authority.
- Upon submission of a grievance, it is desirable that the matter be resolved with the administrator who received the grievance within two weeks from the date of submission.
- If the matter is not resolved by the conclusion of the second week and the grievant wishes to pursue the matter further, he or she must submit the grievance to the next higher administrator within the normal channels of authority within one week after the expiration of the two-week period identified in section 4.03(1) above.
- The three-week cycle established by sections 4.03(1) and (2) above should be utilized at each successive level in the normal channels of authority until all levels have been exhausted.
- If the grievance is not resolved within the normal channels of authority, it may then be submitted to the committee under section 5.01 below.
Article 5. Processing a Grievance Before the Faculty Hearing Committee
5.01 - The grievance procedure is initiated before the committee by filing a grievance document with the chair of the committee within three weeks after the matter was first submitted to the Provost under the provisions of Article 4 above.
5.02 - The grievance document filed with the committee should meet the requirements of section 3.02 above and should further describe the grievant's efforts to resolve the matter within the normal channels of authority.
5.03 - The grievant shall submit duplicate copies of the grievance document, together with any supporting materials, to the Provost and the chair of the FC at the same time as the submission to the committee chair.
5.04 - Upon receipt of a grievance the chair of the committee shall calendar the matter for a preliminary review before the committee as soon as possible. If prompt preliminary review involves the necessity of a meeting during the semester or summer break, it is in the sole discretion of the committee to schedule a meeting during the break or to wait until the university is back in regular session.
5.05 - The chair of the subcommittee will invite the Provost to submit a written response to the grievance (with a copy of the response to the grievant) in advance of the committee's preliminary review. The chair of the committee will inform the Provost of the meeting date at least one week prior.
5.06 - Preliminary Review of Grievance.
- At the preliminary review session(s) the committee will determine:
Unless otherwise directed by the committee, the preliminary review is conducted in an executive session and may be attended only by committee members.
As part of the preliminary review the committee may request additional documentation from the grievant and/or the university. Each party is expected to provide information relevant to a material issue as is within his or her competence.
A quorum of five committee members is required for the preliminary review.
Following the preliminary review, the committee will proceed to a full investigation of the grievance unless a majority of the committee present and voting decides that, under the criteria outlined in section 5.06(1) above, the matter should be terminated without a full investigation. A decision to terminate at this juncture concludes the committee's involvement in the matter.
Decisions reached upon preliminary review will be reduced to writing and transmitted to the Provost, to the chair of the Faculty Council, and to the grievant.
Preliminary review should be completed with in three weeks of its commencement or as soon as possible thereafter.
- Whether the matter complained about is grievable under the grievance procedure;
- Whether relief has been sought through the normal channels of authority as required by Article 4 above;
- Whether the grievance document states adequate cause to proceed further with the matter and, if so, what procedures will be utilized by the committee; and
- Whether the grievance has been mooted by subsequent action of the university and/or the grievant and, if so, whether a full investigation is nonetheless warranted.
5.07 - Full Investigation of Grievance. If the committee determines that a full investigation of the grievance is warranted, the committee shall initiate the investigation process as soon as possible and shall, subject to section 5.09(2), diligently pursue it to completion. In conducting a full investigation , the committee may utilize any procedures it deems appropriate to the nature of the complaint, including any of the following:
- It may appoint one or more of its members to serve in a fact gathering capacity; provided, however, that all final determinations, of fact and otherwise, shall be made by the committee. A quorum of five committee members is required for all such determinations during the course of a full investigation.
- It may hold a hearing in accordance with the following procedures:
As part of the full investigation the committee may request additional documentation from the grievant and /or the university. Each party is expected to provide information relevant to a material issue as is with in his or her competence.
- The hearing is closed to all persons except as the committee may otherwise direct.
- The grievant and the Provost (or his/her designee) have the right to be heard personally.
- Committee members may participate actively in the hearing to such extent as they deem appropriate.
- Technical rules of evidence do not apply at the hearing, but the committee will endeavor to assure that the hearing is conducted in a fair manner and that only reliable evidence is presented.
- The committee shall summarily determine all questions of procedure; and the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the committee are not impeachable by reason of procedural irregularities, errors, or omissions.
- In addition to the above procedures, the committee may make such further procedural rules as it considers helpful and fair.
5.08 - During the course of all proceedings described in Article 5 of the grievance procedure, each party is expected upon the call of the other or upon the request of the committee to provide information relevant to a material issue as is within his or her competence.
5.09 - Committee Report on Grievance.
- Upon completion of an investigation under section 5.06 above, the committee will develop a written report stating its findings and recommendations. The report shall indicate the names of committee members assenting to it. Dissenting members may also submit a report.
- The committee should submit its report on the grievance within six weeks of the date on which the preliminary review was completed or as soon as possible thereafter. In the event that completion of a full investigation would require the committee to meet during the semester or summer break, it is in the sole discretion of the committee to conduct the investigation during the break or to wait until the university is back in regular session. If the committee elects to delay its investigation until the university is back in session, it should submit its report within six weeks of the date on which the university returns to session or as soon as possible thereafter.
- The chair of the committee shall cause copies of the report to be transmitted to the Provost, to the chair of the Faculty Council on Faculty, and to the grievant.
5.10 - Submission of its written report concludes the involvement of the subcommittee in the matter.
Article 6. Action by Provost on Committee's Recommendations.
6.01 - Within one week after receipt of the committee's report, the Provost shall notify the committee chair that the report has been received.
6.02 - Unless notified under section 7.01 below that the grievant has asked the Faculty Council to review the grievance, the Provost shall indicate the university's response to the committee's report by written communication to the committee chair, to the chair of the Faculty Council, and to the grievant, within four weeks of the date on which the committee's report was received.
Article 7. Review of Grievance by the Faculty Council (FC).
7.01 - Within two weeks of receiving a committee decision under section 5.05(6) not to proceed with a full investigation, or within two weeks after receipt of the committee's report under section 5.09(3) following a full investigation, the grievant may, if he or she disagrees with the committee's position, submit a written request to the chair of the Faculty Council requesting FC review of the grievance.
7.02 - A request under section 7.01 should include a copy of the grievance document originally submitted to the committee under section 5.01 above as well as the final report of the committee (including any appendices) filed under section 5.06(6) or 5.09(3) above. It should also explain why the Faculty Council should undertake a review of the matter.
7.03 - The grievant shall submit duplicate copies of the request to the Provost and the chair of the committee at the same time as the submission to the chair of the FC.
7.04 - Upon receipt of a request under section 7.01, the chair of the Faculty Council will convene the committee as soon as possible consistent with FC rules. A simple majority of the FC shall constitute a quorum. In order for the Faculty Council to grant the request for FC review of the grievance, three-fourths of the FC present and voting must agree to do so.
7.05 - If the Faculty Council agrees to review the grievance, it may fashion procedures for doing so that it deems appropriate under the circumstances. The procedures may include a review confined to the facts as found by the committee and included in its report, the appointment of its own fact gatherers, the conduct of its own hearing using procedures described in section 5.07(2) above, etc. The FC may not, however, refer the matter back to the committee.
7.06 - The chair of the Faculty Council shall transmit a report communicating FC rejection of the grievant's petition for FC review, or stating the FC's findings and recommendations upon completion of the FC review to the Provost, to the chair of the committee, and to the grievant.
7.07 - Within one week after receipt of the FC report, the Provost shall notify the FC chair that the report has been received.
7.08 - The Provost shall communicate the university's response to the reports of the Faculty Council and the Faculty Hearing Committee by written communication to the chair of the Faculty Council, to the chair of the committee, and to the grievant, within three weeks of receiving the report of the Faculty Council.
Article 8. Conflicts of Interest
8.01 - A member of the Faculty Council or the Faculty Hearing Committee who was involved in the formal decision-making process that occasioned a grievance may not participate in the processing of the grievance under the Marquette University Faculty Grievance Procedure.
8.02 - A member of the Faculty Council or the Faculty Hearing Committee whose impartiality might be compromised by participating in the processing of the grievance ought to recuse himself or herself from consideration of the grievance.
Article 9. Confidentiality
9.01 - Confidentiality is important to the success of any grievance procedure. Accordingly, it is expected that those who participate in the grievance process and thereby become privy to a grievant's allegations, the university's response, information obtained in the course of any investigation, the final reports of the committee and the FC, and the university's final report, should respect the confidentiality of matters disclosed to them.
9.02 - The confidentiality referred to in section 9.01 above is designed as a protection for the grievant. Thus, should the grievant choose to make public that which would otherwise be deemed confidential, the university, the FC, or the subcommittee may respond by disclosing related matters that ought, in fairness to the university, the FC, or the committee, be disclosed.
Revised by UAS April 20, 2009 and April 18, 2011