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4.16 Grievance Policy

4.16 Grievance Policy

The grievance policy establishes a regular procedure for faculty of Ithaca College to resolve problems and disputes related to the policies and procedures of Volume IV of the Ithaca College Policy Manual. There are two stages of the grievance policy: the informal stage and the formal stage. The objective at each stage is to secure an equitable and mutually acceptable resolution of the grievance.

4.16.1 Definitions

4.16.1.1 Grievance

A grievance is a complaint, which alleges a violation, misinterpretation, or misapplication of Volume IV of the Ithaca College Policy Manual.

4.16.1.2 Grievant

The grievant is the individual faculty member who makes a grievance complaint.

4.16.1.3 Respondent

The respondent is the person against whom a grievance is made.

4.16.1.4 Petition

A petition is a written request, delivered to the chair of the Grievance Committee, that a fact-finding committee be established to consider the grievance. The petition must satisfy the requirements of  section 4.16.3.3.3.

4.16.1.5 Business Days

Business days are calendar days, excluding Saturday, Sunday, and College-designated holidays.

4.16.1.6 Receipt

Receipt is said to have occurred if the letter has been hand-delivered or, when this is not possible, sent to the faculty member's home address by registered mail with restricted delivery.

4.16.1.7 Grievance Committee

The Grievance Committee is a body appointed by each school with two tenured members of the school elected for a two-year term on a staggered basis.

4.16.1.8 Fact-Finding Committee

The fact-finding committee is a body of three persons selected from the Grievance Committee.

4.16.1.9 Report

A report is a written statement of the findings and determinations of the fact-finding committee, which is submitted to the Grievance Committee and the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs for action.

4.16.1.10 Appropriate Vice-President

If the grievance is with an action of the provost & vice president for academic affairs, then throughout the formal grievance procedure the provost's normal role in the grievance procedure will be taken by an administrator appointed by the president after consultation with the Grievance Committee.

4.16.2 Scope of a Grievance

4.16.2.1

A grievance petition must be considered under the faculty grievance procedure if:

  1. It is filed in a timely fashion according to section 4.16.3.3;
  2. The Grievance Committee first determines that such grievance alleges at least one of the following:
    1. Denial of academic freedom;
    2. Warning, suspension, or dismissal in violation of section 4.15.6 of Volume IV of the Ithaca College Policy Manual. (Neither non-reappointment of non-tenure-eligible appointments nor denial of tenure constitutes dismissal.)
    3. Violations of notice provisions of planning unit, school, or College procedures for non-reappointment of tenure-eligible faculty;
    4. Other violations of Volume IV of the Ithaca College Policy Manual.

4.16.2.2

The grievance policy cannot be used to change or delete institutional policies found in other volumes of the Ithaca College Policy Manual. Faculty who have concerns about institutional policies and procedures should discuss these concerns with their chairs or deans or bring them to the attention of the appropriate directors, vice-president, or policy development committee.

4.16.2.3

Grievances related to discrimination and/or sexual harassment are to be addressed in accordance with the procedures as set forth in section 2.7 of Volume II of the Ithaca College Policy Manual.

4.16.2.4

As revised by the Ithaca College Board of Trustees 2/16/2006.

Grievances related to consideration for tenure and/or promotion, which include alleged violations concerning tenure, promotion, and major formal evaluation of faculty may only be considered by the Faculty Personnel Appeals Committee except if it concerns a question of academic freedom. The procedures governing this committee are set forth in  section 4.13.3 of Volume IV of the Ithaca College Policy Manual.

4.16.2.5

All statements made by participants in the grievance procedure (whether at department, planning unit, school, or College level) are and shall remain confidential among the participants to the extent permissible under law. furthermore, all statements made by members of the grievance committee/fact-finding committee during their deliberations are and shall remain confidential among the members of the grievance committee/fact-finding committee to the extent permissible under law.

4.16.3 The Grievance Procedure

4.16.3.1 Extension of Deadlines

Every effort shall be made to ensure that a grievance is handled in a timely manner. The chair of the Grievance Committee may grant reasonable extensions of the time limits to the grievant(s) or respondent(s) after consultation with the provost & vice president for academic affairs. Requests for such extensions shall specify a time after which the next stage in the grievance procedure must begin. A written statement stipulating the nature and duration of the extension is forwarded to every individual involved in the current or next stage of the grievance process.

4.16.3.2 Informal Problem Solving

Grievant(s) are encouraged to seek informal resolution of a grievance prior to filing a grievance petition. The following is the timeline for informal resolution of a grievance. Extensions of the timeline may be granted upon mutual agreement of all parties to the Grievance:

  1. Within ten (10) business days of the action which is the subject of the grievance, the grievant(s) bring the grievance to the attention of the person(s) who allegedly committed it.
  2. The grievant(s) allow the respondent(s) five (5) business days to resolve the grievance.

    If a resolution is not achieved within this time the grievant(s) may within five (5) additional business days bring the grievance to the attention of the dean of the grievants' school or the dean of the respondents' school (or if the respondent(s) does not have a dean, the executive officer in charge of the respondents' area), prior to submitting a formal grievance, to discuss the nature of the grievance and possible methods of informal resolution. The dean will attempt to assist the respondent(s) in resolving the problem. If the grievance is with an action of the dean or other academic office reporting to the provost & vice president for academic affairs, then the grievant(s) may request that the provost attempt to resolve the grievance.
     

  3. If a resolution is not achieved within five (5) working days after notification of the dean or the provost & vice president for academic affairs, the grievant(s), within five (5) additional working days, may file a grievance petition with the chair of the Grievance Committee.

4.16.3.3 The Formal Grievance Procedure

If a resolution of a grievance is not reached through the informal stage, formal procedures may be invoked.

A formal grievance petition must be initiated within 30 days of the grievable event regardless of the parties' efforts to resolve the grievance informally. Both the grievant(s) and respondent(s) are allowed to have a member of the College community accompany them as an advisor throughout the formal process.

4.16.3.3.1

Upon receipt, copies of all correspondence, including the grievance petition, shall be provided by the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs to the grievant(s); respondent(s); provost & vice president for academic affairs; chair of the Grievance Committee; and, when directed by the chair of the Grievance Committee, to all members of the Grievance Committee. Whenever possible, all correspondence shall be hand delivered. In the event hand delivery is not possible or practical, the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs can request the party to pick up the materials in the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs or, alternatively, mail the materials by certified/registered mail with a return receipt requested.

4.16.3.3.2 The Grievance Petition

The Grievance Petition must be in writing and must contain the following:

  1. The date of the alleged grievance, the name(s)of the respondent(s) and a summary of the nature of the grievance (including specific reference to all provisions in Volume IV of the Ithaca College Policy Manual that have allegedly been violated).
     
  2. A description of the informal efforts, if any, to resolve the grievance.
     
  3. A statement of the remedy which is sought. In order to prepare this statement, the grievant(s) may request materials relevant to the grievance from the provost & vice president for academic affairs. If the provost does not provide materials, the provost will provide a written explanation as to why it is not appropriate to release those materials with copies to the chair of the Grievance Committee.
     
  4. A statement that the grievance is within the scope of the grievance policy as described in section 4.16.2.
     
  5. A list of persons who are believed to have information which supports the position of the grievant(s)
     
  6. Any supporting documentation.

4.16.3.3.3 Supporting Documentation

  1. The chair of the Grievance Committee shall return, within three (3) business days, an incomplete petition to the grievant(s) for amendment and shall inform the grievant(s) of exactly what requirements of section 4.16.2 have not been fulfilled. The grievant(s) shall have three (3) days in which to resubmit the petition.
  2. The chair of the Grievance Committee, after consultation with the grievance committee, shall dismiss within five (5) business days any grievance which, on the face of the completed petition, is not within the proper scope of this grievance policy as set forth in section 4.16.2 and such dismissal shall terminate the grievance process. The grievant(s) may appeal the dismissal within two business days to the provost & vice president for academic affairs, whose determination shall be final.
  3. Within two (2) business days of acceptance of the completed petition, the chair of the Grievance Committee shall notify the respondent(s) of the grievance in writing and provide the respondent(s) with a complete copy of the petition and any attached documentation in accordance with section 4.16.3.3.2.
  4. Within five (5) working days of receipt of the copy of the petition, the respondent(s) shall file a response with the chair of the Grievance Committee. The respondent(s)' response shall be in writing and must contain the following:
    1. A reply to the grievance;
    2. The respondents' summary of the facts relating to the grievance;

    3. A list of persons who are believed to have information which supports the position of the respondent(s);

    4. Any supporting documentation.

4.16.3.3.4 The Fact-Finding Committee

  1. Within five (5) business days following the decision of the Grievance Committee to accept the grievance a fact-finding committee shall be established as follows:
    1. Both the grievant(s) and the respondent(s) shall have two (2) business days following the decision of the Grievance Committee to accept the grievance to disallow one member of the Grievance Committee from serving on the fact-finding committee. The Grievance Committee shall then constitute a three-member fact-finding committee from the remaining members of the Grievance Committee. If possible, none of the members of the fact-finding committee shall be from the same school as the grievant(s) or the respondent(s). If the grievance is with a member of the Grievance Committee, or the grievant(s) is a member of the Grievance Committee, then that member will not serve for the particular grievance.
    2. Within twenty-four hours of receipt of notification of the composition of the fact-finding committee, the grievant(s) or the respondent(s) may object for cause. The fact-finding committee shall be deemed constituted is there if no objection for cause. The provost & vice president for academic affairs makes final rulings on objection for cause.
  2. The fact-finding committee has ten (10) business days following its constitution to interview anyone it deems necessary. At the start of this process, the grievant(s) or respondent(s) shall be provided an opportunity to suggest the names of witnesses they would like the fact-finding committee to interview and to suggest what questions the fact-finding committee should ask the witnesses. Prior to being interviewed by the fact-finding committee, the respondent(s) may request relevant materials from the provost & vice president for academic affairs; if the provost does not provide materials, the provost shall provide a written explanation to all individuals listed above as to why it is not appropriate to release those materials. The fact-finding committee shall be provided all materials submitted by the grievant(s) and the respondent(s).
  3. Within five (5) business days of its investigation, the fact-finding committee shall prepare and deliver a written report of the results of its investigation to the Grievance Committee. Copies of the report shall be distributed in accordance with section 4.16.3.3.1. The written report must include the findings of the fact-finding committee and a response to each of the issues raised by the grievant(s) in the grievance petition with which the grievant(s) initiated the grievance. If it is necessary for the committee to extend its investigation, a new date shall be established and all individuals listed above will be notified in accordance with section 4.16.3.3.1.
  4. The grievant(s) and respondent(s) may choose to issue a written reply to the report. If so they have five (5) business days from the receipt of the report to deliver a written reply. This reply is addressed and delivered to the Office of the provost & vice president for academic affairs for distribution in accordance with section 4.16.3.3.1.

4.16.3.3.5 The Grievance Committee

  1. Within five (5) business days after the replies are due to be received from the above individuals, the Grievance Committee and provost & vice president for academic affairs must meet to discuss the written report. On the basis of the fact-finding committee report the Grievance Committee can either decide to dismiss the grievance for failure to comply with the requirements of  section 4.16.2 or can proceed with consideration of possible solutions to the grievance in accordance with paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 below.
     
  2. Following the meeting between the provost & vice president for academic affairs and the Grievance Committee, the provost and the Grievance Committee have five (5) business days in which to meet with the grievant(s) and the respondent(s) (either together or separately) to attempt to resolve the grievance. At this meeting, the grievant(s) and the respondent(s) shall have the opportunity to discuss the grievance, the findings of the fact-finding committee, any responses to written documents, and any other information within the scope of the written grievance that the grievant(s) or respondent(s) believes is helpful in reaching a resolution to the grievance. The grievant(s) and respondent(s) may each have a member of the College community present throughout who shall have the opportunity to speak on their behalf. At this meeting, it shall be the intent of the Grievance Committee to present possible solutions, which shall be discussed with all parties to the grievance.
     
  3. If a decision acceptable to the grievant(s) and respondent(s) is not reached, the provost & vice president for academic affairs and Grievance Committee shall within three (3) business days of the meeting of all parties establish a resolution to the grievance. Such resolution shall be in writing from the chair of the Grievance Committee and shall be delivered in accordance with section 4.16.3.3.1. The findings shall contain a summary of all efforts taken to resolve the grievance and the resolution reached by the Grievance Committee and the provost & vice president for academic affairs. If the provost and the Grievance Committee cannot agree on a decision within the three (3) business days, then they must initiate presidential review.
     
  4. If the grievant(s) or respondent(s) does not accept the resolution arrived at by the provost & vice president for academic affairs and the Grievance Committee, the party appealing may request presidential review by transmitting a written statement to the president within five (5) business days of receiving the resolution. Upon receipt by the Office of the President, the president's office will send copies in accordance with section 4.16.3.3.1.

4.16.3.4 Presidential Review

  1. Within ten (10) business days after a request is received, the president will meet with the Grievance Committee, the grievant, the respondent, and the provost & vice president for academic affairs, either together or separately, to review the grievance and the recommendations of the Grievance Committee and provost. In addition, the president may meet or consult with other members of the College community concerning the grievance. If time extensions are necessary at any point in this step, the president will consult with all parties involved, set a new date, and notify all individuals listed above.
     
  2. Within ten (10) business days of the meeting(s) above, the president must make a decision and report that decision to the grievant, the respondent, and all individuals listed above. The decision of the president is final.

4.16.3.5 President as a Direct Party to Action

If the president of the College is a direct party to the action being grieved, the grievant(s) may file an appeal within five (5) business days of the receipt of the president of the College's decision. Such an appeal is filed with the chair of the Ithaca College Board of Trustees. The Executive Committee of the Ithaca College Board of Trustees will then review the record of the case at its next meeting and will render a final decision on the grievance within ten (10) business days of that meeting to all parties. In case of any discussion over presidential involvement, the Executive Committee of the Ithaca College Board of Trustees shall be the sole judge of such involvement. The decision of the Executive Committee of the Ithaca College Board of Trustees is final.

Last Updated: February 16, 2006