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Purdue University Executive Memoranda Master Listing

(Supersedes Executive Memorandum No. B-16, Dated June 1, 1978)

May 29, 1973

To: Deans, Directors, and Heads of Schools, Divisions, Departments, and Offices

Re: Grievance Procedures for Academic Personnel

  1. Purpose and Scope.This Memorandum, which is based on the recommendations set forth in the University Senate Document 70-15 (Revised), 20 December 1971, as amended and approved 17 January 1972, establishes administratively a grievance procedure which shall be available to all faculty members, both tenured and nontenured, including those on leave of absence with or without pay, at the West Lafayette campus and each regional campus of Purdue University. The procedure shall also be available to all graduate student employees with the classification of Graduate Assistant, Graduate Instructor, Graduate Assistant in Research, or Graduate Instructor in Research. All grievance procedures previously adopted for these academic personnel are revoked except as provided in Section 2.

  2. Grievance Procedures within Administrative Units.Grievance procedures and committees shall be established within administrative units of Purdue University on the West Lafayette campus and on the regional campuses. This can probably best be accomplished at the school level avoiding the necessity of having to establish committees at the level of the department. Such procedures should be designed to afford a means of fairly considering and acting upon complaints of faculty members. Such procedures need not be limited to the kinds of complaints defined or described as "grievances" in Section 4 below which may be heard by a Campus Grievance Committee. An aggrieved person is required to make use of such procedures if they are in existence and available to him before he initiates a grievance procedure with a Campus Grievance Committee under the provisions of this Memorandum.

  3. Campus Grievance Committees.There shall be established on the West Lafayette campus and on each regional campus a Campus Grievance Committee ("Committee"). On the West Lafayette campus the University Senate shall prescribe the number of committee members and alternates and the method by which they shall be chosen. On each regional campus the faculty of that campus shall prescribe the number of committee members and alternates and the method by which they shall be chosen. Members and alternates of each Committee shall serve for a two-year term, beginning in the fall semester. No persons whose duties are primarily administrative may serve on any Committee.

  4. Definitions and Grounds.This section defines and describes the kinds of complaints which may constitute grievances over which the appropriate Campus Grievance Committee has jurisdiction. For this purpose a "grievance" is a complaint initiated by a faculty member who claims he was directly and substantially wronged by a University decision related to his employment. A grievance complains of a decision or action of the University, it does not lie against an individual. Only final decisions may be the subject of a grievance. Grievances may not be brought to review recommendations of faculty committees or of administrators. A final decision may be the subject of only one grievance by any one person.

A grievance may be either substantive or procedural in nature. In some cases it may be both. A substantive grievance is one based upon a complaint that the substance of a University decision or action was clearly wrong and arbitrary in nature. This would include decisions affecting such matters as working conditions, employee classifications, assignments and reassignments of duties, or employee rights and benefits. A substantive decision or action may be arbitrary if made on a basis unsupported in fact or without reason, or because it ignored substantial evidence in favor of the person. It should be noted, however, that the grievance procedure before the Campus Grievance Committee is not intended to serve as an appellate personnel procedure to review the nonarbitrary, discretionary decisions or actions of the University administration.

A procedural grievance is one which is based on a complaint that a decision was made or an action was taken in a manner which significantly violated or ignored duly established procedures. Grievances involving tenure, promotions, nonreappointments, or nonextension of appointments of probationary faculty members, the termination of employment of tenured faculty for cause, or the termination of nontenured faculty for cause prior to the expiration of the term of appointment may be the subject of a grievance before a Campus Grievance Committee but only upon procedural grounds and not on substantive grounds.

  1. Proceedings Before Campus Grievance Committee.
    1. A faculty member desiring to initiate a formal grievance proceeding before the appropriate Committee shall send a written Notice of Grievance to the Chairman of the Committee, with copies to the appropriate department head, dean, the provost, and the president. The notice shall contain a statement of the facts giving rise to the grievance, state the relief sought and describe the efforts made to resolve the matter on an informal basis, identifying all persons involved in those efforts.

      The Chairman of the Committee shall request and promptly receive from the appropriate department head, dean or administrator involved, a written response to the notice. The response shall state the administrator's position with respect to the facts alleged in the notice, and state any additional relevant facts and the reasons for the decision.

      On the basis of the notice and the response, the Committee, or such portion of it that the Committee designates to act for it, shall decide within two weeks after receiving the response whether grounds for a grievance proceeding exist and whether a hearing should be held, or whether no action should be taken in the matter. An affirmative determination that grounds for a hearing exist shall be made only if the criteria stated in Section 4 above (Definitions and Grounds) are met.

    2. At any time prior to the beginning of the formal hearing, the aggrieved person may withdraw the grievance at his own discretion. Once the formal hearing has begun, the grievance may be withdrawn only by mutual consent of the parties and of the Committee.

    3. At a formal hearing, the aggrieved person may present his grievance himself, and he and any other person directly involved in the dispute may also be represented by any other person either selects. The parties to the grievance and their representatives may all present statements, interrogate each other, and call and interrogate witnesses. The parties to the grievance shall be afforded access (with enough time for response) to any document or, other evidence reviewed or considered in any grievance procedure pertaining to the case.

    4. Each formal hearing conducted by the Committee shall be heard by a panel appointed by the Chairman of the Committee after consultation with the members of the Committee and chosen in the following manner:

      1. The panel shall consist of five member s drawn randomly from a slate consisting of those members of the Committee who remain eligible after:

        1. allowing members of the Committee to withdraw from the slate because of personal involvement, service on a concurrent panel, or other University duties;

        2. requiring members to withdraw who have served in an earlier grievance procedure involving the same case;

        3. allowing the aggrieved party and the other party each to exclude up to three members from the slate.

      2. If fewer than five members remain on the slate the additional members needed to comprise a panel of five members shall be drawn randomly from the group of alternates, subject to the same exclusions again as could be exercised with respect to the members of the Committee.

    5. Each panel shall select its own chairman, and the chairman shall be responsible for the conduct of the meetings. Within the guidelines of this document, the Committee shall establish, and modify as necessary, rules and procedures for proceedings of its hearing panels.

    6. Once the panel has been formed, it shall begin the hearings within five working days and shall schedule hearings each week until it reaches a decision.

    7. All grievance hearings shall be open to the University faculty and administration, except that they shall be closed upon request of either party to the grievance. The closing of a hearing shall not prevent the parties to the grievance from bringing their representatives to the hearing, nor prevent the panel and the parties to the grievance from calling witnesses.

    8. The factual findings and conclusion of the panel and its recommendations with respect to any action to be taken in the matter shall be presented as soon as possible in writing to the president of the University, with copies to the parties to the grievance. For grievances arising on a regional campus, the panel's report to the president shall be transmitted via the appropriate regional campus dean. The decision with respect to the grievance shall be made by the president. If the president proposes to take action substantially different from that recommended by the panel, he shall first review the case with the hearing panel and with the Faculty Affairs Committee of the University Senate. The president shall make the final decision regarding the grievance and advise the interested parties of his decision.

Arthur G. Hansen