Departmental Grievance Procedure
Reviewed by the University Counsel and approved by the Chemistry Department faculty, July 13, 2000
Note: This procedure does not apply to graduate students in matters related to their employment as teaching assistants. A separate grievance procedure outlined in the Memorandum of Agreement between the University of Kansas and the Board of Regents and the Kansas Association of Public Employees is available for that purpose.
Pursuant to Article XIV of the University Senate Code and Articles V and VI of the University Senate Rules and Regulations of the University of Kansas, the Department of Chemistry establishes the following procedure for the hearing of grievances within the Department. This procedure shall be the sole procedure available to members of the Department short of appealing to the University Judicial Board. No person shall be subjected to discharge, suspension, discipline, harassment, or any form of discrimination for having used or having assisted others in the use of this grievance procedure. Information concerning this procedure shall be easily available to all persons employed or studying in the Department. Before embarking on the following procedure, all Department members are urged to seek solutions to their grievances through traditional channels. For example, students should consult their instructor and staff employees should consult their superior.
- Any complaint should be addressed in writing first to the Chairperson of the Department of Chemistry. If the chairperson determines that the complaint is the responsibility of the Department, he or she will interview all parties concerned, secure any additional relevant documents, and try to seek a conciliatory solution. If the problem is not solved in this fashion, the Chairperson of the Department of Chemistry shall refer the complaint to a committee as described below. If the complaint is referred to a committee, the Chairperson of the Department of Chemistry shall make available to the committee that information which he or she has collected concerning the complaint. “This procedure shall not be used to hear disputes assigned to other hearing bodies under USRR Article VI, Section 4.”
For disputes involving academic misconduct or alleged violation of student rights, the initial hearing will normally be at the unit level. There is an option to hold an initial hearing at the Judicial Board level if both parties agree, or either party petitions the Judicial Board chair to have the hearing at the Judicial Board level and the petition is granted. The petition must state why a fair hearing cannot be obtained at the unit level; the opposing party has an opportunity to respond to the petition (USRR 188.8.131.52).
Prior to scheduling a hearing, the parties shall participate in mediation of the dispute unless either party waives mediation. Mediation shall be governed by USRR 6.2.3.
If mediation is successful, the mediator will forward to the department chair, the committee chair, and all parties a letter describing the outcome of the mediation and the terms upon which the parties have agreed to resolve the dispute. This letter shall be a recommendation to the department chair. The department chair will notify the mediator, the committee chair, and the parties that the recommendation has been accepted, modified, or rejected.
If mediation is not successful the mediator will notify the department chair, the committee chair, and the parties that mediation has terminated. If mediation is not successful, or if it is waived by either party, the grievance committee will schedule a hearing no later than 30 calendar days from the written submission of the complaint. The 30-day period may be extended for good cause as determined by the chair of the committee. The 30-day period shall be suspended during the mediation process. The hearing will be closed unless all parties agree that is shall be public.
- If the complaint deals with academic matters, the Chairperson shall designate, either the Committee on Undergraduate Affairs or the Committee on Graduate Affairs, both permanent standing committees of the Department, as the grievance committee.
- All other complaints shall be referred to a committee constituted as follows: one person recommended by the complainant, one person recommended by the other party, and one full-time faculty member of the Department of Chemistry selected by the Chairperson of the Department. This latter faculty member shall serve as the chairperson of the grievance committee. All Committee members must be members of the University community.
- The grievance committee as constituted in (2) or (3), hereinafter called the Committee, may establish procedures in addition to those listed in this document concerning the operation of the Committee's activities. The basic requirements of the grievance procedures as stated here, however, may not be altered by the Committee's procedures. All procedures shall ensure prompt and fair handling of complaints but shall avoid the formalism of legal process.
- No complaint shall be considered by the Chairperson of the Department of Chemistry or the Committee if more than six months have elapsed since the occurrence of the action or event in question. A complaint must be submitted in writing to the Committee and a copy sent to the other party. The written statement of the complaint or grievance shall set forth the facts upon which the complaint or grievance is based and shall indicate the provision or provisions of the Departmental or University rules and regulations alleged to have been violated, or the acts of established University bodies or officials alleged to have been unlawful, arbitrary or capricious. The complainant and the other party must make available copies of materials to be used in the hearing and must submit the names of supporting witnesses prior to a hearing of the complaint or grievance. Material which might violate the privacy of non-interested parties will not be admissible.
- The Committee shall schedule a hearing within 30 calendar daysof the submission of a complaint or grievance unless the Committee determines that there is good cause to schedule the hearing later.
- No member of the Committee for whom hearing a complaint constitutes a conflict of interest shall sit with the Committee while that complaint is being heard nor shall any party involved in the complaint participate in the rendering of any decision on the complaint or grievance.
- All proceedings provided for in this grievance procedure shall be closed to all but the parties involved. Witnesses may be called to the hearing subject to the discretion of the Committee.
- A party against whom a complaint or grievance is brought shall have the privilege of remaining silent and refusing to provide information and he or she shall be informed of this privilege during the initial stage of the proceeding.
- Each party to a proceeding shall be entitled to a full examination of material presented by the other party, including the opportunity to question witnesses.
- The chairperson of the Committee shall have the power to keep order, rule on questions of relevance, and shall possess other powers normal and necessary for a fair and orderly hearing.
- The hearing shall not be governed by the rules of evidence, but the chair of the committee may exclude information he or she deems irrelevant, unnecessary, or duplicative.
- The Committee will make an audiotape of the hearing but not of the deliberations of the committee. The audiotape will be available to the parties, their authorized representatives, the committee and the Chairperson of the Department of Chemistry. If a party desires a copy of the audiotape or a transcript of the tape, that party will pay for the cost of such copy or transcript. In the event of an appeal, the audiotape will be provided to the appellate body as part of the record of the case.
- After the presentation of evidence and arguments, the committee will excuse the parties and deliberate. The committee’s decision will be a written recommendation to the Chairperson of the Department of Chemistry. The committee shall base its recommendations solely upon the information presented at the hearing.
- The committee will send its written recommendation to the Chairperson of the Department of Chemistry and the parties as soon as possible and no later than 14 calendar days after the end of the hearing.
- Within 14 calendar days of receiving the committee recommendation, the Chairperson of the Department of Chemistry will notify the parties of the acceptance, modification, or rejection of the recommendation. The Chairperson of the Department of Chemistry will advise the parties of the procedure available to appeal the decision.