Faculty Grievance Procedures*
The grievance procedure contained herein is available to all faculty members of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, including full-time, part-time, regular, or adjunct instructional staff at all ranks who have problems or complaints about decisions involving any aspect of their employment. While it is hoped that most grievances would be resolved quickly through informal discussions with the grievant's department chair, the formal procedure described herein is available should such informal methods not succeed.
It is highly recommended that any faculty member contemplating filing a formal grievance first attempt to resolve the difficulty or complaint through consultation with the UM-D Faculty Ombuds. (Approved by the Faculty Congress April 7, 1999)
Each academic department at UM-Dearborn shall at the beginning of each academic year elect a three-person Grievance Committee, excluding the department chair, whose sole purpose is to receive and act upon grievances as hereinafter provided.
The Executive Committee of each college, school, or division of the campus shall at the beginning of each academic year choose from among its members a three person College Grievance Committee which shall receive grievance appeals and act upon them as hereinafter provided.
The Faculty Senate shall at the beginning of each academic year choose for among its members a three person grievance committee whose sole purpose shall be to hear and act upon grievances appeals as hereinafter provided.
Members of grievance committees shall serve until their successors have been chosen. Grievance committee members must be members of the governing faculty of the unit in which they serve.
No individual may serve on more than one committee in one year.
Departmental Grievance Committee
Any complaint within these procedures must be brought within 90 calendar days of the grieved event, or of the grievant's knowledge of that event; the Departmental Grievance Committee may grant exception to this time limit in extraordinary cases. The grievant shall submit the grievance in writing, including a bill of particulars and any relevant documents, to the department chair.
In academic units not organized into departments the first step of this procedure shall be the filing of a grievance with the administrative head of the college, school, or division. The administrative head shall follow the procedures outlined for the college dean. Failure to resolve the grievance at this level makes the grievance appealable to the Grievance Committee of the appropriate college, school, or division.
Within two working weeks after receipt of the written grievance, the chair shall respond in writing to the grievant and include reasons for the response. If the grievant is dissatisfied with the chair's response, the grievant may request the initiation of the department grievance procedures.
Within two working weeks after receiving the written response from the chair, the grievant shall request the initiation of this procedure in a written letter to the chair.
Promptly upon receipt of this grievance, the chair shall supply the grievant with a copy of these procedures and instruct the Departmental Grievance Committee to designate one of its members to meet with the grievant to assure that the grievant is aware of all procedures and rights relevant to the case; the grievant shall be informed of the designee's name and a copy of the written complaint shall be supplied to the designee.
Each party in the grievance shall be permitted one sealed peremptory challenge to the membership of this standing committee. Challenged members shall be replaced by lot from within the grievant's discipline wherever possible. The committee shall select as its chair one of its own members, or if the committee so chooses it may invite any member of the UM-Dearborn Faculty Congress to serve as a nonvoting chair. The chair shall be empowered to rule on procedural questions.
The grievant and the respondent have the right to be present when testimony is taken, to call and question witnesses and to offer rebuttal testimony. The grievant and the respondent may each invite another person to be present as adviser. However, only committee members may attend and participate in the deliberations of the committee.
Except as prohibited by law the committee shall have direct access to relevant departmental files. Subject to applicable law, parties may have access to their own files, and either party may request, and the departments shall permit, the committee to examine all relevant files in their entirety and provide each party with the same summary of their contents as they relate to the grievance, giving due consideration to the protection of confidential aspects of the materials.
Not later than two weeks after the Committee has completed its deliberations, it shall submit its recommendation in writing to the grievant and the respondent, briefly summarizing its reasons for that recommendation.
College Grievance Committee
If either the grievant or respondent is unwilling to accept the department committee's recommendation, he (she) may appeal to the Grievance Committee of the college, school, or division, in which the department is located. Any such appeal must be submitted within two weeks after receipt of the Departmental Grievance Committee's report and must contain a statement of the basis of the appeal together with any relevant supporting documents. Simultaneously, a copy shall be sent to the other party.
The letter of either party to the College Grievance Committee shall be sent to the dean of the college, school, or division in which the department is located. The dean shall within two working weeks of receipt of this request refer the matter to the College Grievance Committee. This committee shall proceed and constitute itself in a manner similar to that of the Departmental Grievance Committee.
Each party in the grievance is permitted one sealed peremptory challenge of one of the members. If the committee does not contain a member of the grievant's department, the challenged member (if any) shall be replaced by lot from among the members of the grievant's department.
The same rules of cross examination, rebuttal, access to files, accompaniment by an adviser at the hearing, etc., as required by the Departmental Grievance Committee shall also be applicable to the work of this grievance committee.
The College Grievance Committee shall no later than two weeks after completing its deliberations, submit its decision in writing to the grievant and respondent, stating the reasons for its recommendation.
Faculty Senate Grievance Committee
If either the grievant or respondent is unwilling to accept the College Grievance Committee's recommendation, he (she) may appeal to the Faculty Senate. To do so the grievant or respondent must within two weeks after receiving a copy of the College Grievance Committee's recommendation submit in writing a request for an appeal to the Faculty Senate. Reasons for the appeal must be stated and a copy sent to the other party. This request should be sent to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
Within two weeks after receipt of such request the Vice Chancellor shall refer the matter to the Faculty Senate Grievance Committee.
This committee shall proceed under rules and in manner similar to those of the lower grievance committees. If either party uses its right of one sealed peremptory challenge of a member, and if the Grievance Committee does not contain a member of the grievant's department, then the challenge shall be replaced by lot from among the grievant's department where possible. Likewise, the same rules regarding testimony, rebuttal, access to files, adviser chairmanship, etc., as were required in the previous grievance committees shall also apply to work of this committee.
Within two weeks after the close of the deliberations of this committee, it shall make a recommendation in writing to both parties and to the chancellor stating their reason for such recommendation. This recommendation shall be final insofar as the remedies are available under this procedure are concerned.
Removal of grievance from files: If the grievance is denied, following exhaustion of all appeal procedures, all reference to the grievance shall be removed from the files.
Administrator Grievances: If a grievant is an administrator who also holds an academic appointment, only grievances resulting from the grievant's faculty status and activity shall be eligible for access to the aforementioned procedures and not grievances in connection with administrative responsibilities.
Promotion, Tenure, and Retention: In matters related to promotion, tenure, and retention, the grievance procedure shall use the current promotion and tenure structure of the various departments, schools and college, and Faculty Senate as reconstituted.
Supremacy of Regental Bylaws: No grievance procedures may result in any decisions that are in violation of the bylaws of the Regents of the University of Michigan or any laws governing the operation of the University.
Timetable: The procedures of this document shall take effect as soon as practicable following their adoption by the Faculty Congress of UM-Dearborn. They may also be amended by the Faculty Congress as the need arises. Any changes shall be proposed to the Faculty Congress and be voted upon by a mailed ballot.
*Source: University of Michigan-Dearborn Faculty Handbook Supplement, 1981. This document has been slightly modified from the original to reflect the current governance structure.