10.2 Grievance Procedure: Academic Staff

Defines grievance procedure for Academic Staff.

Authority

Senate of the Academic Council

Contact

Questions about this policy can be answered by:

Sara Bible

Associate Vice Provost for Research

Vice Provost and Dean of Research

(650) 723-9050

1. Definitions and Coverage

A. Grievance

A grievance is a complaint in writing made to an administrative officer of the University concerning a decision, made by a person or group of persons acting in an official University capacity, that directly or adversely affects the grievant as an individual in his or her professional academic capacity. A grievance does not include dissatisfaction with a University policy of general application challenged on the ground that the policy is unfair or inadvisable.

B. Coverage

A grievance may be filed and the appeal procedure hereunder may be utilized by any member of the Academic Staff-Teaching or Academic Staff-Research as defined in Chapter 6 of the Stanford University Faculty Handbook and in the Research Policy Handbook.

2. Grievance Structure

The Grievance Structure consists of an Administrative Structure.

The Administrative Structure includes, in order and as applicable, the following administrative officers of the University: head of administrative unit; department chair; dean of school; Provost and President.

The President shall devise a set of standing rules of procedure which will govern proceedings for the filing and appeal of grievances in the Administrative Structure, provided that:

  1. The set of standing rules of procedure, and any amendments thereof, shall be valid upon promulgation.
  2. The rules shall provide that any communication or material solicited and received with the understanding that it would be kept in confidence shall be kept confidential and shall not be revealed to any person, including the grievant, who was not a party to the confidential communication or material, except that such communication or material may be revealed to any person(s) consulted by the administrative officer for guidance on that grievance.

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3. Grievance Procedures

Filing of Grievance

  1. A grievance arising out of a decision at the administrative unit or department level shall be filed with the dean of the school.
  2. A grievance arising out of a decision at the dean's level shall be filed with the Provost.
  3. A grievance arising out of a decision at the Provost's level shall be filed with the President.
  4. A grievance arising out of a decision at the President's level shall be filed with the President. The President shall make a determination on the grievance, and such determination shall be final. The decision of the President, with the reasons therefor, shall be given to the grievant in writing.

The grievant shall file his or her complaint in writing, setting forth a statement of the decision that constitutes the subject matter of the grievance and all ground(s) on which it is being challenged. The written grievance shall also include the grievant's statement that he or she has made informal efforts to resolve the dispute at each administrative level (including, as applicable, with his or her principal investigator and with the department chair) below the level at which the grievance is filed, and shall describe those efforts in detail.

The administrative officer with whom the grievance is filed shall consider the grievance. The administrative officer may attempt to resolve the matter informally or make whatever disposition of the grievance he or she deems appropriate. The administrative officer may refer the grievance, or any issue therein, to any person(s) who shall consider the matter and report to the administrative officer as the latter directs. The administrative officer may also, in appropriate cases, remand the grievance to a lower administrative level (including to the original decision maker) for further consideration. The administrative officer shall notify the grievant in writing of the disposition made of the grievance.

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4. Appeal Procedure

A grievant who is dissatisfied with the disposition of the grievance by the administrative officer with whom the grievance was filed may appeal the decision in order to each of the higher administrative officers within the Administrative Structure as follows:

  1. For a grievance filed with and decided by the dean, a grievant may appeal the decision in writing to the Provost. The Provost will follow the procedure for appeals set forth below.
  2. For a grievance (or an appeal) filed with and decided by the Provost, a grievant may appeal the decision in writing to the President. The President will follow the procedure for appeals set forth below.
  3. No appeal shall be available for a grievance (or an appeal) filed with the President. (See Section (4) above.)

The determination by any administrative officer of any grievance appealed to him or her shall be appealable by the grievant to the next higher administrative officer within the Administrative Structure, except that the determination of the President shall be final.

An appeal shall be made in writing and shall contain the following information:

  • A statement of the decision that constitutes the subject matter of the grievance and all ground(s) on which it is being challenged
  • The names and positions of all administrative officers with whom the grievance has been filed or appealed and a copy of the determination made by each of those administrative officers

Each administrative officer within the Administrative Structure who considers a grievance appealed to him or her shall make a determination on the matter and shall inform the grievant in writing of the determination.

The administrative officer may attempt to resolve the matter informally, or refer the appeal, or any issue thereof, to any person(s) who shall consider the matter and report to the administrative officer as the latter directs. The administrative officer may also, in appropriate cases, remand the matter to a lower administrative level (including to the original decision maker) for further consideration.

In considering a grievance that arises out of a negative decision on appointment, reappointment, or promotion, an administrative officer may consult with the same body, if any, that makes recommendations on decisions involving appointment, reappointment, or promotion.

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5. Standards for Review and Procedural Matters

The review of a grievance or of an appeal by the dean, the Provost or the President shall usually be limited to the following considerations:

  1. Were the proper facts and criteria brought to bear on the decision? Were improper or extraneous facts or criteria brought to bear that substantially affected the decision to the detriment of the grievant?
  2. Were there any procedural irregularities that substantially affected the outcome of the matter to the detriment of the grievant?
  3. Given proper facts, criteria, and procedures, was the decision one which a person in the position of the decision maker might reasonably have made?

Standing rules of procedure, seen below in "Related Items", for the handling of grievances under the Statement on Academic Staff Grievance Procedures, which include time limitations for the filing of grievances and appeals, as well as other procedural matters, are available in the Office of the Academic Secretary, the Office of the Provost and online. Note that a delay in filing a grievance may, taking all circumstances into account, constitute grounds for rejection of the grievance by the administrative officer with whom it is filed. Similarly, appeals should be filed without delay.

Questions concerning the filing and appeal of grievances should be directed to the Office of the Provost or to the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research.

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6. Attachment A: Standing Rules of Procedure Governing the Filing and Appeal of Grievances (under the Statement on Academic Staff Grievance Procedures)

Date: Promulgated December 10, 1975; Amended April 9, 1998

These Standing Rules of Procedure for grievances brought under the Statement on Academic Staff Grievance Procedures have been devised by the President. They shall apply to the filing and appeal of all grievances pursuant to the Statement.

These procedures are meant to be invoked only when persistent efforts at informal resolution of significant differences have failed; thereafter, further informal resolution efforts may be undertaken at any stage of the process. The time frames set forth in these rules are guidelines. They may be extended by the relevant administrative officer in his or her discretion for good cause.

I. FILING OF GRIEVANCE

  1. The grievant shall file his or her grievance in writing, setting forth a statement of the decision that constitutes the subject matter of the grievance, all grounds on which it is being challenged, and all reasons why the grievant believes that the decision was improperly taken. The grievance shall specifically address the matters set forth in the Standards for Review in Section V of the Statement. The written grievance shall include allegations of any and all adverse effects on the grievant, known to the grievant at the time of filing, which arise from the decision being challenged.

  2. The written grievance shall also include the grievant's statement that he or she has made informal efforts to resolve the dispute at each administrative level (including, as applicable, with his or her principal investigator and with the department chair) below the level at which the grievance is filed, and shall describe those efforts in detail. That description shall include the grievant's statement that he or she notified in writing the original decision maker of the grievant's intention to file a grievance, and gave that decision maker 10 days to reconsider the decision.

  3. The grievance shall be filed at the earliest practicable date after the grievant receives notice of the decision that is the subject matter of the grievance and after reasonable efforts have been made at informal resolution. Such filing shall normally be made within 90 days after the grievant receives such notice. A delay in filing a grievance may, taking all circumstances into account, constitute grounds for rejection of the grievance by the administrative officer with whom it is filed.

II. RESPONSE TO GRIEVANCE

  1. The administrative officer with whom the grievance is filed shall consider the grievance. The administrative officer may attempt further to resolve the matter informally or make whatever disposition of the grievance he or she deems appropriate. The administrative officer may refer the grievance, or any issue therein, to any person(s) who shall consider the matter and report to the administrative officer as the latter directs.

  2. The administrative officer shall inform the grievant in writing of any referral of the matter and shall specify the matters referred, the directions to the person or persons to whom the referral is made (including the time frame within which the person or persons is/are to report back to the administrative officer), and the names of those persons.

  3. Should attempts to resolve the matter informally not be successful, the administrative officer with whom the grievance is filed shall decide the grievance, and shall notify the grievant in writing of the disposition made of the grievance and all grounds for the disposition at the earliest practicable date after the officer's receipt of the grievance.

  4. Normally no more than 60 days should elapse between the filing of a grievance and the disposition by the administrative officer. Unreasonable delay in processing a grievance can in itself be grounds for a grievance. If, because of absence of key persons from the campus or other circumstances or exigencies, the officer decides that prompt disposition is not possible, he or she shall inform the grievant of that fact in writing, giving the grounds therefor and an estimate of when a disposition can be expected.

III. FILING OF APPEAL

  1. An appeal shall be made in writing and shall contain the following:

    1. A copy of the original grievance, any other documents submitted by the grievant in connection therewith, and copies of any previous appeals and supporting documents.

    2. The names and positions of all administrative officers with whom the grievance was filed or appealed and a copy of the determination made by each of those administrative officers.

    3. A statement of why the reasons for the determination or determinations of the administrative officer(s) who previously heard the matter are not satisfactory to the grievant. This statement should specifically address the matters set forth in the Standards for Review in Section V of the Statement.

  2. The grievant shall file his or her appeal at the earliest practicable date after the grievant's receipt of the determination by the administrative officer with whom the grievance has been filed or appealed. Normally no more than 30 days should elapse between the transmittal of the administrative officer's decision on the grievance and the filing of the appeal. A delay in filing an appeal may, taking all circumstances into account, constitute grounds for rejection of the appeal by the administrative officer with whom it is filed.

IV. RESPONSE TO APPEAL

  1. The administrative officer may attempt to resolve the matter informally, or refer the appeal, or any issue thereof, to any person(s) who shall consider the matter and report to the administrative officer as the latter directs.

  2. The administrative officer shall inform the grievant in writing of any referral of the matter and shall specify the matters referred, the directions to the person or persons to whom the referral is made (including the time frame within which the person or persons is/are to report back to the administrative officer), and the names of those persons.

  3. The administrative officer to whom the grievance is appealed shall decide the appeal, and shall notify the grievant in writing of the disposition made of the grievance and all grounds for the disposition at the earliest practicable date after the officer's receipt of the appeal.

  4. Normally no more than 60 days should elapse between the filing of the appeal and the disposition by the administrative officer. Unreasonable delay in processing a grievance can in itself be grounds for a grievance. If, because of absence of key persons from the campus or other circumstances or exigencies, the officer judges that prompt disposition is not possible, he or she shall inform the grievant of that fact in writing, giving the grounds therefor and an estimate of when a disposition can be expected.

V. GRIEVANT'S RIGHT TO ADVISOR

The grievant shall have a right to be accompanied by a member of the professoriate or the academic staff at Stanford University as his or her advisor in any conference or discussion with the administrative officer hearing the grievance or the appeal, or at any appearance before any person(s) to whom the matter or any issue therein has been referred by the administrative officer. As a general proposition, the role of the advisor is to advise the grievant, not to address the administrative officer or the person(s) to whom the grievance or appeal has been referred.

VI. CONFIDENTIALITY

Any communication or material solicited and received with the understanding that it would be kept in confidence shall be kept confidential and shall not be revealed to any person, including the grievant, who was not a party to the confidential communication or material, except that such communication or material may be revealed to any person(s) consulted by the administrative officer for guidance on that grievance.

 

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