13.0 Academic Personnel Grievance Process (APGP)

  1. Academic Personnel Grievance Policies

    1. Grievance

      Where it is alleged that there has been a failure to follow procedures set forth in the Faculty Handbook, that constitutional rights, statutory rights or academic freedom have been abridged or that a sustained pattern of unfair treatment or a significant arbitrary and capricious action has occurred, a faculty member has a right to file a written grievance with the office of academic affairs who will then forward the written grievance to the Academic Personnel Review Commission (APRC).

      A grievance based on (1) discrimination or harassment based on protected status or (2) merit rating disputes or (3) tenure and/or promotion should follow its own internal review process.

      1. Actions Prior to Initiating a Grievance

        Prior to invoking the Academic Personnel Grievance Process (APGP), the faculty member should demonstrate a reasonable attempt to resolve the dispute by him/herself. The use of mediators or alternative dispute resolution should be considered. The dean of academic affairs should be involved in the resolution attempts.

      2. Retaliation Prohibited

        In no way shall an employee's status with the university be adversely affected because he or she utilizes these procedures.

    2. Academic Personnel Review Commission (APRC)

      The Academic Personnel Review Commission (APRC) shall serve as a neutral body to determine if a faculty member has made a prima facie case so that a grievance may proceed to the Faculty Hearing Panel (FHP) utilizing the APGP. The APRC may facilitate informal resolution of campus-related grievances and the APRC has authority to grant time extensions and determine whether procedures set forth in the Faculty Handbook have been violated. The APRC is responsible for empanelling a FHP and may dismiss a member or reconstitute a FHP when necessary to ensure fairness and due process. Decisions made by the APRC must be supported by a majority of the commissioners.

      1. APRC Composition

        The APRC shall be composed of three commissioners who serve 3-year staggered terms. One commissioner shall be appointed by the dean of academic affairs and shall be a tenured, ranked faculty member. One commissioner shall be selected by the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate and shall be a tenured, ranked faculty member. The third commissioner shall be a tenured, ranked faculty member appointed by joint agreement of the dean of academic affairs and the Faculty Senate. The three APRC members shall elect their own chairperson. Commissioners may be reappointed. They shall be afforded such relief from their other responsibilities as will enable them to discharge their duties as specified in the Faculty Handbook.

      2. Recusal of Commissioner

        A commissioner shall recuse himself/herself if the commissioner had a decision-making role in the actions complained of or if the commissioner is a party against whom a grievance is brought or in other situations that could involve bias. A faculty member or administrator may request that a commissioner be recused from a specific case by petitioning the body that appointed the commissioner. The request should contain a compelling rationale for the recusal. A commissioner may recuse himself/herself for reasons of illness or other good causes. If an APRC commissioner is recused on a single case, a commissioner pro tem may be appointed to serve on this case; a faculty member commissioner shall be replaced with a faculty member chosen by the Faculty Senate and an academic administrator commissioner shall be replaced with an academic administrator selected by the dean of academic affairs.

      3. APRC Annual Report to Faculty Senate

        The APRC shall make an annual report to Faculty Senate during the first fall meeting, specifying the total number of cases filed in the previous 12 months, the types of cases (e.g., termination of employment, denial of academic freedom of speech, etc.), whether or not there was a prima facie case and whether the grievance was resolved.

      4. Confidentiality

        All commissioners shall maintain confidentiality throughout the APGP process. Commissioners may state whether there was a prima facie case and whether or not the grievance has been resolved and in whose favor, but should not discuss the details of the case with individuals who are not directly involved in the grievance or its resolution.

      5. Determination of Prima Facie Case

        The APRC shall first decide whether the grievance establishes a prima facie case after receipt of the written grievance from the office of academic affairs. In making this determination, the APRC may interview the faculty member and other parties. Every effort should be made to determine whether a prima facie case exists within 14 days of such filing. If the APRC decides that there is no prima facie case and therefore there is an insufficient basis for the grievance, the APRC shall provide written notification to the faculty member. The faculty member may appeal to the chancellor, who will review the case. If the chancellor upholds the determination of no prima facie case, the grievance process is exhausted and the case is resolved.

      6. Notification To Parties Involved

        If the APRC or the chancellor decides that the grievance establishes a prima facie case, the APRC shall provide written notification to the faculty member and the parties against whom the grievance was filed and provide them and the dean of academic affairs with a written copy of the grievance. The named parties against whom the grievance is brought shall file written responses with supporting documentation at the office of academic affairs within 14 days.

      7. Attempt To Resolve Case

        If the grievance is deemed to establish a prima facie case, the APRC shall meet one or more times with the faculty member and parties charged, separately or together, at the discretion of the APRC chairperson. The APRC shall attempt to resolve the dispute within 30 days, but may extend the time at its discretion if expedient to resolution. An internal or external mediator may be used if all parties agree as to the usefulness of that process. The University shall pay the cost to employ a mediator. If the parties reach a resolution through mediation, the case is resolved.

      8. APRC Recommendations

        If the parties fail to reach a resolution, the APRC shall produce a report divided into findings of fact and recommendations with supporting reasons. This report is given to the faculty member and the party against whom the grievance has been alleged. The faculty member and APRC should be informed in writing within 7 days whether the party against whom the grievance has been alleged agrees to the recommendations. If the parties agree with the recommendations of the APRC, the case is resolved.

      9. Right To Initiate Formal Review Process

        If the case is not resolved after the APRC report has been disseminated, the faculty member may initiate the formal review process for APGP by filing written notification with the APRC in the office of academic affairs and sending a copy to the chancellor. The notification must be filed within 14 days of the receipt of the APRC report or conclusion of mediation.

    3. Formal Review (APGP)

      Within 21 days of receiving the faculty member's written notification, the APRC shall empanel a FHC to conduct a hearing.

      1. Composition of Faculty Hearing Committee and Panel

        1. Faculty Hearing Committee (FHC)

          All tenured, ranked faculty members serve on the Faculty Hearing Committee (FHC).

        2. Faculty Hearing Panel (FHP)

          The FHC will select five (5) of its members, including one representative from each division, to serve as a Faculty Hearing Panel (FHP). Faculty members cannot serve concurrently on both the APRC and the FHP.

          Replacements, when necessary, shall be appointed by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.

          The faculty member and the administrator may request to replace up to two (2) of the selected panelists prior to the first meeting of the FHP.

          An orientation of the FHP shall be conducted by the APRC and General Counsel when empanelled.

          FHP decisions must be supported by a majority of the panelists.

      2. Documentary Evidence

        All filings and all evidence collected by the APRC during its review shall be forwarded to the FHP for review. The administrator and faculty member may present any other written evidence to the FHP and supplement their filings. All such material shall also be presented to the other party.

      3. Pre-Hearing Meetings

        At the first FHP meeting, the FHP shall select a chairperson, review the written material and review the procedures for conducting the hearing. The chairperson of the APRC shall attend this meeting. The FHP may also hold joint prehearing meetings with the parties in order to understand the basic underlying facts, simplify the issues, effect stipulations of fact, provide for the exchange of information or to achieve other prehearing objectives as will make the hearing fair, effective and expeditious. The FHP may not interview witnesses at any pre-hearing meetings. Any additional written material submitted to or requested by the FHP will be shared with the parties.

      4. Hearings

        The formal hearing may involve one or more meetings at which witnesses may be examined. Each party shall provide the names of its witnesses to the other party and the FHP in advance of the hearing. The administration and the faculty member will each be allowed to present an opening statement without interruption and orally question the witnesses and parties. The FHP may also orally question the witnesses and parties. The administration and the faculty member may be represented by counsel, but counsel shall not be permitted to question the witnesses or parties. If the University is the only respondent, the chancellor will designate a representative who will be allowed to present an opening statement and question the witnesses and parties. The Missouri Rules of Evidence need not be followed, but the FHP will base its finding on only reliable evidence. A verbatim record of the hearing will be taken and made available to the parties at the University's cost.

      5. Burden of Proof

        The faculty member must prove his or her case against the administration by a preponderance of the evidence.

      6. Report

        The FHP shall prepare a written report divided into findings of fact and recommendations with supporting reasons which shall be presented to the dean of academic affairs and the faculty member within 7 days of the conclusion of the hearing. A minority report may also be prepared.

      7. Time Period

        The time between the empanelling of the FHP and the preparation of the FHP report shall be no longer than 60 days unless there are exceptional circumstances. Extensions must be approved by the APRC.

    4. Post-Hearing Procedure

      1. Dean of Academic Affairs Review

        The dean of academic affairs shall accept the FHP findings of fact but is not required to accept the FHP recommendations of remedies. If the dean of academic affairs determines that different remedies other than those recommended by the FHP should be initiated, said remedies shall be set forth in writing and presented to the faculty member within 14 days of the date of the FHP report. If the dean of academic affairs is a party to the dispute, the chancellor will fulfill this function.

      2. Appeal Rights

        If the remedies recommended by the FHP are not implemented by the dean of academic affairs, the faculty member may prepare a written appeal to the chancellor within 14 days of receiving the decision of the dean of academic affairs. The chancellor will rule on the appeal within 30 days of its receipt and notify the faculty member of the results in writing.

      3. Right of Appeal to the Board of Governors

        When the FHP, dean of academic affairs and chancellor do not agree on the implementation of remedies, the faculty member shall have the right to appeal to the Board of Governors. The appeal must be filed within 14 days of the receipt of written notification regarding implementation of remedies from the chancellor.

      4. Information Provided to the Board of Governors

        The Board of Governors reviews the case, including all documentation, written findings and recommendations. The following reports must be forwarded to the Board of Governors for review:

        1. Comments and Recommendations of the APRC
        2. Findings of Fact and Recommendations of the FHP and
        3. Recommendations of the dean of academic affairs and chancellor.
      5. Board of Governors is Final Authority

        The Board of Governors has discretion regarding hearings, presentations and review. The decision of the Board of Governors shall be final.

    5. Miscellaneous

      1. APRC Authority

        The APRC shall be available to advise the FHP on procedural issues, to ensure that the APGP process is followed and to ensure that the parties receive due process. The FHP may receive legal advice from the office of general counsel.

      2. Confidentiality

        To the extent practical, the work of the APGP shall be confidential. All proceedings of the FHP shall be conducted in private and the FHP report shall be available only to the parties.