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Faculty Grievance Committee Minutes April 30, 2012

Faculty Grievance Committee

1: 15 PM, April 30, 2012, Merkert 212

 

In attendance: Joe Tecce, Michael Clarke, Lynn Johnson, Robin Wood, Pamela Grace, Ray Maddoff

 

  1. Prof. Clarke reported on his discussion with the Provost on 4/24/12 about the FGC’s recommendation regarding salary equity grievance brought by three senior faculty in a professional school.

 

  1. The minutes for the following dates were discussed and approved as noted:
    1. April 13, 2011, approved following deletion of appendix.
    2. January 19, 2012, approved
    3. February 14, 2012, approved

 

  1. The following additions were made to the FGC’s standard procedures:
    1. If there is no response after 30 days following the delivery of an FGC recommendation, the FGC chair will write a letter requesting a response as to the status of the action on the recommendation.
    2. The FGC will send out its annual report to the faculty in May of 2012.
    3. Digital copies of the minutes, procedures and annual reports of the FGC will be passed on between chairs.

 

  1. The FGC will request that the Provost’s Office post the minutes and annual report of the FGC on the University’s website.  Should that not be possible, the FGC will request that these be posted by the BC chapter of the AAUP.

 

  1. Professor Clarke indicated that he would be away beginning in July on a research sabbatical prior to retirement, so that a new chair would be needed.  Professor Ray Madoff was elected FGC chair beginning on July 1, 2012.

 

  1. A request for consideration of a grievance regarding the conversion of a full-time adjunct position to a tenure track position, thereby terminating a full-time adjunct faculty member, was discussed in some depth as to its impact on academic freedom at the university.  The FGC concluded that, while its members would have preferred to consider the grievance, the University Statutes did not provide for the FGC to consider grievances from adjunct or contingent faculty.

 

  1. The FGC noted both the lack of a grievance procedure for contingent faculty, and the increasing number of contingent part- and full-time faculty, which includes many who are senior in terms of their years of service at BC.  The unanimous consensus of the FGC was that the University should adopt a grievance procedure for part- and full-time (adjunct or contingent) faculty.

 

The meeting adjourned at 2:48 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Michael J Clarke, 5/1/12

Minutes approved by e-mail, 5/15/12

Faculty Grievance Committee Minutes February 12, 2012

Faculty Grievance Committee

Meeting, 3:00 PM, February 14, 2012, Merkert 212

In attendance: Joe Tecce, Michael Clarke, Lynn Johnson, Kalpana Seshadri, Ray Maddoff

 

The meeting convened at 3:05 pm.

 

Pursuant to the FGC’s conflict of interest guidelines of 1/19/11, the FGC considered a request by a grievant to include a member of the FGC, who was also a member of the grievant’s department, in the committee to hear the grievance.  The vote was 5-0 to decline the request.

 

The FGC interviewed several grievants from one of the professional schools sequentially concerning a common compensation issue.  The committee will correspond with the administrator involved, who declined to be interviewed by the committee.

 

The meeting adjourned at 4:45 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Michael J Clarke

2/14/2012

 

 

Faculty Grievance Committee Minutes January 19, 2012

Faculty Grievance Committee

Meeting, 3:00 PM, January 19, 2012, Merkert 212

In attendance: Joe Tecce, Michael Clarke, Robin Wood, Kalpana Seshadri, Ray Maddoff

 

The meeting convened at 3:05 pm.

 

New members (Professors Kalpana Seshadri and Ray Maddoff) were introduced.

 

The minutes Minutes of 4-13-11 Meeting were discussed.  As several points in the minutes needed clarification, the minutes will be reviewed with Lynn Johnson and Bill Keane before approval.

 

The internet posting of minutes will be discussed at the next FGC meeting.

 

There was a discussion as to whether legal consultation would be desirable before posting the minutes, which would only include procedural matters rather than the substance of any grievance.

 

Guidelines concerning possible conflicts of interests (COI) regarding the FGC were discussed.  The following appended COI Guidelines were unanimously approved.

 

It was also unanimously decided that the FGC will submit an annual report to the faculty in January of each year.  The annual report should include: current FGC procedures, a compendium of the number and general nature of grievances filed in the previous year, and their status (declined, pending or the generic recommendation and whether the action of the appropriate administrative official was in accord with the recommendation).  Appeals following a recommendation should also be noted.

 

A grievance submitted to the chair on December 12, 2011, was unanimously accepted for review and a procedure for interviewing the grievants and the concerned administrator at our next meeting was agreed upon.

 

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Michael J Clarke

1/19/2012

 

 

 

Faculty Grievance Committee Conflict of Interest Guidelines

 

A conflict of interest exists in any situation in which a faculty member has an outside interest that might affect, or appear to affect, his or her judgment in carrying out University responsibilities. Specifically:

 

  1. Faculty Grievance Committee (FGC) members with a financial interest in a grievance shall be recused.
  2. FGC members who are participants in a grievance before the committee shall be recused from considering that grievance.
  3. FGC members, who are also members of the same department, as a grievant will normally be recused.  However, the FGC may consider a grievant’s request that an FGC member of the grievant’s department hear the grievance.
  4. The FGC may consider a request for recusal of a member from a grievant.  At the time the grievance is submitted to the FGC, the grievant may also submit the names of any members of the FGC, whom the faculty member wishes to challenge for bias, prejudice or personal interest in the proceedings, and the specific grounds for any such challenge.  The FGC Chair shall determine the sufficiency of the challenges. 
If the Chair is challenged, the Committee shall elect a member not so challenged to act in the Chair’s place in determining the sufficiency of the challenge.  If the Chair finds the challenge sufficient, the Chair shall appoint an appropriate member from the same School or College, or if that is impossible, another member to replace the challenged member.

 

Faculty Grievance Committee Minutes April 13, 2011

Faculty Grievance Committee

Minutes, April 13, 2011

 

In attendance: Joe Tecce, Michael Clarke, Pam Grace, Lynn Johnson, Robin Wood, Demitrius Iatridis (former chair), Bill Keane (former chair)

 

2011-12 FGC Roster

Name                          School/Dept                Term Exp.      e-mail

Paul Davidovits          CAS/Chemistry           12/31/11          davidovi@bc.edu

Marina McCoy            CAS/Philosophy         12/31/11          marina.mccoy@bc.edu

Robin Wood               SON                            12/31/12          robin.wood@bc.edu

Lynn Johnson              CAS/History               12/31/12          marilynn.johnson@bc.edu

Laura Hake                 CAS/Biology              12/31/12          laura.hake@bc.edu

Joe Tecce         (alt)      CAS/Psychology         12/31/12          joseph.tecce@bc.edu

Pamela Grace  (alt)      SON                            12/31/12          pamela.grace.2@bc.edu

Michael Clarke (alt)    CAS/Chemistry           12/31/12          clarke@bc.edu

 

 

Committee members met with two former chairs to learn more about how the Faculty Grievance Committee has operated in the past and what sorts of guidelines the FGC might adopt.  

 

Demitrius Iatridis (chair in the late 1990s-early 2000s) noted that things were done differently year to year.   The committee’s jurisdiction is advisory only and limited to tenured/tenure track faculty.  During his years, the committee recommended broadening membership and jurisdiction to part-time and adjunct faculty, but this was not possible under the university statutes.  Faculty grievants could approach any member with a grievance, but once a grievance was accepted by the committee, it had to go through the entire procedure.  There was some ambiguity in knowing what cases should be accepted—the criterion was that the grievance had to involve a violation of due process, e.g., if you have been treated differently than others in a particular matter or proceeding.  However, there were other types of cases that had merit but didn’t fit this criteria.  During this time, the FGC also required grieved faculty members to have exhausted all other avenues of redress, including appeals to the president.   Prof. Iatridis advised making the criteria clear.  At that time, the FGC also asked for grievances in writing, followed by an oral presentation by the grievant.

 

Bill Keane (chair in early 2000s) said that during this period, the FGC took a somewhat different approach.  Before accepting a grievance, grievants had to consult with the next in line (usually a dean).  If still dissatisfied, they could have their grievance heard by the committee or petition the provost or president.  As chair, Bill tried to mediate disputes before they went to the whole committee.  He agreed with Demitrius that there must be a written document to pursue a complaint.  When the committee made a positive finding that the grievance had merit, they went to the dean; if no action was forthcoming, they appealed up to the president.  The University counsel could also be consulted.  He noted that cases were very time consuming.

 

Pamela Grace asked whether the purpose of the committee was for protecting the faculty or protecting the university in case of litigation.  The consensus seemed to be that it was both.

 

Lynn Johnson asked how many cases they dealt with and whether the administration had heeded their findings in those cases.  Bill indicated that his committee had two full cases and several others mediated informally.  To his knowledge, the university did not heed their finding on one case; in the other, the university prevailed and the committee concurred.  Demitrius noted that the university may ignore our findings.  In one case in which the FGC found for the grievant, the university took no action.  He also noted that in rare instances, cases could end up in litigation and committee members might be asked to testify.  In one case, the grievant’s lawyer came to meet with the committee, but the university counsel then also had to be present.  He advises that the FGC not keep notes—courts can subpoena them.

 

The FGC may request that both the grievant and the administrator against whom the grievance is filed appear together to discuss or mediate the dispute, which has been done in the past.

 

Voting procedures have varied in the past, so that it appears to be up the current FGC to decide how to function in this regard.

 

 

At this point, those present thanked the former chairs for coming and met as a committee to decide on membership duties and procedures.

 

Minutes from the March 25 meeting were accepted unanimously.  In the future, procedural minutes will be taken, circulated and approved by the committee.  To ensure transparency, procedural minutes will also be made available online to the general faculty.  Where and how they will be posted will be determined.  To protect confidentiality, minutes will not be taken on substantive cases.

 

The committee agreed that it would accept cases once the grievants have appealed at the decanal level.  The committee chairperson should be able to act as a filter by discussing procedures with the grievant and proposing alternate remedies such as mediation.  If the grievant decides to proceed, they must submit a written document detailing the case.

 

The committee agreed that both members and alternates should be able to vote on cases unless there was a conflict of interest.  Three votes are required for a quorum (with the chair voting in case of a tie or abstention).

 

Michael Clarke was unanimously elected as committee chair.

 

Respectfully submitted by Lynn Johnson, with revisions by Michael Clarke

December 15, 2011

 

Faculty Grievance Committee Minutes March 25, 2011

Faculty Grievance Committee

Minutes March 25, 2011

Sun Room, Waul Hall

 

Four members of the Faculty Grievance Committee (FGC) informally met with Vice Provost for Faculties Patricia De Leeuw to learn about the operation of the FGC.  Present were Robin Wood (CSON), Marilynn Johnson (History), Joe Tecce (Psychology) and Michael Clarke (Chemistry).  Some present indicated that they had been approached by potential faculty grievants and needed guidance as to how to proceed

 

Vice Provost De Leeuw presented the broad types of grievances that generally came to the committee and indicated that in some years there were no grievance petitions. Vice Provost De Leeuw related how she advised those approaching her with grievances.  She discussed the process with them and often referred them to the appropriate dean or the FGC.  In her experience, many faculty choose not to petition the FGC after learning that the FGC is advisory and can only make recommendations to resolve faculty grievances.

 

There was a general discussion as to how the FGC has operated and if there were precedents, of which the current FGC should be aware.  Vice Provost De Leeuw referred the group to prior FGC chairs.  Demetrius Iatridis had the longest tenure as chair and more recent chairs have been (in sequence) Bill Keane (Math), Arthur Madigan (Phil) and last year’s president, Paul Davidovits (Chem).

 

The discussion included the following:

  • The definition of “faculty” in the University Statutes (II.1) limits grievances to those coming from tenured or tenure track faculty, instructors and visiting professors, but excludes those from adjunct and part time faculty.  Following a letter concerning this from Vice Provost De Leeuw (see Apendix), which was received after the meeting, it was clear that there is no mechanism for full-time and part-time non-tenure-track faculty to bring grievances before a peer committee.
  • The FGC can be petitioned (II.11.C.1) with respect to promotion, non re-appointment and to changes in faculty status that are not covered by the Review Committee, which handles petitions regarding tenure and promotion within the tenure track (II.11.B.2).  The FGC can also be petitioned with respect to salary and benefits.
  • Whether the point of entry for a grievance should be through a member of the FGC or the chair of the FGC and whether or not this should be in writing.
  • There was a discussion of what it means to have “exhausted other internal remedies” (II.11.C.1).
  • Many faculty did not appear to know that the FGC existed, how it operates, or how to approach it.
  • The extent to which the university responded to FGC recommendations.
  • Whether alternates participated in votes of the FGC.
  • Vice Provost De Leeuw did not recall any issues regarding academic freedom having been brought to the FGC.  It was noted, that while the statutes guarantee “academic freedom”, the term is not defined in the statutes.

 

Following Vice Provost De Leeuw’s departure, those present discussed whether alternates should vote, the point of entry question, the functional definition of having “exhausted other internal remedies”, and the desirability of posting a basic guideline procedure for grievants.

 

The meeting reached consensus that:

1)      Alternates should vote in FGC procedures, for which there may be precedent.

2)      A faculty grievant could approach any member of the committee with respect to the grievance process, but that the discussion should be limited as much as possible to process in order to avoid a potential conflict of interest and so that all members of the committee would have equal access to information involved in the grievance.  The grievant would then be directed to the FGC chair, who may indicate that the grievant submit a written petition to the FGC.

3)      The phrase having “exhausted other internal remedies” was taken to normally mean that the grievant had reached the decanal level without having felt the grievance had been adequately addressed.

4)      The FGC should schedule a meeting with previous FGC chairs to learn about general issues that have arisen.

5)      Preliminary wording concerning the operating procedure for initiating a grievance should be drafted and circulated for approval by the FGC for posting on the BC website.

 

Professor Clarke was requested to convene the next FGC meeting and to draft the procedure, which is provided below.  Professor Johnson volunteered to look for a web-based scheduling module that would facilitate the scheduling of FGC meetings.

 

As only 50% of the total FGC membership was present, an election for chair was not held.

 

 

 

Procedure for Approaching the FGC with a Grievance:  Any faculty member, as defined by the University Statutes II.1, may approach any member of the FGC to discuss the operation of the FGC and the process for filing a grievance.  This discussion should focus on the grievance procedure, rather than the merit of the grievance.   Grievance petitions are not accepted by the FGC until all other internal remedies have been tried. This usually means that the grievant has previously petitioned the appropriate academic dean.  The grievant may then wish to discuss the grievance with the FGC chair before submitting a written petition. [Approved 4/13/11].

 

 

Respectfully submitted to the FGC,

Michael J Clarke

Temporary Convener

Approved by FGC: April 13, 2011