Grievance Procedures

This section establishes University procedures by means of which Continuing Contract Faculty can seek redress of their grievances. A grievant must be a faculty member of New York University when he or she initiates the appellate grievance procedure under “Appeal from a Dean’s Decision on Reappointment and Promotion,” below.

Principles

Each school shall have a formal and written grievance policy that is widely available and easily accessible to faculty, reflective of the distinctive culture of the school, responsive to the University’s commitment to academic excellence and to its responsibility to provide students with access to an excellent education, and cognizant of its responsibility to faculty to afford them due process and a fair hearing of their complaint. Each such policy must identify who is permitted to grieve, what can be grieved, the grounds upon which grievances are to be judged, and the procedures for doing so.

Types of Faculty Grievances

Faculty grievances are classified into two main types:

1. Those connected with reappointment or promotion.

2. Those concerned with other matters, such as duties, salaries, perquisites, and working conditions.

Basis for Grievance

With respect to grievances related to reappointment and promotion, outcomes of the review process or decisions reached through the review process can be grieved only to the extent that they involve violation of University-protected rights of faculty members. Thus, a grievance must allege that 1) the procedures used to reach the decision were improper, or that the case received inadequate consideration; or 2) that the decisions violated the academic freedom of the faculty member in question, in which case the burden of proof falls to the grievant. A school’s decision to not undertake the reappointment process where a position is to be eliminated at the end of the contract term and there is no similar position open is not the basis for a grievance.

With respect to grievances concerned with other matters, a grievance must allege that 1) the procedures used to reach the decision were improper, or that the case received inadequate consideration; or 2) that the decisions violated the academic freedom of the faculty member in question, in which case the burden of proof falls to the grievant.

Who Can Grieve

With respect to grievances related to reappointment and promotion: A Continuing Contract Faculty member who is not eligible for reappointment cannot grieve a decision not to reappoint. Individuals on multi-year contracts of three years or more who are subject to a review process to determine whether they are to be reappointed do have a right to grieve the process in the event it leads to a negative decision with respect to reappointment or promotion or the terms of reappointment or promotion; and they are entitled to grieve in the event they are denied reappointment without review for reasons other than elimination of the position. Faculty on continuous one-year or two-year appointments are similarly entitled to grieve the process in the event the third-year review process leads to a negative decision; and they are entitled to grieve the process in the event they are not reappointed after a third year review when a review had been explicitly promised in connection with the possibility of reappointment subject to it, but was not undertaken for reasons other than elimination of the position. Continuing Contract Faculty who are subject to a review process to determine whether they are to be promoted have a right to grieve the process in the event it leads to a negative decision.

With respect to grievances related to other matters: All Continuing Contract Faculty, including faculty on one-year appointments, are eligible to grieve.

The School Grievance Process

It is expected that most grievance cases, particularly those concerned with matters such as duties, salaries, perquisites, and working conditions, will be settled within each school or faculty. The schools and faculties have wide latitude in establishing procedures to meet their needs.

In the case of all grievances, attempts shall be made to settle the dispute by informal discussions between the concerned parties, possibly with the assistance of mediators.

If a faculty member’s grievance is not settled informally at a level below the Dean, or by the Dean himself or herself, the faculty member may appeal to the Dean to convoke the grievance committee of the school or faculty. Each school or faculty shall designate a faculty committee to hear grievances in order to advise the Dean. Unless otherwise authorized in the school’s policy and approved by the Provost, each school shall either establish a new standing faculty committee for Continuing Contract Faculty grievances, which will include senior Continuing Contract Faculty and Tenured/Tenure Track Faculty elected by the voting members of the faculty; or shall expand its existing standing grievance committee for Tenured/Tenure Track Faculty to include (elected) senior Continuing Contract Faculty who shall participate in hearing and evaluating only those grievances that are filed by Continuing Contract Faculty. The faculty grievance committee(s) shall not include departmental chairpersons or department heads or any faculty member whose primary assignment is administrative.

The Dean shall convoke the committee within fifteen working days of receiving the faculty member’s appeal. In any instance in which the Dean has not so convoked the grievance committee, the faculty member has the right to bring it to the attention of the Office of the Provost (or Executive Vice President for Health for matters involving the School of Medicine and the Faculty of Health). An exception to this may be made only with the consent of the grievant, the Dean, and the Provost (or Executive Vice President for Health).

The grievance committee does not judge the professional merits of the case, but considers the grounds specified above (“Basis for Grievance”). After obtaining the recommendation of the grievance committee, the Dean shall decide the case and in writing shall notify the concerned parties and the grievance committee of his or her decision, together with reasons therefore, and information on the procedure for appeal.

Appeal from a Dean's Decision on Reappointment or Promotion

Appeals from a Dean’s decision can be made only on the following grounds: a) that the procedures used to reach the decision were improper, or that the case received inadequate consideration; or b) that the decisions violated the academic freedom of the person in question, in which case the burden of proof is on the faculty member.

A faculty member intending to make such an appeal shall indicate such intention in writing to the Provost (or Executive Vice President for Health), specifying all grounds for and materials in support of the appeal within 15 days after receiving written notification of the Dean’s decision. An exception to this may be made only with the consent of the grievant, the Dean, and the Provost (or Executive Vice President for Health).

Where such an appeal is made, the Dean shall transmit to the Provost (or Executive Vice President for Health) a report of the proceedings in the case at its earlier stages. The Provost (or Executive Vice President for Health) shall in each case obtain the advice of an ad hoc advisory committee – Continuing Contract Faculty Grievance Committee – drawn from a standing committee that shall consist of the members of the C-FSC Grievance Committee and the T-FSC Grievance Committee; in each case committee members shall be selected by the relevant faculty senators council but need not necessarily be members of the particular council. The Continuing Contract Faculty Grievance Advisory Committee shall consist of three members, none of whom are from the grievant’s school: one from the C-FSC standing Grievance Committee, one from the T-FSC standing Grievance Committee, and one senior administrator selected by the Steering Committee of the C-FSC.

The Continuing Contract Faculty Grievance Advisory Committee shall hold a hearing and shall complete its deliberations and notify the Provost of its recommendations preferably within 30 days of the close of the hearing, but in any case within 60 days. The Continuing Contract Faculty Grievance Advisory Committee shall at all times follow the requisites of fair and equitable hearing, but it is not to be restricted by the technical rules of evidence or the formality of the adversary proceeding as in a court trial. In each case, the Committee shall determine its own procedure, adapting the requirements of the particular case to the equity of the situation. This shall include, for example, the question of a record of the hearing, the examination of witnesses, the schedule and public nature of meetings, etc. The grievant, however, may determine whether he or she shall have the aid of an advisor or counsel.

The Continuing Contract Faculty Grievance Advisory Committee shall not judge professional merits, but only ascertain whether procedural safeguards (as referenced above in “Basis for Grievances”) have been observed. Evidence that a decision appealed is so arbitrary that it has no rational foundation may be considered on the issue of “inadequate consideration.”

After receiving the advice of the Continuing Contract Faculty Grievance Advisory Committee, the Provost (or Executive Vice President for Health) shall decide the case, and notify the grievant, the Dean, and the Chairperson of the Continuing Contract Faculty Grievance Advisory Committee. If the advice of the latter is not followed, the reasons shall be reported with the decision. The decision of the Provost (or Executive Vice President for Health) is final and subject to no further review.

Appeal from a Dean's Decision on Matters Such as Duties, Salaries, Perquisites, and Working Conditions

Where such an appeal is desired by a Continuing Contract faculty member, and the Provost of the University (or Executive Vice President for Health) is so informed within 15 days after the faculty member is notified of the Dean’s decision, the Provost (or Executive Vice President for Health) shall make informal procedures available.

Appeals from a Dean’s decision can be made only on the following grounds: a) that the procedures used to reach the decision were improper, or that the case received inadequate consideration; or b) that the decisions violated the academic freedom of the person in question, in which case the burden of proof is on the faculty member.