Grievance Procedures for Full-Time Continuing Contract Faculty
This section establishes University procedures by means of which Continuing Contract Faculty can seek redress of their grievances. A grievant must be a Continuing Contract faculty member of New York University when the grievant initiates the appellate grievance procedure under “Appeal from a Dean’s Decision on Reappointment and Promotion,” below.
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. Continuing Contract Faculty may grieve related to matters in schools where they hold a full appointment or a Joint appointment. Faculty members may not grieve related to matters to schools in which they do not hold a full appointment or Joint appointment.
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 consecutive year of service when a third year review did not take place 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
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. If a faculty member’s grievance is not settled informally at a level below the dean, or by the dean, the faculty member may appeal to the dean to convoke the grievance committee of the school or faculty within 15 working days of receipt by the dean of the faculty member’s written statement. The faculty member’s written statement shall include the substance of the complaint, a summary of the factual information in support of the complaint, together with documentation, if any; and the resolution requested, if appropriate.
4. 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, and none shall have a conflict or the appearance of a conflict in reviewing the matter. Senior Continuing Contract faculty members include Continuing Contract faculty members at the rank of professor (or equivalent) and also Continuing Contract faculty members who are at or above the rank of the faculty member bringing the grievance. The faculty grievance committee(s) shall not include departmental chairpersons or department heads or any faculty member whose primary assignment is administrative. The members of the faculty grievance committee have a clear obligation to maintain the confidentiality of the proceedings both during and following the review, except as required by applicable law.
5. In the event the faculty in electing the committee has not named a chairperson, the committee should elect one of its members as the chair, with such authority as their committee wishes to delegate for administrative purposes.
6. The dean shall convoke the committee within fifteen working days of receiving the faculty member’s written statement, and shall transmit the grievant’s written statement to the committee chair. In any instance in which the dean has not so convoked the grievance committee, the faculty member has the right to bring the delay to the attention of the Office of the Provost. An exception to this may be made only with the consent of the grievant, the dean, and the Provost.
7. The function of the committee is to advise the dean by reviewing the case and making a recommendation to the dean. The grievance committee does not judge the professional merits of the case, but considers the grounds specified above (“Basis for Grievance”)
8. The first role of the grievance committee is to evaluate the grounds for a grievance, as outlined in Basis for Grievance, above. The committee should review the grievant’s written statement, and may call the grievant to make an oral argument, interview witnesses and request pertinent documents. The second role, after reviewing its findings of fact, is to make a recommendation in writing to the dean on the merits of the grievance and a proposed resolution, if any, including reconsideration by a body that previously acted upon a matter. In performing these functions, the committee should bear in mind that it has no authority to substitute its judgment for another body in the area of professional evaluation
9. The grievance committee reviews evidence and completes its deliberations and reports to the dean in writing of its findings of fact, and then make a recommendation to the dean for specific action. Such action may include a recommendation for reconsideration by a body which previously acted upon a matter. The committee will notify the dean of its recommendations preferably within 30 working days of receiving its charge, but in any case within 60 working days.
10. After obtaining and considering the recommendation of the grievance committee, the dean shall decide the case and in writing shall notify the grievant, any individual against whom the grievance was made, and the grievance committee of the recommendation of the grievance committee and of the dean’s decision, together with reasons therefore. Information on the procedure for appeal shall be provided to the grievant.
Appeal from a Dean’s Decision on Reappointment or Promotion Following Review by the School Grievance Committee
1. 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.
2. A faculty member intending to make such an appeal shall indicate such intention in writing to the Provost, specifying all grounds for and materials in support of the appeal within 15 working 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
3. Where such an appeal is made, the dean shall transmit to the Provost a report of the proceedings in the case at its earlier stages, within 15 working days of receipt of notification of the request from the Provost. The Provost shall in each case obtain the advice of an ad hoc advisory committee – ad hoc Continuing Contract Faculty Grievance Advisory Committee – with faculty 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 within 15 working days of receipt of notification of the request from the Provost by the relevant faculty senators council but need not necessarily be members of the particular council. The ad hoc 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, and none shall have a conflict or the appearance of a conflict in reviewing the matter.
4. The ad hoc 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 working days of the close of the hearing, but in any case within 60 working days. The ad hoc 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, etc. The grievant, however, may determine whether the grievant shall have the aid of an advisor or counsel.
5. The function of the ad hoc Continuing Contract Faculty Grievance Advisory Committee is to ascertain whether or not proper procedures were followed in the grievant’s case at the school level, specifically, whether the procedures used by the dean in making their decision and the procedures used by the school committee in making its recommendations to the dean were improper or gave inadequate consideration to the case or whether the decision violated the grievant’s academic freedom. The ad hoc Continuing Contract Faculty Grievance Advisory Committee shall not judge professional merits, but only ascertain whether procedural safeguards (as referenced above in section 1) 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.”
6. Within 30 working days of receiving the advice of the ad hoc Continuing Contract Faculty Grievance Advisory Committee, the Provost shall decide the case, and notify the grievant, the dean, and the chairperson of the ad hoc 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 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 is so informed in writing within 15 working days after the faculty member is notified of the dean’s decision, the Provost shall review the appeal and take such additional steps as the Provost deems necessary.
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.
Copies of the Grievance Procedures
A copy of the school’s grievance procedure and of this appellate procedure shall be posted at the school’s web site to the attention of all faculty.