Dean of the Faculty

Faculty Handbook

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VI. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES

(Source: Rules of Procedure)

F. Complaints and Charges Brought against Members of the Faculty

Section F-1. Preliminary Considerations and Procedures

a. Any member of the Student Body, Staff, or Faculty who has a complaint against a member of the Faculty should first consider informal resolution of the matter through discussion with the faculty member in question or through mediation under Honor Council auspices.

b. Complaints shall be limited to alleged violations of the Honor Principle, alleged violations of duly enacted policies and regulations of the College or alleged violations of the statement of professional ethics enacted as Appendix I of the Constitution of the Faculty.

c. If an informal resolution is deemed inappropriate or cannot be obtained, the complainant may bring the matter to the attention of the Dean of the Faculty. The complainant should present the complaint as soon as possible after the alleged misconduct occurs. Whenever possible, the initial discussion between the complainant and the Dean of the Faculty shall be kept confidential, with no official written record.

d. No sanction shall be recommended or imposed for speech, writing, or other action protected by the provisions of Article V of the Constitution of the Faculty.

e. These procedures, including the procedures of Sections G and H, shall be executed within the time periods specified, or if circumstances prohibit this, in as expeditious a manner as possible.

Section F-2. Formal Complaints or Charges

a. Any member of the Student Body, Staff, or Faculty may file with the Dean of the Faculty a formal signed complaint against a faculty member. If after discussion with the complainant, the Dean (or his or her designee) concludes that the complaint is without foundation or cannot reasonably be investigated due to the passage of time, and if no duly enacted policy or compelling legal reason mandates further investigation, he or she shall dismiss the complaint. In all other cases, the faculty member shall receive a copy of the signed complaint and shall have five working days in which to reply and to state his or her position. Every effort shall be made to protect the complainant from retaliatory action.

The Dean of the Faculty (or his or her designee) shall promptly discuss the complaint and the response with the complainant and the accused faculty member. A resolution of the complaint may be agreed to by the Faculty member, the Dean of the Faculty (or his or her designee), and the complainant. If no such agreement is reached within ten working days after a complaint has been filed, the Dean of the Faculty shall forward the complaint to the Chair of the Grievance Review Panel, unless the alleged conduct appears to warrant fixed-term suspension or termination of tenure or of fixed-term appointment prior to expiration, in which case the Dean shall consult with the Committee on Advancement and Tenure as to whether to initiate proceedings under the provisions of Section H of these Rules of Procedure.

b. In the absence of or independent of a formal signed complaint, the Dean of the Faculty (after informal inquiries and consultation with the Committee on Advancement and Tenure), or the Committee on Advancement and Tenure itself, may determine that an investigation of unprofessional conduct may be warranted according to the procedures of Section G or Section H. Any informal inquiries undertaken by the Dean or the Committee shall be strictly limited to determining whether a formal investigation is warranted. If the Dean or the Committee on Advancement and Tenure determines that possible charges do warrant investigation according to the procedures of Sections G or H, the faculty member in question shall promptly receive a written statement of the nature and grounds of the possible charges to be considered and shall have five working days from receipt of this statement in which to reply and to state his or her position. The Dean of the Faculty and the Committee on Advancement and Tenure shall have five working days from receipt of the faculty member's reply to determine whether the possible charges require investigation.

If the Dean of the Faculty and the Committee on Advancement and Tenure determine that plausible grounds for investigation or adverse action do not exist, the Dean of the Faculty shall immediately so inform the faculty member in writing. If the Dean of the Faculty or the Committee determines that plausible grounds for adverse action may exist, the Dean, the Committee, and the faculty member are bound in good faith to seek an informal resolution of the matter among themselves before formal steps are taken. If a resolution does not seem possible or is not agreed to within fifteen working days of the determination that grounds for adverse action may exist, and if the alleged conduct appears to warrant a sanction less than fixed-term suspension or termination, such as a warning or reprimand, the Dean of the Faculty shall promptly forward charges to the Chair of the Grievance Review Panel. If the Dean of the Faculty or the Committee on Advancement and Tenure determines that the alleged conduct appears to warrant fixed-term suspension or termination of tenure or of fixed-term appointment prior to expiration, then the Dean of the Faculty or the Committee on Advancement and Tenure, whichever has so determined, shall promptly initiate proceedings pursuant to Section H.

c. In the event that a hearing according to the procedures of Sections G or H overlaps in time with a personnel review affecting title, salary, or term of service of the accused faculty member, that review shall be suspended pending the final outcome of those procedures.

d. In the event that a hearing according to the procedures of Sections G or H comes about because of an allegation submitted to the Committee on Advancement and Tenure, that allegation shall normally remain in the faculty member's evaluation file. In cases where such an allegation is discredited by a hearing which clears the accused faculty member of wrongdoing, the Committee on Advancement and Tenure shall either insert a statement to that effect into the evaluation file or delete the discredited allegation.

e. The Dean of the Faculty, the Committee on Advancement and Tenure and the President, and any Grievance Hearing Board or Investigating Committee, shall make every effort to safeguard as fully as possible the confidentiality of any disciplinary proceeding according to the procedures of Sections G or H.

Section F-3. Record Keeping

a. If sanctions have been imposed under the provisions of Section G or H, and appeal is unsuccessful, a statement of these sanctions and of their grounds shall be placed in the faculty member's evaluation file. Informal or mediated resolutions of complaints or charges may stipulate that an appropriate statement be placed in the faculty member's evaluation file.

b. All other records arising from formal complaints or charges against members of the Faculty, all other records arising from informal resolutions reached through interaction with the Dean of the Faculty or the Committee on Advancement and Tenure, and records arising from mediation through the Honor Council which results in acknowledgment of injury to a community member, shall be kept by the Dean of the Faculty in confidential complaint files separate from all other records pertaining to a faculty member. A Hearing Board or Investigating Committee shall not consult these files except when considering what sanctions to recommend in a case where allegations have been substantiated through the procedures of Sections G or H. The Committee on Advancement and Tenure shall not consult these files except when determining whether to initiate proceedings pursuant to Section F-2 above. As stated in the Community Constitution (plus citation), these files shall be maintained for the duration of a faculty member's employment at Reed, or longer if legally required, and shall be destroyed at the end of that period.

G. Procedures for Sanctions Less than Fixed-Term Suspension or Termination

Section G-1.

a. Within five working days of the receipt of a complaint filed by a member of the Community or of charges forwarded by the Dean of the Faculty or the Committee on Advancement and Tenure, the Chair of the Grievance Review Panel shall appoint from that panel a Grievance Hearing Board, made up of three members of the Faculty, taking care that the board is composed in a way likely to be impartial with respect to these allegations. The Hearing Board shall meet not more than five working days after its appointment to discuss the allegations, and shall normally complete its deliberations within twenty working days from receipt of a complaint or charges.

b. The Hearing Board shall conduct an investigation, call witnesses, and gather information it deems necessary to assist it in reaching a determination as to the merits of the allegations. Unless the Hearing Board concludes that the allegations are without merit, it shall invite any parties to a dispute to appear before it and to confront any adverse witnesses.

c. In any appearance before a Hearing Board, a complainant and the alleged offender each have the right to be accompanied by not more than two advisers from within the Reed Community, each of whom shall be a currently enrolled student or a current member of the Faculty or Staff. No such adviser may participate in the hearing as representing any party, or in any other way. Legal counsel, including College counsel, shall not be permitted to observe or participate in any appearance before or meeting of a Hearing Board.

d. In arriving at its ultimate determination as to the merits of the allegations, the Hearing Board shall be guided by a standard of the preponderance of the evidence in the information before it, considered as a whole.

Section G-2 Report of the Hearing Board

a. In cases arising from a formal complaint, the Hearing Board shall communicate its determination as to the merits of the allegations in writing to the complainant. A summary of the basis for the board's determination shall be provided to the complainant upon request. In all cases, the Hearing Board shall supply the Dean of the Faculty and the person charged with a report consisting of its determination as to the merits of the allegations, any recommendations for sanctions against the faculty member, and a statement of the evidence gathered in the course of its investigations.

b. If the Hearing Board recommends seeking fixed-term suspension or termination of tenure or of fixed-term appointment prior to expiration, the report of the Hearing Board shall immediately be forwarded to the Committee on Advancement and Tenure, at which point the procedures of Section H shall come into force. If the Hearing Board recommends the imposition of some lesser sanction, such as a warning or reprimand, the Dean of the Faculty shall forward this recommendation to the President, who shall determine whether to impose that sanction.

c. The affected faculty member may appeal to the Appeals and Review Committee any action by the President that is based on a recommendation by a Hearing Board.

H. Procedures for Fixed-Term Suspension or Termination of Academic Tenure or Fixed-Term Appointment Prior to Expiration for a Reason Other than Financial Exigency

Section H-1. Proceedings for termination or fixed-term suspension for a reason other than financial exigency shall be carried out as follows:

a. Prior to or in lieu of Section H proceedings, the College and the faculty member may agree to arbitration or mediation. If such a resolution of the matter cannot be agreed upon, either the Committee on Advancement and Tenure or the Dean of the Faculty, after consultation between them, may present formal charges against the Faculty member to the Committee on Tenure. The burden of proof of the charges shall lie with the Dean or the Committee on Advancement and Tenure, whichever has initiated the proceeding, and will be satisfied only by clear and convincing evidence in the record considered as a whole.

b. The Committee on Tenure shall consist of the Faculty members of the Appeals and Review Committee with the following exceptions:

  1. If the person whose termination or fixed-term suspension is proposed is a member of the Committee, he or she shall withdraw until his or her case is completed.
  2. Any member of the Committee who feels in his or her own judgment that he or she cannot participate impartially in a particular case shall withdraw for the duration of the case.
  3. Vacancies because of one or two withdrawals shall be filled by Faculty members chosen by the remaining members of the Committee. If there are more than two vacancies because of withdrawals, all of the vacancies shall be filled by Faculty members elected by the Faculty from nominees of the Committee on Advancement and Tenure in a number equal to twice the number to be elected.

c. The Committee on Tenure shall promptly appoint an Investigating Committee of five Faculty members on academic tenure, one of whom shall be chosen from among three nominated by the individual under investigation, one of whom shall be chosen from among three nominated by the President, and one of whom shall be chosen from among three nominated by the Committee on Advancement and Tenure. The Investigating Committee shall choose its own chair.

d. The Investigating Committee shall investigate the charges, hold hearings, and make recommendations as follows:

  1. The person charged shall be fully informed in writing of the charges against him or her and shall have the opportunity to respond to the charges, to confront witnesses in hearings and to cross-examine them, to be heard in his or her own defense, to produce witnesses in his or her own behalf and to have with him or her at most two academic advisers of his or her own choosing. Where witnesses cannot or will not appear, but the Investigating Committee determines that the interests of justice require admission of their statements, the Investigating Committee will identify the witnesses, disclose their statements, and if possible provide for interrogatories. Legal counsel, including College counsel, shall not be permitted to observe or participate in any appearance before or meeting of the Investigating Committee.
  2. The Investigating Committee may see all documents held by the College that pertain to the case. The Committee shall hold such hearings as may be necessary to fully explore the charges. If the charges include that of academic incompetence, testimony may include that of teachers and other scholars from the College or from other institutions of higher learning. A complete stenographic record of all hearings shall be kept and a transcript shall be prepared and supplied to the person charged upon his or her request. The hearings shall be open to the Faculty only if the person charged so requests.
  3. The Investigating Committee shall normally complete its investigation within thirty working days of its appointment. Upon the completion of its investigation, the Investigating Committee shall meet, consider the evidence, and reach its conclusions by a secret ballot in which the chair shall have the right to vote.
  4. If the proceedings have arisen from a formal complaint, the complainant shall receive a written statement of the Investigating Committee's determination as to the merits of the allegations, and upon request, a statement of the grounds for this determination. The Investigating Committee shall submit a written report to the President, the person charged, and to the Dean of the Faculty or the Committee on Advancement and Tenure, whichever has initiated the proceedings. The report shall include a summary of the Committee's findings and recommendations for the disposition of the case and shall have attached a transcript of any hearings of which transcripts have been prepared. If the Investigating Committee concludes that adequate cause for suspension or termination has not been established by the evidence in the record, it will so state in its report. If the Investigating Committee concludes that an academic penalty less than suspension or termination would be more appropriate, it will so recommend in its report, with supporting reasons.

e. The President or his or her designated representatives shall have the right to attend any hearings or meetings of the Investigating Committee or the Committee on Tenure as an observer.

f. The President may seek clarification or further information from the Investigating Committee, and this additional information will become a part of the report of the Committee. Within five working days of receiving the final report of the Investigating Committee, the person accused may submit a written statement of his or her position to the President. If the President rejects the recommendations of the report, the President will state the reasons for so doing, in writing, to the Investigating Committee and to the faculty member, and will provide an opportunity for response before transmitting the case to the Board of Trustees. The faculty member or the President may request a review and recommendation from the Appeals and Review Committee, based on the record of the Investigating Committee hearing, supplemented by any written statements which the Investigating Committee, the President, or the affected faculty member may wish to submit.

g. If the President recommends termination or fixed-term suspension, the President will transmit to the Board of Trustees the entire record of the case. The Board of Trustees' review will be based on this record, and the Board of Trustees will provide opportunity for argument, oral or written or both, by the principals in the case or by their representatives. The decision of the Investigating Committee will either be sustained or the proceedings returned to the Committee with specific objections. The Investigating Committee will then reconsider, taking into account the stated objections and receiving new evidence if necessary. The Board of Trustees will make a final decision only after study of the Committee's reconsideration.

h. The President, after consultation with the Committee on Tenure, may suspend a person charged during the proceedings only if immediate harm to him or herself, the College, or others is threatened by his or her continuance. Any such suspension shall be with pay.

i. The Board of Trustees shall fix the financial arrangements with respect to termination. In the case of tenured faculty, unless the grounds for termination include personal conduct covered by Article VI, Section 1.C of the Constitution, the individual shall receive 12 months' salary from the date of termination at his or her prevailing rate. Fixed-term suspension shall normally extend over not more than one academic year. Such suspension will be without pay or benefits, except for health insurance benefits.

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