The purpose of these procedures is to provide an avenue of discussion and interface for full-time faculty and administration for the resolution of differences through a reasonable and fair review process.
- Grievance: A complaint against a decision or action by the university (any administrative unit, office, standing committee, or individual) alleging violation, misapplication, misinterpretation of federal or state law, or provisions set forth in the Biola University Faculty Handbook with respect to contract, salary, fringe benefits, workload, working conditions, promotion in rank, advancement within rank, tenure, re-appointment, non-renewal, termination, discipline, or other employment-related matters. The grievance must involve a right whereby the individual filing the complaint will benefit or lose by the decision and by the resolution of the matter.
- Grievant: The faculty member who alleges that a grievance exists.
- Respondent: The person(s) to whom the grievant is directing the complaint. This person normally will be the administrator to whom the grievant is directly accountable. It should be noted that the respondent may or may not be the person with whom the grievant has a complaint.
It is the desire of the university that grievances be resolved at the lowest level possible and that the grievance procedure be as expeditious as possible.
The grievant should be informed in writing of his/her rights to the grievance procedure. It should not be assumed that the grievant is fully aware of these rights.
In accordance with the biblical injunction (Matthew 18:15) there should be an attempt at first to resolve the grievance informally with the person or office with whom the grievant has a complaint.
The grievance procedure places significant weight on a hearing of the matter by a committee of peers (a grievance committee). If, however, the matter has already involved formal review and recommendation by one or more faculty personnel committees and by a school dean or the Provost, these procedures are not intended to provide an additional level of committee review.
The following steps shall be taken in the order listed. At any point along the way the grievance may be resolved and further steps will be unnecessary.
A concerted effort should be made to adhere to all the time deadlines. There may be occasions, however, when a time extension may be granted by the dean or the Provost, as appropriate.
- Whenever possible, the grievant attempts to resolve the grievance directly with the person with whom he/she has the grievance.
- The grievant meets with the respondent, if different than the person mentioned in (1), in an attempt to resolve the grievance.
- The grievant meets with the respondent and dean of the appropriate school. (This step is taken only if the respondent and dean are different people.)
The informal level commencing with step (1) shall be completed within a twenty-one (21) day period commencing within three months of the decision upon which the grievance is based.
If the grievance is not resolved at the informal level, the grievant has fourteen (14) days from the conclusion of the informal phase to submit a complaint in writing to the dean of the appropriate school. The complaint shall state the specific facts and issues involved in the grievance, the efforts made to resolve the grievance informally, and what resolution is being requested. Should the dean have been the original person with whom (or with whose decision) the grievant had the complaint, the formal level should commence with a complaint in writing to the Provost's office, as listed in step 2 below.
- The dean reviews and renders a decision concerning the grievance that has been submitted to him/her in writing by the grievant. The dean's decision is communicated in writing to the grievant along with the information that should the grievant not agree with the decision, he/she has the right to appeal the decision in writing to the Provost's office. If the dean's decision is contrary to an action taken earlier by a higher authority, the dean's decision on the grievance must be in the form of a recommendation to that higher authority. The dean should complete this process within fourteen (14) days of receiving the grievant's complaint in writing. The grievant then has fourteen (14) days to file an appeal of the dean's decision with the Provost's office should he/she so desire.
- Upon receiving a written complaint from the grievant, the Provost proceeds in accordance with a. or b. as follows:
If the grievance is (1) over a matter which has received prior formal review and recommendation or action by one or more faculty personnel committees and by a school dean or the Provost, or (2) one in which the grievant has chosen not to have a committee hearing under 2b, the Provost shall evaluate the complaint and any other relevant facts and evidence and shall within fourteen (14) days of receiving the written complaint from the grievant inform the grievant in writing of the Provost's decision in the matter. No further appeal is provided for in these procedures unless the Provost's decision is contrary to uniform recommendations from the lower levels of the process in which case the grievant may request in writing within ten (10) days that the President review the decision for final action upon it.
If the grievance is over a matter which has not received prior formal review and recommendation or action by one or more faculty personnel committees and by a school dean or the Provost, the Provost shall within seven (7) days of receiving a written complaint from the grievant inform the grievant in writing of the grievant's right to a hearing and to be accompanied by a faculty colleague who is considered to be an advocate. The purpose for the advocate is to provide moral support for the grievant and to provide counsel to the grievant. The faculty advocate does not speak for the grievant or represent the grievant in any official capacity. The advocate must be a full-time faculty member of the grievant's own choosing. The grievant, as a faculty member, will speak the issues of concern on his or her own behalf. However, the committee may also ask the advocate to speak regarding the issues of concern on behalf of the grievant. The grievant must respond within seven (7) days, whether he/she desires to have a faculty advocate and/or desires a committee hearing. If this decision is not to have a committee hearing, the Provost will handle the grievance in accordance with paragraph 2a above. If this decision is to have a hearing before a grievance committee, the Provost in consultation with the grievant and respondent has ten (10) days in which to form a grievance committee. The grievance committee shall consist of five full-time faculty members. They shall be chosen as follows:
two (2) of the grievant's choosing;
two (2) of the respondent's choosing;
one chosen by the four (4) selected in 1. and 2.
The Provost in establishing the committee, shall arrange for the five members to select one of themselves to be the chair (and voting member) of the Committee. The faculty advocate should not be involved in the meetings of the committee except when invited to be present to be present to offer moral support and counsel the grievant.
3. The grievance committee has thirty-five (35) days in which to study the case (gather facts, hear the grievant, faculty advocate, respondent, dean, appropriate committees, etc.) and based on the findings make a written recommendation to the Provost.
4. The Provost reviews the findings of the grievance committee and after consultation with the President renders a decision within seven (7) days of receiving the findings of the grievance committee. The Provost shall inform the grievant and respondent in writing of the decision and shall state in this letter that this is the final institutional action in the matter.