Grievance and Review Procedures of the Bloomington Faculty
Faculty review functions on the Bloomington campus are handled by two committees: The Bloomington Faculty Mediation Committee and the Bloomington Faculty Board of Review. The two committees consider complaints concerning academic freedom, dismissal, reappointment, tenure, promotion, salary adjustment, and the nature and conditions of work. Any member of the faculty, associate faculty, and librarians desiring a review of administrative action in these stated areas normally should request a hearing, first with the Faculty Mediation Committee and then with the Board of Review. (Student Academic Appointees with complaints should see section D in the Bloomington Academic Guide for information on procedures affecting them.)
The composition, roles and procedures of the two committees are described below.
Authority for these procedures derives from the Constitution of the Indiana University Faculty(Article V) and from the Constitution of the Bloomington Faculty (Article VII).I. The Bloomington Faculty Mediation Committee
The Bloomington Faculty Mediation Committee (hereafter called “the Committee”) serves the faculty, associate faculty, librarians, and administration of the Bloomington Campus by investigating grievances and attempting to resolve them through mediation and consultation. Any member of the faculty or associate faculty or any librarian whose appointment includes responsibilities on the Bloomington campus may bring a case before the Committee. Members of the faculty, associate faculty, and librarians may bring to the Committee grievances concerning actions of dismissal, academic freedom, reappointment, tenure, promotion, salary, and the nature or conditions of work. However, the petitioner has the option of bypassing the Committee and proceeding directly to the Board for a hearing.
Members of the Committee shall address each grievance with impartiality, investigate it thoroughly, and base their report on a sound knowledge of University policies and procedures. The Committee should strive to resolve grievances by keeping its procedures flexible and encouraging discussions between the parties to the grievance. If the grievance is not mediated satisfactorily, the Committee shall report its findings in writing to the petitioner. On request from the petitioner, the Committee informally may give its opinion of the merit of the grievance and whether it should be taken to the Bloomington Faculty Board of Review (hereafter called “the Board”). This opinion shall not constitute evidence before the Board. On request, the Committee may assist in drafting a statement of the grievance, may direct the petitioner to appropriate sources for assistance in preparing a case for presentation to the Board, and may assist the petitioner in other ways. However, the Committee may not represent the petitioner before the Board. The petitioner may choose to prepare the case without the assistance of the Committee.
The Committee shall consist of seven members of the faculty selected by the elected faculty members of the Bloomington Faculty Council. Committee members shall hold office from the first day of May for staggered terms of two years. At least two committee members must be available during the summer. Two alternates to the Committee shall be elected at the same time as members of the Committee are elected; the terms of alternates shall be for one year. Retired faculty may be elected as regular or alternate members of the Committee in the same manner as other faculty. Members and alternates shall complete the investigation and mediation of any case they have begun to consider, even if their terms have expired. The members of the Committee shall select their own chairperson. In offering nominations for election to the Committee, the Bloomington Faculty Council’s Nomination Committee should give consideration to representation across academic ranks, among divisions of the University, and between tenured and non-tenured faculty. The Nomination Committee also shall ensure that among those elected to the Committee are some faculty members who have served on school or campus promotion or tenure committees. No faculty member serving on the Faculty Board of Review can serve concurrently on the Committee.
A case history record, including the calendar and decisions, shall be compiled by the Committee. However, the meetings of the committee shall be informal with no stenographic record kept. The Committee shall accept and act upon all cases presented to it. In cases dealing with dismissal or academic freedom, the Committee will meet as a full body; in cases dealing with salary adjustment, the nature or conditions of work, reappointment, promotion, or tenure the Committee may meet in subcommittees or panels of no fewer than two members. A letter addressed to the Committee shall specify the nature of the grievance and the remedy requested. The Committee shall provide to the petitioner a written summary of the information which it deems relevant to the case, a complete list of items made available to it in the process of its investigation, and the case history record. The University’s administrative officers and the petitioner shall cooperate with the Committee in its requests for information. In the event that information the Committee thinks relevant is not provided, this fact shall be made part of the written report. In cases involving salary adjustment, the Committee may request—and when it does so shall receive—from the Bloomington Campus administration such information as is provided to the Campus Affirmative Action Officer when making equity reviews on behalf of faculty members. All confidential material relevant to the case under consideration shall be made available to the Committee. Confidential material shall be treated in consonance with the policies and principles set forth in the Bloomington Faculty Council document, “Access to Employee Records,” which is attached hereto. All investigation and mediation undertaken by the Committee shall be completed and its final report and advice submitted within 45 business days of the time that the initial letter of complaint is received by the chairperson of the Committee.
If a member of the Committee is involved in a case before the Committee or is a member of a department (or a school that is not departmentalized) from which a case arises, he or she shall be disqualified to hear or to investigate the case. A member of the Committee shall disqualify himself or herself from hearing or investigating a case whenever the member believes it difficult to render an impartial judgment.
Members of the Committee and administrative officers shall not make public statements about grievances before the Committee. Nor shall the report of the Committee be made public by the petitioner or by any member of the Committee.
The Committee shall report annually to the Bloomington Faculty Council the number of cases brought before it in each of the following categories: dismissal, academic freedom, reappointment, tenure, promotion, salary adjustment, and the nature or conditions of work. The Committee shall also report in each category the number of cases successfully mediated and—if known—the number dropped by faculty members and the number taken to the Board.
The petitioner shall bring his or her grievance to the Committee within 30 business days after the event being grieved, or after written notice is received by the petitioner of non-reappointment, dismissal, salary adjustment, or any other action of which written notice is given. The Committee may, for good cause shown, waive this time limit. Investigation and mediation undertaken by the Committee shall be completed and its final report and advice submitted to the petitioner within 45 business days after the initial letter addressed to the Committee is received by the Chair.
The Bloomington Faculty Board of Review (hereafter called “the Board”) has the responsibility to hear and make recommendations regarding grievances of faculty, librarians, and associate faculty against administrative action. Except in cases of serious personal misconduct, termination of a tenured faculty member’s appointment prior to retirement or resignation or the termination of a non-tenured faculty member’s appointment prior to the expiration of its term, and other sanctions against faculty members where the governing regulations so require, may occur only after the faculty member has had an opportunity to have the matter reviewed by a committee constituted through a procedure approved by the University Faculty Council or Bloomington Faculty Council to hear and make recommendations regarding complaints of misconduct asserted against a faculty member. Sanctions which may be imposed only after review by such a committee shall be based solely on information which has been presented to the committee and to which the faculty member has had the opportunity to respond. Other administrative actions affecting a faculty member may occur with or without the recommendation of such a committee.1 Administrative actions affecting a faculty member, whether or not based on the recommendation of such a committee, may be brought to the Board as a grievance.
In interpreting and applying the procedures herein, the Board shall be guided by the Principles to Guide The Development of Procedures For Handling Complaints of Misconduct Against Faculty Members, Bloomington Campus, Indiana University (Bloomington Faculty Council: April 16, 1996). https://bfc.indiana.edu/doc/guidelines/MisconductProcedures.pdf
1Discipline in cases of serious personal misconduct may be the subject of administrative action, with the right of the faculty member to petition the Faculty Board of Review for review of such action as a grievance.
If a member of the Board is involved in a case before the Board or is a member of a department (or school which is not departmentalized) from which a case arises, he or she shall be disqualified to hear or to investigate the case. A member of the Board shall disqualify himself or herself from hearing or investigating a case whenever the member believes it difficult to render an impartial judgment.
Whenever a member of the Board is disqualified or is no longer a member of the faculty, the elected representatives of the Bloomington Faculty Council shall appoint a member to fill the vacancy for the case.
The Board shall report annually to the Bloomington Faculty Council the number and types of cases presented to it and shall indicate the number of cases in which it was recommended that the faculty member be sustained.