The Catholic University of America

Faculty Handbook

Section D: Special Procedures

III-D-5 Faculty Grievance Committee

Definition. The Faculty Grievance Committee is a committee of the Faculty of the University constituted to hear any petition by a member of the Faculty who alleges a grievance in any matter except dismissal for cause (for which specific procedures are provided, Faculty Handbook, Part II, F-7, Dismissal for Cause)

Composition. The Committee is composed of seven faculty members, none of whom may be a dean, a department chair, or other administrative official. The term of service for committee members is two years. Six of the members, two from each of the three major categories of schools (Ecclesiastical , Professional, and Arts and Sciences), are elected for staggered terms according to procedures specified for the election of faculty representatives to the Board of Trustees (Faculty Handbook, Part I, D. Organization of the University, Section 12). The Academic Senate elects a seventh member. At the beginning of each academic year the Committee selects one of its members as the Chair.

Any member of the Committee, for reasons of bias or interest, may be removed from participation in a case on one’s own motion, at the direction of the Committee, or at the request of any party to the dispute.

Purpose. The Committee serves as the recourse to any aggrieved faculty member who has exhausted remedies available under established University procedures short of appeal to the President of the University and the Board of Trustees. It shall be the policy of the Committee to resolve all grievances in an informal, confidential and amicable way and to avoid formal proceedings.

Accordingly, in response to any grievance presented to it the Committee  

  1. Determines whether or not the grievance as presented has prima facie merit;
  2. Determines whether or not the facts as alleged merit a detailed investigation;
  3. Seeks an amicable settlement of the issue satisfactory to the parties involved;
  4. Failing amicable settlement, conducts such investigation as it finds necessary to ascertain the merits of the case;
  5. Reports its findings and any recommendations for specific actions, as appropriate, to the faculty member, to the cognizant administrative official, and/or to the faculty.

Procedures.  A faculty member who petitions the Committee shall set forth in detail the nature of the grievance, against whom it is directed, and any factual or other data pertinent to the case.

If the Committee decides not to assume jurisdiction, it shall so inform the petitioner within thirty days and shall state the reasons why it rejects the petition.

If the Committee assumes jurisdiction, its deliberations in the case shall be conducted in confidence except as provided in the conduct of hearings as specified below.

If the Committee determines that a hearing is required to ascertain the facts of the case, it shall proceed as follows.

  1. The Committee shall notify the faculty member, and any party against whom the grievance is alleged, a reasonable time in advance of the scheduled hearing.
  2. The hearing shall be held in private; both parties to the dispute will be permitted to have an academic or administrative advisor, or counsel; and at the request of either party, or the Committee, a representative of a responsible education association  may attend the proceedings as an observer.
  3. The petitioner and the party against whom the grievance is alleged will be accorded the opportunity to obtain the necessary witnesses and documents.
  4. The parties to the dispute will have the right to confront and cross-examine all witnesses. If a witness cannot or will not appear, a written statement by that witness may be admitted in evidence. In such a case the Committee will identify the witness, disclose the statement, and if possible provide for interrogatories.
  5. The Committee shall not be bound by strict rules of evidence but may admit any evidence that it judges to be relevant, reliable, and probative to the issues involved.
  6. No verbatim recorded of the hearing will be taken.

After the hearing, or after reviewing all documentary evidence presented, the committee will render an opinion on the merits of the grievances and will report it in writing, along with any recommendations, to the appropriate parties.