Grievance Procedure for the Office of the Provost
Pursuant to Article XII of the University Senate Code (USC) and Articles V and VI of the University Senate Rules and Regulations (USRR) of the University of Kansas, Lawrence, the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor (hereinafter “Office of the Provost”) establishes the following procedure to hear grievances arising within the Office of the Provost.
Members of the University community who have a complaint or grievance arising within the Office of the Provost or within those offices that report to the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, the Vice Provost for Administration and Finance, or the Vice Provost for Faculty Development.
In accordance with the requirements set forth in the University Senate Code and the University Senate Rules and Regulations cited above, this policy establishes the procedure to hear grievances arising within the Office of the Provost or within those offices that report to the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, the Vice Provost for Administration and Finance, or the Vice Provost for Faculty Development.
- These procedures are not available to unclassified professional staff who wish to grieve about employment-related issues such as performance of responsibilities, leaves and other related matters. Such grievances are heard under the Grievance Procedures for Personnel Policies and Procedures for Unclassified Professional Staff.
- Certain subordinate units that report to the Provost (the Office of the Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Edwards Campus, the Offices of the Vice Provost for Student Success and the Vice Chancellor for Research, the Office of Undergraduate Studies, the Office of Graduate Studies, and the offices of the deans of the schools and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) must establish unit grievance procedures. Other subordinate units may do so. If a unit subordinate to the Office of the Provost has a grievance procedure, grievances arising within the subordinate unit or its subunits must be heard under the subordinate unit’s grievance procedure unless exceptional circumstances, as determined by the Provost, make it more appropriate for those grievances to be heard at the Provost level. Appeal of a grievance heard at a subordinate unit level is to the Judicial Board, not to the Provost. This procedure shall not be used to hear disputes assigned to other hearing bodies under USRR Article VI, Section 4.
- The initial hearing for disputes involving alleged academic misconduct by faculty or students and alleged violations of student rights normally will be at the unit level. However, a Judicial Board hearing panel shall hear the dispute if both parties agree to hold the hearing at that level, or either party petitions the Judicial Board chair to have the hearing at the Judicial Board level and the petition is granted. The petition must state why a fair hearing cannot be obtained at the unit level; the opposing party has an opportunity to respond to the petition (USRR 6. 4.3.1). The Grievance Procedure of the Office of the Provost will not be used to hear cases of academic misconduct by faculty or students or violations of student rights unless it is alleged that academic misconduct or violation of student rights has been committed by a dean, vice provost, or other individual reporting directly to the Provost.
Except as provided in USRR 6.5.4, no person shall be disciplined for using the grievance procedure or assisting another in using the grievance procedure.
The Provost’s Office shall provide a copy of this procedure to anyone who requests it.
- To start the grievance process, the complainant must submit a written grievance to the Office of the Provost. The complaint shall contain a statement of the facts underlying the complaint and specify the provision(s) of the Faculty Code of Conduct, University Senate Code, the University Senate Rules and Regulations, the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities, or other applicable rule, regulation, or law allegedly violated. The complaint shall also indicate the witnesses or other evidence relied on by the complaining party, and copies of any documents relevant to the complaint shall be attached to the complaint.
- At the time the complaint is submitted to the Provost, the complaining party shall provide a copy of the complaint, with accompanying documents, to the respondent(s).
- Upon receipt of the complaint, the Office of the Provost shall contact the respondent to verify that the respondent has received a copy of the complaint and to provide the respondent with a copy of these procedures.
- Pursuant to University Senate Code (USC) Article XII, a respondent has the privilege of remaining silent and refusing to give evidence in response to a complaint. The respondent also has the right to respond and give evidence in response to the complaint. (USC Article XII)
- The respondent shall submit a written response to the Office of the Provost within 14 calendar days of receiving the complaint. The response shall contain the respondent’s statement of the facts underlying the dispute as well as any other defenses to the allegations in the complaint. The response shall also identify the witnesses or other evidence relied on by the respondent and shall include copies of any documents relevant to the response. The respondent shall provide a complete copy of the response to the complaining party.
- Upon receipt of the response, the Office of the Provost shall contact the complaining party to verify that a copy of the response has been provided.
- Upon receiving the complaint and response, or if the respondent fails to respond within the 14-day time period, the Provost shall appoint a committee to consider the complaint. The committee members shall be disinterested parties who have not had previous involvement in the specific situation forming the basis of the complaint.
- Pursuant to USRR 184.108.40.206, the chair of the committee may contact other hearing bodies within the University to determine whether a grievance or complaint involving the underlying occurrence or events is currently pending before or has been decided by any other hearing body.
- Time limits. To use this procedure, the complainant must file the written complaint with the Office of the Provost within six months from the action or event that forms the basis of the complaint. The six-month time period shall be calculated using calendar days (including weekends and days during which classes are not in session).
- Upon receiving the complaint, if the chair of the committee determines that the any of the following grounds exist, he or she may recommend to the Provost that the complaint be dismissed without further proceedings. The grounds for such dismissal are: (a) the grievance or another grievance involving substantially the same underlying occurrence or events has already been, or is being, adjudicated by proper University procedures; (b) the grievance has not been filed in a timely fashion; (c) the Provost lacks jurisdiction over the subject matter or any of the parties; (d) the grievance fails to allege a violation of a University rule; (e) the party filing the grievance lacks standing because he or she has not suffered a distinct injury as a result of the challenged conduct and has not been empowered to bring the complaint on behalf of the University; or (f) the party filing the grievance has been denied the right to file grievances pursuant to USRR 6.5.4.
- If the chair of the committee determines that a grievance on its face properly should be heard by another body, the chair will recommend that the Provost send the grievance to the appropriate hearing body without further proceedings in the Provost’s Office. The Provost will send a copy of the referral to the complainant(s) and any responding parties.
- Prior to scheduling a hearing, the parties shall participate in mediation of the dispute unless either party waives mediation. Mediation shall be governed by USRR 6.2.3.
- If mediation is successful, the mediator will forward to Provost, the committee chair, and all parties a letter describing the outcome of the mediation and the terms upon which the parties have agreed to resolve the dispute. This letter shall be a recommendation to the Provost. The Provost will notify the mediator, the committee chair, and the parties that the recommendation has been accepted, modified, or rejected.
- If mediation is not successful, the mediator will notify the Provost, the committee chair, and the parties that mediation has terminated. If mediation is not successful, or if either party waives mediation, the grievance committee will schedule a hearing no later than 30 calendar days from the written submission of the complaint. The 30-day period may be extended for good cause as determined by the chair of the committee. The 30-day period shall be suspended during the mediation process. The hearing will be closed unless all parties agree that it shall be public.
- Each party may represent himself or herself or be represented by an advisor or counsel of his or her choice.
- Each party has the right to introduce all relevant testimony and documents if the documents have been provided with the complaint or response.
- Each party shall be entitled to question the other party’s witnesses. The committee may question all witnesses.
- Witnesses other than parties shall leave the hearing room when they are not testifying.
- The chair of the committee shall have the right to place reasonable time limits on each party’s presentation.
- The chair of the committee shall have the authority and responsibility to keep order, rule on questions of evidence and relevance, and shall possess other reasonable powers necessary for a fair and orderly hearing.
- The hearing shall not be governed by the rules of evidence, but the chair of the committee may exclude information he or she deems irrelevant, unnecessary, or duplicative. Statements or admissions made as part of the mediation process are not admissible.
- The committee will make an audiotape of the hearing but not of the deliberations of the committee. The audiotape will be available to the parties, their authorized representatives, the committee and the Provost. If a party desires a copy of the audiotape or a transcript of the tape, that party will pay for the cost of such copy or transcript. In the event of an appeal, the audiotape will be provided to the appellate body as part of the record of the case.
- After the presentation of evidence and arguments, the committee will excuse the parties and deliberate. The committee’s decision will be a written recommendation to the Provost. The committee shall base its recommendations solely upon the information presented at the hearing.
- The committee will send its written recommendation to the Provost and the parties as soon possible and no later than 14 calendar days after the end of the hearing.
- Within 14 calendar days of receiving the committee recommendation, the Provost will notify the parties of the acceptance, modification, or rejection of the recommendation. The Provost will advise the parties of the procedure available to appeal the decision.
a division of the Office of the Provost
07/20/2016: Updated University Senate Code Article reference number.
01/09/2015: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).
07/11/2014: Exceptions section updated to include a new office, Undergraduate Studies, and the decoupling of Research and Graduate Studies.
12/18/2010: Updates reflecting changes in the administrative structure reviewed by the Office of the University General Counsel and approved by the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor.
06/22/2009: Updates reviewed by the Office of the University General Counsel and approved by the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
01/13/2005: Revisions approved by David E. Shulenburger, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor.