Annual Report of the Faculty Grievance Commission, 1994-95

Grievance Issues Handled During the 1994-95 School Year

During the last academic year, the Faculty Grievance Commission dealt with the following matters:

A. A case involving the charge that tenure was denied on the basis of gender bias. The hearing was completed. The Panel submitted its report to the Provost who returned the final decision.

B. A case involving charges that terms and conditions of employment were not well documented and clarified, thereby rendering the complainant's position uncertain. The Panel submitted a report to the Provost who returned the final decision.

C. A case involving the charge that a procedure was improperly administered in presenting a dossier for evaluation in a tenure decision. The Panel submitted a report to the Provost who returned the final decision.

D. A case involving the charge that salary was arbitrarily affected by age. The Panel submitted a report to the Provost. A final decision is pending.

Cases from the following locations were submitted to the Commission for review. At this time, either no decisions have been made or the complainant has decided to drop the matter or to pursue it in other venues.

A. An academic center.
B. The School of Fine Arts.
C. The School of Arts and Sciences.
D. The Wharton School.

Continuing Matters of Concern to the Faculty Grievance Commission

There is a need to increase the pool of faculty to serve on panels.

A panel of three members hearing a case may include, at most, only one non-tenured assistant or associate professor. No non-tenured assistant or associate professors may serve on panels judging tenure denials. While clinician educators may serve on panels hearing any other kind of case, they are not eligible to serve on panels judging tenure denials or involving compensation of tenured faculty. All of this, together with the size of the original pool now designated by the Senate Executive Committee, the typically busy and sometimes unpredictable schedules of tenured faculty members and the need to constitute panels at unpredictable times during the semester, means it is often very difficult to put together a panel.

The hearings list should be expanded to include at least 60 faculty members' at least 30 of whom are eligible to serve on cases involving tenure and compensation disputes. The list should continue to be screened by the Faculty Senate Office for willingness to serve before appointment and prior to being submitted to the Faculty Grievance Commission.

There is a need to deal with the volume and complexity of complaints.

The Commission reviews all complaints faculty members bring to it each year. Sometimes, a single visit with the Chair is enough to resolve the matter. Sometimes, the Chair is able to work as a mediator to resolve disputes. On other occasions, however, the issues are so complex that the full Commission must ask for additional documentation and meet with the complainant before deciding whether to allow a grievance to go forward. Once that happens, large amounts of time are consumed preparing for and holding hearings. Hours are spent gathering and distributing confidential materials and then scheduling meetings among grievants, respondents, witnesses, panelists and Commission members. Further, the actual hearings themselves can take many hours and often days. Often, all of this causes long delays that are unacceptable in terms of the Commission's desire to provide reasonably speedy hearings. Finally, all hearings must be

recorded and, once the grievance is completed, large quantities of confidential material must be destroyed.


A. The Commission recommends that the Senate Committee on the Faculty examine ways to increase the capacity of the Faculty Grievance Commission to handle multiple cases in a timely fashion. For example, the rules governing faculty grievance procedures might be amended to expand the size of the Faculty Grievance Commission. If there were Co- Chairs, Co-Chairs-elect and Co-Past Chairs, or an auxiliary Commission of Past Chairs, Commission work could be divided, permitting two hearings to proceed simultaneously. The Senate Committee on the Faculty should examine these alternatives, as well as others, to improve Commission efficiency.

B. The efficiency of the Commission also would be enhanced greatly by providing it with regular staff, up-to-date recording equipment and a high quality shredder.

Structural Issues that Contribute to Grievances

Some of the problems that end up in grievances arise because the University has not developed clear procedures for spelling out the terms and conditions of employment for new faculty and for the renewal of contracts for faculty without tenure, because there are insufficient guidelines governing the performance and control of both administrators and faculty who run centers and research groups and because there is a lack of systematic mentoring of new, tenure track professors.

There is a need for procedures to govern the terms and conditions of employment for newly appointed and reappointed members of the standing faculty.

Typically, the Provost and Deans authorize searches, while the Provost, President and Trustees authorize hires. However, each school has its own method of doing searches, talking to final candidates, making offers and conducting renewals. Sometimes, what the candidate is told, hears and later discovers about the terms and conditions of his or her employment are at great variance. This can lead to serious misunderstandings which result in grievances.

The Provost and Deans in consultation with the Faculty Senate should develop standard procedures for making offers and spelling out the terms and conditions of employment for all tenure track appointments and reappointments. Among other things, these should cover salaries and whether they are based on 9 or 12 month periods, the duration of the appointment and expected dates for review for renewal as well as any special agreements about laboratory space, access to equipment, equipment purchase, and the like. There should be a letter that makes such terms very clear to each candidate. As part of approving appointments and reappointments, the Provost should review and authorize the letters of appointment.

There is a need for training and regular review of administrators of schools, academic centers and faculty members who head research laboratories. In the past, many grievances have arisen through the arbitrary and capricious behavior of deans, directors and heads of centers and research units. Indeed, some units appear to be places where employees, including faculty, have been particularly vulnerable to abuses of power. In part, this appears to stem from a lack of clarity about lines of authority and a lack of procedures for regular administrative review. In part, it also seems to arise from a lack of administrative experience on the part of faculty members: many faculty become deans, chairs, and the heads of centers and large research units without having had any formal managerial training.


A. The Faculty Grievance Commission believes many of these problems could be solved if the central administration and the deans, working together with the Faculty Senate, developed clear lines of authority and procedures for regularly training and evaluating all administrators who employ or oversee members of the faculty.

B. The Commission suggests the Faculty Senate and Provost work together to develop regular procedures for reviewing the performance of deans.

Peter J. Kuriloff, Chair
Adelaide M. Delluva, Past Chair
Sol H. Goodgal, Past Chair
Seymour J. Mandelbaum, Chair-elect


Tuesday, November 21, 1995
Volume 42 Number 13

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