AP.13.2 Grievance Structure

  1. Step 1 - The Department Level (It is recognized that many grievances are merely faculty-student misunderstandings and can be settled at this level. Therefore, in the interest of informal settlement, this step has not been significantly altered from the present system.)
    1. In the case of grievance a student has with a faculty member, the student should attempt an informal settlement with the faculty member. There may be instances when the student feels that s/he needs to involve his advisor or department chairperson in a specific case.
    2. If no mutually satisfactory informal settlement can be reached with the faculty member, then the student may file a written statement of his grievance with the chairperson of the department in which the grievance occurred. The chairperson shall hold an informal meeting with the student and the faculty member, and make a decision within one week after the meeting.
    3. If either party is dissatisfied with the decision made by the chairperson, it is the responsibility of the chairperson to inform both parties of the next possible recourse, namely, to appeal the decision to the Dean of the school in which the curriculum is located. Intent to appeal should be filed, in writing, in the office of the School Dean within 10 days after receipt of the department chairperson’s decision.
    4. If the grievance is initially with a department chairperson, then the student should attempt an informal settlement with that individual. If no mutually satisfactory decision can be reached, then the grievance should be filed with the School Dean as outlined above.
  2. Step 2 – The School Level
    1. Should either party be dissatisfied with a decision at the department level, the grievance may be brought, in writing, to the office of the School Dean in which grievance occurred, within 10 days after receipt of the department chairperson’s decision. The chairperson should make available all information relating to the case, his/her decision regarding the case and reasons for the decision, and forward statements, arguments, etc., from both parties involved in the case.
    2. The School Dean should convene a special hearing for the case with all involved parties present, within 10 days of the written presentation of the grievance subject to the availability of the parties involved. There may be cases when it is mutually agree-able to both parties involved to have a less formalized settlement than a hearing such as this. If this is the case, the grievance should be handled in some other mutually acceptable manner. It shall be the responsibility of the School Dean to make these alternatives known to all parties involved in the case.
    3. Either party involved in a grievance case may have someone (such as a student’s advisor or a faculty member’s colleague) present to provide them with assistance. Choice of assistance of this type would be left to the individual parties involved, but s/he or she must be a member of the SUNY Morrisville Community.
    4. After hearing all facts and opinions relevant to the case, the School Dean shall make a decision regarding the specific grievance. S/he shall notify, in writing, all parties involved within one week.
    5. A copy of the decision and all pertinent materials shall be kept in the student’s file in his/her School Dean’s office at least one year after the student has graduated or left school.
    6. Should either party be dissatisfied with the decision, it is the responsibility of the School Dean to inform all involved parties of the next step, which is to appeal the decision to the Academic Grievance Tribunal.
  3. Step 3 – The Academic Grievance Tribunal
    1. Should either party be dissatisfied with the decision at the school level, the grievance shall next come before the Academic Grievance Tribunal.
    2. Notice of intent to appeal should be filed in the office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, within one calendar week after receipt of the decision of the School Dean.
    3. Composition
      1. Faculty – There shall be three faculty members chosen by the faculty member involved in the dispute from a list of 20 faculty members supplied by the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the College.
      2. Students – There shall be three student members chosen by the student involved in the dispute from a list of 20 students supplied by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs of the College.
      3. Administrator – The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall be the administrative representative on the Tribunal. The administrative representative shall also serve as chairperson of the Tribunal. The chairperson will have a tie-making or breaking vote.
    4. Procedures
      1. In all cases arising from an appeal, the appellant shall submit written arguments within ten days of the filing of his notice to appeal.
      2. A copy of said arguments shall be filed with the Vice President for Academic Affairs and a copy sent to the respondent.
      3. The respondent then may file written arguments within ten days of receipt of the appellant’s arguments, one copy to be submitted to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and one copy to the appellant.
      4. Upon being notified by the Vice President for Academic Affairs of a pending appeal, the School Dean shall forward all records of his findings and recommendations, and the reasons for the decisions, to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
      5. The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall invite both the appellant and the respondent to choose the faculty and student membership for the Academic Grievance Tribunal. Both the appellant and the respondent shall have the opportunity to challenge any member of the Tribunal and to have that individual removed from the Tribunal if cause can be established. The Vice President for Academic Affairs or the President of the College shall determine whether or not cause has been established in each case.
      6. Once the appellant and the respondent agree upon a seven member Tribunal, the Vice President for Academic Affairs shall schedule the hearing within two weeks.
      7. At said hearing, both the appellant and the respondent shall be given the opportunity to make any oral arguments. Either party may again have someone present to provide them with assistance, as described above in Section II, B-3. Provision shall be made for other regular hearing procedures, e.g., calling and cross-examining of witnesses, etc., and other provisions as found necessary by this Tribunal in its operations.
      8. In cases involving charges of discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability or marital status, the Campus Affirmative Action Officer shall sit with the Tribunal in an advisory capacity during the review and deliberations.
      9. The Tribunal shall then render its decision which shall be final. In the event of a tie the grievance shall be submitted to the President of the College whose decision shall be final. Copies of the decision shall be sent to the appellant, the respondent, and the Vice President for Academic Affairs within one week of the decision. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will be responsible for this decision being carried out.
      10. Copies of the decision and all pertinent materials shall be kept in the student’s file located in his/her School Dean’s office for at least one year after the student has graduated or left school.

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