Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (University) strives to provide students with a positive, collaborative and healthy approach to solving disputes with faculty and staff. This Code provides a means for students to bring a grievance against faculty and staff members for violations of their student rights as set forth in this code. It is administered with the intent that the process and resolutions of grievances be fair or just and educational.
This Code provides a means for University students to bring a grievance against faculty and staff for violations of their student rights as set forth below. This policy applies to all students at the University (except for students in the School of Dental Medicine who are covered under The School of Dental Medicine’s Student Progress System) in their interaction with faculty and staff. This Code does not apply to students’ grievances against other students; The Student Conduct Code covers such grievances relating to the University. This policy does not apply to grievances arising from a student work or a graduate assistant position.
Grievant: The person(s) who files a grievance.
Days: Regular work days in the normal work week, Monday through Friday, exclusive of University holidays, days of administrative closure, and term breaks.
Faculty: Members of the University faculty including part-time and non-regular faculty.
Initial Hearing Officer: The first level person who hears a grievance.
Instructor: For purposes of this policy, an instructor includes anyone assigned the responsibility of teaching a class.
Mediation: It is a process where the parties in disagreement resolve their differences by agreement with the assistance of an impartial mediator who facilitates a resolution in a private and confidential setting. This agreement is reduced to writing and is binding on the parties to the dispute.
Notice: Notice to any party shall be sent by certified mail to the party’s last known address as recorded with the University or upon personal delivery to the party. Failure to have one’s current address on record with the University shall not invalidate notice and could result in a hearing or administrative review held in absentia.
Professional Performance: Performance characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession.
Record: All materials related to a grievance brought under this policy.
Respondent(s): The person(s) against whom a grievance is brought.
Sexual Orientation: Female or male homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality.
Staff: Any University employee other than faculty, student workers and graduate assistants.
Student: One who is registered or enrolled, or who has paid tuition, fees, or other University costs for credit or non-credit instructional activities at the time during which the act occurred or is alleged to have occurred and which led to the filing of the grievance.
- Student Responsibilities
Students enrolled at the University have responsibility for maintaining an environment which encourages free inquiry and expression, abiding by applicable laws and University policies and procedures, including The Student Conduct Code, responsibly fulfilling civic duties within their communities, and respecting the rights and responsibilities of faculty and staff members. Students are expected to follow course or class guidelines as set forth in syllabi and as enunciated by their instructors and to follow the academic conduct standards set forth in The Student Academic Code.
- Student Rights
Students at the University are entitled to an environment which encourages learning and intellectual development. In that regard:
- The University will comply with applicable law.
- Each student has the right to the peaceful pursuit of knowledge in an environment dedicated to that purpose.
- Students are eligible to register for courses for which they have met the prerequisites and for which space is available. Where appropriate, a dean may approve restrictions based on objective criteria in advance of course registration and in accordance with applicable University or school policies and practices.
- No student who meets the prerequisites of a course shall be involuntarily dropped from a course except as provided for under The Student Conduct Code, The Student Academic Code, and University, College and school policy on class attendance.
- No qualified student shall be barred from admission to the University, or participation in an institution, organization, or activity sponsored by the University on the basis of race, gender, creed, national origin, age, religion, sexual orientation, handicap, marital status, veteran status, or other prohibited bases of discrimination under law and the University Affirmative Action Plan. Students are entitled to an environment free from discrimination or harassment on the basis of the factors listed above.
- The student body shall have a means of participation in the formulation and application of institutional policies affecting academic and student affairs through the SIUE governance structure as defined in 3 Policies of the SIU Board of Trustees F.
- A student’s academic and professional performance shall be evaluated solely on academic and professional grounds.
- A student shall be able to take exception to data or views offered in the classroom in a manner which does not interfere with the instructional process.
- Students may appropriately express political or social views in accordance with prevailing law and University policy.
- No adverse action shall be taken against a student solely because of his or her association with groups or individuals.
- There shall be no censorship of University approved student publications.
- Student organizations shall not be required to submit membership lists for recognition, although they are required to submit and keep current a list of executive officers and their student identification numbers.
- Any student shall have the right to meet at a mutually convenient time with the director of any function or operation within the University with regard to seeking a resolution of a grievance pertaining to that function or operation.
- Students’ disciplinary records shall be kept confidential and separate from academic records.
- Students shall have the right to be reinstated when the conditions of disciplinary separation from the University for a definite period of time are fulfilled, provided they meet other admission and retention criteria.
- Records relating to student discipline shall be maintained according to the University Records Management Plan.
- Students have a right to expect reasonable accommodations from instructors to celebrate their religious holidays.
- Instructors will uphold the Ethics of Instruction; (Policies and Procedures), University policies, and other applicable policies and procedures.
- Burden of Proof and Time Limit for Filing Grievances
Any student who brings a grievance against a faculty or staff member has the burden of proof and must provide documentation and evidence to support the allegation to the chair, coordinator, or director of the department or unit. All grievances must be filed within sixty (60) working days from the actual occurrence, or the discovery of the occurrence, which forms the basis of the grievance.
- Informal Process
Before filing a formal grievance, the student must first make a good faith effort to meet and confer with the party against whom he or she has a grievance in an effort to resolve the matter informally. The following formal grievance procedure may be initiated by the student only after informal procedures have proven unsatisfactory.
Mediation may be suggested to the parties involved in the dispute at any time in the process. If all parties agree, a mediation effort will be attempted. If successful, the agreement must be reduced to writing. Such agreement signifies that the dispute is terminated and no further action or appeal will be granted. If unsuccessful, the grievance will proceed as described in this Code.
- Formal Grievance Procedure: Administrative Hearing
The student (Grievant) shall file a grievance with the chair, coordinator, or director of the department or unit involved, hereafter referred to as the Initial Hearing Officer. If the grievance is against the chair, coordinator, or director, the grievance shall be filed with the next highest administrator. Charges of intimidation or harassment based on race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation must be reported for informational purposes by the Initial Hearing Officer to the Assistant Provost for Cultural and Social Diversity.
- The Grievant shall provide the following information and documentation using the form attached to this policy. See Appendix A.
- The name of the person against whom the grievance is made.
- The specific charges, including the date and time of the event precipitating the charge.
- A statement of the student right(s) that was (were) violated.
- A detailed statement of the circumstances and evidence.
- The names and addresses of witnesses.
- The resolution sought.
- Any documentation relating to the grievance.
- The Initial Hearing Officer may dismiss the grievance if the circumstances giving rise to the grievance are the same or substantially similar to a pending, or previously resolved, charge pursuant to the The Student Conduct Code or The Student Academic Code.
- The Initial Hearing Officer shall within five (5) days, in writing:
- Acknowledge receipt of the grievance to the Grievant.
- Forward the grievance and the statement of circumstances, evidence, list of witnesses, and a copy of this policy to the Grievant and the person against whom the charge is made (Respondent).
- Arrange for and give notice of the time and place of an administrative hearing to the parties involved.
- The Respondent shall respond within five (5) days of receipt of notice to the Initial Hearing Officer acknowledging the time and place of the administrative hearing and shall answer the grievance. The Initial Hearing Officer shall forward a copy of the response to the Grievant.
- The Initial Hearing Officer shall conduct an administrative hearing not more than twenty (20) days from the date of receipt of the written charge.
- At the conclusion of the hearing, the Initial Hearing Officer shall close the hearing and make findings of fact and render a decision. In his/her decision, the Initial Hearing Officer shall consider whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent committed the actions set forth in the grievance.
- The Initial Hearing Officer shall within five (5) days after the administrative hearing notify in writing the parties involved of his/her decision and provide findings of fact and a rationale for the decision. The decision shall become effective five (5) days after receipt by the parties of this notice, unless either party files an appeal.
- The decision shall be limited to a resolution of the dispute between Grievant and Respondent only.
- Hearing Procedural Rights
Every reasonable effort will be made to provide procedural rights under this Code. The precise format of a hearing may vary depending upon the circumstances of the particular case.
The following procedural rights are assured to all parties:
- A timely hearing.
- Written notice of charges and a reasonable time for response.
- Waiver of required notice of hearing by the person charged in consideration of a more immediate disposition of the alleged violation.
- A postponement of any procedure relating to the hearing for reasonable cause.
- Removal of any decision maker provided the party can demonstrate that the decision maker is biased or prejudiced in relation to the case.
- To hear all relevant oral evidence and view all relevant written evidence used against or in favor of either the person bringing the charge or the respondent.
- The person bringing or prosecuting a charge has the burden of proof by the preponderance of evidence.
- All available relevant witnesses may be heard, examined, and cross-examined. A list of witnesses will be provided to all parties and those hearing the case before a hearing.
- Strict rules of evidence need not be followed; however, evidence that is irrelevant, immaterial, or cumulative may not be permitted.
- The hearing shall be closed except for the parties, advisors, and witnesses only while giving testimony, and those hearing the case. The hearing may be open if all parties agree in writing.
- To be accompanied to a hearing by either an advisor (non-attorney) or an attorney for the purpose of receiving advice or assistance; advisors or attorneys shall not participate directly in a hearing, except as such participating is required by operative law or regulations in a specific instance. Consultation with advisors or attorneys during the hearing will be at the consent of the decision maker.
- To be informed in writing at least five (5) days in advance of the hearing whether the other party will be accompanied to the hearing by either an advisor or an attorney.
- Hearings shall be limited to the specific charges filled.
- Those hearing the case may provide for separate hearings if a single incident gives rise to charges against more than one person. They may also hear all such cases in one proceeding.
- All proceedings, testimony, findings, recommendations, decisions, and the names of the parties involved in any closed hearings are confidential and shall not be disclosed to anyone not involved in or not responsible for the disposition of the hearing or case, unless such disclosure is required by law.
- Provisions shall be made by those hearing the case for an accurate record of all hearings by tape recording or other appropriate means.
- Appeal of a decision as provided in this policy.
- Any situation, question, rule, point, issue, or matter not directly provided for in this policy but which arises under this policy will be resolved by the decision maker.
If a student chooses to appeal the decision of the Initial Hearing Officer, the following appeal procedures shall be followed.
- The student may appeal the decision of the Initial Hearing Officer, by filing an appeal with the next highest administrator (Administrator) within five (5) days of receipt of the decision. Appeals shall be limited to one or more of the following purposes:
The appealing party shall submit to the Administrator, in writing, specific written objections to the previous decision and any materials relevant to the specific objections. Administrators hearing appeals may contact additional witnesses to conduct a fact finding hearing only if he/she determines that new facts are discovered.
- To determine whether the original hearing was conducted in conformity with prescribed procedures herein.
- To determine whether the resolution was appropriate for the violations.
- To consider new evidence or facts sufficient to alter a decision that were not brought out in the original hearing because such evidence or facts were not known or available through reasonable inquiry at the time of the hearing.
- The Administrator shall within five (5) days, in writing:
- Acknowledge receipt of the appeal to the appealing party.
- Notify the Initial Hearing Officer and other parties to the appeal that an appeal has been initiated.
- The Initial Hearing Officer shall forward materials of the case (the record) to the Administrator when an appeal is made.
- The Administrator shall notify the parties of his/her decision in writing within ten (10) days. The decision shall become effective five (5) days after receipt of notice by the parties, unless there is a further appeal.
- In the event the Initial Hearing Officer is a Vice Chancellor and an appeal is taken to the Chancellor, or that the Initial Hearing Officer is the Chancellor, there are no further appeals except as may be in accordance with the policies of the Board of Trustees regarding appeal of administrative decisions.
- For all other cases, the student may appeal the decision of the Administrator by filing an appeal with the appropriate Vice Chancellor within five (5) days of receipt of the Administrator’s decision. Grievances about academic matters shall be appealed to the Provost. The Administrator shall forward the record to the appropriate Vice Chancellor. The appealing party shall submit to the appropriate Vice Chancellor, in writing, specific objections to the previous decision and any materials relevant to the specific objections.
- The appropriate Vice Chancellor shall within five (5) days, in writing:
- Acknowledge the receipt of the appeal to the appealing party
- Notify the Administrator, the chair, coordinator, or director of the Unit involved and the other parties to the appeal that an appeal has been initiated.
- The appropriate Vice Chancellor shall notify the Administrator and the parties involved of his/her decision in writing within ten (10) days of receipt of the record of the case from the Administrator. The decision shall become effective five (5) days after receipt of the notice by the parties, unless there is a further appeal.
- Appeal of the decision of the Vice Chancellor may be made in accordance with the policies of the Board of Trustees regarding appeals of administrative decisions.
- The Vice Chancellor may extend for a reasonable period of time, but not longer than thirty (30) days, the decision in the event that additional fact finding is deemed necessary.
Students may bring grievances against faculty or staff for violations of student rights as specified under Section C. above. Please provide copies of any documentation you have supporting your grievance.