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Student Employment Policies

Graduate Assistant Employment (Non-Academic) Grievance Procedure - 4B2

Graduate students who hold general, teaching or research assistantships occupy a special place in the human resource system of the university. Graduate assistants are not simply student workers, since "each assistantship appointment must relate to the student's academic objective and be supervised by qualified personnel" (Document #4A4, SIUE Policies and Procedures, " Graduate Assistantship Regulatory Policies," Item #1). At the same time, certain needs of graduate assistants cannot be encompassed effectively by the policies and procedures intended to serve faculty, professional staff or civil service employees, since assistants hold appointments no larger than .50 FTE and the duration of those appointments is sometimes brief. The University believes graduate assistants should be extended protections in the workplace similar to those that are extended to other categories of employees entitled to seek redress of grievances. The purpose of this document is to establish the procedure by which graduate assistants may register informal complaints or formal grievances about the employment (non-academic) aspects of their assistantships. For purposes of this document, "graduate assistant employment" (and related terms) shall be understood to encompass the job-related duties, responsibilities, work schedules, working conditions, etc., associated with graduate student assistantships. Grievances on academic aspects of graduate students' assistantships or programs of study are not covered by this procedure, since they are already covered by the policy on " Student Conduct and Student Grievances: Rights and Responsibilities" (which is available from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs).

INFORMAL COMPLAINTS

Whenever possible, complaints about graduate assistant employment should be resolved through direct, face-to-face dialogue between the graduate assistant and supervisor of record. The Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research will attempt dispute resolution (if the parties to the complaint desire such assistance), but cannot be formally involved in the conflict unless a grievance is filed (except to answer routine questions about Graduate School policy and procedures). No records shall be maintained in regard to informal complaints, except for any changes in the terms of the revised assistantship appointment that might result from discussion between the graduate assistant and her/his supervisor.

FORMAL COMPLAINTS

In those cases where an informal complaint is either inappropriate or ineffective, the graduate assistant may pursue a formal grievance. The following guidelines are intended to facilitate a timely and equitable resolution of formal grievances. Review procedures specified in these guidelines are not meant to be judicial in nature, but rather to provide for prompt and unbiased review of information pertinent to the grievance. As is specified below, the Graduate Assistant Employment Grievance Review Board serves only in an advisory capacity to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. The final decision in regard to the merits and disposition of the grievance rests with the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, whose responsibility it is to evaluate the nature of graduate assistantship appointments and who is "authorized to approve or disapprove assistantships" (Document # 4A4, Item #1, as cited above).

Grievance Procedure

  1. The graduate assistant (hereafter, "GA") shall file her/his complaint about employment in writing with the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. The complaint must be filed within thirty (30) calendar days of the act or omission giving rise to the complaint or the date on which the GA knew, or reasonably should have known of such act or omission if that date is later. The complaint should specify, as clearly and in as much detail as possible, both the nature of the problem and the solution that is desired by the GA. A form for filing the complaint is available from the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.

  2. The Dean of Graduate Studies and Research shall forward a copy of the GA's written complaint, within two (2) working days, to the supervisor of record involved.

  3. The supervisor of record shall respond in writing, within five (5) working days to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. The supervisor's written response should reply directly to any specific points made in the GA's complaint and should provide any further information that is pertinent to achieving a timely resolution to the grievance.

  4. The GA's employment grievance shall be handled as follows:

    The Dean of Graduate Studies and Research shall arrange, within five (5) working days of receipt of the supervisor's response, for a face-to-face mediation session, facilitated by the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, between the GA and the supervisor of record. Within seven (7) working days following the mediation session(s), the Assistant Dean shall forward to the grievant and respondent a written report of the resolution to the dispute. Both the GA and the supervisor of record will acknowledge agreement with the report by returning an initialed copy to the Assistant Dean within three (3) working days of their receipt of the report. If either the GA or the supervisor of record disagrees with the substance of the Assistant Dean's written report, then that disagreement shall be forwarded to the Assistant Dean in writing within five (5) working days of receipt of the report. As indicated, the Assistant Dean shall either reopen the mediation to resolve the disagreement or simply correct the written record to reflect accurately the resolution previously achieved. In the event that mediation does not produce a resolution of the grievance, then, within seven (7) working days of the end of mediation, the Assistant Dean shall forward the written record (and a written report of the mediation attempt) to the Graduate Assistant Employment Grievance Review Board (GAEGRB).

  5. The GAEGRB shall be constituted at the beginning of each academic year through appointment, by the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, of two (2) graduate assistants and three (3) members of the Graduate Faculty. The GAEGRB shall be convened upon notice to its members by the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research (in accordance with the circumstances specified in #4 above) and shall elect its own chairperson for each review in which it is involved. In the event that a grievance involves the academic department or unit of work assignment for a member of the GAEGRB, then that member shall be replaced temporarily by an alternate appointed by the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.

  6. The GAEGRB is to be given the greatest possible flexibility in considering any grievance forwarded to it. At the option of its members, the GAEGRB may (a) act solely on the basis of the written record forwarded to it, (b) call for additional information (delivered in written and/or oral statements to the GAEGRB) from either party to the grievance, and/or (c) solicit information from any additional sources whose assistance it deems pertinent to an effective review of the grievance.

  7. The GAEGRB shall forward a written statement of its findings and recommendations to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research within fifteen (15) working days of the day it is convened to review a grievance.

  8. Within five (5) working days of receiving the report of the GAEGRB, the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research shall issue a written decision to the parties involved in the grievance.

  9. Appeals of the decision of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research must be made within ten (10) working days of said decision, in writing to the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Subsequent appeals may be directed to the Chancellor. Appeals beyond the Chancellor will be governed by Board of Trustees policy.

DISPOSITION OF RECORDS

All records pertaining to complaints registered under this policy, or hearings by or before the GAEGRB, shall be placed in the custody of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research for security and safekeeping. The records (written complaints, mediation reports, GAEGRB findings, etc.) of any particular grievance shall be regarded as confidential materials. The Dean of Graduate Studies and Research shall grant access to those records only to the original parties to the grievance, their designated legal representatives, and/or persons involved officially in an appeals process involving the grievance. The records shall be retained by the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research for a period of five years from the date that the grievance is closed. When this time period has lapsed, the records will be destroyed.

Approved by President effective 5/14/91
This policy was issued on November 1, 2002, replacing the April 4,2000 version.
Document Reference: 4B2
Origin: OC 2/26/90; OC 11/14/90; OC 5/14/91

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