Resolution and Grievance Procedures
The University of West Georgia recognizes the value of constructive
dispute resolution. Faculty, staff, and students at the
University of West Georgia are encouraged to seek resolution of any
conflict through informal discussion with those persons involved.
If such informal efforts
do not resolve the dispute, the parties may choose to utilize the
of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program at the University
of West Georgia (
see section 107.01
) and/or may pursue resolution of disputes through established
see section 107.02
107.01 Oversight and Administration of Alternative Dispute
The University of West Georgia ADR program is administered by the
Co-Liaisons for Alternative Dispute Resolution in cooperation and
with the Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution.
107.0101 The university co-liaisons for ADR will be
by the President. One co-liaison will be a member of the staff;
second co-liaison will be a member of the faculty. The co-liaisons will
as co-chairs of the Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution and
oversee all committee tasks. In addition, the Co-Liaisons will
as the first point of contact for any member of the university
who wishes to utilize mediation to pursue resolution of a conflict;
requests for mediation to determine the appropriateness of mediation
the willingness of parties to participate in mediation); secure the
of all parties involved and arrange for an approved neutral or neutrals
mediate the dispute; and maintain all necessary records, forms of
and evaluations required during the mediation process.
107.0102 The Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution will
of persons recommended by the co-liaisons and appointed by the
Every major constituency in the university will be represented on the
The Committee will meet regularly and participate in a variety of tasks
with mediation, including but not limited to: overseeing the general
of the ADR program; distributing and updating information about the
policies and procedures; coordinating mediation training for faculty,
and students; and overseeing all ADR-related tasks requested by the
107.0103 The Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution will
mediators from the faculty, staff and students at the university.
wishing to mediate within the institution should submit a written
to the committee. Each person wishing to mediate must have
completed an appropriate course designed to train
In those cases where it may be deemed appropriate to obtain the
of a mediator from off-campus, the co-liaisons will contact the office
the Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (CNCR).
Every effort will be made to provide appropriate training to faculty
are interested in becoming mediators within the University System of
107.0104 Requests for Mediation
Any member of the faculty may request a mediation to resolve
other faculty, staff, or students.
Seeking a solution through mediation does not take away an
individual's rights to pursue claims through the grievance process or
Under ordinary circumstances, parties involved in a dispute would
ideally attempt mediation before pursuing claims through the grievance
litigation. There may be cases, however, in which parties
a dispute may wish to request suspension or delay of a grievance
order to pursue possibilities for a mediated resolution of their
dispute. If a grievance process is interrupted in this way
and a solution is not reached
in mediation within ten (10) working days from the initial request for
aggrieved parties may return to the grievance process.
107. 0105 The Mediation Process
If the co-liaisons have determined that mediation is appropriate,
they will appoint a mediator or co-mediators to assist parties in
their dispute(s). It will be the responsibility of the
arrange for an appropriate time and place to conduct the mediation, and
conduct the mediation according to all applicable policies and
Procedures that govern the mediation process include the following:
- Mediation is a form of dispute resolution in which a neutral
a trained mediator, attempts to assist parties in conflict to negotiate
mutually satisfactory resolution to their dispute. A
does not decide who wins or loses the dispute. A mediator does
act as judge or jury, does not take sides in disputes, and does not
guarantee the results of mediation. Instead, a mediator is in the
role of a neutral
third-party who establishes a fair and structured process which
communication and mutual decision-making between and among parties to a
- At the beginning of the mediation session, the mediator(s) will
inform the parties involved of the policies and procedures that will be
followed and will ensure that participation in mediation is purely
voluntary. No mediation will occur without the consent of all
- If the mediator(s) allow the parties to have an advisor present,
mediator(s) will decide to what degree the advisor may participate in
- All parties will be given the opportunity to present their side
the matters at issue in their own words. Because mediation
essentially a communication process and not a legal proceeding, the
rules of evidence do not apply. Parties are free to discuss any
matters related to the issue(s) they believe will support resolution of
- Confidentiality. The discussions held during
are strictly confidential with the following exceptions:
does not extend to a situation in which conduct by either party is
criminal in nature or statements are made during the process of
mediation that involve threats of imminent violence to self or others
and lead the mediator(s) to
reasonably believe that someone's safety is at risk.
In light of this commitment to confidentiality, the mediator(s) will
retain any notes taken during the mediation, no tape recording will be
during the mediation process by any parties involved and it is
that mediators cannot testify for or against any party should the
be subsequently pursued through grievance and/or legal proceedings.
- A successful mediation is one in which the parties
the dispute reach an agreement described as "win/win." In
parties agree only to things that are acceptable to them, to
which each believes will actually resolve the dispute(s) between/among
them. Because parties jointly work to resolve the dispute, the
resolutions are frequently
more creative and have the potential to enhance, or at least preserve,
better than other forms of dispute resolution.
- If an agreement is reached, the agreement will be written by the
mediator(s), and signed by all parties. A copy of the agreement
will be given to
the parties but not retained by the mediator(s).
- The mediator(s) will inform the co-liaisons only that an
was or was not reached.
- Each participant in mediation will be given the opportunity to
evaluate the mediation process at the conclusion of the mediation.
- It is important to understand that: time spent in mediation will
considered part of the working day and will not require any person to
leave to participate. All supervisors will make reasonable
to enable employees to be available for participation in mediation.
- The acceptance or refusal of either party to submit a dispute to
mediator will not influence the outcome of any subsequent grievance
107.0106 Limitations to Mediation
It is important to understand that not all disputes are appropriate
mediation. Some examples of disputes that are not
appropriate for mediation include those that have been the subject of a
final ruling or
decision in accordance with University policies and procedures;
purely academic decisions (i.e., faculty assessment of students' work);
involving trivial matters; allegations of sexual harassment; complaints
discrimination based on protected class; and disputes that have no
to the University. It is also important to understand that
will not result in resolution for every dispute.
107.02 Grievance Procedures
Within ninety days after becoming aware of the grievance, a person
having a grievance shall attempt to resolve it at all levels through
that of the Vice President for Academic Affairs before submitting it to
the chair on the
Subcommittee on Faculty and Staff Grievances. The initialization of a
shall not preclude attempts to resolve a dispute by means of
Dispute Resolution (
see Section 107
). The person should understand that a committee appointed to hear the
functions to study the case and to make recommendations; it is not
to reverse decisions.
107.0201 A person submitting grievance shall follow the stated
at each level.
107.0202 Department Chair (or Supervisor)
107.0203 Dean of College (or comparable
- The aggrieved person shall first discuss the grievance with the
appropriate department chair.
- If the matter is not resolved at this level, the person should
prepare a written statement clearly delineating the grievance,
supplying appropriate documentation.
- Simultaneously, the department chair shall prepare a written
statement to justify his or her action.
- These documents shall be forwarded to the next highest
107.0204 Vice President for
- Upon receipt of the documents, the dean of the college shall
the grievance in consultation, if necessary, with the person involved,
the department chair, and/or any other persons who might provide useful
- If the grievance is not resolved at this level, the dean shall
prepare a written statement describing his or her actions and
justifying his or her
- The folder of documents including the dean's statement shall be
forwarded to the next highest administrative level.
107.0205 Chair of the Subcommittee on Faculty
and Staff Grievances
- The Vice President shall review all statements concerning the
He or she may consult with the involved dean, department chair, and
faculty or staff member before rendering a decision on the grievance.
- If the person filing the grievance is not satisfied with the
decision, the Vice President shall forward the folder including a
written statement of the decision and justification to the Chair of the
Subcommittee on Faculty and Staff Grievances.
- Any petition or material which has not gone through the stated
procedures described above (from the level of the department chair or
supervisor up through
the level of the Vice President for Academic Affairs) will be returned
the petitioner with a copy of the pages of the Faculty Handbook
describing the grievance procedures on campus.
The petitioner will be informed that the Faculty and Administrative
Personnel Committee of the Faculty Senate has no authority to act on
which have not properly gone through channels.
- Upon receipt of the folio concerning the grievance, the
of this subcommittee shall consult with the chair of the Faculty and
Staff Personnel Committee. They shall discuss the grievance petition
identify persons who might be best suited to constitute a committee to
this grievance. The appointed committee shall be constituted in an
to ensure that the aggrieved person receives a fair and impartial
- In most cases, a four-member committee of faculty members will
be selected to hear a given grievance: one from the College of Arts
& Sciences, one
from the College of Business, one from the College of Education, and
from the Library or some other segment of the campus.
- The chair of the Subcommittee on Faculty and Staff Grievances
contact on an individual basis the persons identified as prospective
committee members to determine their willingness to serve and their
impartiality, fairness, absence of conflict of interest). Their service
committee members will also be agreed to by any involved administrators
by the faculty member submitting the grievance.
- Under normal circumstances, the chair of the Subcommittee on
and Staff Grievances will serve as the chair of each of the grievance
- The Chair of the Subcommittee on Faculty and Staff Grievances
is required to convene meetings to hear given grievance petitions and
is responsible for
writing the final draft of each committee's report with regard to a
- The Hearing Committee has the authority to conduct inquiries
into faculty grievances, to attempt the resolution of these grievances
by mediation, and
to present to the President (via the appropriate channels) its
recommendations for appropriate responses to the grievances it has
considered. It is
the responsibility of the Hearing Committee to seek to determine
is substance to the grievances brought before it and, if so, to attempt
resolve these grievances. In carrying out this responsibility, the
Hearing Committee reviewing a given grievance may examine
decision-making processes related to that grievance to determine
whether or not such processes were handled fairly, professionally, and
in accordance with university policy. To this end, faculty members,
administrators, and designated committee members
involved in or knowledgeable about particular issues pertaining to the
may be asked by the committee hearing the grievance to provide
information and/or to discuss and defend their actions related to
charges. Hearing committee members may interview persons that the
faculty member and/or the administration feels would be helpful in
the clearest picture of what has occurred.
The aggrieved individual should be provided every opportunity to fully
his or her contentions to the Hearing Committee, and the Hearing
should make every reasonable effort to understand the facts and the
of an aggrieved person's allegations before rendering its report and
Respecting due process and confidentiality, faculty members serving on
Hearing Committee will not discuss a given grievance or set of
grievances with the aggrieved individual, other administrative or
non-administrative colleagues, or with students, except when as such
contacts are agreed to by
the Hearing Committee as an authorized part of their role in reviewing
- Should the Hearing Committee determine that a formal hearing is
appropriate, the following guidelines for conducting such a hearing
shall be adhered to:
- An oath or affirmation shall be administered to all persons
to testify in the hearing by any person authorized by law to administer
oaths in the State of Georgia.
- All witnesses (except the principal parties), if they expect
to testify, shall leave the room following the administration of the
oath until called upon to testify.
- The burden of proof is on the aggrieved party to sustain his
allegations by appropriate evidence, and the administrative
or other appropriate party shall have the opportunity to respond.
- The Hearing Committee shall allocate an amount of time to each
Time shall be charged only against the party asking the questions. Time
used by the Hearing Committee members in questioning witnesses shall
not be charged
against either party.
- The Subcommittee on Faculty and Staff Grievances has no
subpoena powers, so the parties involved in a formal grievance hearing
are responsible for producing witnesses, advisors and evidence. The
Hearing Committee, however, may request the appearance of witnesses
whose testimony it believes would be helpful to its purposes.
- Each party may present an opening statement of not more than
minutes. The aggrieved person makes his or her presentation first, and
the opposing party shall have an opportunity to make its presentation.
- Following the opening statements, the aggrieved party may then
witnesses to present evidence in support of his or her side of the
He or she may question these witnesses or ask that the witnesses be
to make a narrative statement. When the aggrieved person has concluded
his or her questioning of a given witness, the administrative
other appropriate party shall be provided an opportunity to question
- When the aggrieved person has concluded with his or her
the administration or other appropriate party may proceed with its
witnesses, if it chooses to call any. The administration or other
appropriate party may
question its witnesses, or ask that the witnesses be permitted to make
narrative statement. When the administrative spokesperson or other
appropriate party has concluded his or her questioning of a given
witness, the aggrieved party shall be provided an opportunity to
question (cross-examine) this witness.
- The Hearing Committee may question each witness after both
have concluded their questions. During the hearing, once each party's
witnesses have testified, the Hearing Committee may question both
parties in an effort to clarify various aspects of the grievance
- The aggrieved person and the administration's spokesperson (or
appropriate party) shall be present during the entire proceeding,
the examination of all witnesses.
- Witnesses and any other evidence must be addressed to issues
discussed in the grievance petition, not to inconsequential matters.
Any evidence which
may assist the Hearing Committee in reaching a decision should be
into the record. However, the chair may exercise discretion and exclude
evidence which is not pertinent to the case. The scope of questions
by appropriate persons shall not be limited by the chair unless it
that the questions are wholly irrelevant to the purpose of the hearing
the questions are asked solely to embarrass, harass, or intimidate the
- The chair may allow informal exchanges and comments between
or among Hearing Committee members and participants. The chair may
require that the hearing be conducted on a more formal basis when he or
she believes this approach will be more conducive to an orderly
hearing. Neither party shall be allowed to interfere with the orderly
presentation of the other's case. Personal abuse, harassment or obscene
language is to be considered out-of-order.
- Each party may bring to the hearing an advisor who may be
during the entire proceeding, but shall not be called as a witness or
for the parties. In addition, each party may bring up to three other
persons (not witnesses) to act as observers, if desired.
- The hearing shall be tape-recorded.
- All witnesses and parties to this matter must be present at
designated for the swearing in, regardless of their time of appearance.
a witness can not appear because of illness or other cause acceptable
the Hearing Committee, the sworn statement (affidavit) of the witness
be introduced into the record and served on the opposing party, who
be allowed additional time, not to exceed three (3) working days
the completion of the hearing, to file counter-affidavits.
- The party introducing written evidence should identify the
for the record (unless the opposite party agrees to its authenticity),
preferably by calling a witness with firsthand knowledge of the
document. Since the legal
rules of evidence do not apply, however, it shall be sufficient if the
simply describes the documents, their source, and what the introduction
such documents is intended to prove. The chair should announce that the
is admitted into the record if that is his or her decision. Documentary
evidence introduced by the Hearing Committee or by either party should
marked for identification by the person making a record of the hearing.
Hearing Committee evidence should be marked C-1, C-2, C-3, etc.
- Evidence presented by the person bringing the grievance should
marked G-1, G-2, G-3, etc. Evidence presented by the administration or
appropriate party in response to the grievance will be marked A-1, A-2,
or R-1, R-2, R-3, respectively.
- If the hearing cannot be concluded in the time established by
Hearing Committee, the chair of the Hearing Committee shall adjourn the
hearing for the day and reconvene at the earliest possible time
convenient to all parties involved.
- At the conclusion of the hearing, the administration (or other
appropriate party) may make a closing statement (not more than 15
minutes in length).
Then the aggrieved person may make a closing statement (not more than
minutes in length). As the aggrieved person bears the burden of proof
this hearing, he or she may wish to reserve part of his or her closing
for rebutting the closing argument of the administrative spokesperson
other appropriate party.
- Each party shall have three (3) working days following the
to file any counter-affidavits or responses with the Hearing Committee.
neither party wishes to submit additional documentary evidence after
hearing is concluded, the Chair shall announce that the record is
If either party asks to present additional evidence, additional time
to exceed three (3) working days may be granted, with the other party
an additional three (3) working days to rebut the evidence. The Chair
shall announce the record then be closed, and thereafter no further
be received. Copies of evidence presented shall be sent by the party
it to the opposite party.
- The Hearing Committee shall develop its findings and formulate
recommendations based on the evidence submitted to it by the parties
This evidence includes all written material submitted to it prior to
hearing and attested to at the hearing, all evidence produced at the
itself, and any counter-affidavits or responses filed with the Hearing
Committee before the record is closed.
- Immediately after the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing
Committee shall meet privately to discuss their initial reaction to the
case and the
evidence. As soon as the record (transcript, tape, etc.) of the hearing
available, each Hearing Committee member shall carefully review it
before reaching a decision. The Hearing Committee shall then meet
again, discuss the case and reach its decision, which is then written
and signed. The decision
does not have to be unanimous and a minority report may be filed.
- This committee shall forward its decision with justifications to
chair of the Faculty and Administrative Staff Personnel Committee who
present it to the full committee for consideration.
- The report of the Hearing Committee will follow the guidelines
- Findings of Fact: A brief summary of the facts as determined
Committee hearing the grievance from the evidence presented at the
including a statement as to the nature of the case. This summary will
findings of fact on each major issue raised by the parties.
- Violations: A general statement of Regents' Policies or
rules and regulations violated, if any, and/or the stated reasons for
- Recommendation: A statement specifying the action the Hearing
Committee recommends. The Hearing Committee will keep its purpose in
mind and limit the scope of its recommendations to the case before
it. To reduce the
length of the decision without sacrificing clarity, the Hearing
Committee report should include only such factual recitals as necessary
to present and
decide the issues.
107.0206 President of the University
- This committee shall forward its report to the chair of the
and Administrative Staff Personnel Committee who shall present it to
Faculty and Administrative Staff Personnel Committee for its
The chair of the Faculty and Administrative Staff Personnel Committee
request that one or more members of the Hearing Committee be present
the report is presented to the Faculty and Administrative Staff
- The chair of the Faculty and Administrative Staff Personnel
shall submit the evidence and the report accepted by the full committee
the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
- Simultaneously, a letter stating that action has been taken
concerning the grievance and a copy of the report approved by the
Faculty and Administrative Staff Personnel Committee shall be
transmitted to the aggrieved person.
- The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall assume
for transmitting all information back down through the appeal chain.
If the grievance is not resolved at this point, the aggrieved person
appeal to the next highest level -- the President of the University.