The University Record, November 21, 1995

Grievance policy referred to new committee for evaluation

By Jane R. Elgass

Robert's Rules of Order notwithstanding, Senate Assembly's Proposed Model Grievance Policy has been forwarded to an ad hoc committee of six for additional evaluation and refinement. The committee is scheduled to report to the Assembly in February.

The largest sticking point for Assembly members is language stating: "This decision and recommendation shall be binding on all parties, subject to appeal as outlined below," with "binding" being the triggering word.

This was identified as a concern by several Assembly members, including Bernard Maloy, associate professor of kinesiology, and was one of seven suggested language changes included in an amendment document put forth by Sheila Feld, professor of social work.

Assembly members also want to see a definition of what is grievable included in the policy language.

Discussion of the proposed policy opened with a substitute motion by Louis D'Alecy, professor of physiology, relative to a motion that was tabled at the October meeting.

Noting that the policy has been under discussion for an extended period, has undergone "multiple iterations" and that further modification is anticipated, D'Alecy asked for Assembly acceptance of the document as a starting point for discussion with the administration that will develop a mutually agreeable grievance procedure.

Following Feld's motion for an amendment to D'Alecy's substitute document, Ronald Lomax, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, moved to refer the document to an Assembly committee---current committee members D'Alecy; Thomas Moore, professor of biology; and Alfredo Montalvo, associate professor of art; as well as Feld, Maloy and Wilfred Kaplan, professor emeritus of mathematics---for evaluation of recent input and possible incorporation into a revised document. D'Alecy, Moore and Montalvo are the three committee members who have been working on the document.

During open discussion, Lewis Yohn, associate professor of dentistry, exhorted Assembly to vote against D'Alecy's substitute motion, indicating that once language is established, it is difficult to change.

"I went through the grievance procedure and it's a sham," he said. "To table and discuss [it] is the best approach." Referring to the use of the term "binding," Jahn said the document "is dangerous if approved now."

Moore noted that the language was intended to express intent, that the actions of the faculty committee are final and binding. He suggested substituting "determinative" for "binding" or adding a statement indicating that "nothing is intended to preclude faculty members from going to the courts. We would like to keep it in the University but not prevent faculty from seeking the courts," he said.