Grievance Procedures, Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs
To articulate the procedures for hearing grievances arising in Student Affairs.
Students and faculty having grievances with the department of Student Affairs.
Pursuant to Article XII of the University Senate Code and Articles V and VI of the University Senate Rules and Regulations of the University of Kansas, the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs establishes the following procedure for the hearing of grievances with all offices and departments in Student Affairs. This procedure shall be the sole procedure in Student Affairs available to users of the services of the offices and departments of Student Affairs. If a grievant initiates any grievance procedure outside of Student Affairs while the grievant's case is under consideration, the Grievance Procedures of Student Affairs are to be immediately terminated. Grievances arising from the provision of medical care or psychological services at Watkins Health Services or Counseling and Psychological Services are excluded from this grievance procedure. Such grievances should be addressed to the Director of Watkins Health Services or the Director of Counseling and Psychological Services as appropriate.
No person shall be subjected to discharge, suspension, discipline, harassment, or any form of discrimination for having utilized or having assisted others in the utilization of these grievance procedures.
A Grievance Committee provided for in these procedures will have three members: a permanent Chair and two individuals selected from the staff of Student Affairs. The Chair will be appointed annually by the Vice Provost for Student Affairs and shall be a faculty or staff member from outside of Student Affairs. Each of the departments reporting to the Vice Provost for Student Affairs shall designate staff representatives to serve, as appropriate, on the Grievance Committee. When a grievance is filed with the Vice Provost, the Chair of the Grievance Committee shall select two of the members to serve with the Chair as a hearing panel for the grievance. The two individuals selected shall not be from an office or department in which the grievance initiated. Information concerning the committee designated to hear grievances (hereinafter the "Committee") and these grievance procedures shall be easily available to all persons employed in or using the services of the unit.
1. Because the committee has the responsibility to hear grievances, it cannot function to develop evidence on behalf of either complainant or respondent. It is appropriate, however, for the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs in their administrative capacity, to consider complaints prior to scheduling a grievance hearing, to interview parties, to secure documents, and to seek a conciliatory solution. If the problem is not solved in this fashion, the Vice Provost for Student Affairs shall refer the complainant to the Committee, or, if appropriate, to the Judicial Board. If the complainant is referred to the Committee, the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs shall make available to the Committee and both parties that information which has been developed concerning the complaint prior to the hearing. This shall not be construed, however, to deny the right of an individual to file a complaint directly with the Committee. If the complaint is submitted directly to the Committee, the Chair will suggest to the individual that he/she pursue the informal resolution process prior to proceeding through the hearing procedures. When a complaint is submitted directly to the Committee, the Chair will determine whether the complaint is an appropriate grievance for the Committee to review.
2. The Committee may establish procedures in addition to those listed in this document concerning the operation of the Committee's activities. The basic requirements of the grievance procedure as stated here, however, may not be altered by the Committee's procedures. All procedures shall ensure prompt and fair handling of complaints but shall avoid the formalism of legal process. Should the Committee adopt procedures in addition to those presented here and should it propose any changes or amendments to the procedure, it shall submit those procedures or changes or amendments to the General Counsel of the University. `Unless the General Counsel determines that the procedures or changes or amendments as submitted are in conflict with the existing law, rules of the Board of Regents, or rules or regulations of the University, the procedures or changes or amendments shall become effective 30 days after such submission.
3. No complaint shall be entertained by the Committee if more than six months have elapsed since the action or event complained of. A complaint must be submitted in writing to the Committee and a copy sent to the respondent. The written statement of the complaint or grievance shall set forth the facts upon which the complaint or grievance is based and shall indicate the provision or provisions of the University rules and regulations alleged to have been violated, or the acts of established University bodies or officials alleged to have been unlawful, arbitrary or capricious and the witnesses and other evidence relied upon by the party. Each grievant will be expected to provide certain uniform data to expedite the hearing before the Committee. The grievant will also be asked to provide the name of the individual and/or office to be named in the complaint. The grievance is to be described and submitted under separate cover. The respondent is to be provided the opportunity to submit written comment to the Committee. If the respondent chooses to submit a written response, the respondent must do so within two weeks of receiving the complaint. The response shall contain the respondent’s statement of facts underlying the dispute, defenses to the allegations in the complaint, and the witnesses and other evidence relied upon by the party, The complainants and respondents must share copies of materials to be used in evidence and names of witnesses with each other at least 48 hours prior to a hearing of the complaint or grievance.
4. The Committee shall schedule a hearing within thirty days of the submission of a complaint or grievance unless the Committee determines that there is good cause to schedule the hearing later. One week prior to the date of the hearing, the Chair will notify the complainant of the committee members sitting on the hearing panel. The Chair, in consultation with the Vice Provost, will determine whether a conflict of interest exists. In the event that the Chair is unable to serve, the Vice Provost will select a temporary Chair from outside of Student Affairs.
5. No member of the Committee for whom hearing a complaint constitutes a conflict of interest shall sit with the Committee while the complaint is being heard nor shall any party involved in the complaint participate in the rendering of any decision on the complaint or grievance.
6. Except when all parties agree that the hearing before the Committee shall be public, all proceedings provided for in this grievance procedure shall be closed to all but the parties involved. Public reports by the Committee may refer to the types of cases heard but no mention may be made of the names of the parties nor any reference made which would permit their identification.
7. A party against whom a complaint or grievance is brought shall have the privilege of remaining silent and refusing to give evidence and he or she shall be informed of this privilege during the initial stage of the proceeding.
8. Each party to a proceeding shall be entitled to a full examination of the evidence presented by the other party, including the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses. To this end, the complainants and respondents shall provide each other with copies of materials to be used in evidence and names or witnesses prior to a hearing by the Committee of the complaint or grievance.
9. The complainant shall bear the burden of proof unless the action complained of is the result of disciplinary proceedings. In such situations, the party supporting the application of sanctions to individual members of the University community shall have the burden of persuading the Committee of the facts upon which the applications of sanctions must be based.
10. The chairperson of the Committee shall have the power to keep order, rule on questions of relevance and evidence, and shall possess other powers normal and necessary for a fair and orderly hearing.
11. The grievance proceeding shall be as informal as possible. Therefore, while each party to a proceeding may represent itself or be represented by an advisor or counsel of his, her, or its choice, representation by legal counsel is not encouraged. Hearings shall be closed, except as provided in section 6. Rules of evidence which govern court proceedings shall not apply. A record of the proceedings will be maintained, including an audio tape recording of the hearing, which will be made available to the parties, at the parties’ expense. In a situation which necessitates the absence of the complainant, and he/she wishes the hearing to proceed as scheduled, the complainant must have a representative attend the hearing.
12. After hearing the evidence and arguments presented concerning the complaint, the Committee shall deliberate and decide, by majority vote, on a recommendation to the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, based solely upon the evidence received at the hearing. The Committee has no enforcement powers and does not command sanctions. Each party to the proceeding shall receive prompt, written notice of the recommendation of the Committee and of the decision of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs concerning the Committee's recommendation.
13. Appeals of the Decision of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs concerning the Committee's recommendation shall be made in writing to the University Judicial Board no more than thirty (30) class days after the aggrieved party has been advised in writing of the decision of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs.
These procedures are not available to unclassified professional staff and university support staff who wish to grieve about employment-related issues such as performance of responsibilities, leaves and other related personnel matters as determined by the Department of Human Resource Management. Such grievances are heard under the Grievance Procedure for Staff.
Dr. Tammara L. Durham
Vice Provost for Student Affairs
Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs
Strong Hall, 1450 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 133
Lawrence, KS 66045
01/17/2018: Updated to reflect new staff grievance procedures.
07/20/2016: Updated University Senate Code Article reference number.
10/27/2014: Updated references to health services in first paragraph of policy statement, now reads "Watkins Health Services".
Revised April 2010.
Revised October 1992.
Revised June 1991.
Revised March 1988.