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Grievance Procedure, School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Procedure
Purpose: 

To handle grievance by Faculty and Students.

Applies to: 

All Journalism Faculty and Students.

Campus: 
Edwards
Lawrence
Juniper Gardens
Parsons
Yoder
Topeka
Policy Statement: 

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, Lawrence, the School of Journalism and Mass Communications establishes the following procedure to hear grievances arising within the jurisdiction of the School. This procedure shall not be used to hear disputes assi to other hearing bodies under USRR Article VI, Section 4.

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications grievance procedure applies to faculty members and students when the grievance does not fall under the jurisdiction of another body as outlined in the code and regulations above. Grade appeal and student academic misconduct procedures are outlined in their respective policies. .

Grievances arising within the School of Journalism and Mass Communications must be heard under the School’s Grievance Procedure unless exceptional circumstances, as determined by the Provost, make it more appropriate for those grievances to be heard at the Provost level. Appeal of a grievance heard at a subordinate level is to the Judicial Board, not the Provost.

For disputes involving alleged violations of student rights, the initial hearing normally will be at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. There is an option to hold an initial hearing at the Judicial Board if both parties agree, or either party petitions the Judicial Board chair to have a hearing at the Judicial Board level and the petition is granted. The petition must state why a fair hearing cannot be obtained at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications; the opposing party has an opportunity to respond to the petition. (USRR 6.4.3.1.)

Except as provided in USRR 6.5.4., no person shall be disciplined for using the grievance procedure or assisting another in using the grievance procedure.

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications shall provide a copy of this procedure to anyone who requests it. The procedures must be on file with the Policy Office, and the University Ombudsman, and posted on the School of Journalism and Mass Communications’ website and in the University Policy Library.

1. To start the grievance process, the complainant must submit a written grievance. Any case that involves a student shall be submitted to the assistant dean for the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Cases between two or more faculty members will be submitted to the School’s grievance committee chair. The complaint shall contain a statement of the facts underlying the complaint and specify the provision(s) of the Faculty Code of Conduct, University Senate Code, the University Senate Rules and Regulations, the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities, or other applicable rule, policy, regulation, or law allegedly violated. The complaint shall also indicate the witnesses or other evidence relied upon by the complaining party, and copies of any documents relevant to the complaint shall be attached to the complaint.

2. At the time the complaint is submitted to the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, the complaining party shall provide a copy of the complaint, with accompanying documents, to the respondent(s).

3. Upon receipt of the complaint, the assistant dean or grievance committee chair shall contact the respondent to verify that the respondent has received a copy of the complaint and to provide the respondent with a copy of these procedures.

4. Pursuant to University Senate Code 14.2.c., a respondent has the privilege of remaining silent and refusing to give evidence in response to the complaint. The respondent also has the right to respond and give evidence in response to the complaint.

5. The respondent shall submit a written response to the assistant dean or grievance committee chair of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. The response shall contain the respondent’s statement of the facts underlying the dispute as well as any other defenses to the allegations in the complaint. The response shall also identify the witnesses or other evidence relied upon by the respondent and shall include copies of any documents relevant to the response. The respondent shall provide a complete copy of the response to the complaining party.

6. Upon receipt of the response, the assistant dean or grievance committee chair shall contact the complaining party to verify that a copy of the response has been provided.

7. For cases involving a student, upon receiving the complaint and response, the assistant dean will present the complaint and response to the grievance committee of the School to consider the complaint. The committee members shall be disinterested parties who have not had previous involvement in the specific situation forming the basis of the complaint. Complaints and responses between faculty will have already been presented to the grievance committee chair.

8. Pursuant to USRR 6.8.4.2., the chair of the grievance committee may contact other hearing bodies within the University to determine whether a grievance or complaint involving the underlying occurrence or events is currently pending before or has been decided by any other hearing body.

9. Time limits. To use this procedure, the complainant must file the written complaint with the School of Journalism and Mass Communications within six months of the action or event that forms the basis of the complaint. The sixmonthtime period shall be calculated using calendar days (including weekends and days during which classes are not in session).

10. Upon receiving the complaint, if the chair of the grievance committee determines that any of the following grounds exists, the chair may recommend that the complaint be dismissed without further proceedings. The grounds for such dismissal are: (a) the grievance or another grievance involving substantially the same underlying occurrence or events has already been, or is being, adjudicated by proper University procedures; (b) the grievance has not been filed in a timely fashion; (c) the School of Journalism and Mass Communications lacks jurisdiction over the subject matter or any of the parties; (d) the grievance fails to allege a violation of a University rule; (e) the party filing the grievance lacks standing because they have not suffered a distinct injury as a result of the challenged conduct and has not been empowered to bring the complaint on behalf of the University; or (f) the party filing the grievance has been denied the right to file grievances pursuant to USRR 6.5.4.

11. If the chair of the grievance committee determines that a grievance on its face properly should be heard by another body, the chair will recommend that the Dean send the grievance to the appropriate hearing body without further proceedings in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. The Dean will send a copy of the referral to the complainant(s),any responding parties and the assistant dean (if applicable).

12. Prior to scheduling a hearing, the parties shall participate in mediation of the dispute unless either party waives mediation. Mediation shall be governed by USRR 6.2.3.

13. If mediation is successful, the mediator will forward to the Dean, the grievance committee chair, the assistant dean (if applicable), and all parties a letter describing the outcome of the mediation and the terms upon which the parties have agreed to resolve this dispute. This letter shall be a recommendation to the dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. The Dean will notify the mediator, the committee chair, the assistant dean (if applicable), and the parties that the recommendation has been accepted, modified, or rejected.

14. If mediation is not successful, the mediator will notify the Dean, the grievance committee chair, the assistant dean (if applicable), and the parties that mediation has terminated. If mediation is not successful, or if it waived by either party, the grievance committee will schedule a hearing no later than 30 calendar days from the written submission of the complaint. The 30-day period may be extended for good cause as determined by the chair of the grievance committee. The 30-day period shall be suspended during the mediation process. The hearing will be closed unless all parties agree that it shall be public.

15. Each party may represent themselves or be represented by an advisor or counsel of the party’s choice.

16. Each party has a right to introduce all relevant testimony and documents if the documents have been provided with the complaint or response.

17. Each party shall be entitled to question the other party’s witnesses. The committee may question all witnesses.

18. Witnesses other than parties shall leave the hearing room when they are not testifying.

19. The chair of the committee shall have the right to place reasonable time limits on each party’s presentation.

20. The chair of the grievance committee shall have the authority and responsibility to keep order, rule on questions of evidence and relevance, and shall possess other reasonable powers necessary for a fair and orderly hearing.

21. The hearing shall not be governed by the rules of evidence, but the chair of the committee may exclude information they deem irrelevant, unnecessary, or duplicative. Statements or admissions made as part of the mediation process are not admissible.

22. The grievance committee will make an audiotape of the hearing but not of the deliberations of the committee. The audiotape will be available to the parties, their authorized representatives, the committee, and the dean’s office of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. If a party desires a copy of the audiotape or a transcript of the tape, that party will pay for the cost of such copy or transcript. In the event of an appeal, the audiotape will be provided to the appellate body as part of the record of the case.

After the presentation of evidence and arguments, the grievance committee will excuse the parties and deliberate. The committee’s decision will be a written recommendation to the dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. The committee shall base its recommendation solely upon the information presented at the hearing.

23. The grievance committee will send its written recommendation to the dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the parties as soon as possible and no later than 14 calendar days after the end of the hearing.

24. Within 14 calendar days of receiving the committee recommendation, the dean will have the assistant dean or grievance committee chair notify the parties of the acceptance, modification, or rejection of the recommendation. The assistant dean or grievance committee chair will advise the parties of the procedure available to appeal the decision.

The result of a journalism school grievance committee hearing could be appealed to the University Judicial Board, but only on the limited grounds listed in USRR 6.7.3. (All appeals must be made within 30 calendar days of the decision).

This policy was approved October 8, 1999 by the Faculty of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications and has been reviewed and approved by the Office of the University General Counsel. It was amended April 2, 2004 to be consistent with the School’s bylaws and governance structure. It was amended September 5, 2018 to remove Staff/USS/UPS, remove grade appeals, remove academic misconduct, change judicial committee to grievance committee, and modify points of contact. It was reviewed and approved by the Office of the General Counsel on October 9, 2018.

Contact: 

School of Journalism and Mass Communications
Stauffer-Flint Hall
1435 Hayhawk Boulevard
Lawrene, KS 66045-7515
jschool@ku.edu
785-864-4755

Approved by: 
School of Journalism and Mass Communications Faculty
Approved on: 
Friday, February 8, 2019
Effective on: 
Friday, February 8, 2019
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Keywords: 
Grievance Procedure, Journalism School
Change History: 

03/06/2019: Revised policy uploaded into Policy Library.
02/08/2019: Policy revised to remove Staff/USS/UPS as well as grade appeals, and complete missing required information.

School/College Policy Categories: 
Grievance & Appeals

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