To provide a process by which grievances by graduate assistants relative to University employment will be considered and resolved.
Any graduate assistant who holds or has held a graduate assistantship and who has a complaint or disagreement concerning the assistantship has the right to try to resolve it using the grievance procedure as outlined below. Such grievances are restricted to only interpretation or application of established policies and procedures governing assistantships. For a complete statement of policies governing assistantships, refer to the Graduate Assistantship Handbook, available on the Graduate College website at www.grad.uni.edu/assistantships.
To help the graduate assistant through the entire grievance procedure, two means of support are available: (a) the Associate Dean of the Graduate College is available for consultation, and (b) the graduate assistant may be accompanied by one representative of choice. The Graduate College Office is responsible for monitoring the grievance procedures, both informal and formal; it is that office's role, in part, to make sure a written grievance is received by the right person at each of the various steps throughout the formal grievance procedure.
This policy applies to issues such as workload, treatment, and reasonable expectations related to the Graduate Assistant assignment. It does not cover issues related to coursework. The grievance procedure does not apply to tuition remission and stipend adjustments.
Grievances Arising from Alleged Discrimination
Grievances arising from alleged discrimination on the basis of age, color, creed, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran or military status, or any other protected category under applicable federal, state, or local law are subject to separate procedures. Graduate Assistants alleging discrimination should consult immediately with the Office of Compliance and Equity Management, 117 Gilchrist Hall, 319-273-2846.
INFORMAL GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
The graduate assistant must seek initially to resolve the complaint or disagreement by informal means. This would mean contacting the immediate supervisor directly. The Associate Dean of the Graduate College is available for consultation to help resolve any problems. Resolutions of complaints and disagreements at the informal level are strongly encouraged.
Due to time constraints on the overall grievance procedure, the informal procedure should be pursued promptly. To leave enough time, should a formal grievance be deemed necessary, the informal procedure should be limited to no more than ten (10) class days from the time the grievance occurrence.
FORMAL GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
If resolution by informal means fails, the graduate assistant may then initiate the formal grievance procedure. The formal grievance must be filed within twenty (20) class days of the date when the occurrence of such grievance is first noted (or should have been noted) by the graduate assistant.
The Grievant will document the complaint via written and dated communication. Once the formal grievance is filed, subsequent responses from all parties involved must be recorded in writing.
The Grievant will submit the documentation to the academic Department Head or Director (if this person is the immediate supervisor, the academic College Dean fills this role). Upon receipt of the written complaint, the academic Department Head/Director conducts an investigation during which the Grievant and supervisor are given the opportunity to meet and present information about the case. The academic Department Head/Director indicates the resulting disposition and reasons for same in writing within ten (10) class days of receiving the written complaint, copying the Graduate Dean.
The Grievant responds in writing to the Department Head's or Director's decision within five (5) class days with a response of either “Accept” or “Decline.” The Graduate Dean is copied on all communication. If the Grievant responds with “Accept” or does not respond in a timely manner, the grievance shall end.
If the Grievant timely responds with “Decline”, the Grievant shall forward the grievance, in writing, to the Dean of the Graduate College within two (2) class days. Failure to forward the grievance in this manner shall end the grievance. If the grievance is properly forwarded, the Dean of the Graduate College considers the matter based on the written documentation, and indicates the resulting disposition and reasons for same in writing to all parties within ten (10) class days of receiving the forwarded grievance.
The Grievant responds in writing to the Graduate Dean’s decision within five (5) class days with a response of either “Accept” or “Decline.” If the Grievant responds with “Accept” or does not respond in a timely manner, the grievance shall end.
If the Grievant timely responds with “Decline”, the Grievant shall forward the grievance, in writing, to the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs within two (2) class days. Failure to forward the grievance in this manner shall end the grievance. If the grievance is properly forwarded, the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs considers the matter based on the written documentation, and indicates the resulting disposition and reasons for same in writing. The Graduate College Office should also be notified. The communication should be completed and sent to all parties within ten (10) class days of receiving the forwarded grievance.
A decision at Level III is considered the final internal remedy.
Designated time limits in these procedures may be extended by the Dean of the Graduate College or designee upon good cause shown.
Throughout this policy, the term “class days” refers to university class days during the regular fall and spring semesters. Class days during a summer session(s) may be counted upon written agreement between the Grievant and Dean of the Graduate College.
Other University Policies
Graduate College, approved January 25, 2019
University Council, approved February 25, 2019
President and Executive Management Team, approved March 4, 2019
[Last reviewed and/or updated 3/2019]