Faculty Members Start Review Of Current Grievance Process
Concerned that the Faculty's current formal grievance procedure proved problematic in its first and only use, professors and administrators yesterday began discussing ways to improve the code.
The Faculty Council, in its first session of the spring term, also considered expanding the procedures to apply to complaints other than charges of discrimination. The current procedures deal only with grievances" which allege discrimination on the basis of race, color, religious belief, sex, national or ethnic origin, handicap, or age."
In the first and only use of the existing formal grievance procedure. Theda Skocpol, then an associate professor, charged in 1980 that the Sociology Department discriminated on the basis of sex in refusing to recommend her for tenure.
The current formal procedure, which the Faculty adopted in 1978 to comply with federal Title IX regulations, stipulates that an ad hoc committee of three current or recent Faculty Council members consider a grievant's case and then make a recommendation to the Dean of the Faculty.
An alternate informal procedure stipulates that a grievant try to resolve the complaint with an appropriate faculty member or administrator. If this effort fails, the grievant brings the case to the Equal Employment Opportunity Office; if the office cannot resolve the complaint, the grievant may elect to pursue the formal procedure.
Two of the three committee members considering Skocpol's grievance concluded that sex discrimination influenced the Sociology Department in its decision. However, an ensuing report on the department's affirmative action procedures found no pattern of sex discrimination in its tenure decisions.
In addition to expanding the code's jurisdiction, the Council discusses several possibilities for improving the current grievance procedure, including:
*Forming a standing grievance committee, which would be more experienced and competent that an ad hoc body.
*Increasing the role of legal counsel in grievance cases, to advise the grievant, the grievant's department, and the committee.
Council members stressed that yesterday's discussion was tentative and inconclusive, and will be continued in subsequent council meetings.
In addition to regular council members Daniel Steiner '54 the University's general counsel; Thomas E. Crooks the Faculty's affirmative action officer and Hendrik S. Houthakker Lee Professor of Economics and a member of the ad hoe committee that considered Skocpol's grievance participated in the meeting.