02-04.00 – Responsibilities and Procedures of the Faculty Grievance and Mediation Committee

  1. Policy Statement:

    This policy provides procedures for presenting, reviewing and resolving faculty grievances. This policy implements University System of Maryland (“USM”) policy II-4.00, Policy on Faculty Grievance.

  2. Definitions:

    1. Business day: Monday through Friday, regardless of any employee’s actual work schedule, and excluding days on which the institution is closed, regardless of the employee’s work schedule.

    2. Grievant is defined in §§V.A.4 and V.B.2.

    3. Grievance Committee is defined in §§V.A.2 and V.B.2.

    4. Respondent is defined in §V.B.2.

    5. Written Report is defined in §V.B.7.
  3. Responsible Executive and Office:

    Responsible Executive: Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs

    Responsible Office: Office of the Provost

  4. Entities Affected by this Policy:

    All Towson University (“University”) faculty with a recognized faculty rank as provided in §V.A.4.

  5. Procedures:

    1. Faculty Grievance and Mediation Committee

      1. The USM Policy II-4.00, Policy on Faculty Grievance requires the University to adopt procedures for the presentation, review and resolution of faculty grievances. The procedures set forth below follow regulation 16 of the Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure.

      2. The Faculty Grievance and Mediation Committee (“FGMC”) is an elected committee established to review and resolve faculty grievances. The Grievance Committee shall consist of 9 voting faculty members—7 (including one from each college including the Library) and 2 at large faculty representatives. Election of Grievance Committee members shall correspond with the regular Academic Senate committee’s election schedule and procedures. In the event a committee member fails to serve or cannot serve, replacement of Grievance Committee members shall correspond with the regular Academic Senate committee’s election schedule and procedures.

      3. The Grievance Committee shall also have the following authority: to hear and make recommendations to the Provost and Executive Vice President and the University President in faculty termination cases instituted pursuant to § I.C.7 of the USM Policy on Appointment, Rank and Tenure of Faculty and to consider complaints of tenure-track faculty and lecturers alleging violations of academic freedom resulting in non-reappointment, as more specifically provided in Section 10 of the AAUP Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure; and, to consider grievance appeals as provided in §V.C.2.b.iii.

      4. Faculty holding a recognized faculty rank, including all contingent faculty, regardless of tenure status and/or percent time of employment, may file a grievance.

      5. Grievances involve any cause of dispute arising between faculty and the University on a matter concerning academic freedom, discipline, interpretation or application of University faculty policies or procedures, and other administrative actions by the University that are not excluded in §V.A.7 below.

      6. Faculty are encouraged to resolve disputes informally whenever possible, before turning to the Grievance Committee. Faculty colleagues, department chairs, deans, and HR college partners can be helpful support resources for informal resolution of disputes. Anyone providing support in the resolution of disputes should commit to maintaining strict confidentiality about the issue. Where disputes cannot be resolved informally, a faculty member may file a grievance. Confidentiality must be maintained by members of the Grievance Committee, the Grievant and Respondent, and all support partners for both informal resolutions and formal grievances.
      7. The following matters cannot be grieved:

        1. Matters covered by another USM or University policy including, but not limited to, appointment, rank and tenure and retrenchment policies TU 02-01.00, Towson University Policy on Appointment, Rank and Tenure of Faculty; USM II-8.00, Policy on Faculty Retrenchment: and policies relating to the filing of discrimination complaints TU 06-01.00, Policy Prohibiting Discrimination. Matters concerning alleged discrimination should be directed to the University’s Office of Inclusion and Institutional Equity (“OIIE”). 

        2. Interpersonal disputes between or among faculty.

        3. Any matter the remedy for which would contravene or interfere with any official policy, regulation, procedure, decision or action of the USM, the University or the Board of Regents.

        4. Matters pertaining to broad areas of fiscal management, staffing or structure of the USM or the University.

        5. Matters not under the control of the University and/or of the USM.

    2. Grievance Procedures:

      1. The grievance shall be filed no later than 60 business days of the action(s) giving rise to the grievance.

      2. The faculty member (“Grievant”) shall file a written grievance with the Grievance and Mediation Committee (“Grievance Committee”). The grievance shall include the following information: the individual who took the institutional action that serves as the basis for the grievance (“Respondent”); a detailed description of the grievance; the facts supporting the grievance; and, pertinent documentation. Within 14 business days or receipt of the grievance, the Grievance Committee shall provide written notice to both the Grievant and the Respondent that a grievance was filed and that each party has 14 business days to challenge a member of the Grievance Committee as set forth in§ V.A.2. The notice shall also provide the Respondent with a copy of the grievance and any supporting documentation the Grievant provided to the Grievance Committee. The Academic Senate Chair and the President of TU-AAUP shall also receive notice that a grievance has been filed.

      3. Within 28 business days from the date the notice was sent, the Respondent shall have the opportunity to respond to the grievance in writing and to provide any supporting documentation to the Grievance Committee. Upon receipt, the Grievance Committee will forward any documentation provided by the Respondent to the Grievant. Within the same 28 business days, each party to the grievance shall have the opportunity to challenge a member of the Grievance Committee on grounds that the member cannot be fair and impartial. The party challenging a member must set forth the basis for the challenge in writing. The Grievance Committee shall decide any such challenge by majority vote. The Chair of the Academic Senate shall have the authority temporarily to appoint members to replace committee members who are removed or who recuse themselves from considering a grievance.

      4. The Grievant shall have the burden of demonstrating the merits of the grievance and may consult with the TU AAUP president during the grievance process.

      5. Following the 28 business days set forth in ¶3 above, the Grievance Committee shall have the next 60 business days to review the statements and supporting documents of both the Grievant and the Respondent, and either dismiss the grievance as set forth in ¶6, or issue its findings and recommendations as set forth in ¶7.

      6. The Grievance Committee shall determine whether the grievance has merit and whether the dispute is one that may be grieved under this policy. If the Grievance Committee, by majority vote, determines the grievance to be without merit or not subject this policy, it will dismiss the grievance in whole or in part and advise the parties in writing. A decision by the Grievance Committee dismissing the grievance (or any part of the grievance) is final and not appealable.

      7. If the Grievance Committee determines further review is warranted, the Grievance Committee is authorized to request additional documents, question the Grievant and Respondent, and interview other persons with relevant information. Upon completion of its review, the Grievance Committee shall summarize the evidence, and make written findings and recommendations (“Written Report”) to the Dean. However, if the Dean is either a party to the grievance, or approved the actions giving rise to the grievance, or if the grievance involves different Colleges, the Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs (hereinafter “Provost”), shall select a designee, other than the Dean, or the Deans of the respective Colleges, to review the Written Report.

      8. The Grievance Committee may consult with the University’s Office of General Counsel at any time during the grievance process.

      9. The Grievance Committee’s Written Report shall be based upon a majority vote. Copies of the Written Report shall also be provided to the Grievant and Respondent at the same time it is provided to the Dean (or designee).

      10. Within 28 business days of receiving the Written Report from the Grievance Committee, the Dean (or designee) shall review the Grievance Committee’s Written Report and decide whether to accept or reject it. At any time during their review, the Dean (or designee) may opt to interview the Grievant and Respondent. Any decision to interview one party must include an interview of the other party. The parties shall be notified in writing by the end of the 28 business day review period of the Dean’s (or designee’s) decision and the basis for any rejection of the Grievance Committee’s Written Report. If the Dean or designee rejects the Written Report of the Grievance Committee, they must draft their own Report (“Dean’s or Designee’s Report”) stating in writing the basis for the rejection. A copy of the Dean’s (or designee’s) decision shall be provided, along with the Written Report of the Grievance Committee, to the Provost, the Grievant, the Respondent, and the supervisors of the Grievant and the Respondent. The Dean’s (or designee’s) decision shall be hand-delivered to the parties, mailed to them by registered mail, return receipt requested, or delivered via confidential electronic file delivery system (hereinafter “properly delivered.”). If there is no timely appeal to the Provost as provided in ¶11 below, the Dean’s decision is final.

      11. The Grievant or Respondent may file a written appeal of the Dean’s (or designee’s) decision to the Provost within 14 business days of the date of the Dean’s (or designee’s) decision. The Provost shall review the appeal and issue a written decision on the grievance within 14 business days, which shall be properly delivered to the parties. The Provost’s decision on the grievance is final.

      12. Neither party shall have the right to have counsel present at any stage of the grievance process.

      13. The Academic Senate chair and the TU-AAUP president shall be informed of decisions, whether negative or positive, in each stage of the process.

Related Policies:

USM Policy II-1.00, Policy on Appointment, Rank and Tenure

USM Policy II-4.00, Policy on Faculty Grievance

USM Policy II-8.00, Policy on Faculty Retrenchment

TU Policy 02-01.00, Towson University Policy on Appointment, Rank and Tenure of Faculty

TU 06-01.00, Policy Prohibiting Discrimination

Approval Date: 10/09/2010

Effective Date: 10/09/2010

Amended Date: 8/17/2012; 2/11/2022 (Amendments effective 8/22/2022)

Approved By: President's Cabinet

Signed By: President Schatzel

How to Request the Policy PDF

This online version of the policy may include updated links and names of departments. To request a PDF of the original, signed version of this policy, email the Office of the General Counsel, .