Authority: Board of Trustees
History: First Issued: September 20, 1996. Last Revised: November 22, 2019.
UNC Code Section 604 – Appointment, Non-reappointment and Requirements of Notice and Review
UNC Code Section 607 – Faculty Grievance Committee for Constituent Institutions
UNC Code Section 610 – Rights of Special Faculty Members
UNC Policy Manual 101.3.1 – Review of Non-reappointment Decisions under Section 604 of The Code
UNC Policy Manual 101.3.2 – Grievances Filed Pursuant to Section 607 of the Code
NCSU POL01.05.08 – Faculty and EHRA Non-Faculty Appeals to Board of Trustees
NCSU POL04.25.05 – Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy
NCSU REG 04.25.02 – Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Complaint Procedure
NCSU POL05.35.01 – Mediation Policy and Procedure
NCSU REG 05.25.04 – Faculty Grievance and Non-reappointment Review Procedures
Contact Info: Vice Chancellor and General Counsel (919-515-3071)
Senior Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs (919-513-7741)
The purpose of this policy is to provide an internal university process for the good faith resolution of employment-related faculty issues. Employment related faculty issues covered by the Code of the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina (The Code) include (a) grievances in which a faculty member seeks redress concerning general employment-related actions including post-tenure review and denial of promotion (Section 607 of The Code) and (b) reviews of non-reappointment decisions of tenure-track faculty members (Section 604 of The Code). This policy implements the general requirements set forth in The Code, while NCSU REG 04.25.04 (Faculty Grievance and Non-Reappointment Review Procedures) establishes the procedures to be followed for a grievance or non-reappointment review including but not limited to the specific steps involved for the entire grievance or review process.
2. FACULTY GRIEVANCE/REVIEW COMMITTEE
2.1 Faculty Grievance/Review Committee Membership
There shall be a standing university committee elected by the General Faculty and designated as the Faculty Grievance/Review Committee. Each college shall elect two (2) members of the General Faculty to serve. At least one member from each college must be a tenured associate or full professor; the membership from colleges that appoint faculty only on non-tenure track contracts may vary from this requirement. The General Constituency shall elect two (2) members to serve. The Faculty Grievance/Review Committee may not include anyone with an administrative appointment. Committee members will be elected to an initial two-year term and may be eligible for re-election to an additional two-year term. After serving two consecutive terms, a faculty member can become eligible for re-election after a break of one year. Elections shall be held annually and the terms of the members shall be staggered. The timing of and procedures for elections shall coincide with the elections for the Faculty Senate. Members of the Faculty Grievance/Review Committee must complete annual training from the Office of General Counsel before serving on a grievance or review panel.
2.2 Faculty Grievance/Review Committee Chair
The Chancellor shall appoint a chair of the Faculty Grievance/Review Committee from the elected members after conferring with the Chair of the Faculty. The Faculty Grievance/Review Committee Chair shall be appointed for a two-year term; if the Chair is unable to complete the two-year term, the Chancellor shall confer with the Chair of the Faculty and appoint a new Faculty Grievance/Review Committee Chair from the Faculty Grievance/Review Committee to finish the term. The Faculty Grievance/Review Committee Chair shall be responsible for appointing members from the Grievance/Review Committee to serve on panels to hear faculty grievances or reviews. The Faculty Grievance/Review Committee Chair shall also be responsible for making an annual report to the Faculty Senate and the Chancellor concerning the review and grievance process. As necessary, the Faculty Grievance/Review Committee Chair may, in collaboration with the Faculty Senate Governance and Personnel Policy Committee, conduct a periodic review of the grievance and review process for the purpose of considering any proposed revisions to this policy or any accompanying regulations.
3. REVIEWS OF NON-REAPPOINTMENT DECISIONS (SECTION 604)
Within the University, important faculty personnel decisions are based on evaluations of performance rendered by a candidate’s colleagues and supervisors, who are in the best position to make such judgments. These assessments are not the product of mechanically applied checklists, criteria, or formulas; there is no simple litmus test for outstanding job performance. Rather, these decisions must reflect careful exercises of discretion, in which the faculty colleagues draw on their own academic knowledge, experience, and perceptions to evaluate the candidate’s qualifications and performance. The academic review process seeks to obtain the collective good faith professional academic judgment of the candidate’s colleagues and administrators as the basis for personnel decisions. These decisions are entitled to great deference and weight, and, as such, must be based on considerations that are relevant to the candidate’s performance and potential to contribute to the good of the institution.
Reviews of non-reappointment decisions (including a denial of tenure) pursuant to Section 604 of The Code may be sought by tenure-track faculty members (“Non-Reappointment Review”). The faculty member who seeks a Non-Reappointment Review is the petitioner.
3.1 Grounds for Non-reappointment Review
A Non-Reappointment Review may proceed only on the grounds that the non-reappointment decision was based on one or more of the following:
3.1.1 The procedures followed to reach the decision materially deviated from prescribed procedures such that doubt is cast on the integrity of the decision not to reappoint;
3.1.2 The exercise by the faculty member of rights guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, or by Article I of the North Carolina Constitution;
3.1.3 Discrimination as defined and prohibited by NCSU POL 04.25.05 (Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy); or
3.1.4 Personal malice, which is dislike, animosity, ill-will, or hatred based on personal characteristics, traits or circumstances of an individual that are not relevant to valid university decision making. Additional information regarding personal malice and non-reappointment decisions is provided in UNC 184.108.40.206[R] Regulation on Review of Nonreappointment Decisions Under Section 604 of The Code, Section II.A.
3.2 Filing a Petition for a Non-Reappointment Review
A petition for a Non-Reappointment Review must be filed within sixty (60) calendar days of notice of the non-reappointment decision and must state the grounds for the petition—specifically, a statement of the facts to support a claim that the non-reappointment decision was based on one or more of the above-listed grounds in section 3.1. The petition must include the grounds for the petition, specifically, a statement of facts to support a claim that the non-reappointment decision was based on one or more of the above-listed grounds in section 3.1.
3.3 Purpose of the Non-Reappointment Review.
The purpose of reviewing non-reappointment decisions is to determine if the decision was materially flawed, in violation of applicable laws, policies, standards, or procedures. The purpose is not to second guess professional academic judgments based on permissible considerations. Rather, the purpose of a non-reappointment review is to determine whether the decision was based on one or more of the considerations set forth in section 3.1. A non-reappointment decision cannot be reversed as the result of a review, rather where the petitioner shows by a preponderance of the evidence that the non-reappointment decision was based on one or more of the impermissible grounds listed in section 3.1, the non-reappointment decision may be subject to reassessment.
4. EMPLOYMENT RELATED GRIEVANCES (SECTION 607)
Any faculty member may seek redress through an employment-related grievance pursuant to Section 607 of The Code during the faculty member’s employment at NC State (“Grievance”). The faculty member who seeks review of a decision that adversely affected his/her employment is the grievant. If the grievant is separated from employment while the grievance is pending, the grievance must be dismissed as being administratively closed.
4.1 General Grievances
General Grievances are limited to matters directly related to a faculty member’s employment status and institutional relationship within NC State, provided that:
4.1.1 The faculty member has been adversely affected in professional or academic capacity, and
4.1.2 The adverse action is due to an administrator’s decision that is alleged to violate the law, or a university policy, regulation, or rule (PRR).
The administrator who made the decision that adversely affected the faculty member shall be the respondent.
4.2 Post-Tenure Review Grievances
A tenured faculty member may file a Grievance for a post-tenure review decision with an overall finding of “does not meet expectations” based on one or more of the same grounds as for a non-reappointment review (see above-listed bulleted items in section 3.1).
The administrator who made the determination of an overall “does not meet expectations” for a faculty member’s post-tenure review will be the respondent in a post-tenure review grievance. Members of the post-tenure review committee may be called as witnesses by either party.
4.3 Filing a Grievance
A Grievance must be filed within sixty (60) calendar days of the alleged adverse action that is the basis of the Grievance. The Grievance must include the grounds for the Grievance, meaning a statement of facts to support a claim that an administrator’s decision:
4.3.1 For General Grievances: violated the law, or a university policy, regulation, or rule (PRR) and how the decision adversely affected the grievant; or
4.3.2 For Post-Tenure Review Grievances: was based on one or more of the same grounds as for a non-reappointment review (see above-listed bulleted items in section 3.1)
The Grievance must also include name of the administrator responsible for the alleged improper decision (the respondent). Persons may be named as respondents only if they were active and substantial participants in the decision being grieved. Lastly, the form must include the redress or relief sought.
4.4 Purpose of the Grievance
The purpose of a Grievance is to determine whether the grievant has been adversely affected by an administrative decision under section 4.1 or 4.2. For post-tenure review Grievances, the purpose is not to second guess professional academic judgments based on permissible considerations.
4.5 Non-Grievable Matters.
Issues or actions that are not grievable under this policy include:
4.5.1 Dissatisfaction with the general application of a university, college or departmental policy, regulation, or rule (PRR);
4.5.2 Non-renewal or non-extension of an existing fixed term appointment for non-tenure track faculty upon expiration of the term; and
4.5.3 Complaints, grievances or appeals that are subject to another university procedure or within the jurisdiction of another university committee, (e.g., research misconduct complaints, intellectual property determinations, campus police trespass appeals, Section 603 discharge or sanction cases, etc.).
4.6 Grievances and Discharge/Imposition of Serious Sanctions (Section 603) of The Code
If a grievant is named in a proceeding pursuant to Section 603 of The Code for discharge for cause or imposition of other serious sanction, the Grievance will be dismissed if it relates to the Section 603 proceeding. If the Grievance is unrelated to the Section 603 proceeding, it will be held in abeyance until the conclusion of the Section 603 proceeding. If the Section 603 proceeding results in discharge, the Grievance will be dismissed. If the Section 603 proceeding does not result in discharge, Grievance may proceed.
5. PROCEDURES FOR GRIEVANCES AND NON-REAPPOINTMENT REVIEWS
The procedures for Grievances and Non-Reappointment Reviews—including the specific steps in those processes—are contained in this policy’s companion regulation, NCSU REG 05.25.04 (Faculty Grievance and Non-Reappointment Review Procedures). Faculty members interested in pursuing a petition for a Non-Reappointment Review or a Grievance should refer to that regulation.
6. CHANCELLOR’S DECISION
The Chancellor shall issue the final decision for any Non-Reappointment Review or Grievance if the matter proceeds to a Non-Reappointment Review or Grievance Panel Hearing. The Chancellor must base his or her decision on a thorough review of (1) the record evidence from the hearing, and (2) the recommendation of the Panel. If the Chancellor is considering taking an action that is inconsistent with the recommendation of the Panel, the Chancellor should consult with the Panel—either in person or in writing—before making a decision. While the Chancellor should give appropriate deference to the Panel’s findings and recommendations, the final campus-based decision is the Chancellor’s. The Chancellor shall notify the faculty member and relevant administrators of the Chancellor’s decision in writing; the notice of the decision to the faculty member must be by a method which produces adequate evidence of delivery.
7. REPORT OF THE FACULTY GRIEVANCE/REVIEW COMMITTEE CHAIR
The Faculty Grievance/Review Committee Chair, together with the Chair of the Faculty, shall make an annual report to the Faculty Senate and the Chancellor concerning the Non-Reappointment Review and Grievance process. This report shall summarize, without disclosing specific details, the types of grievances considered, findings by categories and final administrative decisions. As necessary, the Faculty Grievance/Review Committee Chair shall convene a meeting of the Faculty Senate Governance and Personnel Policy Committee and the Faculty Grievance/Review Committee for the purpose of considering any proposed revisions to the Non-Reappointment Review and Grievance procedure for faculty.
8. DELEGATION TO CHANCELLOR
8.1 The Chancellor is authorized to establish regulations to implement this policy, provided the regulations are consistent with the UNC Code or this policy. The Faculty Senate shall be consulted in the review of regulations associated with this policy.
8.2 The Chancellor may grant exceptions to this policy in any case where following the policy would result in substantial unfairness (e.g., if the Chancellor has a conflict of interest, another decision-maker may be designated). Any such exception should be reported to the Faculty Grievance/Review Committee Chair, the Non-Reappointment Review/Grievance Panel Chair, and the parties.