Academic Affairs Policies

III-7.11(B)

UMB Graduate Assistant Grievance Policy

Academic Affairs   |   Approved August 31, 2011


Responsible VP/AVP

Bruce Jarrell, MD, FACS


Policy Statement

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (“University”) is committed to providing appropriate professional and educational employment for its Graduate Assistants (GA’s). To this end, the University has adopted a grievance policy to ensure that certain matters (specifically enumerated below) are dealt with fairly and expeditiously.

This policy is to be used when a GA has concerns regarding:

  • Workload volume and scheduling;
  • Inappropriate work assignments;
  • Termination of a graduate assistantship within the term of appointment; and
  • Non‐renewal of an assistantship for arbitrary or capricious reasons including reprisal for filing a grievance.

The decision whether to renew an assistantship is ordinarily within the discretion of the supervising faculty member and Graduate Program Director and is not subject to this grievance process. However, as noted above, there is one exception: a grievance alleging arbitrary or capricious reasons for non-renewal or violations of the University’s prohibition on retaliation based on the filing of a grievance.

The grievance will be dismissed if the GA has submitted or had adjudicated the same, or substantially the same, complaint through any other formal grievance procedure provided by the University e.g., grade grievances or appeals of dismissal.

Alternate policies exist if a GA wishes to grieve regarding alleged sexual harassment or discrimination based on disability, race or other protected status.

Concerns regarding suspected on‐campus fraud or fiscal irregularities should be pursued through the confidential University System of Maryland hot‐line mechanisms established in USM Policy VIII‐7.10, “Policy on Reporting Suspected or Known Fiscal Irregularities” http://www.usmd.edu/regents/bylaws/SectionVIII/VIII710.html as well as institution fraud reporting policies and any relevant state or federal “whistleblower” laws.

I. Procedure for filing a grievance

A. Informal resolution

A student enrolled at the University of Maryland Baltimore and employed as a Graduate Assistant (GA) who has concerns about a matter relating to his or her GA position must first attempt to resolve concerns informally with his or her mentor(s), supervisor(s), Graduate Program Director (GPD) and/or department or unit head.

B. Appeal of informal determination

If the concern is not resolved to the GA’s satisfaction through the informal process, he or she may appeal the outcome by submitting a letter of grievance.

  1. Procedure for filing a letter of grievance
    1. The GA must submit a written and signed statement of the alleged grievance to the Dean of the Graduate School (“Dean”). The letter of grievance must be received by within 30 business days of the conclusion of the informal resolution process. Under exceptional circumstances, the time for filing may be extended at the discretion of the Dean.
    2. The letter of grievance must:

    1. contain a clear description of the facts giving rise to the grievance and any additional evidence the GA believes is relevant to the matter;
    2. identify the provision(s) of the VII - 4.50(A) - UMB POLICY ON GRADUATE ASSISTANTS which have been violated;
    3. set forth the desired remedy; and
    4. be copied to the supervising faculty member and the Graduate Program Director.
  2. Procedure for resolving a letter of grievance

    a. Upon receipt of a letter of grievance, the Dean or designee will solicit a written response from the Graduate Program Director.

    b. Once the GPD has replied, the Dean may choose to decide the grievance him or herself or the Dean may select a panel to review the matter and make a recommendation to the Dean.

    c. If the Dean chooses to appoint a panel, the following procedures will apply:

    1. The panel will consist of two graduate faculty members (one of whom shall chair the panel) and one graduate student. Each panel member shall be familiar with the GA’s discipline but may not be from the GA’s program or department.
    2. Either party to the grievance may request in writing to the Dean that a panel member be removed based on an allegation that the panel member has a conflict of interest. The decision to remove a panel member is solely within the discretion of the Dean.
    3. The Dean will provide the panel with the letter of grievance and the written response of the GPD.
    4. If the panel so chooses, it may ask questions of the GA, the GPD and other relevant parties.
    5. Participants may seek advice from legal counsel or other advisors. An attorney or advisor may provide a written submission on behalf of a party but the appeals process does not include a meeting or hearing in which counsel or an advisor meets with or addresses the panel.
    6. Formal rules of evidence do not apply.
  3. Upon conclusion of its investigation, the panel shall provide the Dean with a written report containing a statement of the issues, the panel’s findings of fact, the controlling policy provisions, the panel’s conclusions regarding the merits of the grievance, and a recommended disposition of the grievance, including any suggested remedy.
  4. The Dean shall decide the grievance and fashion any necessary remedy, giving substantial weight to the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the panel.
  5. The Dean should convey a written decision and, where appropriate, indicate the appropriate remedy, to the GA the GPD and other relevant parties within 15 business days of receipt of the letter of grievance. Under exceptional circumstances, the time may be extended at the discretion of the Dean.
  6. The decision of the Dean regarding the merits of a grievance and, where appropriate, the remedy, shall be final.

Definitions

GA - Graduate Assistant

GPD - Graduate Program Director

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