For the Faculty Grievance Committee, 2005-06 has been an extremely
easy year for handling new individual grievances and a very frustrating
year for passing and implementing needed changes to the grievance process.
The appointment of a faculty ombudsman has been a huge success, and
Faculty Ombudsman Stan Roux has been doing a superb job. As a result,
no new grievances have been filed since September 1. Several cases
were resolved informally, although several others may yet result in
Professor Roux is completing his second year as faculty ombudsman,
and we strongly support his reappointment for a second 2-year term.
We are concerned that his workload is larger than anticipated, and
we urge the administration to find ways to ease his burden, while respecting
the confidentiality of his role. We also support the eventual hiring
of a second ombudsman, whose first year would overlap with Professor
Roux’s final year so as to allow a smooth transition.
There was one grievance hearing this year, in response to a grievance
filed in August 2005. The hearing panel has issued its observations
and chose not to recommend any specific actions.
On the legislative front, this has been a difficult year. In September
2004, the Faculty Grievance Committee concluded that the existing grievance
procedures were fundamentally unfair, allowing little or no possibility
of relief for faculty members grieving against administrators. We suspended
the handling of individual grievances until these problems could be
fixed. Throughout the 2004-05 academic year, we negotiated changes
3.18 and HOP
4.03 with the administration.
We commend the administration for working cooperatively with us on
these changes, and we applaud the eventual legislation that the Faculty
Council passed in May 2005. President Faulkner approved the changes
in August 2005 and sent the legislation to the UT System office for
final approval. In response to these events, and believing that the
problems had been successfully addressed, we resumed processing grievances
in August 2005.
Unfortunately, the UT System office did not respond to the recommended
changes until March 2006, at which time they reported significant objections
to the proposed legislation. With the help of President Powers, we
agreed on an approach to the outstanding issues and had a very productive
meeting with Helen Bright from UT System. We are cautiously optimistic
that language acceptable to all can be worked out by the end of the
semester and will report back to the Faculty Council the results of
our continuing efforts.
However, this would only be a partial fix. UT System has requested
and we have agreed to attempt a rewrite of HOP
rewrite would not change our procedures in any way, but it would make
clear the differences between cases involving termination, denial of
tenure, discipline, and other grievances, and clarify the jurisdictional
boundaries between the Grievance Committee and CCAFR. It would also
clarify how practices at UT Austin adhere to Regents’ Rules
We will begin this task as soon as the legislation that the Faculty
Council passed last year receives final approval.
Some of the reforms in that legislation are already being followed
on this campus. The most important concerns follow-up procedures to
ensure that the recommendations of hearing panels are carried out.
An important test case is that of a faculty member whose grievance
was heard May 2005. The provost reported at the end of the fall semester
about progress toward ensuring the recommendations are satisfactorily
accomplished; however, several major ones were still unresolved. The
grievance committee discussed this with the provost on April 3, and
we are hoping for a report at the end of the spring semester that indicates
much greater progress.
4.03 governs grievances by TAs and AIs, which we hope to
amend to make parallel with grievances for faculty. In response to discussion
about this during a Faculty Council meeting last year, we drafted a version
4.03 that would cover all graduate student employees
and that would also reflect the changes made to HOP
effort is currently stalled as a consequence of the impasse over HOP
In addition, substantial practical problems remain in extending the HOP
rules to govern RAs. Our recommendations are that:
||RAs be covered by the staff grievance process rather than the faculty grievance
||While limited to AIs and TAs, HOP 4.03 should be as parallel to HOP 3.18
Given our ongoing task of revising HOP
3.18, we think it best to leave HOP
3.18 revisions are finished, presumably during the next academic
Lorenzo Sadun, chair