September 3, 2008



TO:                  Wahhab Khandker, Convener

                        Complaints, Grievances, Appeals and Academic Freedom Committee


FROM:            Joe Heim, Chair

                        Faculty Senate


RE:                   Committee Charge for 2008-2009 Academic Year


This memo is intended to serve as the initial charge letter to the Complaints, Grievances, Appeals and Academic Freedom Committee (CGAAF) for the 2008-09 academic year.


In response to concerns that, frequently, committee member turnover each year tends to slow committee work, the senate executive committee is working to find better ways to orient new committee members.  Additionally, we would like to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of committee work.  To that end, we will be trying several new ideas. 

  1. The SEC will be holding a meeting of Chairs during the week before classes in January.  The purpose of this meeting will be for committee chairs to report on progress on charges to date and discuss any problems committees may be experiencing.
  2. All members of your committee will receive an electronic copy of this charge letter.


Per Faculty Senate Bylaw II. (s):  “Each faculty committee shall hold an organizational meeting and report the name of the chairperson to the senate office by October 1. (Joint Chairpersons are not permitted.)” 


Therefore, as the convener of the CGAAF, please arrange, as soon as feasible, an organizational meeting.  In addition to a chairperson, please also elect a secretary.   


 Primary responsibilities of the chairperson include:

o       promptly informing the Senate office (5-8018) the results of the election of officers and any changes in committee membership.*

o       organizing and conducting meetings.

o       completing a year end report on the CGAAF activities to be submitted to the Senate Office no later than May 31, 2009.


*The committee chairperson should carefully review Faculty Senate Bylaw II, “Faculty Standing Committees” for information on committee attendance and the role of alternates.


Primary responsibilities of the secretary include:

o       recording minutes of each meeting.

o       promptly sending meeting minutes to Sibbie Weathers ( so that the minutes can be posted on the faculty senate website. 


In the event the committee chooses to rotate secretarial duties, please designate one person to be responsible for e-mailing the meeting minutes to Sibbie Weathers.


According to Faculty Senate Bylaw II. E. The Complaints, Grievances, Appeals and Academic Freedom  Committee, the duties and responsibilities of the committee shall include:

1. Hearing and acting upon complaints in accordance with UWS 6.01, UWL 6.01, UWS 13.01 and Section III of the Faculty Senate Bylaws. Complaints are allegations against a member of the faculty or instructional academic staff which allege conduct violating university rules or policies, or conduct adversely affecting the performance of the member's obligation to the university. Complaints unrelated to the academic function of the university, or for which separate procedures exist such as for charges of sexual or racial harassment, or complaints alleging illegal activities subject to civil penalties, shall not be considered by this committee unless requested by the chancellor. Complaints brought before the committee by action of the chancellor require that the chancellor or the chancellor's representative assume responsibility for prosecuting the charges.

2. Hearing and acting upon grievances in accordance with UWS 6.02, UWL 6.02, UWS 13.02 and Section III of the Faculty Senate Bylaws. Grievances concern personnel problems adversely affecting a member of the university community and involving a petition for redress either by or against a member of the faculty or instructional academic staff. Grievances claim personal harm from the action of another employee involving such matters as terms of appointment, promotion, retention, salary, work assignments, or other conditions of employment. The university employee initiating the grievance bears the burden of proof as the grievant and may, at his or her option, specify what would be considered remedial action.

3. Hearing appeals that request a review of a procedure, decision, or action of university administration, of an academic department, of any support unit, or any body of university governance other than the Faculty Senate or its committees that impacts on one or more members of the faculty or instructional academic staff, except when appeals concern dismissal, non renewal or lay-off decisions (see Hearing Committee). Appeals for review of an action of a senate committee shall be directed to the senate. A faculty member need not be adversely affected by an action to request a review. (For example, a professor could appeal revisions in his or her department's promotion criteria; a department could appeal a dean's decision to decline an offer of a contract to a candidate for a vacant position.) An appeal to CGAAF shall be filed only when other avenues for review are not available. Procedures established by CGAAF for hearing appeals shall be in accordance with Section III of the Faculty Senate Bylaws and shall follow procedures described in UWS and UWL 6.02 for hearing grievances. In particular, when an informal resolution cannot be reached, the appellant is responsible for preparing the appeal petition, documenting evidence, and securing witnesses; burden of proof rests with the appellant. The written formal appeal shall be filed within 30 days beyond the end of the semester during which the appealed action was taken.

4. Recommending corrective actions when needed, or issuing statements of admonishment or censure in cases where the committee determines that there have been actions contrary to the principle of academic freedom or deviations from fair and equitable application of due process.

5. Developing rules and procedures to assure fairness in the hearing of complaints, grievances, and appeals and communicating these to parties involved in hearings. Minimum guarantees of due process and procedure shall provide both parties to a dispute: a) written notice of hearing at least ten days prior to the hearing, b) the right to counsel and/or other representatives, c) timely access to documentary evidence, and the names of witnesses, d) the right to offer, confront, and cross-examine witnesses, e) the right to a copy of the official record of the proceedings, f) the right to written findings of fact and decision, and g) the right to a written account of all committee recommendations. While providing due process, the committee shall not be bound by common law or statutory rules of evidence. Hearings shall be held in accordance with Wisconsin Open Meeting Law (Sub IV, Chapter 19, Wisconsin Statutes).

In addition to the committee’s normal work, included here is a special charge:


  • The Dean of the College of Science & Health communicated with the Faculty Senate Chair this summer in regards to a personnel problem involving final exams and student complaints regarding class schedule changes. Please meet with the Dean to get a better understanding of the issues involved and determine if the committee should make any recommendations in regards to this incident.
  • Also, should the membership wish to bring any policy issues to the attention of the senate, it should certainly do so.  Any recommendations that the committee would like to make to the senate should be submitted to our office in a timely fashion. 


If you have questions or concerns, please contact me at any time during the year.  Finally, if the Senate Executive Committee or I can assist your committee in any way during the year, please do not hesitate to ask.



cc:        Members, Academic Policies & Standards Committee