Webster University seeks to provide for the safety of student’s faculty, staff and visitors and our buildings and property by eliminating or reducing threats of violence in our Webster learning, living and working environments. The University is committed to maintaining learning, living and working environments free from dangerous weapons, violence and/or threats of violence.
Approved by Administrative Council: Aug. 2, 2016
Effective: Sept. 14, 2016
Webster University seeks to provide for the safety of students faculty, staff and visitors and our buildings and property by eliminating or reducing threats of violence in our Webster learning, living and working environments. The University is committed to maintaining learning, living and working environments free from dangerous weapons, violence and/or threats of violence.
II. Policy Scope
This policy applies to all full-time and part-time students and employees of the University, all contract workers on University premises, and to all visitors to University locations. This worldwide policy includes all University campuses, all locations where University-sponsored events and activities occur and all online, Skype and social media activity initiated by a student or employee of the University that may impact others in our University community.
III. Policy Statement
Possession of firearms or other dangerous weapons (as defined below) at any University location or at any University event is prohibited. This includes but is not limited to items stowed in vehicles parked on any property owned, leased or maintained by the University. (This excludes Public Safety Officers only with regard to any specific equipment they are officially issued by the University in the normal course of carrying out their assigned duties and responsibilities.)
Students, faculty, staff and campus visitors who are members of the military and/or commissioned law enforcement officers and who are required by the military or their law enforcement employer to carry their weapons while in uniform may carry a weapon while on campus upon presenting to the campus director or, at the Webster Groves campus, to the Department of Public Safety, a copy of their government-issued credentials and in the case of military personnel, orders necessitating the need to carry a firearm while on campus. Commissioned law enforcement personnel not wearing uniforms may carry weapons on campus so long as the weapon is concealed and not carried in a manner that would cause alarm to a reasonable person; they must also have their credentials with them at all times and readily identify themselves as a commissioned law enforcement officer. Likewise, with presentation of documentation substantiating the necessity of carrying weapons for their jobs, these individuals may be permitted to store such weapons in the secured storage areas on their vehicles while parked on campus or other University property. At no times should an individual be permitted to load or unload weapons while on campus.
Notwithstanding the above, the University recognizes that some individuals carry pepper spray or similar devices for personal protection when walking on- or off-campus. This policy is not intended to prohibit the carrying of such items; however, the University expects that individuals will use good judgment in their use of display of such devices. The University prohibits the sale of such devices on campus or by campus entities. Additionally, the University has the right to determine whether any such item is acceptable.
The University will not tolerate workplace violence or the threat of violence at its learning, living or working environments or other locations in which University activities are sponsored. This includes but is not limited to threatening, destructive or violent actions directed by or toward students, employees, visitors or University buildings, equipment or property.
A person who is found in violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination (if an employee), dismissal (if a student) or removal and/or permanent bar from campus if a student, employee or visitor. Lesser sanctions may be considered depending upon the specific offense.
The Department of Public Safety (DPS) has overall responsibility for ensuring safety and a nonviolent community for all of the University’s constituencies. This is supplemented by the responsibility of each administrator and supervisor, and each individual member of the University’s many constituencies and communities to observe University policies designed to establish and maintain safe and nonviolent learning, living and working environments.
If an individual learns of or witnesses possession of or use of a dangerous weapon or learns of or witnesses a threat or any act of violence or any other conduct in violation of this policy, he/she is urged to immediately report it to the Department of Public Safety, Campus Director, Office of Student Affairs and/or Office of Human Resources or Division Executive. Instances of severe and immediate danger should be reported to the local authorities and the Department of Public Safety.
The University will respond promptly, positively and firmly to deal with reports of dangerous weapons and reports of threats and/or actual campus violence.
Webster learning, living and working environments include any location throughout the world where Webster students engage in learning under the sponsorship of Webster University; living environments include Webster hosted residences for students engaged in learning with Webster University and working environments include any location in which a Webster employee is assigned to work for Webster University, for compensation or as a volunteer.
Commissioned law enforcement officer: a law enforcement officer of the state or federal government or any political subdivision of the state with the power of arrest for a violation of the criminal code or declared or deemed to be a peace officer by state or federal statute.
Dangerous weapons: for purposes of this policy, “dangerous weapons” means fireworks, other explosives, other weapons or dangerous chemicals not specifically authorized by the University. This also includes any item commonly used as, or primarily intended for use as, a weapon (concealed or otherwise): firearm, ammunition, knife with a blade over three inches, metal knuckles, billy, blackjack and club. This also includes misuse of legal objects in a dangerous manner.
Such items are prohibited on all University owned, leased, managed or maintained property and any property used as a University sponsored learning, living or working site. Similarly, such items may not be stowed in any vehicle while parked on University owned, leased, managed or maintained property or any property used as a learning, living or working site by Webster University.
The definition of dangerous weapons does not include certain tools issued by the University for use in the performance of assigned job duties such as knives or saws or drain cleaners issued to facilities personnel when used for their intended purpose. The definition does not apply to prop weapons used for theatrical performances and/or performance art with prior approval of the Director of Public Safety or their designee.
Violence: aggressive, hostile or similar behavior which is intended to injure or otherwise harm an individual or property.
Threat: a declaration of an intention or desire to injure or otherwise harm an individual or property. A threat may be made by means of innuendo or suggestion as well as by express language or gesture.
Aggressive or hostile behavior or threat of same may include but is not limited to:
- Statements, verbal, written or electronic, that threaten action.
- Statements, verbal, written or electronic, that imply negative consequences.
- Stalking or engaging in any pattern of harassment of another individual including, but not limited to, following or covertly or overtly monitoring another person physically or electronically.
- Physical aggression such as shoving or striking.
- Loud, offensive or harsh language.
- Defaming or derogatory terms used in describing an individual.
Witness: one who has first-hand knowledge of an act, including a threat or act of violence or other violation of this Policy.
As stated above, if an individual learns of or witnesses a threat or any act of violence or any other conduct in violation of this policy he/she should immediately report it to the Department of Public Safety, Campus Director, Office of Student Affairs and/or Office of Human Resources or Division Executive.
Department of Public Safety, campus directors, Office of Student Affairs, Office of Human Resources, division executives, deans, department heads and chairs, and supervisors all share in a leadership responsibility to help ensure a safe environment, to monitor and resolve conflicts and disputes when they arise, and to take appropriate action when potentially violent situations develop. They are empowered to take immediate action to resolve or stabilize violent situations and to protect individuals and property from harm. They must insure that the Department of Public Safety and/or local authorities and the appropriate member of executive leadership are notified immediately in the event of a serious situation.
VI. Education and Distribution of Policy
The Department of Public Safety will provide education programs for administrators, deans, department heads and chairs, and supervisors on how to deal with situations involving reports of dangerous weapons, threats, and/or violence.
A copy of this policy is available online in the Student Handbook, the Human Resources Policies and the Public Safety websites. The Policy will be highlighted with new hires and during orientation with new students.
Responsible Office: Human Resources
The Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Amendment of 1989 requires Webster University to certify that it has adopted and implemented a drug and alcohol abuse prevention program as a condition of receiving federal funds and financial assistance. The law further requires the annual distribution of written policies to each enrolled student. In accordance with the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Amendment of 1989 and Webster University’s mission, this document restates the University’s commitment to maintaining an environment which is free of impairment and encourages both academic growth and personal development.
This policy statement applies to all faculty, staff and students enrolled at Webster University, including students taking classes at extended metropolitan campuses, military campuses and academic programs located overseas. It is the goal of Webster University to protect the public health and environment of its members by promoting an environment free of illicit drug use and alcohol abuse. The manufacture, distribution, possession or use of illicit drugs, and the unlawful possession, use or distribution of alcohol on any Webster University campus or at any University event is prohibited. Violation of this policy will be handled according to existing University policies and procedures governing the conduct of students, staff and faculty.
Standards of Conduct — Illicit Drugs
The unlawful manufacture, possession, distribution or use of illicit drugs on any Webster University campus or site by University students, employees or their guests is prohibited.
Standards of Conduct — Alcohol
Federal legislation prohibits the unlawful possession, use or distribution of alcohol. The laws of all states are in compliance with federal law, which prohibits persons under 21 years of age from the possession or use of alcohol. Foreign countries in which Webster University operates fully accredited programs may have laws which vary from U.S. Federal and State laws. Students at non-U.S. campuses may contact the office of the campus director for information regarding the legal use and possession of alcohol in that country. In St. Louis, the Dean of Students Office maintains standards governing the allowable use of alcohol on campus and at campus events. The office of the campus director maintains similar standards at each extended campus site.
Drugs: In the United States, the manufacture, possession, sale, distribution and use of illicit drugs is prohibited by city, county, state, and federal law. Sanctions range from small fines to life imprisonment, depending on the type of drug and several other factors. In countries other than the United States, sanctions vary. Contact the campus director’s office for specific information.
Alcohol: Each state has specific statues which detail sanctions for the illegal purchase or possession of intoxicating liquor. For example, in the State of Missouri, violation of state statutes governing the use or possession of alcohol may result in fines of between $50 and $1,000 and/or imprisonment for a maximum of one year. County and municipal ordinances contain similar prohibitions and sanctions. Contact the office of the campus director for information regarding provision of applicable ordinances and statutes at your particular campus/location.
Overseas Programs: Students visiting foreign countries to attend academic programs overseas are reminded that they may be subject to arrest and legal sanctions for drug and alcohol offenses under the laws and regulations of that particular country or institution, in addition to relevant Webster University sanctions.
Drugs: Severe health risks, including death, are associated with the use of illicit drugs.
Alcohol: Abuse of alcohol can produce severe health risks, including death. Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior. Even low doses significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely, increasing the likelihood that the driver will be involved in an accident. Low to moderate doses of alcohol also increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including spouse and child abuse. Moderate to high doses of alcohol cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person’s ability to learn and remember information. Very high doses cause respiratory depression and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much lower doses of alcohol will produce the effects just described.
Repeated use of alcohol can lead to dependence. Sudden cessation of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening. Long-term consumption of large quantities of alcohol, particularly when combined with poor nutrition, can also lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and the liver. Mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome. These infants have irreversible physical abnormalities and mental retardation. In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk than other youngsters of becoming alcoholics.
Available Drug or Alcohol Counseling, Treatment Or Rehabilitation Programs
At the St. Louis campus, the Counseling and Life Development department provides confidential information, counseling support, and referral services for Webster University students and employees. This department maintains resource listings of community services available in the St. Louis metropolitan area and offers a comprehensive alcohol/drug assessment and treatment program. Students may find assistance through the Counseling and Life Development department by calling 314-968-7030. The department is located at 540 Garden Avenue. At campuses outside the St. Louis area, Webster University personnel provide information and guidance covering local services for drug and alcohol problems. All such contacts are strictly confidential.
University Disciplinary Proceedings
Different disciplinary procedures are applicable to faculty, staff and students. Violations of the standards of conduct will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis with the imposition of discipline being appropriate to the severity of the violation. For each group comprising the University community, there are certain common sanctions that could be applied in an appropriate case. These common sanctions include letters of reprimand, probation and severance of ties with the University, through expulsion or termination. Normally, opportunity for referral to an appropriate rehabilitation program occurs and is usually associated with a first offense. Referral for prosecution will usually occur only for the most serious violations.
Guidelines for disciplinary sanctions are available in the Student Code of Conduct. Copies are available from the Dean of Students Office in St. Louis or from the appropriate campus director.
Responsible Office: Human Resources
Effective Date: January 1, 2014
Throughout its history, Webster University has been committed to the highest standards of honesty and integrity in all its activities. This includes, among other concerns, the following:
- Avoiding conflicts of interest.
- Dealing with others honestly and in good faith.
- Preserving confidentiality; and
- Compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations.
To reaffirm this commitment, the University has adopted an Employee Ethics Policy that applies to all faculty and staff who are part of our global community. You can view the Employee Ethics Policy below. We ask for your commitment to these high standards set by the University.
Webster University is committed to the highest ethical and professional standards of conduct as an integral part of its mission. Employees are expected to devote their best efforts to the interests of the University and the conduct of its affairs. To achieve this goal, the University relies on each community member’s ethical behavior, honesty, integrity and good judgment.
This Policy applies to all employees of the University.
Each community member shall adhere to generally accepted ethical and professional standards in conducting the business and affairs of Webster University. Each community member shall also demonstrate respect for the rights of others and accept accountability for his or her actions.
The University and each community member must transact University business in compliance with all laws, regulations and University policies related to their positions and areas of responsibility.
Business dealings that create a conflict between the interests of the University and an employee are unacceptable. Even the appearance of a conflict of interest should be avoided. Conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest can occur when an employee or family member has a financial investment in a company that supplies products or services to the University. Potential conflicts can also exist when an employee or family member serves as an officer, director or consultant for a company that acts as a supplier for the University. A conflict may also occur when an employee receives gifts of substantial value from a supplier or potential supplier.
The University recognizes the right of employees to engage in activities outside of their employment that are of a private nature and unrelated to University business. However, a full disclosure of potential conflicts of interest to an employee’s immediate supervisor must be provided to assess and prevent conflicts of interest from arising.
Employees are required to maintain the confidentiality of information entrusted to them by the University, students, associates, and the public and to comply with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Confidential information should be shared only on a need-to-know basis or when disclosure is authorized or legally mandated.
Actions involving theft, fraud, embezzlement, kickbacks, misappropriation of funds or assets, falsification of records, conflicts of interest, breach of confidentiality and other improprieties are in direct violation of this policy.
Managers and supervisors are responsible for implementing and monitoring compliance with this policy in their areas.
Any violations or suspected violations of this policy should be reported to the appropriate Vice President or the Chief Human Resources Officer. No employee will be subject to any disciplinary or retaliatory action for reporting a violation or potential violation of this policy. However, filing known false, malicious reports will not be tolerated and anyone filing such reports will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
Any violations of this policy are subject to disciplinary action ranging from a reprimand to dismissal. Criminal prosecution is also possible in appropriate circumstances.
Ethics Reporting Hotline
EthicsPoint provides a simple and anonymous, risk-free method to report activities that may involve financial misconduct or violations of University policy. To report misconduct or a violation anonymously, contact: EthicsPoint, EthicsPoint Website, 866-294-9371
To report Ethics Violations at the University covered outside this policy:
Sex- and Gender-Based and Other Title VII Discrimination
Director, Office for Civil Rights Compliance and Title IX Coordinator
Policies Listed on Office for Civil Rights Compliance Pages:
Grievance Policy and Procedures
Responsible Office: Human Resources
Date Created: 1/30/2018
Webster University (“the University”) is committed to maintaining a campus environment where its diverse population can live and work in an atmosphere of acceptance, civility, and mutual respect for the rights, duties and sensibilities of each individual.
It is generally recognized that in any human group complaints may originate because of misunderstandings, missed communications, perceived injustices, unanswered or incorrectly answered questions or minor problems that have been neglected. Effective communication techniques are the tools by which one builds good human relations and accomplishes the objectives of the institution.
Sometimes effective two-way communication is not possible in a time of conflict. These Grievance Procedures have been developed in the hope that their accessibility and standard of fairness will encourage students, faculty and staff to utilize them as an internal forum for the resolution of such conflicts. These Procedures allow both sides of a disagreement to be fairly considered, and permit disputes to be resolved in a timely and constructive manner. Each grievance is to be treated seriously and with an awareness that grievances must ultimately be solved by people rather than structures. Internal resolution of grievances is desired. Procedures described in this Policy provide a method for that internal resolution.
Webster University supports the right of students, faculty, and staff at all the University's campuses, to obtain the review of actions taken that they consider unfair or as an impediment to the successful attainment of working, living, and learning at Webster University.
Members of the University community at all levels have a fundamental responsibility to resolve internal disputes by taking appropriate, prompt, and fair action. Individuals attempting to resolve disputes should seek appropriate assistance from their supervisor or manager, department head, dean, division executive, the president of the faculty senate, the chief human resources officer, the dean of students, or any other appropriate University resource.
Grievances are to be presented to the appropriate individual as indicated at each step described in this Policy and must contain information prescribed by this Policy. Only one grievance procedure may be used for the same grievable issue. A grievance submitted under the formal procedure must be in writing. To the extent possible, strict confidentiality will be maintained regarding all matters relevant to grievances on a criterion of “need to know.” All grievances will be promptly, thoroughly, and impartially investigated and decided within reasonable time frames at each stage of the grievance process.
The formal grievance process may generally be activated only after an effort has been made to resolve an issue through an informal process and when discussions between the parties to the disagreement have been exhausted and left unresolved. An exception to this is a grievance related to an alleged violation of an individual's civil rights, defined below in Section VIII. The desire to prevent or to anticipate or to register mere unhappiness over a decision or action does not, alone, justify a grievance.
The University’s Grievance Policy and Procedures will be distributed electronically to all students, faculty and staff on an annual basis. Each division executive, dean and grievance coordinator will attempt to settle grievances using the Informal Procedure before a formal grievance may be filed. The University retains the final decision in any matters pertaining to disciplinary action or termination of individuals.
The University reserves the right to restrict use of the Grievance Policy and Procedures in any circumstances where it appears the Grievance Policy and Procedures are being used to harass students, faculty members, staff members or leadership.
This Grievance Policy applies to all students, faculty members, and staff members of the University and to issues involving other employees, students, and/or third parties with contractual relationships with the University. These Grievance Procedures are not applicable to complaints that have other internal remedies in place.
Employees who voluntarily resign their employment with the University can exercise their rights under this policy during the two weeks immediately following their resignation. Employees terminated for cause are not able to exercise rights under this Policy in order to be reemployed but otherwise have two calendar weeks immediately following termination to file a grievance.
This Policy is applicable to all grievances filed from the date of this Policy forward.
Burden of Proof: A member of the University community who files a grievance has a burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he or she has been wronged.
Confidentiality: Confidentiality means maintaining as confidential, to the extent possible, all matters related to a grievance on a criterion of “need to know.”
Dean: An employee appointed to serve as the chief academic dean over one of the five schools and colleges of the University.
Division Executive: An employee who serves as a member of the University’s Administrative Council who has overall leadership responsibility for a major administrative department/division of the University.
Faculty: Members of the University faculty including full-time, part-time, adjunct, and non-regular faculty when serving primarily in an instructional capacity. Also included are Deans and academic administrators who retain faculty status.
Grievance: A grievance is an allegation by an individual based on specific facts that there has been a misinterpretation, misapplication, discriminatory application, or violation of a University Policy or Procedure. The intent of a grievance process is to resolve a dispute over significant issues not minor disagreements.
Grade disputes, admissions decisions, graduation appeals, and similar academic decisions are not grievable issues, unless they are complaints involving civil rights (as defined in Section VIII).
The following situations may be grieved:
- alleged violations of academic freedom;
- unsafe or inappropriate work assignment;
- unsafe working conditions;
- policy application;
- legally prohibited unequal treatment, including but not limited to discrimination or harassment, on the basis of any civil rights (as defined in Section VIII); provided, however, that the University’s Title IX Policy on Sex Discrimination, Including Sexual Harassment (“Title IX Policy”) — not this Grievance Policy — governs all grievances and allegations of “sexual harassment” as defined in the Title IX Policy, and
- a repeated pattern of harassment or other inappropriate behavior that does not involve any protected characteristic identified in (5).
These grievance procedures may be utilized to review the process and procedures of awarding tenure/Faculty Development Leave (FDL) status, promotions, classification, salary increases, and non-reappointment. However, the Grievance Policy cannot be used to question or challenge the academic judgment or decision-making related to these actions. Grievance Coordinator: The Grievance Coordinator is the individual to whom a formal, written grievance must be submitted. The Grievance Coordinator for grievances lodged by students is the Dean of Students or designee. The Grievance Coordinator for grievances lodged by faculty is the President of the Faculty Senate or designee. The Grievance Coordinator for grievances lodged by staff is the Chief Human Resources Officer or designee.
Grievance Coordinator. The Grievance Coordinator is responsible for helping to coordinate the expeditious and fair resolution of problems raised by University students, faculty and staff. The role of the Grievance Coordinator is to assist the parties in seeking a satisfactory resolution of the issues and not to determine who is “right” or “wrong.” To that end, the Grievance Coordinator will remain neutral throughout the proceedings and will serve primarily as a facilitator. In appropriate circumstances, the Grievance Coordinator may also coordinate efforts within various University offices to resolve disputes in a prompt, flexible, and responsive manner. The Grievance Coordinator also may be consulted during the Informal Process of trying to resolve a grievance.
If a grievance is lodged against a Grievance Coordinator then the Grievance Coordinator's division executive will name an alternative person to serve as the Grievance Coordinator for that specific matter.
Grievant: The Grievant is the person lodging a grievance.
Respondent: The Respondent is the person against whom a grievance is lodged.
Retaliation: Retaliation is a material adverse action against an individual, because of his or her participation in any part of a grievance proceeding. The University prohibits retaliation in any form.
Staff: Any full-time or part-time University employee other than faculty. Graduate assistants and student workers are considered staff for purposes of this Policy when serving in an administrative capacity. Also included are University leadership, division executives, deans and other non-academic administrators unless they also hold faculty status.
Student: One who has accepted an offer of admission to the University with a monetary deposit and is in the process of enrolling, is registered or enrolled, or who has paid tuition, fees or other University costs for credit or non-credit instructional activities at the time during which the alleged grievance occurred.
Terminated for Cause: An involuntary termination of employment for reasons that may include, but are not limited to, poor performance, excessive absenteeism, violation of a University Policy or Policies, breach of contract, or illegal activity. The cause is not for reasons that may be deemed as arbitrary and capricious, but is one which a reasonable person will recognize as reason for an employee no longer occupying his or her position with the University.
Witness: An individual identified by the Grievant, Respondent or a member of the Grievance Hearing Panel who can contribute to the substance of the grievance at hand. An individual identified as a witness or potential witness cannot be forced to testify and will not be coerced, intimidated, or retaliated against for their testimony or refusal to testify.
Time is usually one of the concerns of persons seeking to resolve differences. Sensitivity to the issue of time is also important in the successful use of the grievance Procedure. While haste is to be avoided in the discussion and resolution of problems, the danger of crippling the possibility of a meaningful resolution by delaying discussion or work on the issues involved is equally to be avoided. This Procedure addresses the crucial issue of time — establishing a time limit for each step in the procedure. An extension may be granted if necessitated by time limitations resulting from the University calendar or other special circumstances. The Grievant and Respondent will be provided written notice of any such extensions.
If an extension is desired by one or both parties involved in the resolution of a grievance, the request should be made to the Grievance Coordinator. The Grievance Coordinator will consult with the appropriate division executive(s) and/or dean(s) and will convey the decision to the involved parties in writing.
With the exception of grievances regarding “sexual harassment” as defined in the Title IX Policy, a grievance shall be deemed under this Grievance Policy to involve the civil rights of an individual when the primary cause of the grievance relates to age, sex, race, religion, creed, color, ethnic/national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, genetic background, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, or other personal characteristic protected under federal law in the United States or under any local or state law applicable to any University campus in the United States (collectively, “civil rights”). The University recognizes that the laws in some jurisdictions where the University operates campuses may not be consistent with civil rights laws in the United States; nevertheless, all grievances involving civil rights shall be subject to the procedures set forth in this Section VIII regardless of where such grievances arise, unless applicable law requires otherwise. If the Grievant thinks that his or her civil rights are involved in a grievance, the Grievance Coordinator should consult the Chief Human Resources Officer prior to or at the same time of the initiation of the grievance procedure. Following that notification, grievances which involve civil rights may be submitted to the grievance process.
Persons having grievances concerning civil rights are not required to use internal procedures before filing a complaint with a governmental agency external to the University. However, both the administrators of the University and many governmental agencies recommend the use of internal processes before initiation of external resolution processes. Still, an individual has the right at any time to use procedures and agencies external to the University. Employees based in the United States have access to the following federal and state agencies:
- the Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, which investigates complaints of discrimination on the basis of age, sex, race, religion, color, ethnic/national origin, disability, or veteran status;
- the Department of Health, Education and Welfare which administers Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 prohibiting sex discrimination in education;
- the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor which administers the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, among others;
- the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which administers federal laws forbidding discrimination in employment because of age, sex, race, religion, color, ethnic/national origin, disability, or veteran status;
- the Missouri Commission on Human Rights which enforces state anti-discrimination laws or similar agencies in the states where the University has a campus; or
- the federal or applicable state court system.
Time is always an important factor to these external agencies. If an employee wishes to consult an outside agency, the employee should be aware of the time limits imposed by that agency.
The grievance must be brought to the attention of the appropriate individuals within the timelines specified in these Procedures or the grievance will not be considered. Informal discussions between the parties at all levels of the University should occur in good faith to attempt to resolve the dispute.
If the grievance is not satisfactorily resolved through informal means, the following points are important. The Grievant submits the written complaint to the appropriate Grievance Coordinator, within the timelines described in these Procedures, for consideration and further action, stating the nature of the grievance, the steps that have been taken, and the resolution expected. A Grievance Hearing Panel will be convened to determine whether the issue qualifies as a grievance as defined by this Policy and, if so, to hear the grievance and make a recommendation on the action, if any, to be taken.
The Dispute Resolution Committee consists of 21 members of the University community with equal representation from the three constituencies: students, faculty and staff. Each member of the Committee is appointed by their Grievance Coordinator, to serve a two-year term except that during the initial year of implementation of this Policy appointments will be made with staggered one- and two-year terms. Because of scheduling issues, students may be appointed for a one year term.
University leadership, division executives, deans and grievance coordinators may not be appointed to serve on the Dispute Resolution Committee. Members of the Dispute Resolution Committee will receive annual training in the dispute resolution process and the University's Policies and Procedures regarding the same.
Grievance Hearing Panels will be made up of five (5) members of the Dispute Resolution Committee.
The Grievance Hearing Panel is comprised of five (5) members of the Dispute Resolution Committee. If a grievance involves members of two constituencies, the Grievance Hearing Panel will have representation from both constituencies. Students may only serve on a Grievance Hearing Panel if one of the involved parties is a student or a student worker. Many members of the University have dual constituency status such as a staff member enrolled in academic coursework as a student and student employees. For purposes of this Policy the constituency in which the Grievant is affected will be recognized.
The Grievance Hearing Panel will review documentation related to the grievance, and take testimony from the Grievant, Respondent, and witnesses presented by both parties. Based on the evidence presented, the Panel will reach a recommendation with respect to the issue(s) presented. The Grievance Hearing Panel's written recommendations, based on a simple majority vote, will be forwarded to the appropriate Grievance Coordinator, who will transmit the recommendations to the appropriate division executive(s) and/or dean(s) of the University. The division executive(s) and/or dean(s) will then make a final decision and notify the Grievance Coordinator, who will notify the Grievant and Respondent of the decision in writing.
Appeals. Decisions of the Grievance Hearing Panel and the division executive and/or dean may be appealed to the President as described in the Procedures that follow. The decision of the President is final at the institutional level.
Due to the University’s global network of campus locations, the process for grievances involving individuals outside of the main campus in St. Louis may be conducted by telephone, teleconferencing, or by engaging a neutral third party. The designated Grievance Coordinator is responsible for the coordination of the process to assure an expeditious and fair resolution of problems raised by University students, faculty and staff outside of the main campus location.
Most issues and concerns can be resolved by open communications and through an informal process. Individuals are encouraged to achieve by informal means what they regard as a fair and reasonable resolution of their complaint. Before filing a formal written grievance, the Grievant must first make a good faith effort to confer with the party against whom he or she has a grievance in an effort to resolve the matter informally except where the grievance relates to civil rights as defined in Section VIII or “sexual harassment” as defined in the Title IX Policy. This informal grievance procedure is described in steps one through three below.
In instances where the Grievant feels uncomfortable speaking to the Respondent, an immediate supervisor, department head, or dean, or has any reservations about initiating the initial contact within the Grievant's department, school, or work unit, the Grievant should contact the appropriate Grievance Coordinator. If the grievance is against the Grievance Coordinator then the Grievance Coordinator's division executive or dean should be contacted and he or she will appoint another individual to serve as a Grievance Coordinator for that matter. The Grievance Coordinator will discuss the matter with the Grievant, become familiar with the complaint, and then advise the Grievant as to what options are available for resolving the problem.
The Grievance Coordinator may ask the Grievant to meet with the Grievant's immediate or second level supervisor, the division executive of the Grievant's organization, or the dean of the Grievant's school or college in order to give those individuals an opportunity to resolve the matter. The Grievance Coordinator may meet with the parties together or separately to discuss the problem and may involve other persons in these discussions as appropriate. The Grievance Coordinator may serve as a resource or a facilitator during the informal process. Furthermore, upon request, the Grievance Coordinator should make reasonable efforts to provide supportive measures to a Grievant and Respondent. For purposes of this Grievance Policy, the term “supportive measures” means nondisciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge. Supportive measures may include any of the following examples: counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, campus escort services, mutual restrictions on contact between the parties, changes in work or housing locations, leaves of absence, increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus, and other similar measures.
Step One: Initial Discussion
Before filing a formal written grievance, the Grievant must first make a good faith effort to meet and confer with the party against whom he or she has a grievance. The Grievant should normally initiate this informal process within twenty (20) working days of the most recent incident or action leading to the grievance. This meeting should represent an effort to achieve by informal means what the Grievant regards as fair and reasonable resolution to the complaint.
The Grievant, either personally or through his or her Grievance Coordinator, has the obligation to adequately and fully inform the Respondent of the problem and what would be considered a satisfactory solution. The Respondent, in turn, has the obligation to consider the matter seriously and to answer issues as promptly as possible, yet not with undeliberated haste. Both parties have the obligation to act in good faith.
If the issue is not resolved, then the Grievant should proceed to Step Two of the informal process.
Step Two: Meeting with Supervisor
If the Grievance is not resolved in Step One, then the Grievant should contact his or her immediate supervisor or Grievance Coordinator to discuss the grievance. The Grievant must clearly inform the supervisor, Grievance Coordinator, or other member of management that he or she is pursuing a grievance under this Policy. This step should normally be undertaken within five working days of meeting with the Respondent. If the Grievance involves the supervisor then the Grievant should contact the next level of supervision. The department head, dean, division executive, and/or the appropriate Grievance Coordinator may also be consulted during this step. A meeting to discuss the Grievance should normally occur within five working days of the Grievant's notification of the grievance to his or her supervisor, manager, dean, division executive, or Grievance Coordinator.
If the Grievance is resolved in this meeting, then the Grievant's supervisor, department head, dean or division executive, or Grievance Coordinator should prepare a written document summarizing the issue and its resolution and give a copy to the involved parties.
If the Grievance is not resolved, then the Grievant is encouraged to use Step Three of the Informal Procedure.
Step Three: Mediation
If the matter has not been resolved to the Grievant’s satisfaction in Step Two of the Informal Procedure, then the Grievant should contact the appropriate Grievance Coordinator to request a Mediation Meeting with the Grievance Coordinator and the Respondent's dean or division executive. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the grievance and, if possible, reach a solution that is acceptable to all parties. The Grievance Coordinator will participate in this meeting and will function as the mediator to facilitate discussion and assist in resolving differences between the parties.
The Grievant's request for a Mediation Meeting should generally be made within five working days of the conclusion of Step Two of this procedure. This meeting should generally occur within five working days from the date the Grievant requests the meeting. The Grievant and all other involved parties must be informed of the date of this meeting in writing.
The Grievant should be prepared to: a) fully explain the issue, b) describe the steps that have been taken; and c) state the resolution that is desired. If resolution is reached from this meeting the Grievance Coordinator will document the meeting and the resolution. Copies of the written documentation will be given to the Grievant, the Respondent and to the appropriate supervisors, managers, dean(s) and/or division executive(s) for implementation.
If resolution is not reached, the Grievant may proceed with the Formal Procedure.
In the event the Grievance is not resolved through informal discussions and mediation then the Grievant may choose to pursue the Formal Grievance Procedure as described below. Prior to invoking the Formal Procedure, the Grievant must demonstrate that he or she has exhausted all Informal steps and is still not satisfied with the resolution of the issue.
Step One: Written Request for Grievance Hearing
A Written Request for a Grievance Hearing must be completed by the Grievant and submitted to the appropriate Grievance Coordinator within no sooner than five and no more than ten working days of the conclusion of the Informal Procedure. Upon receipt of the Written Request for a Grievance Hearing, the Grievance Coordinator will assess whether interim measures to protect the Grievant while the Grievance is pending are appropriate and will inform the Grievant and Respondent in writing if any such measures are taken. The Grievance Coordinator will notify the Respondent and will give the Respondent a copy of the written grievance. The Grievant is required to prepare a written Request for Grievance Hearing to ensure that any subsequent Grievance Hearing will address the specific issues that most concern the Grievant. The guidelines set forth below are designed to ensure that the Written Request for a Grievance Hearing clearly identifies those issues. The Written Request, when made, must include the following information:
- the date the Written Request for a Grievance Hearing is submitted to the Grievance Coordinator;
- the Grievant's name and job title or student identification number, current email address and telephone number;
- the department or unit in which the Grievant is enrolled or employed;
- the specific nature of the problem or complaint including:
- the name and contact information (current email address and telephone number) of the Respondent(s),
- all facts related to the complaint, and
- all documentation related to the complaint;
- a written summary of the steps undertaken in the Informal Procedure and copies of any documents produced as a result of that informal process including documents produced by the Grievant as well as any responses from the Respondent, supervisor, department head, or others;
- a list of not more than five witnesses and their current email address and telephone number for any witnesses the Grievant plans to produce at the hearing; the Grievant may submit additional names which the Hearing Panel may wish to call as witnesses on its own accord;
- the specific reason(s) the grievant disagrees with responses obtained through the Informal Procedure; and
- the Grievant's suggestion for proper resolution of the matter.
Step Two: The Grievance Hearing Panel
Purpose of the Grievance Hearing Panel
The Grievance Hearing Panel has two charges. The first is to determine whether the Grievant's complaint is a grievable issue under this Policy. If the Hearing Panel determines that the issue is grievable under this Policy, then its second objective is to hear the grievance and all related testimony and render a decision and recommendations on the issue(s) being grieved.
Appointment of the Grievance Hearing Panel
The Grievance Coordinator, upon receipt of a Written Request for a Grievance Hearing, will immediately notify the appropriate division executive and/or dean and the Chief Human Resources Officer. The Grievance Coordinator will randomly select five members of the Dispute Resolution Committee to serve as prospective members of the Grievance Hearing Panel. This will normally be done within five working days of receipt of the Written Request for a Grievance Hearing. At least two of the individuals selected will be of the same constituency as the Grievant and at least two will be of the same constituency as the Respondent. The fifth individual will be randomly selected from the remaining members of the Dispute Resolution Committee. Students may serve on a Panel only if the Grievant or Respondent is a student or a student worker.
Each member of the Grievance Hearing Panel must avoid participating in any matter where a conflict of interest or material bias for or against the Grievant or the Respondent(s) is present.
Step Three: Initial Meeting of the Grievance Hearing Panel
The Initial Meeting of the Grievance Hearing Panel is a closed meeting, for Hearing Panel members only. This meeting will generally take place within ten working days of appointment of the Panel members. During the meeting the members will elect, by a simple majority vote, a Chair of the Panel. The Panel will then determine whether the issue(s) presented by the Grievant are grievable under this Policy, including whether the grievance is valid or is a frivolous complaint.
At least five days prior to the Initial Meeting of the Panel, the Grievance Coordinator will provide members of the Panel with a copy of the Grievant's written complaint, and any other documents that are part of the grievance. At that time, members of the Grievance Hearing Panel may ask the Grievance Coordinator to obtain additional documents that it believes to have relevance to the meeting.
The Panel's decision will be based on a simple majority vote of its members.
If the Grievance Hearing Panel decides the issue is not grievable under this Policy, then the Chair will prepare a written report of the Panel's findings and forward it to the appropriate Grievance Coordinator. The report will generally be issued within five working days of the Initial Meeting. The Grievance Coordinator will then forward the report to the appropriate division executive(s) and/or dean(s) and to the Grievant and Respondent(s). At the same time, the Grievance Coordinator will inform the Grievant of his or her right to appeal this determination, as described below.
If the members determine the issue is grievable under this Policy, then the Chair will notify the Grievance Coordinator of this decision in writing. The Grievance Coordinator will notify the Grievant, Respondent(s), division executive(s) and/or dean(s) in writing of this decision and a separate meeting will be scheduled by the Grievance Hearing Panel for the purpose of hearing the grievance and issuing a report and recommendations.
Step Four: The Grievance Hearing
The scope of the Grievance Hearing is limited to the issue(s) identified in the Written Request for a Grievance Hearing.
The Chair of the Panel will schedule a date for the Grievance Hearing. The Grievance Hearing will generally be held within ten working days from the date the Hearing Panel issues its decision from the Initial Meeting. The Chair of the Hearing Panel will notify the Grievance Coordinator of the date of the Hearing and the Grievance Coordinator will notify all of the involved parties and witnesses in writing. This notification will generally be made at least seven working days prior to the date of the Hearing.
The Grievant and Respondent will be asked to submit to the Grievance Coordinator a list of no more than five witnesses each, and their current email address and telephone number, to speak on their behalf during the Grievance Hearing Panel meeting. This list must be given to the Grievance Coordinator at least five working days prior to the Hearing date. Generally, only witnesses whose names appear on this list will be permitted to participate in the Hearing. If extenuating circumstances exist, the Grievance Hearing Panel may elect to hear testimony from additional witnesses the Panel believes have pertinent information to provide. Members of the Grievance Hearing Panel may ask the Grievance Coordinator to obtain additional documents that it believes to have relevance to the Hearing. All documents and witness lists must be provided at least five working days prior to the date of Hearing.
Both the Grievant and Respondent may be accompanied at the hearing by a support person/advisor of choice (e.g., student, parent, faculty member, staff member, associate); however this person may not participate in the hearing or speak on his or her behalf. Potential witnesses, other than the Grievant and Respondent(s), must remain outside of the hearing room other than when they are required to testify.
Prior to the hearing, the Grievance Hearing Panel will establish an appropriate schedule for the proceedings. A typical schedule follows. Once the Hearing is begun, the Grievant will present an opening statement. The Panel may then question the Grievant. The Respondent will then present an opening statement. If there is more than one Respondent each may make an opening statement. After the opening statement of each Respondent, the Panel may question the Respondent(s).
After opening statements and questions have been completed, the Grievant may question each of the Grievant's witnesses. Following the Grievant's questioning, the Respondent may question each witness. The Panel may then question each witness.
After the Grievant has called all the Grievant's witnesses, each Respondent will have a chance to call his or her witnesses and ask questions of each witness. The Grievant may then question the Respondent's witnesses. Following questioning by the Grievant, the Panel may question each witness.
The Panel may consider the written statement, made under oath, of a witness who cannot appear when the party seeking to use the statement has provided it to the Chair of the Panel at least five working days in advance of the Hearing date. A copy of this statement shall immediately be given to the other party. The other party will have the opportunity to respond in writing or verbally during the Grievance Hearing. If the reply is made in writing then the Chair of the Grievance Hearing Panel will distribute a copy of the reply to the opposing party and to all members of the Grievance Hearing Panel.
After each side has called all of its witnesses, the Grievant and Respondent(s) may each make a closing statement. The Chair will then briefly review the issue(s) for determination, then all parties except Hearing Panel members will be excused.
Members of the Panel will then meet, in private, to evaluate information presented. If during its deliberations the panel determines that additional information and/or witnesses should be considered it may reconvene the hearing at an appropriate time to do so.
The Grievant has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the Grievant has been wronged.
The Hearing Panel's determination will be based upon a vote of a simple majority of the Panel.
Report of the Hearing Panel
The Panel's decision will be based on a simple majority vote of its members.
The Chair of the Grievance Hearing Panel or designee shall prepare a written report summarizing the Panel's findings as to whether the grievance has merit and will include recommendations on corrective action(s) to be taken, if any. The Chair’s report will generally be given to the appropriate Grievance Coordinator within five working days of the conclusion of the hearing. If the Panel requires longer than five working days, the Chair of the Grievance Hearing Panel or designee will notify the Grievance Coordinator, in writing, of the delay; the Grievance Coordinator will then notify the Grievant and the Respondent, in writing.
Upon receipt of the Hearing Panel’s report, the Grievance Coordinator will provide a copy to the Respondent’s division executive or dean. The division executive or dean will generally have five working days to review the report and issue a final written decision and corrective action report to the Grievance Coordinator. The Grievance Coordinator will transmit this final written decision to both the Grievant and Respondent within three working days of receipt. Upon issuance of the report, the Grievance Coordinator will also provide written notification to the parties of their appeal rights, if any. The Grievance Coordinator will also transmit the decision and any other relevant information to the Grievant's division executive or dean, the Respondent's division executive or dean, and the Chief Human Resources Officer.
If the determination is made that the grievance has merit, the University will take appropriate, corrective, and remedial actions. Such corrective actions may include, without limitation, any of the supportive measures identified in this Grievance Policy and may range up to expulsion, in the case of a student, and termination, in the case of an employee. The University may utilize progressive discipline where the University deems it appropriate to do so.
Appeal of the Grievance Hearing Panel Decision
A. Procedures for Appealing a Panel’s Determination that an Issue is not Grievable.
If the Grievance Hearing Panel determines that the issue is not grievable under this Policy then the Grievant may appeal this decision to the University's President. The appeal must be made within ten working days of the date of the decision of the Grievance Hearing Panel, in accordance with the procedures below.
To appeal a Panel’s determination that an issue is not grievable under this Policy, a Grievant must submit a written appeal request to his or her Grievance Coordinator. This written appeal request must state the Grievant’s basis for appealing the Panel’s determination. The Grievance Coordinator will then submit the appeal to the President who will notify the Grievance Coordinator in writing of his or her decision within ten working days of its receipt of the appeal. The Grievance Coordinator will notify the Grievant and Respondent of the decision in writing. The decision of the President is final. If the President reverses the Hearing Panel’s determination, the grievance will proceed to a Grievance Hearing in accordance with the procedures described above.
B. Procedures for Appealing a Hearing Panel’s Post-Hearing Determination on the Merits.
A Grievant or Respondent who disagrees with a decision issued following the Grievance Hearing may appeal the decision to the President. To appeal the decision, a party must submit a written request for appeal to the President within ten working days of the date of receiving the initial written decision. The written request for appeal must include a clear explanation of the party’s basis for appealing the Panel’s decision.
The President will thoroughly review the Grievance Hearing Panel’s recommendations, along with any witness statements or other documents used during the hearing and the decision of the division executive or dean. After conducting this review, the President will furnish a written decision to the Grievance Coordinator within ten working days after receiving the written request for appeal. If the President’s review of a case requires longer than ten days, then he or she will notify the Grievance Coordinator in writing of the delay who will notify the Grievant and Respondent in writing.
The President’s decision regarding the appeal will be submitted to the Grievance Coordinator, who will notify the Grievant and Respondent, the Chief Human Resources Officer, members of the Hearing Panel, and appropriate members of management of the decision. The President’s decision on the appeal is final at the institutional level.
The University reiterates the positive nature of the grievance Procedures. These Procedures provide structures which should smooth and speed the resolution of University-related grievances and thus affirm the University's desire to treat each student and each employee fairly. The publication of this Policy and Procedure should guarantee access to the necessary information for the internal resolution of University-related grievances at Webster University.