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Academic Personnel Grievances

The Committee on Privilege and Tenure (P&T) receives grievances from Senate members regarding academic personnel cases.

Academic Personnel grievances are limited by systemwide Bylaw 335 to allegations of procedural violations or use of impermissible criteria.

Bylaw 335. Privilege and Tenure: Divisional Committees -- Grievance Cases 
In cases of personnel review involving tenure, promotion, or reappointment, such grievances may be based only on allegations: (a) that the procedures were not in consonance with the applicable rules and requirements of the University or any of its Divisions, and/or (b) that the challenged decision was reached on the basis of impermissible criteria, including (but not limited to) race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or political conviction. The committee shall be empowered to determine the validity of the grievances under (a) or (b) but shall not be empowered to reevaluate the academic qualifications or professional competence of the grievant. (Am 14 Oct 2010)

To file a grievance about your personnel case, see Grievance Overview for the process and forms. A grievance seeks an administrative remedy. If the Committee on Privilege and Tenure (P&T) determines your rights may have been violated in a personnel review, the remedy would be whatever would best allow your case to be properly evaluated. 

What is a procedural violation of rights?

Systemwide policy, as governed by systemwide bylaws (Bylaw 55), departmental bylaws, the Academic Personnel Manual, and the UCLA CALL constitute the primary authorities for procedures. Departments “may determine their own for of administrative organization” as long as it does not deprive faculty of their voting rights.

Examples of a violation of procedures might be:

- Not offering a right to respond to departmental reviews (committee and/or faculty)
- Failure to advise of the right to see redacted external review letters
- A failure to follow voted-on departmental bylaws
- A department failing to include an opportunity for the voting body to discuss the case (elected committee or faculty)
- A violation of confidentiality during the review. (NOTE: You do have the right to seek guidance from your chair during the review process.)

What are impermissible criteria?

Anything outside the bounds of permissible criteria might by impermissible criteria.

Permissible criteria are those listed in APM-210: (1) teaching; (2) research and other creative work; (3) professional activity (and professional competence); and (4) University and public service. A grievance may not be filed simply because you disagree with an assessment if that assessment was based on permissible criteria.

In addition, candidates are to be evaluate according to their proposed rank and duties, with reasonable flexibility, 

Examples of impermissible criteria might include:

- Discrimination based on any protected class or gender, including applying different standards for advancement.
- Evaluation based on a critique your choice of research area rather than an evaluation based on the quality of the research in your chosen field. (A violation of your academic freedom.) That is, reviewers cannot decide once you are faculty that your area of research is not preferred by the department.
Evaluation based only on the type of research accomplishments (publications, scholarly or creative work) rather than the quality of the work
- Evaluation based only on the quantity of research accomplishments without consideration of the quality of the work ("
Publications in research and other creative accomplishment should be evaluated, not merely enumerated." APM-210)
- Evaluation based in some way on your personality with no relation to any of the required evidence from your dossier.
- Evaluation based on something not in your dossier—especially hearsay. 

- Evaluation that fails to deduct legitimate time off the clock. For example, if an Assistant Professor was hired 8 years ago, but has had two years off the clock, she/he should only be evaluated for six years of accomplishments and only compared to others six years into their career.
- Evaluation that is not based on your proposed rank

How are my rights protected during my personnel review?

The use of “confidential academic review records” is necessary for candid evaluations of individuals under review.
Academic personnel policies (APM-160, Appendix A), The safeguards in place to protect your rights are:

  • Decisions about a personnel case must be based only on (a) material in your dossier; and (b) only on material relevant to the personnel action under consideration (“based solely on the personnel review file, which contains only documentary material relevant to consideration of the personnel actions concerning the individual under applicable University criteria.”)
  • A multi-tiered review process that typically involves more than one faculty review agency and two or three different administrative reviews. "Evaluations received in confidence are considered by various reviewing agencies and weighed with other evaluations (those of departmental faculty, administrative officers, and campus ad hoc and standing committees)."
  • You right to request a copy of your dossier. (“receive, upon request, a redacted copy of all confidential academic review records in the personnel review file.”)
  • Your right to contribute to your personnel review file, including your self-statement and responses to letters and departmental reviews.
  • Your right to file a grievance. (Grievance Process Overview)