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MU Faculty Council votes to support grievance policy pilot

Thursday, April 7, 2011 | 6:35 p.m. CDT; updated 11:20 p.m. CDT, Thursday, April 7, 2011

COLUMBIA – The MU Faculty Council voted to show its support for a pilot grievance process, which will be presented to the general faculty April 19. The council's vote was 21-4.

Bill Wiebold, professor of agronomy, was the most vocal supporter for the pilot. He referred to the process under past grievance policies as an ugly time.

“It was like taking a walk through the sewer of the university,” he said.

He admitted the new policy isn't perfect, but he said perfection in a policy like this is impossible.

“When I saw the pilot, I thought, ‘My God, why didn’t we do this sooner?’” he said.

Among those opposed were Victoria Johnson, associate professor of sociology, who objected to having an administrator on the grievance resolution panel. Another dissenter, Gordon Christensen, professor of medicine, said he didn’t think the policy would make the process of addressing grievances any smoother.

The former process began with the chancellor reading a grievance, then sending it to a standing faculty grievance committee to decide if it should be pursued. Once evidence was gathered by an investigator, the information was sent to a faculty hearing panel to make a recommendation to the chancellor for a final decision.

The new procedure still gives the chancellor authority to rule on a grievance, but now the grievance goes immediately to a resolution panel with two senior-tenured faculty members and one upper-level administrator for review.

Chairwoman Leona Rubin, associate professor of biomedical sciences, said the general faculty will vote on the policy near the end of April.

Missourian reporter Michael Davis contributed to this article.


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