SFA strives to ensure all employees and third parties are treated in a manner in accordance with university policies. Should an instance arise in which an employee or third party believes that a department or an individual has not acted in accordance with this stated goal, the employee or third party should first:
- seek to resolve the issue informally with the respective individuals involved.
If these informal procedures prove unsatisfactory, the employee or third party may file a formal grievance to seek resolution.
Formal institutional grievance
A formal institutional grievance may be filed when an employee or third party can demonstrate that a campus department or individual has not followed university policies. For an institutional grievance to be considered a formal institutional grievance, it must meet the following thresholds:
- the grievance alleges:
- a violation of written university policies or procedures
- or a written university policy or procedure has been arbitrarily, capriciously or unequally applied
- the grievance has been unsuccessfully resolved through informal resolution strategies
- and the grievance has been communicated in writing and asserts a formal grievance is being filed (letter, memo, email, etc.).
Procedures governed by a process outlined in a university policy
Many policies at SFA contain formal procedures for handling grievances. Employees or third parties filing a grievance governed by one of these policies should refer to the procedures and expectations as outlined within the relevant policy statement for the appropriate procedures. Since this is the case, the formal grievance procedures outlined in Section II below are not intended to circumvent these established processes (this list is not exhaustive):
Faculty Code of Conduct
Policy and procedure for faculty members alleged to have violated the Faculty Code of Conduct can be found in university policy 7.11.
Misconduct in scholarly or creative activities
Policy and procedure for university employees alleged to have violated university standards in scholarly or creative activities can be found in university policy 7.19.
Faculty performance evaluation disputes
Policy and procedure for faculty members to resolve disputes regarding their performance evaluations can be found in university policy 7.22.
Faculty disagreements with administrative decisions
Policy and procedure for faculty members to resolve disagreements concerning administrative decisions or other disputes can be found in university policy 7.25.
Tenure and continued employment
Policy and procedure related to the granting or denial of tenure and the renewal or nonrenewal of a contract can be found in university policy 7.29.
Financial conflicts of interest in research or sponsored activities
Policy and procedure regarding disputes concerning financial conflicts of interest in research or other sponsored activities can be found in university policy 8.2.
Policy and procedure regarding research misconduct can be found in university policy 8.7.
For non-academic staff: Appealing actions related to employment
Policy and procedure for nonacademic staff employees to appeal actions taken with respect to their employment can be found in university policy 11.15.
Policy and procedure for individuals who believe they have been subjected to any type of discrimination (excluding sexual harassment or other forms of sexual misconduct) can be found in university policy 2.11.
Procedures not governed by a process outlined in a university policy
In grievances for which no process is prescribed in an official university policy, the following guidelines must be followed:
Stage I: Informal resolution
Any employee or third party who can demonstrate that they have been subject to adverse treatment due to a lack of adherence to university policy or procedure by university personnel may express dissatisfaction and seek resolution.
As a first step, the employee or third party must seek to resolve the issue directly with the aggrieving university representative (staff member, faculty member or administrator).
If a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached between the employee or third party and university representative, or if extenuating circumstances prevent direct communication, the employee or third party should contact the university representative's direct supervisor (office supervisor, department chair or academic dean).
Escalation points for issues with a faculty member
- Department chair/director
- Associate dean of the college
- Dean of the college
- Associate provost
Escalation points for issues with a staff member
- Staff member
- Department supervisor
- Division leader
If, after diligent communication through the chain of command, a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached, a formal grievance may be filed following the procedures as outlined in Stage II.
You always can seek guidance from the Office of the General Counsel at 936.468.4305 or email@example.com.
Stage II: Formal grievance
Employees or third parties may file a formal, written grievance only after informal resolution strategies have been pursued following Stage I procedures.
Formal grievances must be in writing using the formal institutional grievance form and filed within 30 university business days of the university action creating the employee's or third party's concern.
Upon submission, the formal, written grievance will be routed to the appropriate administrator for review.
The administrator will notify the employee or third party of its receipt and has 20 university business days to provide a written response. For grievances filed between semesters, additional response time may be necessary to allow for availability of the relevant parties. When additional time is necessary, employees or third parties will be advised in writing of the estimated time for response within 20 university business days of receipt of the grievance.
You can print a Formal Institutional Grievance Form to complete and provide to the Office of the General Counsel. In addition, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can contact the Office of the General Counsel at 936.468.4305.
Questions regarding complaints not detailed above should be referred to the Office of the General Counsel at email@example.com for forwarding to the appropriate department.
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board may investigate complaints concerning compliance with statutes and regulations that THECB administers. To submit a complaint or inquiry as to whether THECB has authority over such matters, use THECB's Contact Us page.
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, SFA's accrediting agency, may investigate complaints regarding significant noncompliance with SACSCOC's standards, policies or procedures.
Additional information regarding SACSCOC's complaint process may be found on its Complaint Procedures Against SACSCOC or Its Accredited Institutions policy document. SACSCOC expects individuals to attempt to resolve the issue through all means available to the complainant, including following SFA's own published grievance procedures, before submitting a complaint to SACSCOC.