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Introduction

Drew Theological School has established the following grievance procedures to give the community a process with which to deal with matters perceived as unfair or discriminatory between individuals within the community. This policy is to be used in settling grievances involving faculty members, students, staff, and/or administrators who are part of the Theological School community. These procedures assume the principle that ways should be found to work out our differences fairly and amicably within our community and when possible without resorting to University procedures for dealing with misconduct or abuse of human rights. (Violations of the Sexual Harassment Policy are specifically excluded from this policy. That policy offers both an informal and a formal procedure already. The specific appeal of a grade is already cared for in our regulations.) In no case do the procedures listed below preclude the possibility that the grievant will take more formal action through University channels.

Individuals within the Theological School community who perceive that another member of the community has acted in an unfair or discriminatory way should request a meeting with that colleague in order to discuss the matter and express their concern. All members of the community are encouraged to attempt to resolve differences between themselves and others in this manner.

Informal procedure

If the grievant has not reached a resolution through a direct conversation he/she may invite a third person into the conversation for an informal procedure of resolution. If a student or a staff person is involved, that person might be a dean. If both parties are faculty members the third party might be another faculty member--possibly someone from the Committee on Faculty. If either person is an administrator, the third person might be a faculty member or a dean. All parties to this conversation should agree to keep the conversation confidential. If either or both of the parties is not a native speaker of English, it may be helpful to have someone who speaks the native language present to help avoid miscommunication.

If a resolution cannot be achieved through this informal process, the grievant may decide not to proceed with the complaint or may begin the more formal grievance procedures below.

Formal procedures

While this is called the formal procedures, it does not move the situation out of the Theological School community into University policy. All people participating in these procedures are required to keep the information presented and the content of the conversations confidential.

First, both parties are asked to put in writing their own interpretation of the grievance. After the Dean of the Theological School has read these reports, the dean will request the two parties to sit together with the dean and attempt reconciliation. The goal of this meeting is to try to find the truth within the remembrance and through this rehearing of the details help the individuals reach reconciliation. Written material will not be saved from this meeting.

If reconciliation is not reached, the next step will be to gather a group of peers to hear the individuals involved. Again, the goal will be to resolve the issue within the community. While the group will have no authority to penalize anyone it is hoped that the wisdom of the group will help all to reach reconciliation. The group might include five people with two chosen by each of the two individuals involved. The fifth person could be a dean or a member of the Committee on Faculty at the request of the grievant.

This process does not exclude the grievant from access to University procedures at any time along the process, or at this stage, when these steps have been completed without an acceptable resolution. Nor is this policy to be construed to inhibit or prevent the grievant from reconsidering an informal resolution with the individual at any time in the process.

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