Interim Academic Retaliation Policy

Policy

Using an academic assessment or other academic action as a means to retaliate against a student for engaging in conduct protected by the HGSU-UAW bargaining agreement is unacceptable and prohibited. For example, prohibited academic retaliation includes basing a grade, academic credit, authorship, denial of an academic opportunity, or other academic judgment on a student exercising a right under the HGSU-UAW bargaining agreement.

Process1 

A student who believes that they have been the subject of a retaliatory academic action for engaging in conduct protected by the HGSU-UAW bargaining agreement should initially discuss their concern with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS), or comparable director in units with no DGS or DUS in the course or program in question. That individual or a designee (the Reviewer) will ask the student to describe the connection between the protected conduct they engaged in and the retaliatory action. The Reviewer will consult with a representative from The Office of Labor and Employee Relations to determine if the student engaged in conduct protected from retaliation. If so, the Reviewer will engage with the student and relevant faculty member to resolve the matter informally. A matter will be deemed satisfactorily resolved when both parties expressly agree, in writing, to an outcome that is also acceptable to the Reviewer. Students who raise a concern under this policy may have a HGSU-UAW student representative or UAW representative as a personal advisor at any and all steps of the handling of this matter. The faculty member who took the academic action may have a personal advisor at any and all steps of the handling of this matter. 

If the parties do not come to an informal resolution, the Reviewer will conduct a review, which will include, but is not limited by, the following steps as relevant to the alleged retaliatory action: 

  1. Ask the faculty member who took the academic action to explain the basis for the academic assessment and if the academic assessment was made on the basis on the student’s protected conduct. 
  2. Identify a faculty member with subject matter expertise and no involvement in the matter at issue. They will review the student’s work product and/or the academic action and advise whether the academic assessment or other academic action was reasonable. The Reviewer will make every effort possible to keep the identity of the faculty member with subject matter expertise confidential and will redact the name of the student and the name of the faculty member from the student’s work product.
  3. If the faculty member with subject expertise does not find that the academic assessment or other academic action was reasonable, they will review other recent academic assessments or other academic actions of comparable student work by the same faculty member. The Reviewer will redact the names of the students and the name of the faculty member from the students’ work product.
  4. Considering the information gathered by the faculty member with subject expertise, the faculty member’s basis for the academic assessment or other academic action, and the student’s description of the connection between their protected conduct and the retaliatory action, the Reviewer will issue a determination as to whether the challenged action was retaliatory. Retaliation is established when there is a clear connection between the academic assessment or other academic action and the student's protected activity.2 

In the event of a finding of academic retaliation, the Reviewer will forward their finding to the Edgerly Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences or their designee, who will determine what action to take. The outcome of this process is final.
 

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1The process outlined here applies only to allegations of academic retaliation that are not covered by the Interim Other Sexual Misconduct Policy, which contains an anti-retaliation provision that also applies to concerns falling under the Interim Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy. If a student believes they have been the subject of a retaliatory academic action for reporting or complaining of sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct, participating or refusing to participate in any proceeding regarding such a complaint, or opposing conduct the student believes violates the Interim Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy or the Interim Other Sexual Misconduct Policy, then the student should contact a Title IX Resource Coordinator to discuss options and procedures under the Interim Other Sexual Misconduct Policy. There may be other University policies, outside of the Interim Other Sexual Misconduct Policy, that also provide protection from retaliation. Students may elect to follow the process in those other policies, as appropriate, instead of the process set forth here. That choice is final, and there will not be duplicative reviews of the same complaint.

2The Reviewer may refer to the EEOC’s “Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues” for guidance, but is not bound to it.