Welfare Note: Arbitrary, Capricious, Discriminatory…?

Many decisions and actions are the responsibility of the Board, through their agents the administration. Section B. 1. of our CBA includes the following: the Board of Trustees reserves and retains full rights, authority, and discretion in the proper discharge of its duties and responsibilities to control, supervise, and manage the College and its professional staff; to determine and administer educational policy; to operate the College and direct the professional staff.

On occasion, a faculty member may believe that he or she was treated unfairly in the decision-making process used by the administrator. Section C. 5. of our CBA clearly indicates that provisions of this Agreement shall be applied in a manner which is not arbitrary, capricious, or discriminatory and without regard to race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, sex or marital status. Defining arbitrary, capricious, and discriminatory may help as faculty members consider their treatment by the administrator in the decision-making process.

  • Arbitrary suggests that the decision was made without the application of criteria or that the criteria was not consistent with similar past decisions.
  • Capricious suggests that the criteria used for the decision making was not only not consistent with criteria used with similar past decisions, but that the new criteria appears to have the intention of denying a particular faculty member’s request due to an earlier dispute.
  • Discriminatory suggests a decision based on whom the person was (i.e. a member of a federally or state defined protected class) doing the asking rather than being based upon the nature of the request and the accepted criteria used in the past for such decisions.

Put it and get it in writing.

The Welfare Committee recommends that when an administrator has denied a request, the faculty member make a written request to the administrator, requesting a written response from the administrator that details the rationale for the denial. This detailed rationale should help determine if the administrator was being arbitrary, capricious or discriminatory in his or her decision-making. If yes, informal resolution is, of course, desirable. If an informal resolution is not achieved, our CBA details a grievance procedure (review Section E. 1. for complete details) which can be used as a problem-solving tool. Here, it is important to remember that typically, our CBA requires that a grievance be filed within ten (10) instruction days of the time a grievance arises.

If a faculty member believes that he or she was treated unfairly in the decision-making process used by the administrator and informal resolution is not forthcoming, request the rationale in writing. If the administrator is not going to provide the written rationale in a timely manner (within a day or two) and that any delay might cause the faculty member to lose the window of opportunity to file a grievance over the action taken by the administrator, the Welfare Committee strongly recommends that you contact the Grievance Sub-Committee chair or any member of the Grievance Sub-Committee immediately. Problem solving that can occur through discussion and without utilizing the Grievance Procedures detailed in our CBA is nearly always preferred. If members of the Welfare Committee and the Grievance Sub-Committee can facilitate that discussion we certainly will. In the event that the Grievance Procedures must be utilized, we can assist you in that process as well.

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