Arbitrator promotes professor, tells administration not to ignore RTP policies

An arbitrator last week awarded a significant victory to CFA when he ordered the CSU Administration to promote a professor at Sacramento State University.

The Grievant had applied for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. He was granted tenure but denied promotion. The Provost and AAVP claimed his scholarly activities were wanting. The Provost/AAVP acknowledged that, in so finding, he simply ignored the departmental RTP policy, which weighed scholarly activity at only 5%. The administration had expressed “reservations” about the policy when the policy was first proposed but had ultimately approved it.

The arbitrator held: “The bottom line is that, upon reviewing Departmental policy, the University must do more than merely express reservations. It must inform the Department that it will either not accept its RTP criteria or that it conflicts with the University RTP policy. A review of … a promotion application made prior to so notifying the Department must be made under the applicable criteria. To, in effect, acquiesce to Departmental RTP promotion criteria (weighting) and then reject an application, completely ignoring that criteria, is arbitrary and capricious.”

The arbitrator ordered: “Grievant shall be retroactively promoted to Associate Professor beginning with the [2009/10] academic year.” He also ordered that the Grievant be paid lost wages, which amount to at least 7.5% of his salary since Fall 2009.

This is the first time an arbitrator sustaining a grievance under the current faculty contract has ordered that a faculty member be promoted or granted tenure. All other arbitrators sustaining grievance under the current contract have ordered only that the case be remanded for reevaluation. This makes this victory particularly significant.

CFA Representation Specialist Omar Joseph represented the grievant.