Termination or Resignation of Graduate Assistantship
Section IV. Item 7.
Should the appointee fail to report for the assignment on the date he or she was notified, in writing, to report, the employing unit should notify the Office of Graduate Assistantship Employment of Human Resource Services immediately, preferably via phone or email. The department should then submit a PAF (Personnel Action form) through the appropriate college dean or division head, so that the Payroll Office may be notified that the appointment is being canceled. Similar notification should be effected when a student resigns an assistantship before the official appointment end date. In this latter case, the letter must indicate the date on which the student last worked. Failure to report such situations promptly can result in stipend payments to persons who do not deserve them, with the concomitant inappropriate reduction in the hiring unit's budget.
A student who accepts and later resigns a graduate assistantship (whether or not the term of appointment has begun) may accept another assistantship at Northern Illinois University only if its term of appointment begins no sooner than the start of the academic term following the effective date of resignation or at least one month after the effective date of the resignation, whichever is the later date, unless the written consent of the former employing unit is submitted to the Office of Graduate Assistantship Employment. A resignation should be submitted in writing to the employing unit and to the Office of Graduate Assistantship Employment . For purposes of subsequent appointment the effective date of resignation is considered to be the date on which the letter of resignation is received by the Office of Graduate Assistantship Employment. For purposes of this policy the fall term is considered to begin August 16, the spring term is considered to begin January 1, and the summer term is considered to begin May 16.
Among graduate schools nationally, it is considered unethical for a person who has accepted an assistantship appointment at one institution to accept an assistantship appointment at another institution without resigning the first position, in writing, by April 15, or, if after April 15, without also obtaining a written release from the employing unit at the first institution (see Council of Graduate Schools resolution in Section IV, Item 3 of this manual).
A graduate assistantship may be terminated, according to the following principles and procedures. (NOTE: Where reference is made to the "head of the employing unit," this should be understood to mean "head of the employing unit, or his or her designee.")
- Failure to report for work on the reporting date specified in the offering letter constitutes grounds for termination of the assistantship, with no remuneration, at the discretion of the head of the employing unit. Notification of such termination is to be sent, immediately, to the Office of Graduate Assistantship Employment at Human Resource Services.
- A graduate assistantship may be terminated by the Office of Graduate Assistantship Employment without notice if the assistant is found to be ineligible by virtue of noncompliance with either Board of Trustees or University regulations.
- Absence from duties for one week or more without excuse acceptable to the supervisor shall constitute grounds for immediate termination of the assistantship as of the date of the start of the unexcused absence, at the discretion of the head of the employing unit.
- A graduate assistant (GA) can be removed from any particular work assignment without notice if, in the opinion of the supervisor or the head of the employing unit, continuation of the GA in that assignment poses a threat to the safety or well-being of the GA or of others. In such a case, the GA may be reassigned, at the discretion of the head of the employing unit, to other duties if another appropriate assignment exists within the unit, or if not, may be given notice of termination as in (7) below.
- A GA whose work performance is deemed to be unsatisfactory (but not of such acute concern as to warrant change of assignment as in (4) above) shall be advised by his or her supervisor as to the nature of the deficiencies in performance, and the expectations for improvement.
- If the deficiencies of the preceding paragraph are perceived by the supervisor to be severe enough that lack of amelioration would necessitate termination of the assistantship appointment, the GA shall be so notified in writing. Such notice shall include specification of the areas and nature of deficiency in work performance, and provide a reasonable period of time for the GA to address these deficiencies and demonstrate improved performance.
- If, in the opinion of the supervisor, the GA fails to show sufficient improvement in work performance over the period allowed for remediation, the supervisor may give the GA and the Office of Graduate Assistantship Employment notice of termination. This notification must be in writing, should indicate reasons(s) for termination, and must be submitted in duplicate simultaneously to the GA and to the Office of Graduate Assistantship Employment. The written notice must indicate the effective date of the termination which may not be sooner than fifteen calendar days from the date upon which the notice is hand-delivered to the GA or mailed, postage prepaid, to the GA's current local address as on file with the Office of Registration and Records.
- Assessment of the quality of work performance is the sole right and responsibility of the employing unit, and is an academic and professional judgment. However, the GA may dispute any facts or procedures relating to the termination. The GA may appeal the termination to the head of the employing unit. Such appeal must be submitted, in writing, within five calendar days of the date upon which notice of termination is hand-delivered or mailed to the GA as described in (7). A copy of this appeal must be submitted simultaneously to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School. If the head of the unit declines to reverse the notice of termination, written appeal may be made to the Graduate School.
- Appeal to the Graduate School of a decision to terminate a graduate assistantship must be submitted in writing by the GA to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School, with a copy to the head of the employing unit. Such appeal must be made within ten calendar days of the date of the notice of termination as defined in (7), unless the head of the employing unit has been unavailable for the appeal described in (8). In the latter case, the written appeal to the Graduate School must be submitted within five calendar days of the date upon which the decision of the unit head is hand-delivered to the GA or mailed, postage prepaid, to the GA's local address as defined above.
- As soon as possible after receipt of the appeal, the Associate Dean of the Graduate School will convene the Graduate Council Appeals Committee (hereinafter known as "the Committee"), notifying the GA and employing unit as soon as a meeting time has been set. If any of the members on the Committee is from the employing unit in the case, that person may not serve while the Committee considers this case; an alternate from another unit may serve.
- The Committee's meetings will be closed. In addition to the Committee members, the only persons present will be the GA submitting the appeal, the head of the employing unit, and no more than one additional person accompanying each of these two, to advise, observe, and counsel. This is not a legal proceeding, and there is no requirement that the GA be represented by legal counsel. However, if the GA chooses to be accompanied by such counsel, the representative of the employing unit may be accompanied by the University's General Counsel. No other persons shall be present.
- The GA and the head of the employing unit may each present his or her case orally, the Committee members having the right to ask questions for clarification as necessary. The two parties may also present written supporting documentation, which may include statements from other parties having knowledge relevant to the case. If either contests the facts as stated by the other, the person contesting shall have the opportunity to express the objection(s). Either party may call or question witnesses, and witnesses may be questioned by the Committee. Since the issues involved are academic rather than legal, the Committee will not be bound by strict rules of legal evidence, and may entertain written statements, affidavits, or other evidence or information pertinent to deciding the issues involved. A tape-recorded record of the proceedings shall be maintained for a minimum of five years at the expense of the University; a duplicate tape copy of this record will be available on request to the GA during this period.
- If the conclusion of the Committee is that the termination should be rescinded, the assistantship will be restored without break from the date of termination. The decision of the Committee is final; there is no further appeal process.
- A GA whose assistantship is terminated for reasons in (1) or (2) above should expect cancellation of the associated tuition-waiver scholarship. A GA whose assistantship is terminated for deficient performance or for unexcused absence from duties during the term of the assistantship may receive a prorated waiver of tuition for that academic term.
Approved by Graduate Council, May 4, 1992
Editorial modifications, April 16, 2004
Last Updated: 5/5/97