The purpose of these procedures is to provide faculty, staff, and students with a reasonable and fair process for reporting concerns or resolving disputes related to The Master’s Seminary or members of the seminary family.
If a member of the faculty, staff, or student body has a grievance against any other individual at the Seminary, the grieved party has the choice of accepting the matter in grace or raising the matter directly with the other person in order to seek resolution. If the individuals can resolve the issue together, in grace, then the matter will be deemed resolved for all purposes. At that point, no one else needs to be informed (unless others have been harmed thereby, in which case they should follow the principles outlined herein).
The following steps for dealing with grievances are an attempt to apply biblical principles, especially those of Matthew 18:15–17. It is the desire of the administration that grievances be resolved in the timeliest manner possible, and that when possible they should be resolved between the two parties directly involved in the situation.
Informal Grievance Procedures
Open communication between students, staff, faculty, and administration is encouraged and solicited. Ideally, when a member of the faculty, staff, or student body has a concern or grievance, he or she should first discuss it with the person directly involved. However, in some cases, the grieved party may not feel comfortable approaching the other individual directly. (For example, a student may not feel comfortable sharing a grievance with a member of the faculty.) In such cases, the grieved party may immediately address his or her concerns to the Dean of Students, the Dean of Faculty, or the Vice President for Public Relations.
If direct discussions do not bring resolution between the two parties involved, and the grieved party is convinced that substantial problems still exist, he or she should then approach the Dean of Students, the Dean of Faculty, or the Vice President for Public Relations for help in resolving the problem and, as needed, discussing it with all parties involved.
Please note: At this point, faculty or staff with a grievance should speak with the Dean of Faculty or the Vice President for Public Relations. Students with a grievance should approach the Dean of Students.
If the concern is still unresolved a formal grievance procedure may be initiated.
Formal Grievance Procedures
The formal grievance procedure outlined below provides members of the faculty, staff, and student body with an orderly process for seeking resolution of serious concerns that have not been resolved using the informal procedures articulated above. Only when all informal attempts have been exhausted should the following procedures be initiated.
Step One. If the grievance is not resolved by the informal procedure above, the grieved party may file a formal Grievance Complaint in writing with the Dean of Students (for students) or either the Dean of Faculty or the Vice President for Public Relations for faculty and staff. All Grievance Complaints must include a fully detailed and thorough explanation of the allegations and/or complaints being raised, and must be filed within 25 working days of the date on which the grieved party knew or should have known of the action(s) or condition(s) which occasioned the grievance. The Dean of Students, the Dean of Faculty, or the Vice President for Public Relations shall respond to the grieved party, in writing, within 10 working days of receiving the Grievance Complaint
Step Two. If the grievance is not resolved at Step One and the grieved party desires to pursue the matter further, he or she may file the Grievance Complaint with the Senior Vice President for Administration within 10 working days of the Step One decision. The grievance must state the specific policy, regulation, or procedure alleged to have been misinterpreted, misapplied or violated, and the resolution requested. The Senior Vice President for Administration shall investigate the grievance and respond to the grieved party, in writing, within 10 working days of receiving the Grievance Complaint. The Senior Vice President’s decision will be final.
Review of Severance for Cause Decision
In the special case of a grievance filed to review a severance for cause decision (cf. Faculty Handbook or Staff Handbook), the grievance will commence with Step Two and the procedure will be revised as follows: Within fifteen (15) working days following receipt of the Grievance Complaint, the President will convene an investigative panel comprised of five full‑time faculty members: Two of the grieved party’s choosing, two appointed by the President, and one elected by the faculty. The panel will provide opportunities for the grieved party and either the Dean of Faculty or the Senior Vice President for Administration to make oral and/or written presentations. The committee’s deliberation will not be conducted under strict rules of legal evidence. The disposition of the grievance by the panel will take the form of findings of fact and conclusions and a recommended disposition to the President will be issued within fifteen (15) working days after completion of the hearing. The recommended disposition must be based solely on the record, pertinent institutional policies, regulations, and procedures, and in accord with the law of the land.
Prior to the issuance of a decision, and after any investigation is completed, the President shall hold an informal conference with the plaintiff (and/or the accused) in an attempt to reach an agreement or resolution. If no agreement or resolution is reached at that meeting, the President shall proceed to issue a decision.
Within fifteen (15) working days after the grievance was filed with the President (at Step Three), or within fifteen (15) working days after the recommendation of an investigative panel, the President will notify the plaintiff (and/or the accused) of his decision. The decision shall include a statement of the findings and conclusions supporting the decision. The President’s decision shall be final.
Grievance Against Senior Administration
If the grievance is against the Dean of Faculty, the Senior Vice President for Administration will preside over the formal grievance proceedings. If the grievance is against the Senior Vice President for Administration, then the Dean of Faculty will handle the procedures as noted above; however, the President will be immediately notified. In such cases, the President’s decision regarding proper resolution shall be final. If the grievance is against the President, then the above policy will be followed; but, additionally the Chairman of the Board of Directors will be immediately notified and will fill the President’s role in the above policy.
In a matter where the recommendation is termination of employment, the grieved party retains the right of appeal to the Board of Directors.
Report to Faculty
Decisions relating to grievances settled by the above procedures are reported to the faculty only with the concurrence of both parties involved.
Code of Conduct
In view of the high calling of the ministry and the great responsibility of example which must be assumed by Christian leaders, and by those aspiring to such leadership, it is expected that students at The Master’s Seminary will maintain the highest of standards in personal conduct and biblical conviction. The seminary does not presume to be a monitoring or censoring agency for all activities but does expect personal testimony and outward evidence of maturing Christian convictions, concern for the conscience of others, and a willingness to submit to the authority of mature Christian leaders. Accordingly, as examples of the numerous ways to enhance the testimony of the individual and of the institution, the seminary requires conformity to the following Code of Conduct:
Each student is expected to be faithful, committed, and involved in the ministry of a local church.
- The seminary standards for appearance and dress are to be fully respected. See the previous pages for seminary standards in these
- Personal discipline in the discerning use of radio, television, and the printed page is expected. This includes total avoidance of pornographic programming, films, and literature.
- Students are required to abstain from such practices as gambling, the use of beverages for intoxication, the misuse of prescription drugs, the use of illegal drugs, and tobacco.
- Students must avoid all forms of dishonesty, including lying, plagiarism, cheating on exams or assignments, failure to meet financial obligations, and negligence in the performance of educational, employment, or ministry
- Family relationships and responsibilities are to be given a place of highest priority. Students are required to maintain a biblical pattern in family relationships, and to abstain from unbiblical sexual activities or
The Master’s Seminary reserves the right to discipline or dismiss any student who does not conform to this code of conduct or any other of the seminary’s principles, policies, or required procedures. By virtue of his enrollment, a student agrees to live within the framework of these standards and principles.