Article 18: Personal Files

18.01 Personal files are all files containing evaluative materials on Members, and any other information pertaining to the employment of Members. Subject to this definition:

(a) the Board shall maintain in the Dean’s offices, and in a form determined by it, a Principal Personal File for each Member and this file shall contain, subject to Clause 18.10, the original or a copy of all documents substantively relevant to the employment of a Member, including evaluative material;

(b) a Member shall have access, within two days of making a request, to any special file created for the specific purposes of consideration of the Member for reappointment, promotion, tenure, continuing appointment or appointment without term. Each special file shall contain an inventory sheet which describes the contents of the file and any additions or deletions from the special file shall be noted. The special file shall contain material submitted by the Member for consideration as well as material included by the Department, Chairperson, Head or Director, Dean, Chief Librarian, Vice-President or any Committee considering the matter. Any confidential material in the special file shall be treated in accordance with Clause 18.11. Subject to Clause 18.13, there is no obligation on the Board to maintain any special file after the consideration of the Member has been concluded and University appeal and/or grievance procedures have been completed;

(c) the Association shall inform each affected Member of the location of personal files it holds, and shall ensure access to any such files.

18.02 Upon presentation of identification, Members shall have the right to examine, during regular office hours, all of the contents of their personal files, except confidential letters or similar documents of recommendation, which shall be held confidential subject to Clause 18.11. Access to personal files shall not be unreasonably withheld. Where personal files or parts of personal files are maintained by the Board or the Association only in computer-readable form, the right to examination given in this Clause 18.02 shall be accomplished through computer programs fully adequate to the purpose of fulfilling this right and these programs shall not encroach on the personal files of other persons.

18.03 Members shall have the right to have included in their Principal Personal Files, or in a personal file maintained by the Association, additional, relevant, evaluative material provided by themselves, including their written comments on the accuracy or meaning of any of the contents.

18.04 The Board and the Association shall not unreasonably refuse to remove from a personal file material which can be shown to be false or misleading. A Member who believes such material to be in his or her file shall have the right to petition for its removal by the appropriate official of the Board or the Association.

18.05 Whenever non-confidential material is to be removed permanently from a Member’s Principal Personal File with the purpose of being destroyed, such material shall be given to the Member concerned.

18.06 Members, on request to the University or Association officer holding a file, may receive at their own expense copies of any documents to which they have the right of examination.

18.07 Except as specified in this Collective Agreement and for the internal administrative purposes of Dalhousie University (including committees considering promotion, tenure, reappointment, disciplinary action, or the resolution of grievances) the contents of the personal files of Members shall not be released or made available to any other person or institution except as part of established procedures of peer evaluation or accreditation, or with the express written consent of the Member involved, or as required by law.

18.08 Anonymous evaluative material concerning any Member shall not be kept in any personal file or submitted in any formal deliberation, action, hearing, or proceeding involving any Member except as provided in Clause 18.09.

18.09

(a) Multiple-choice responses and other coded material gathered as a result of any collective teacher evaluation authorized by the Senate or any Faculty of Dalhousie University shall not be considered anonymous material under the terms of Clause 18.08. Comments and remarks written by respondents during such evaluations are anonymous material under the terms of Clause 18.08, unless the Senate or a Faculty of Dalhousie University specifically specifies otherwise. Signed comments are confidential, but shall be revealed to the Member they concern without identifying their authors.

(b) Student surveys/evaluations regarding a Member shall be placed by the Chairperson, Head or Director, Chief Librarian, Dean or Vice-President in any special file for a Member created for the specific purposes of consideration of the Member for reappointment, promotion, tenure, continuing appointment or appointment without term provided the survey/evaluation instruments have been approved by the Faculty or Senate. The evaluations shall be made available in the form approved by the Faculty or Senate. Any unsigned comments from students shall be excised prior to the access to the survey/evaluation being provided to members of the Department or any decision-maker or committee considering the Member but such comments shall be provided by the Chairperson, Head or Director, Dean, Chief Librarian or Vice-President in confidence to the Member.

(c) Subject to the provisions of Clauses 18.09(a) and (b), and if requested by the Member, the Chairperson, Head or Director, Chief Librarian, Dean or Vice- President shall provide copies of the raw data, whether in printed or computer- readable form, to the Member who is the subject of a survey/ evaluation once it has been placed in any special file pursuant to Clause 18.01(b).

18.10 Records of grievance and arbitration procedures shall be kept separately from personal files. No record indicating that a Member has invoked the grievance and arbitration procedures of this Collective Agreement shall be placed in his or her Principal Personal File.

18.11

(a) When confidential information is to be used in proceedings concerning disciplinary action or the resolution of grievances, such confidential information shall be made available to the Members involved upon request but in a form which does not identify the authors. At the Member’s request, a representative of the Association shall be entitled to review any original document and its edited form to ensure that such deletion and editing as have occurred serve only to conceal the identity of the author. The representative shall maintain confidentiality with regard to the author’s identity.

(b) When confidential information is to be used in proceedings concerning promotion, tenure, reappointment, appointment without term or continuing appointment such confidential information shall be treated in the following manner:

(i) letters of reference that are requested from persons outside Dalhousie University shall be made available to the Members involved upon request unless the author of the letter requests that their identity be concealed in which event the identifying letter-head and signature block shall be removed;

Persons who are asked to provide recommendations regarding a Member being considered for promotion, tenure, reappointment, appointment without term or continuing appointment shall be advised that their recommendations and identity will be made known to the Member unless they request to have their identity concealed in which event the recommendation shall be treated as stated in the preceding paragraph.

(ii) other written confidential information shall not be used unless it is made available to the Member involved with the identifying letter-head and signature block removed. The author of the written information shall be advised of this potential disclosure to the Member and may withdraw the original in which case the information shall not be used unless a revised version of the information is submitted and is made available to the Member involved with the identifying letter-head and signature block removed;

(iii) while oral communication with outside assessors and others regarding a Member under consideration is discouraged, Members shall be entitled to receive a written summary of any material oral confidential information received regarding the Member that is to be used and which may affect the decision but the identity of the source of such information need not be disclosed;

At the Member’s request, a representative of the Association shall be entitled to review any original document and its edited form to ensure that such deletion and editing as have occurred serve only to conceal the identity of the author. The representative shall maintain confidentiality with regard to the author’s identity.

18.12

(a) The Board shall use the first letter in Appendix VI as a guideline for inviting persons outside Dalhousie University to act as assessors for a Member. It is understood that communication by telephone or in person is permissible to determine the availability of the person to act as an assessor.

(b) Once assessors have agreed to serve and have been sent the necessary material as outlined in the suggested second letter in Appendix VI, no material communication should occur without disclosure of the substance of the communication to the Member affected in accordance with Clause 18.11(b)(iii).

(c) If appropriate, the Board shall use the third or fourth letters in Appendix VI as a guideline for communication with the assessor.

(d) All Members of the Department or similar unit may have access to any special file created for the specific purposes of consideration of a Member for reappointment, promotion, tenure, continuing appointment or appointment without term and they may submit to the Department Chair, Head, Director or Dean, Chief Librarian or Vice-President a written assessment of the Member based on the criteria in this Collective Agreement. Such assessments, including their authorship, shall be made available on request to the Member, unless the author has requested confidentiality in which case they shall be treated as confidential in accordance with Clause 18.11(b)(ii). Members of the Department or similar unit who request access to said special file shall be bound by the same rules of confidentiality regarding the contents of the special file as apply to members of a departmental committee considering a Member for reappointment, promotion, tenure, continuing appointment or appointment without term.

18.13

(a) The Board shall provide access to the Association on a confidential basis, within two days of receiving a request from the Association, to any special file of a Member that was available to the President, Vice-President or Dean at the time he or she considered the matter of reappointment, promotion, tenure, continuing appointment or appointment without term of the Member, provided the Association requests the special file in writing not later than 21 days following the notification to the Member of the final decision in the matter.

(b) The University Tenure Committee and/or the University Promotion Appeal Committee shall have access to special files pertaining to promotion, tenure or appointment without term for the same assessments of other candidates within the same Faculty or other such unit in the same and preceding academic year as the candidate under consideration.

18.14 Notwithstanding the provisions of this Article 18, the Association shall have access to information in accordance with other specific provisions of this Collective Agreement.