AAUP Opposes Weakening of ABA Standards

By Aaron Nisenson

The AAUP submitted comments in July to the American Bar Association (ABA) opposing proposed revisions to ABA accreditation standards that would eliminate a requirement that full-time faculty “teach more than one-half of the total credit hours offered by the law school in a year or more than two-thirds of student contact hours generated in that year.” The proposal removes any requirement that full-time faculty teach upper-level courses. In many law schools, this change would result in a significant increase in the percentage of faculty in part-time positions, all or almost all of which are non-tenure-track. That increase would likely be accompanied by a decrease in the percentage of full-time tenure-track appointments and might negatively affect the diversity of the faculty and the research and teaching of innovative or controversial subjects. By permitting law schools to make significant increases in part-time non-tenure-track appointments, the proposal would undermine tenure, academic freedom, and due-process protections, severely harming American legal education.

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