Clark Atlanta University Report and Revised RIRs Now Online

By B. Robert Kreiser

The Association’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure has authorized the publication of an investigating committee’s report on Clark Atlanta University. The report deals with the administration’s action, taken on stated grounds of an “enrollment emergency,” to dismiss fifty-five full-time faculty members, approximately one-fourth of the total faculty, effective immediately, in the middle of a semester. The affected professors were paid four weeks of unconditional severance salary. The report concluded that they were denied academic due process to which they were entitled under the university’s regulations as well as AAUP-supported standards and that the administration’s alleged “enrollment emergency” was a pretext for avoiding affordance of due process. The report also concluded that the administration, in selecting faculty members for release based mainly on its assessment of their relative lack of merit, effectively dismissed them for cause. Finally, the committee concluded that the one month of severance salary offered by the administration unconditionally to all dismissed faculty members was sorely deficient and that the modest additional amount of severance subsequently offered was a deplorable means of pressuring vulnerable faculty members to forfeit avenues of appeal otherwise open to them and to release the university from any further claims.

A revised version of the Association’s Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure, which incorporates changes adopted in 2009 to Regulation 14 on graduate student employees, has also been posted on the Web site.