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Faculty Handbooks as Enforceable Contracts

By Kelly Hand

The AAUP website now includes a newly updated legal resource for members, a state-by-state guide to faculty handbooks as enforceable contracts. When faculty members face termination of their appointment or other negative personnel actions, faculty handbooks may serve as legal evidence of a contractual relationship between a professor and an institution. Because contract claims are governed primarily by state law, the guide is organized by state. The AAUP’s legal department updated the guide extensively in 2015 and adds new cases as they arise. To learn about legal precedents concerning faculty handbooks in your state, and for links to other AAUP resources for faculty members with potential contractual claims, visit http:// (member login required).

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