In summer 2010, the administration of Southeastern Louisiana University announced the closure of its French degree programs and the dismissal of the three tenured French faculty members. In violation of university guidelines and AAUP-supported standards, the administration announced the closures without having notified the faculty members concerned. Nor did French cease to be taught: French courses are still available, and a French minor is still offered. These courses are being staffed by low-paid instructors on a contingent basis.
The AAUP published an investigating committee’s report on the program closures and dismissals in April 2012, and in June, the annual meeting voted to impose censure on the Southeastern Louisiana administration.
The three professors filed suit against the university. Their action is expected to go through protracted litigation, with the financial resources of the defendant far exceeding their own. The national AAUP’s Academic Freedom Fund and the Louisiana AAUP conference have provided matching grants to kick off a conference-sponsored legal defense fund campaign to help cover the legal costs incurred by the three professors in their struggle.
Visit the conference’s website at http://www.laaaup.org/ to learn more about the fund and to make a contribution.