Statements Clarify AAUP Policies

By Kelly Hand

In November, the AAUP issued statements calling attention to existing policies about presidential searches and faculty members serving on long-term, full-time contingent appointments.

The first statement calls on colleges and universities to avoid closed, secretive presidential searches. While AAUP policies acknowledge the need for a confidential phase in which a search committee may develop the initial candidate pool, such search committees should involve faculty members. All searches should include an open phase, involving campus visits and a public forum in which faculty, students, and others can share their opinions. The statement argues that the obligations of public and private nonprofit colleges and universities to serve the public interest necessitate the protections of shared governance, including faculty engagement, in all phases of the hiring process.

The second statement asserts that long-serving full-time faculty members on renewable term appointments should benefit from the same procedural protections against involuntary separation as tenured faculty members. Referring to the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure and subsequent policy documents, the document specifies that due-process protections include a hearing before a faculty body in which the burden of demonstrating adequate cause for dismissal rests with the administration.