Texas Medical Branch Report and Council Record Online

By Eric Combest

An ad hoc investigating committee’s report on the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has been posted on the AAUP’s Web site, having been authorized for publication by the Association’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure. The report deals with the administration’s action, following a declaration of financial exigency after Hurricane Ike struck in 2008, to terminate over one hundred faculty appointments, including more than forty with tenure. The report concluded that the procedures provided in the University of Texas Board of Regents’ Rule 31003, under which the appointment terminations were effected, were severely deficient when measured against Association-supported standards, placing the burden on the affected faculty members to prove that the financial exigency was not bona fide or that their selection for release was arbitrary or unreasonable. The report also found that the medical branch faculty was given essentially no role in determining the existence of a state of financial exigency or in assessing its impact on academic programs or faculty appointments. Other findings related to administrative actions included insufficient notice or severance salary for released faculty members and inattention to placing affected professors in other suitable positions within the medical branch or elsewhere in the University of Texas system. Finally, the investigating committee concluded that the institution failed to demonstrate that released professors could not have been recalled to service at a time when new recruitment for faculty positions was underway by spring 2009. The committee’s full report can be read here.