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Louisiana State University Baton Rouge

Academic Freedom and Tenure: Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

2011 report finding violations of academic freedom in two cases at Louisiana’s flagship public institution, Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, that are different in the administrative officers involved and in the matters under dispute but alike in putting core issues of aca demic freedom to the test. The first case, affecting a nontenured associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in his seventeenth year of full-time service on the faculty, tested the rela tionship between freedom of research and publication and freedom of extramural utterance in a politically charged atmosphere. The second case, affecting a tenured full professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in her thirty-first year on the faculty, tested the freedom of a classroom teacher to assign student grades.

Developments Relating to Association Censure

The Association’s staff has prepared the following brief accounts of significant developments during the past year at institutions that appear on the AAUP’s list of administrations censured for serious departures from AAUP-supported standards of academic freedom and tenure. The staff has no significant developments this past year to report regarding institutions on the AAUP’s list of institutions sanctioned for infringing AAUP-supported governance standards.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, A Supplementary Report on a Censured Administration

This supplementary report raises questions about the dismissal of professor Teresa Buchanan from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, which has been on the AAUP’s list of censured administrations since 2012. Professor Buchanan, a specialist in early childhood education with an unblemished eighteen-year performance record, was being evaluated for promotion to full professor when a district school superintendent and an LSU student filed complaints against her for occasional use of profanity and bawdy language. Her dean immediately suspended her from teaching, and eventually, despite a faculty hearing committee's unanimous recommendation against dismissal, the LSU board of supervisors accepted the administration's recommendation that she be dismissed. The faculty senate at LSU also condemned the administration's actions, and, represented by attorneys from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Professor Buchanan has filed a lawsuit against the university, for which the AAUP Foundation has provided financial assistance.

New Report Raises Concerns about LSU Firing

This report questions hasty actions by the administration, procedures followed, and low tolerance for profanity at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. This supplementary report on a censured administration is one of only seven such reports issued in the AAUP’s century of existence.

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