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Six Governance Sanctions and One Censure Removal

Imposition of Sanctions

The governing Council of the American Association of University Professors voted to add Canisius College (NY), Keuka College (NY), Marian University (WI), Medaille College (NY), National University (CA), and Wittenberg University (OH) to the AAUP’s list of sanctioned institutions. AAUP sanction is imposed when an administration or governing board violates generally accepted standards of college and university governance, as set forth in the Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities. Prior to the restructuring of the AAUP that took effect in 2020, censure and sanction were imposed by vote of the annual meeting; they are now imposed by vote of the Council.

In September 2020, the AAUP’s executive director appointed a special committee to investigate and report on the crisis in academic governance that occurred in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on cases at eight institutions. The special committee’s report was published on May 26, 2021, in time for the Committee on College and University Governance to bring its six sanction recommendations before the AAUP’s June Council meeting.

Read the Committee's sanction recommendations:

Canisius College | Keuka College | Marian University | Medaille College | National University | Wittenberg University

The Committee on College and University Governance delayed making a recommendation to the Council concerning the imposition of sanction on Illinois Wesleyan until fall 2021, pending final action by its board of trustees on the recommendation of a faculty hearing committee. At the University of Akron, a successful negotiation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the chapter and administration on shared governance led the Committee on College and University Governance to make no recommendation on sanction. However, in its statement, the committee wrote that it “remains deeply concerned about the continued presence in the collective-bargaining agreement of language equivalent to the technically deleted ‘force majeure.’” In light of developments that occurred after the committee drafted its statement, the AAUP’s Council referred the case back to the Committee on College and University Governance for further consideration.

Illinois Wesleyan University | University of Akron

AAUP governance investigations are conducted under the aegis of the Association’s standing Committee on College and University Governance by AAUP members who have had no previous involvement in the cases under investigation. The investigating committee is charged with independently determining the relevant facts and the positions of the principal parties before reaching its findings. The committee’s draft report, if approved for publication by the parent committee, is distributed to the administration and the relevant faculty bodies for comment and correction of fact. The AAUP takes these comments into account when preparing the final report. If the investigating committee’s published report finds that serious violations have occurred and an appropriate resolution cannot be achieved, the AAUP may place an institution on its sanction list, which informs the academic community and the public that conditions for shared governance at the institution are unsound.

The investigating committee was co-chaired by Michael Bérubé, Pennsylvania State University and Michael DeCesare, Merrimack College, chair of the AAUP’s Committee on College and University Governance. Additional members were Ruben J. Garcia,  University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Pippa Holloway, University of Richmond; Susan Jarosi, Hamilton College; and Henry Reichman, California State University, East Bay, chair of the AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure.

Censure Removal

The Council also voted to remove Bastyr University from the Association's list of censured administrations. Since 1938 the AAUP has censured administrations of higher education institutions for failing to observe generally recognized principles of academic freedom.

  • Censure removal statement: The AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure recommended the removal of censure on Bastyr after the adoption of policy correcting inadequacies in the dismissal procedures that had led to the imposition of censure and after three faculty members whose cases prompted the censure accepted the administration’s apologies for the actions taken against them.

  • Investigative Report: Academic Freedom and Tenure: Bastyr University

For more information, please contact Greg Scholtz or Anita Levy of the AAUP’s Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance.

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, June 9, 2021