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Academic Freedom and Tenure: University of Northern Iowa

This report concerns actions taken in February and March 2012 by the administration of the University of Northern Iowa, with the approval of the Iowa Board of Regents but without consultation with the faculty, to discontinue nearly one-fifth of the university’s academic programs and close the university’s laboratory school. These actions threatened the termination through layoff of more than fifty faculty appointments. Although no layoffs ultimately occurred, numerous tenured professors were constructively dismissed. After assigning certain faculty members to eliminated “program areas,” the administration offered some of them separation plans that would provide a year of severance salary plus benefits—having led these selected professors to believe that refusal to accept the separation offers would likely result in their being laid off at the end of the academic year with no severance salary and no further benefit payments.

This report was first published on the AAUP's website in January, 2013.