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Academic Freedom and Electronic Communications

This draft report, prepared by a subcommittee of the Association’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, was approved by Committee A and the AAUP’s national Council in November 2013 for publication for comment. We welcome your comments on the draft report; please send them to Jennifer Nichols (jnichols@aaup.org) by January 10.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: Northeastern Illinois University

The administration of Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago violated principles of academic freedom when it denied tenure to a candidate who had opposed its wishes in a dispute between linguistics faculty and teachers of English as a second language (TESL), concludes an AAUP investigating committee in this new report.

Incentives to Forgo Tenure

Tenure is "indispensable to the success of an institution in fulfilling its obligations to its students and to society." So declares the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure. The academic community, however, has never lacked for proposals that would undermine tenure and thus its role in serving students and society. Among such current proposals, one in particular requires comment because it has surfaced in recent cases considered by Committee A.1  It proposes that prospective faculty members accept renewable term appointments and forgo consideration for tenure and/or that current faculty members renounce tenure in return for some advantage, such as a higher salary, accelerated leave, or other pecuniary consideration. Proponents of these agreements argue that they embody a free exchange of mutual benefit to the parties. If academic tenure withers in consequence, they claim, that only demonstrates that, in a free market, faculty will have demonstrated their unwillingness to support tenure.

Agency-Fee Audits

Information about agency-fee audits.

Defending the Freedom to Innovate: Faculty Intellectual Property Rights After Stanford v. Roche

This report is being issued in the midst of fundamental changes in the character of faculty rights and academic freedom. The purpose of the report is to put the dialog on intellectual property on a new foundation, one that leads to a principle-based restoration of faculty leadership in setting policy in this increasingly important area of university activity. Administration efforts to control the fruits of faculty scholarship augur a sea change in faculty employment conditions, one too often imposed without negotiation or consent.
 

Faculty Communication with Governing Boards: Best Practices

From its initial statement of principles in 1915 and its earliest investigations into violations of academic freedom, the AAUP has emphasized the necessity of effective communication among those who participate in academic governance. Based on a consideration of relevant AAUP documents, the current climate in higher education, and feedback on an earlier draft, the final statement urges greater communication between faculties and governing boards in colleges and universities.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: National Louis University

Report dealing with the National Louis University administration’s actions in spring 2012 to discontinue nine degree programs and five nondegree certificate programs, to close four departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, and to terminate the appointments of at least sixty-three full-time faculty members, sixteen with tenure.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: Southern University, Baton Rouge

Report investigating the declaration of financial exigency at Southern University, Baton Rouge (SUBR), and the subsequent terminations of tenured professors and restructuring of academic programs.

College and University Governance: The University of Virginia Governing Board’s Attempt to Remove the President

This report documents a major breakdown in governance at UVA, focusing on the role of the board of visitors and its rector, Helen Dragas, who initiated the effort to force the president’s resignation. It finds that the events at the university resulted from “a failure by those charged with institutional oversight to understand the institution over which they presided and to engage with the administration and the faculty in an effort to be well informed.”

Institutional Accreditation: A Call for Greater Faculty Involvement

A report calling for greater faculty involvement in the accreditation of colleges and universities.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: Grove City College

Although a faculty member was terminated by the administration of Grove City College for stated cause, for his grade distribution and teaching performance, it was done  without any due process. The dismissal action in this case was accompanied by collateral controversy, disclosure of unusual attendant circumstances, and frequent display of emotion. Many of these elements were reported in the press and by radio and television broadcast.  Therefore, the investigating committee additionally issued  a set of Supplementary Observations and these are included in this report..

Academic Freedom and Tenure: Frank Phillips College

The administration of  Frank Phillips College dismissed a faculty member without providing cause, without academic due process, and without providing for any payment of salary beyond the date of notification of dismissal.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: Concordia Seminary

Despite the recommendations of his colleagues and inadequate notice of the termination of his services, the administration of Concordia Seminary terminated a faculty member based on outside ecclesiastical authorities' displeasure with his views on matters that fell within his academic competence.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: State University of New York

Report regarding retrenchments at the State University of New York that were initiated by the University administration without appropriate consultation with the faculty and without any showing of a financial exigency. They were overseen by the administration with disregard for the rights of tenure, for due notice, and for the role of the faculty in institutional government.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: Murray State University

The administration of Murray State University terminated the services of nine faculty members without due process and in disregard of the role of faculty in reaching decisions of faculty status.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas

Report discussing the lack of  written regulations or by-laws which safeguard academic freedom, tenure, and due process at Phillips County Community College. Apart from the lack of written safeguards—indeed, perhaps in part because of this deficiency—sound conditions of academic freedom, tenure, and due process do not exist at this college.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: Nichols College

Report concerning the administration of Nichols College's dismissal of a faculty member  prior to the expiration of his term of appointment, without providing him with the basic safeguards of academic due process

Academic Freedom and Tenure: Yeshiva University

Report regarding the administration of Yeshiva University's termination of  the appointments of three faculty members, and suspended them from further teaching responsibilities without having afforded them the safeguards of academic due process.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: American International College

Report concerning the administration of American International College's dismissal of a faculty member after thirteen years of service without setting forth specific cause for its action and without offering him a hearing and other safeguards of academic due process.

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