The UW-Madison chapter of the AAUP has issued a statement urging the UW System Board of Regents to ensure that the policies on tenure, faculty layoff, and post-tenure review adopted at its meeting today are consistent with AAUP standards, and outlining several criteria for achieving AAUP compliance. The UWM AAUP executive committee endorses the statement, whose major points are reproduced below:
We applaud the UW System Faculty Representatives and faculty members of the Tenure Policy Task Force, who came together unanimously to request significant changes to the Regents’ draft policies. We further call upon the Regents to amend their policies to bring them in compliance with the 2014 Recommended Institutional Regulations of the AAUP.
Any policy that does not meet the following criteria cannot be considered consistent with AAUP’s professional standards and would diminish the standing of the University of Wisconsin System among students and citizens as well as our reputation and competitiveness among our peers:
- Faculty shall not be laid off or terminated except in case of a bona fide financial emergency or a formal program discontinuance based essentially on educational considerations as determined by the faculty.
- Educational considerations are distinct from financial considerations and shall not include comparative cost or cost-effectiveness analysis of programs or the need to reallocate resources to other programs that are considered to be higher priority.
- Any faculty committee responsible for participating in the determination of the existence of a financial emergency, determining criteria for program discontinuance, and/or reviewing programs for discontinuance shall be duly elected by the faculty or appointed by an elected faculty body.
- Determinations of the Board of Regents regarding the existence of a financial emergency or program discontinuance for educational considerations should concur with faculty judgment except in rare instances and for compelling reasons which should be stated in detail.
- In the case of financial emergency, all feasible alternatives to layoff or termination of appointments shall be pursued prior to laying off faculty.
- Faculty review hearings in the case of layoff or termination for financial emergency may question the existence and extent of the condition of financial emergency and whether all feasible alternatives to layoff or termination of appointments were pursued, with the burden of proof resting on the administration.
- In the case of program discontinuance for educational considerations, every effort shall be made to place the faculty member in a suitable alternative position.
- Faculty review hearings in the case of layoff or termination for program discontinuance may question whether the conditions for discontinuance were essentially educational, as determined primarily by the faculty, and whether every effort was made to place the faculty member in a suitable alternative position, with the burden of proof resting on the administration.
- Program reduction through modification or redirection resulting in faculty layoff or termination shall not be permitted.
- Program reduction through curtailment resulting in faculty layoff or termination shall only be permitted in case of bona fide financial emergency.
- In the event that a faculty member is laid off or terminated as the result of program discontinuance for educational considerations, faculty shall receive severance in accordance with AAUP Recommended Institutional Regulation 8.
- Faculty shall have the right to challenge the findings and correct the record of any post-tenure review or remediation plan by appeal to an elected faculty grievance committee.
We urge the Regents to remember our legacy and preserve it for future generations of scholars, for the benefit of the people of Wisconsin.