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Standards and Procedures for Termination: Release, Dismissal and Non-reappointment

(Article mutually agreed to by the faculty and administration. Updated October 2004.)

The President may not terminate or otherwise punish a faculty member for exercising his or her academic freedom or for exercising freedoms such as speech, assembly, and association as they would apply in the federal constitutional context. Terminations should represent deliberate exercise of professional judgments in the particular institutional circumstances. Such terminations fall into three categories: Release, dismissal, and non-reappointment before the end of a specified period of employment, as detailed below.

A. Release

This termination is based on factors outside the control of the faculty member who is released, and occurs prior to the end of a faculty member's appointment. The action takes effect at the end of the semester during which the release occurs.

  1. Bases for Release:

    (a) Release of a tenured faculty member must be based on either: (1) bona fide financial exigency or (2) discontinuance of program, school or department.

    (b) Release of any other faculty member from faculty responsibilities must be based on one or more of the following reasons: (1) substantial change in the institution's academic program requiring a change in the job description under which the faculty member was hired; (2) bona fide budgetary constraints requiring elimination of the faculty member's position; or (3) discontinuance of program, school, or department.

     

  2. Procedure for Release

    The President may release a faculty member after consulting with the Vice President for Academic Affairs and either the chair of the department or the dean of the school of the faculty member affected. The faculty member has the right of appeal as outlined in the Article IX of the Personnel Policies.

B. Dismissal

The President may dismiss any faculty member prior to the stated end of the faculty member’s appointment for one or more of the reasons stated below. A dismissal may take effect either during a semester or at the end of a semester as determined by the President.

  1. Bases for Dismissal: Dismissal must be based on one or more of the following:

    (a) dishonesty in teaching or research;

    (b) substantial and clear neglect of duty including violation of stated University policies;

    (c) personal conduct which substantially impairs the individual's fulfillment of institutional responsibilities;

    (d) conviction of a felony or of a serious misdemeanor of a type that reflects adversely on the University or on the faculty member's ability to perform the responsibilities of his or her University position;

    (e) performance which falls distinctly below the standards which the University may justly expect in terms of the criteria for personnel decisions on tenure and promotion (Article V of these Personnel Policies); or

    (f) inability to perform the duties of the appointment due to sustained or recurrent incapacity without expectation of timely resumption of duties.

     

  2. Procedure for Dismissal

    A recommendation to the President for dismissal may arise as part of the personnel review process outlined in Article IV of the Personnel Policies. Alternatively, a recommendation to the President for dismissal may result from a complaint registered with or by the Vice President for Academic Affairs following procedures outlined in Article VI. D below.

C. Non-reappointment before the end of a term appointment or before the end of the probationary period of a tenure-track position. The President may decide not to re-appoint a faculty member prior to the stated end of a faculty member's term of employment for one or more of the reasons stated below. The action will take effect no sooner than at the end of the semester in which the non-reappointment decision occurs.

  1. Bases for Non-reappointment

    Non-reappointment before the end of a specified period of employment must be based upon one or more of the following: (a) failure to meet conditions set forth in the letter of appointment (for example, failure to attain a terminal degree by a specified date); (b) unsatisfactory performance; or (c) any of the bases for dismissal stated in sections B.1a-B.1d (not serious enough to warrant immediate dismissal).

     

  2. Procedure for Non-reappointment

    A recommendation to the President for non-reappointment may arise as part of the personnel review process outlined in Article IV of the Personnel Policies. Alternatively, a recommendation to the President for non-reappointment may result from a complaint registered with or by the Vice President for Academic Affairs following procedures outlined in Article VI. D below.

D. Procedures for Dismissal or Non-reappointment Based on Complaints

  1. All complaints that are sufficiently serious to warrant the possibility of dismissal or non-reappointment are to be directed to the Vice President for Academic Affairs who will conduct a preliminary investigation, including consultation with the faculty member who is the subject of the complaint. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will reach a conclusion as to whether the complaint is without merit, warrants only minor sanction, or justifies further investigation.

     

  2. If the Vice President for Academic Affairs decides that further investigation is warranted, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will inform the Committee on Faculty which will conduct a hearing according to its established procedures (see Appendix A of the Personnel Policies section of this handbook) and provide its recommendation to the President.

     

  3. The President may dismiss a faculty member or not reappoint a faculty member before the end of the specified period of employment after receiving the recommendation made by the Committee on Faculty after it completes its hearing process. If the Committee on Faculty should fail to provide its advice to the President in accordance with the schedule established in its hearing procedures following a request by the Vice President for Academic Affairs for it to hold a hearing, the President may notify the Committee on Faculty in writing of the President's intention to act without its advice. The President may then proceed to act without the advice of the Committee on Faculty if the Committee's recommendation is not received within five (5) in-session days (as defined in Article VIII. J.1) of the date the President sends notification of intent to act to the Committee.

     

  4. All decisions about release of information about the decision shall rest with the President.

E. Faculty members who have been released, dismissed, or not re-appointed have an opportunity for reconsideration or review in accordance with the Faculty Grievance Procedure described in Article VIII of the Personnel Policies.

F. The President may suspend a faculty member effective immediately, with pay, pending conclusion of hearing proceedings described in these Personnel Policies.

G. In the event of release, dismissal, or non-reappointment before the end of a stated term, salary in addition to that earned as of the date of notice of the action shall be paid according to the following schedule, notwithstanding the effective date of the release, dismissal, or non-reappointment:

  1. Faculty members in their first academic year of service shall receive three months' salary from the date of notice of the release, dismissal, or non-reappointment unless notice of action that is to be effective at the end of the academic year is given by March 1, in which case the faculty member shall receive salary through the end of the academic year.

     

  2. Faculty members in their second year of academic service shall receive six months' salary from the date of notice of the release, dismissal, or non-reappointment unless notice of action that is to be effective at the end of the academic year is given by the prior December 15, in which case the faculty member shall receive salary through the end of the academic year.

     

  3. Faculty members who have more than two years of academic service shall receive 12 months’ salary from the date of notice of the release, dismissal, or non-reappointment.