B5: Separation from the University
(*Approved by Regents December 8, 1998) (**Approved by Faculty December 7, 1998)
SECTION 5: SEPARATION FROM THE UNIVERSITY
This section refers to the ways in which the professional relationship between an individual faculty member and the institution may be dissolved or suspended. The dissolution of this professional relationship may be initiated by the faculty member or by the institution.
5.2 FACULTY-INITIATED SEPARATION
(a) Faculty members may terminate their appointment effective at the end of an academic year, provided that they give notice in writing at the earliest possible opportunity, but normally not later than May 15. Conditions for the resignation of clinical faculty in the School of Medicine are defined in the School of Medicine policies. Faculty members may properly request a waiver of this requirement of notice in case of hardship or in a situation where they would otherwise be denied substantial professional advancement or other opportunity.
(b) A faculty member may properly give notice after May 15 but within 10 days after receiving the contract (1) if it is not in the member's hands in time to meet the normal time requirements and (2) if the member is not satisfied with the terms and conditions of the offered contract.
The date of retirement shall normally be the end of the contract year or the end of a semester, and shall be negotiated between the faculty member and the administrative unit. Appropriate State statutes and State and University regulations and policies regarding retirement shall be consulted.
5.3 UNIVERSITY-INITIATED TERMINATION OF SERVICES OF FACULTY MEMBERS WITH TENURE
The services of a faculty member having tenure shall be terminated only for one of the following reasons: (1) adequate cause, (2) bona fide financial exigencies of the University, (3) bona fide discontinuance of a program or department of instruction, or (4) health reasons. Termination decisions shall not interfere with any retirement benefits for which a faculty member may be eligible. No faculty member shall be retired involuntarily unless such action is authorized by statute or by this Policy. The process for dismissal of a tenured faculty member is described in Sec. 6.
5.3.2 Adequate Cause
Adequate cause for termination of a faculty member with tenure consists of academic incompetence, neglect of duty, serious violation of University policy, commission of a serious crime, loss of medical licensure or clinical privileges, or other serious professional or ethical deficiencies. Adequate cause may be determined in several ways, including admission, conviction by a court of law, or findings of a hearing before a relevant University faculty-review committee such as the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee (Sec. 6.4.3).
5.3.3 Financial Exigency
Termination of a tenured appointment may occur under extraordinary circumstances because of a demonstrably bona fide financial exigency, namely, an imminent financial crisis that threatens the survival of the institution as a whole and that can not be alleviated by less drastic means. The following standards and procedures will apply:
(a) The exact nature of the need for termination must be substantiated in writing by the department, the college, and the Provost.
(b) The Provost must explain the action with regard to this particular position to the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure and show that the plans for the academic and fiscal disposition of the position are reasonable and that all feasible alternatives to termination of the appointment have been pursued. The burden shall rest on the administration to prove the existence and extent of the condition of financial exigency.
(c) Should the Provost decide that the University's financial crisis requires that the faculty position in question be eliminated, shifted within the department, or shifted to another department or college, the faculty member, department chair, and college/ school dean shall be so notified as early as possible, but no later than May 1. The faculty member will be issued a notice contract for one additional year of employment.
(d) If a tenured faculty member is terminated because of a bona fide financial exigency of the University, the released faculty member's place will not be filled by a replacement for a period of two years, unless the released faculty member has declined an offer of reappointment with at least the previous rank and salary.
5.3.4 Program Discontinuance
Termination of a tenured appointment may occur as a result of bona fide formal discontinuance of a program or department of instruction. The following standards and procedures will apply:
(a) The formal decision to discontinue a program or department of instruction will be based essentially upon educational considerations, as determined by the Board of Regents after consideration by and recommendation from the Faculty Senate.
(b) Before the administration issues notice to a tenured faculty member of its intention to terminate an appointment because of formal discontinuance of a program or department of instruction, the University will make every effort to place the faculty member in another suitable position. If placement in another position would be facilitated by a reasonable period of training, financial and other support for such training will be offered. If no position is available within the University, with or without retraining, the faculty member's appointment then may be terminated, but only with provision for severance salary equitably adjusted to the faculty member's length of past and potential service.
(c) A faculty member may appeal a proposed relocation or termination resulting from a discontinuance and has a right to a full hearing before the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee. The issues in such a hearing may include the University's alleged failure to satisfy any of the conditions specified in this section of the Handbook. In such a hearing, a determination by the Board of Regents (after recommendation by the Faculty Senate) that a program or department is to be discontinued will be considered presumptively valid, but the burden of proof on other issues will rest with the administration.
(d) Should a program or department of instruction be discontinued and, within three years, should the program be restored or the position be reestablished elsewhere in the University, the faculty member must be given the opportunity to return to the position with at least the previous rank and salary.
5.3.5 Health Reasons
(a) An appointment with tenure may be terminated for health reasons, following the procedures of this section, based upon clear and convincing evidence that the faculty member cannot continue satisfactorily to perform his or her normal professional duties, that such condition is likely to be permanent, and that no reasonable accommodation as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act is feasible. Extended sick leave or leave without pay is appropriate when a serious health condition requires absence from faculty duties, but the condition is not expected to be permanent.
(b) The decision to terminate the employment of a faculty member for health reasons shall be reached only after there has been appropriate consultation with at least the other tenured members of the department, the chair, the dean, and the Provost/VPHS. The faculty member, or his or her representative, shall be informed in writing by the Provost/VPHS of the basis of the proposed action and be given an opportunity to present the faculty member’s position to the Provost prior to the Provost making a recommendation to the President. If the President concludes that the faculty member cannot continue satisfactorily to perform his or her normal professional duties but the faculty member does not agree, the President shall initiate proceedings before the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure to terminate the employment of the faculty member pursuant to the procedures of this Policy dealing with dismissal (Sec. 6.4.3).
5.4 UNIVERSITY-INITIATED TERMINATION OF CONTRACT OF A NON-TENURED FACULTY MEMBER
(a) The University has the discretion whether or not to renew the annual contract of probationary or non-tenure-track faculty members (for probationary faculty-Sec. 3.2(c) for notice periods and Sec. 4.2.4, 4.2.5, and 6.4.1 for rights of appeal; for continuing non-tenure-track faculty-Sec. 3.4 for notice periods). For Faculty members on two- or three-year term appointments, the University's discretionary renewal or non-renewal may be exercised only during the final year of the appointment; the notice periods specified above apply to the final year of the appointment. For non-tenured faculty members with two or three year term appointments, these term appointments may be terminated early, on the expiration date of an annual contract, following the procedures described in Sec. 5. 3.
(b) Under the extraordinary circumstances and with proof of adequate cause as outlined in Sec. 5.3.2, a non-tenured faculty member’s annual contract may be terminated before its expiration and/or without regard for the notice periods or terminal contract requirements set forth in this Policy. A decision to terminate the contract of a non-tenured faculty member under these circumstances shall be made by the Provost/ VPHS after recommendations by the chair and the dean. At each administrative level, the faculty member shall be fully informed in writing of the reasons proposed for such termination and shall be given an adequate opportunity to respond in writing and/or orally to the Provost/VPHS prior to the final decision. The faculty member shall have the right to appeal a termination decision by the Provost/VPHS to the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee on grounds within the Committee’s jurisdiction (Sec. 6.2); however, such appeal shall not postpone the date of termination.
Suspension is an emergency, short-term condition that can be invoked by the dean, Provost/VPHS, or President. The faculty member suspended must be named in the suspension order, the terms of which may vary from a directive not to meet classes to a legal exclusion from campus. An emergency suspension order is justified only as an effort to forestall imminent harm to the faculty member, to others, or to University property. As an emergency measure, it is intended to serve only until more formal action may be taken to resolve the issue at hand. Unless prohibited by law, suspension is always with pay, unless suspension is imposed as a disciplinary measure after a full opportunity for hearing and review, in which case the suspension may be with or without pay.
5.6 DISMISSAL OR NON-REAPPOINTMENT OF GRADUATE, TEACHING, RESEARCH, AND SPECIAL ASSISTANTS
(a) No graduate, teaching, research, or special assistant has a right to reappointment or to continuance in service beyond the contract period. However, assistants have the right to be secure from arbitrary or capricious dismissal. If an assistant is not satisfactorily performing assigned duties, the supervisor shall so inform the assistant and point out the unsatisfactory aspects of the work and how these should be corrected. If dismissal is contemplated after such warning has been judged ineffective, the assistant shall be given a written statement of the reasons for this action and have an opportunity to respond to the supervisor prior to the final decision. The assistant may be suspended with pay by the dean of the college/school if warranted, prior to the final decision. The assistant may appeal dismissal to any or all of the following: the department chair, the dean of the college/school, or the Dean of Graduate Studies.
(b) If an assistant who is dismissed or not reappointed alleges that the decision violates academic freedom or Faculty Handbook procedures, or involves improper considerations, the assistant may appeal to the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee pursuant to this Policy (Sec. 6.2), after completing the process of administrative appeal.
* Approved by Regents: January 11, 1964; January 18, 1969; March 15, 1969; November 8, 1969; January 9, 1971; April 16, 1971; December 20, 1974; February 1, 1975; September 27, 1975; June 13, 1977; August 29, 1978; June 1, 1979; August 12, 1983, August 6, 1985; December 8, 1998.
** Approved by Faculty: February 11, 1964; December 10, 1968; March 11, 1969; September 23, 1969; December 8, 1970; April 20, 1971; December 10, 1974; September 9, 1975; May 11, 1977; May 11, 1978; May 9, 1979; October 14, 1980; March 8, 1983; January 18, 1985; December 7, 1998.