Layoffs Without ‘Financial Exigency’
Excerpt from: Inside Higher Ed, March 2, 2010
One of the ultimate protections of being a tenured faculty member, historically, has been being immune from
layoff in all but the most extraordinary circumstances. Under policies issued by the American Association of
University Professors and largely accepted by higher education leaders, only institutions that declare “financial exigency” — a state so dire that it “threatens the survival of the institution as a whole” — can eliminate the jobs of tenured faculty members.
Given the strict criteria on when an institution can declare exigency, and the obviously unwelcome scrutiny such a declaration would bring about, institutions have hesitated to invoke that status. As a result, while institutions eliminate adjunct positions all the time, the tenured faculty member has been protected.
But maybe not so much anymore. In a series of recent actions, colleges appear to be ignoring the exigency requirement either when eliminating tenured jobs or considering the possibility of doing so. Administrators
defend their moves as necessary to manage institutions in tight financial times, but faculty leaders see an
erosion of a key right….
Consider these developments:
* Florida State University, without declaring financial exigency, is currently moving ahead with layoffs for 21
tenured faculty members (along with many more who lack tenure)….
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