It's no longer enough to protect the tenure of frauds; AAUP President Cary Nelson labors to ensure second-hand frauds like Churchill's dog Benjie will have a protected sinecure, too:
From: Cary Nelson and Gary Rhoades <email@example.com>
Subject: Working to end at-whim employment of contingent faculty
Date: Thursday, August 27, 2009, 9:59 AM
Most of the academic workforce is employed in full and part-time contingent positions. Although there are exceptions, particularly in unionized settings, many contingent faculty members work under the threat of administrators acting to dismiss them without notice, with no review by fellow academics, no stated reasons, and no process for appeal. They work at the whim of administrators. Such conditions undermine educational quality and effectiveness.
The AAUP serves notice that we are working to end â€œat-whimâ€ employment for contingent faculty. At its June 2009 annual meeting the AAUP put Nicholls State University and North Idaho College on censure for terminating the services of contingent faculty members who had been teaching in good standing for many years: one had taught as a full-time contingent faculty member for twelve years; the other had taught for thirteen consecutive semesters as a part-time faculty member. The North Idaho College case was the first in which the AAUP has censured an administration for violating Regulation 13 of the Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure (â€œPart-time Faculty Appointmentsâ€), which draws on some procedural safeguards embedded in tenure to extend stronger due process rights for contingent faculty in part-time positions.
At the 2009 annual meeting the delegates also voted to remove the University of New Haven from the censure list. Sanctioned for its dismissal of a full-time contingent faculty member, the university has now adopted procedures that provide full-time non-tenure-track faculty members after seven years of service with protections against involuntary nonretention that accrue with faculty tenure. Again, the fulcrum for these efforts on behalf of contingent faculty is the due- process rights established for tenure track faculty. The University of New Haven case points to the feasibility of institutions adopting policies for contingent faculty consistent with AAUP principles, to the benefit of their studentsâ€™ education and the institution's effectiveness.
The rationale for these recent actions is clearly articulated by a 2005 investigating committeeâ€™s report on the University of the Cumberlands, which had this to say about â€œat-willâ€ employment practices: â€œEmployment-at-will contracts are by definition inimical to academic freedom and academic due process, because their contractual provisions permit infringements on what academic freedom is designed to protect. Since faculty members under at-will contracts serve at the administration's pleasure, their services can be terminated at any point because an administrator objects to any aspect of their academic performance, communications as a citizen, or positions on academic governance-or simply to their personalities. Should this happen, these faculty members have no recourse, since the conditions of their appointment leave them without the procedural safeguards of academic due process. Moreover, the mere presence of at-will conditions has a chilling effect on the exercise of academic freedom. Faculty members placed at constant risk of losing their position by incurring the displeasure of the administration must always be on guard against doing so.â€
The AAUP is working to end â€œat-whimâ€ employment of faculty, and to extend substantially the due-process rights of contingent faculty members, in the interests of our students and society. For the working conditions of these faculty members directly affect the learning outcomes of students. We encourage you to support our fight for contingent faculty rights by joining the AAUP.
Cary Nelson, AAUP President
Gary Rhoades, General Secretary