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Faculty Personnel Policies

B7   Termination of Appointment by the College*

Termination of a continuous appointment, or the dismissal of a teacher prior to the expiration of a term appointment, is possible on four grounds: adequate cause (see B6), financial exigency, the discontinuance of a program not mandated by financial exigency, and reasons related to physical or mental health.

*Note:  The full policy includes explanatory footnotes which are not here reprinted (see FacultyBulletin 17 May 1995, pp. 6-12).

 

  1. Termination of Appointments for Reasons of Financial Exigency

    1. Definitions

      Financial exigency is understood as an imminent financial crisis which threatens the solvency of the institution and which cannot be alleviated by less drastic means.
       
      Less drastic means include but are not limited to extensive cost-cutting, a freeze on or reduction in compensation, early retirement, elimination of non-tenured and non-academic positions, reassignment of tenured faculty, reduction of faculty appointments to part-time status, and change in investment policy.  In the weighing of alternatives, the retention of a viable academic program is the foremost consideration.

    2. Process

      The termination process is a sequence of several distinct decisions: the decision that a state of financial exigency exists or is imminent, the decision of where to cut one or more tenured positions, the criteria for selecting individuals, and the actual selection.

      1. The President initiates the process, after considerable discussion of the situation already in such bodies as the Advisory Committee on Financial Resources, the Administrative Forum, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, and Faculty Meetings and/or open hearings.

      2. A special committee is formed: all members of the Advisory Committee on Financial Resources except the President; the chairs of the Professional Interests Committee, Administrative Affairs Board, and Academic Affairs Board; the Controller of the College; and the Controller of Student Congress.  In the event that all the elected faculty in this group are of the same sex, a member of the teaching faculty of the other sex will be appointed by the President, from the membership of the Professional Interests Committee or Academic Affairs Board, if possible.

        One role of this committee is to study whether or not a condition of financial exigency exists or is imminent, and whether or not all feasible alternatives to termination of appointments have been pursued.  A second role is to determine where within the overall academic program termination of appointments may occur.  This process should include consultation with those departments and programs being considered for reduction.

      3. This committee shall report its conclusions to the President and the Board of Trustees.

      4. Criteria for identifying the individuals whose appointments are to be terminated are then jointly developed by the full PIC and the expanded Status Committee (the four elected faculty members of the Status Committee, divisional deans, and Provost) as a recommendation to the Administrative Affairs Board.

      5. The Administrative Affairs Board acts on this recommendation.  (This and the preceding step may proceed while the decision of the Board of Trustees is pending.)

      6. Using these criteria, identification of individuals whose appointments are to be terminated is then made by the expanded Status Committee.

      7. The recommendations of the expanded Status Committee are submitted by the Provost to the President.

      8. If the President accepts these recommendations, he transmits them to the Board for a decision.

      9. The President notifies persons whose contracts are to be terminated.

    3. Continuation of compensation and duties

      Faculty members so released shall continue to receive salary and benefits for twelve months following notification of termination of appointment.

      Continuation in duties is at the discretion of the College.  During this twelve-month period the College shall not be liable for payment of unemployment compensation.


       
    4. Request for review of decision

      A faculty member so released will have the right to a full hearing before a faculty committee, constituted and functioning as described in B6.d.  The hearing need not conform in all respects with the proceedings described in B6.d4, but the essentials of an on-the-record adjudicative hearing will be observed.  The issues in this hearing may include:
      1. The existence of the condition of financial exigency.  The findings of the ad hoc committee under B7.a2b) may be introduced.

      2. The validity of the educational judgments and the criteria for identification for termination; but the recommendations on these matters reached under B7.a2d) will be considered presumptively valid.

      3. Whether the criteria are being properly applied in the individual case.

      The Board of Trustees is available for ultimate review.

    5. Eligibility for transfer within the College and for rehiring

      1. Faculty members so released shall have primary claim on other open positions in the College for which they have minimal qualifications in terms of reasonable standards.  If retraining is required in order to qualify suitably, the person may be considered on probation for a maximum of three years, after which, in the case of a faculty position, tenure is restored upon successful evaluation by the receiving department on the particular question of qualifications.  If such evaluation results in a negative judgment as to qualifications, and there is no successful appeal of the judgment, the person has no special claim on other open positions but is nonetheless free to proceed as an ordinary applicant.

      2. In the event of the reopening of a terminated position within three years, the released faculty member will be offered reinstatement, with tenure status, rank, and salary at least equal to those prevailing at the time of termination, and a reasonable time in which to accept or decline it.

  2. Termination because of the discontinuance of program or department not mandated by financial exigency

    1. Decision-making process

      The decision to formally discontinue a program or department of instruction will be made by the Administrative Affairs Board, based essentially upon educational considerations, as determined by the Academic Affairs Board.  Each board action will be subject to the usual review process.  "Educational considerations" do not include cyclical or temporary variations in enrollment. They must reflect long-range judgments that the educational mission of the College as a whole will be enhanced by the discontinuance.

    2. Reassignment, retraining or severance with compensation

      Before a faculty member is notified of the intention to terminate his or her appointment because of formal discontinuance of a program or department of instruction, the College will make every effort to place him or her in another suitable position.  If placement in a suitable position would be facilitated by a reasonable period of training, financial and other support for such training will be proffered.  If no position is available within the College, with or without retraining, the faculty member's appointment may then be terminated, but only with provision for severance salary.
       
      Faculty members so released shall continue to receive salary and benefits for no less than twelve months following notification of termination of appointment.  During the period covered by the severance salary, computed at the faculty member's most recent rate of pay, the College shall not be liable for payment of unemployment compensation.

    3. Appeals

      A faculty member may appeal a proposed relocation or termination resulting from the discontinuance of a program or department and has the right to a full hearing before a faculty committee, constituted and functioning as described in B6.d.  The hearing need not conform in all respects with the proceedings described in B6.d4, but the essentials of an on-the-record adjudicative hearing will be observed.  The issues in such a hearing may include the institution's failure to satisfy one or more of the conditions specified in B7.b2.  In such a hearing a board's determination that a program or department is to be discontinued will be considered presumptively valid, but the burden of reasonable proof on other issues will rest on the administration.

    4. Review

    5. The Board of Trustees is available for ultimate review.

  3. Termination for Reasons Related to Physical or Mental Health

    Ordinarily, a faculty member who, because of reasons related to physical or mental health, is unable to fulfill the terms of her/his appointment is counseled to apply for disability. If such counseling is ineffective or impossible, the College may terminate for reasons related to physical or mental health an appointment with tenure or a probationary or special appointment before the end of the period of appointment. Such termination will be based upon clear and convincing medical or psychological evidence that the faculty member cannot continue to fulfill the terms and conditions of the appointment. The decision to terminate will be reached only after there has been appropriate consultation and after the faculty member concerned, or someone representing the faculty member, has been informed of the basis of the proposed action and has been afforded an opportunity to present the faculty member's position and to respond to the evidence. If the faculty member so requests, the evidence will be reviewed by the Professional Interests Committee and the Status Committee before a final decision is made by the Board of Trustees on the recommendation of the administration. The faculty member so terminated shall continue to receive salary and benefits for no less than twelve months. This policy is not intended to contravene the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).