Termination Under Financial Exigency of a Tenured Appointment

(MUPIM 9.5/OAC 3339-9-05)

General (MUPIM 9.5.A)

“Financial exigency” is defined as fiscal emergencies that have two characteristics: (1) they are long-term in nature, promising to persist, by all reasonable projections, into the foreseeable future; and (2) they thereby threaten the fulfillment of the institution’s academic mission and, eventually, its very survival. As such, financial exigency is to be distinguished from temporary fiscal fluctuations on the one hand, and insolvency on the other.

Tenure termination due to financial exigency shall occur only when an emergency cannot be alleviated by less drastic means (as detailed below). By the same token, financial exigency must be severe enough to justify, in principle, termination of some faculty across the University, not just in selected departments. Similarly, financial exigency shall not be used as a means of endangering academic freedom or discriminating against persons on grounds of sex (including sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking), race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, military status, veteran status, or political orientation.

Tenure Termination Procedure (MUPIM 9.5.B)

While it is recognized that the Board of Trustees has final authority for the successful and continuous functioning of the University, in the event of financial exigency involving termination of tenured appointments, the following procedures shall be followed:

  1. The President, after consulting with the Fiscal Priorities and Budget Planning Committee, shall inform members of Faculty Assembly, in writing, of the imminence or existence of a bona fide financial exigency.
  2. The elected faculty members of the University Senate shall constitute themselves as an ad hoc committee, chaired by a member they elect, to evaluate the declaration of financial exigency. This committee shall have access to all information it deems necessary and appropriate to fulfill its charge, and it shall report its findings, in writing, to members of Faculty Assembly and to the President.
  3. The aforementioned ad hoc committee shall establish a Consultative Committee on Financial Exigency to recommend to the President a program appropriate for meeting the crisis at hand. This committee shall consist of four fulltime tenured faculty members elected by the electorate of Faculty Assembly and one academic administrator elected by the Council of Academic Deans. The committee shall also include, as full voting members, the Provost as well as chairs of the Faculty Welfare Committee, the Academic Policy Committee, the Fiscal Priorities and Budget Planning Committee, and the Campus Planning Committee. The committee shall elect its own chair.
  4. Focusing upon the entire University, the Consultative Committee on Financial Exigency shall recommend activities, offices, services, functions, programs, departments, or divisions – academic as well as nonacademic – that should be eliminated, contracted, or consolidated. In no case, however, shall such elimination or modification be used in such a way as to target an individual. Explicit criteria include but are not limited to:
    1. need, in light of the academic mission of the University at the time of financial exigency;
    2. quality, as determined by periodic reviews and evaluations;
    3. enrollment patterns;
    4. cost-benefit relationships;
    5. number of persons served; and
    6. frequency with which a service is rendered.
  5. Prior to consideration of termination of tenured appointments, the President, in consultation with the Consultative Committee on Financial Exigency, shall evaluate and implement all feasible alternatives and remedies to meet or alleviate the crisis situation. These alternatives and remedies may include:
    1. reducing or elimination of all activities expenditures not central to the academic mission of the University;
    2. imposing a freeze on all new appointments across the University;
    3. deferring across-the-board salary increases;
    4. deferring merit salary increases;
    5. proposing across-the-board salary cuts;
    6. encouraging change of employment status from fulltime to three-quarters time to half-time, with continuing fringe benefits;
    7. encouraging temporary leaves of absence without pay;
    8. reassigning personnel within the University (NOTE: In all cases of reassignment requiring retraining or “retooling,” the University shall provide the affected persons with financial assistance, time-release, or both, as appropriate.);
    9. providing incentives for early retirement; and
    10. providing incentives for voluntary resignations.
  6. Should the foregoing alternatives prove insufficient, the President, in consultation with the appropriate vice president(s), dean(s),  department chair(s), program director(s), and supervisory personnel, shall act to determine specific persons whose appointments are to be terminated. Insofar as it affects the faculty, any such action assumes prior consultation on the part of the Provost with the appropriate academic dean(s), on the part of the appropriate dean(s) with the appropriate department chair(s), and on the part of the appropriate chair(s) with the appropriate departmental tenure committee(s). Explicit criteria for faculty evaluations include but are not limited to:
    1. teaching effectiveness, as reflected in student evaluation, peer evaluation, or other appropriate means;
    2. distinction in one’s discipline, as reflected in peer review within and outside the institution;
    3. special skills requisite to the functioning of a program, department, or division;
    4. service to the University; and
    5. faculty status: rank, seniority.

All such evaluations shall be consistent with University policy on affirmative action and non-discrimination. Moreover, the welfare of the tenured faculty shall predominate throughout, and only under extraordinary circumstances may nontenured appointments be given preference over tenured ones. All such preferential appointments shall require a three-fourths majority vote of the tenure committee(s) of the appropriate department(s), together with the approval of the appropriate department chair(s), the appropriate academic dean(s), and the Provost. Analogous criteria shall govern the evaluation of nonfaculty unclassified administrative staff and of classified employees. (It is recognized that classified employees have their own “Layoff Procedures.” These procedures can be accelerated under conditions of financial exigency.)

  • The President (or a designated agent) shall inform the individuals whose appointments are to be terminated, by registered mail, providing each with a statement of the criteria employed and the procedures by which the decision was reached.

Right of Appeal (MUPIM 9.5.C)

A tenured faculty member who has been notified of termination of appointment due to financial exigency shall have the right to a hearing before the Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities. The appeal shall be filed within thirty (30) calendar days of the date of the President’s termination letter. The hearing shall be closed (unless the appellant requests otherwise), and the faculty member shall have the right to counsel and to presentation of witnesses and all other relevant evidence. The issues in this hearing include:

  1. the validity of the criteria applied to the affected faculty member; and
  2. the fairness and impartiality with which criteria were applied.

The Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities shall maintain a summary record of the hearing and it shall forward to the President a recommendation in writing, within sixty (60) calendar days of the President’s termination letter.

Notice of Termination (MUPIM 9.5.D)

In any case of tenure termination due to financial exigency, the affected person shall be given a full academic year’s notice, beyond the current contract year.

Possible Reinstatement (MUPIM 9.5.E)

For a period of three (3) years following tenure termination due to financial exigency, the person whose appointment was terminated shall be given preference in filling any vacancy for which, in the judgment of peers, he or she is qualified, and a reasonable time in which to accept or decline it.

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