ULS changes tenure policies

The University of Louisiana System (ULS) has revised its policies regarding tenured faculty, specifically their termination process. Traditionally, tenured faculty are given one academic year notice before termination, but as of Jan. 25, 2011 that time has been cut down to one semester.

According to the new ULS tenure policy, this action will only be taken if the ULS reports a 15 percent or more pending reduction in the states appropriations to the institution effective the next budget year. However, this action will be in effect for only two fiscal years and will expire on June 30, 2013.

Other than the policy listed above, appointments of tenure can be eliminated as a result of program discontinuance. On Feb. 21, Southeastern submitted a self review of its low completer programs, and of the 19 programs listed, nine were recommended for termination.

Changes to tenure elimination policy were initially introduced in August of 2010, but was subject to numerous revisions as the ULS and Faculty Advisory Council sought common ground. ULS president Randy Moffet gave his thoughts on this process in a ULS message regarding the policy changes.

“We have worked diligently to reach this point,” said Moffet. “Our presidents need this flexibility to help balance their budgets should deep cuts occur.”

Dr. Joseph Burns, associate professor of communications and president of the Faculty Senate, criticized this view of flexibility.

“The question as to is I agree that the new changes will ‘enhance the flexibility of the campuses’ is a tough one to answer as the answer is most certainly yes,” said Burns. “I simply don’t like the flexibility it will offer. The statement that it increases flexibility doesn’t define what they mean  by ‘flexibility.’ If you read the documents, the flexibility is, under a certain set of events, to more quickly terminate professors be they tenured or not. I’m not for that on any level.”