3.5 Faculty Involvement Related to Extraordinary Financial Circumstances

The University is obligated to continually review educational goals, programs, and activities in order to effectively allocate its resources. It is clear that the faculty has responsibilities in these areas. This is recognized by the Bylaws of the Board of Trustees in that the faculty has the delegated responsibility "to formulate and administer the academic and the educational policies of the University" (Chapter 2, Section II). Within this broad charge are the more explicit charges that the Faculty shall "provide for the establishment of the curricula and courses in the several colleges and divisions" (Chapter 2, Section II- C) and "It shall be the privilege of the faculty: 

  1. To make recommendations to the Board of Trustees concerning the disestablishment of any degree.
  2. To consider matters of general interest to the University and make recommendations thereupon to the President for transmission to the Board of Trustees. 
  3. To consider and make recommendations for proposed changes in the University organization." (Chapter 2, Section II-E)

It is expected that the administration will seek and seriously consider faculty input before making substantial modifications in an educational program. This faculty involvement should begin with the most immediately affected group and when appropriate, include committees of the faculty. 

Moreover, when academic goals, programs or activities are subject to drastic reductions or when individual faculty contracts are subject to termination because of declared University-wide "extraordinary financial circumstances," then the appropriate faculty committees have a special responsibility in representing the interests of the faculty in an assessment necessary to assure the maintenance of the academic quality and responsibilities that are the hallmarks of a university. 

The specific committee of the faculty that has the overall responsibility of assessing the programmatic implications of the tentative actions to be taken in the name of "extraordinary financial circumstances" is the Coordinating Committee on Education working with its various subcommittees. In particular, when extraordinary financial circumstances have been declared, the Academic Priorities Review Committee has the specific charge of assessing the fiscal rationale of such proposed decisions and their impact on specific proposed reductions, dissolutions, or proposed terminations of individual faculty contracts as they relate to the overall goals of the University. (Editorial rev. 10/99) 

Necessary considerations for these appropriate committees when acting on proposals involving University-wide "extraordinary financial circumstances" are delineated as follows: 

An "extraordinary financial circumstance" is difficult to define, but in general it must represent more than a temporary operating or liquidity problem. Though not requiring bankruptcy to be declared, such a condition is one where survival of the institution as a whole is at issue, and in the absence of other feasible remedies, the well-being and future of the University require that drastic actions be taken. When the "extraordinary financial circumstance" is declared by the Board of Trustees it is expected that it will be demonstrated as bona fide. 

When a curtailment of academic programs or activities is called for because of the "extraordinary financial circumstance," it is expected that the faculty will play a significant role in determining which academic programs and activities will be altered and to what extent. It is important that the curtailment be bona fide in relation to the financial emergency, not a subterfuge to dismiss controversial individuals or programs. The total adjustments must be suitable to maintaining the purpose of the University as an institution of knowledge and learning. 

When it is determined that the "extraordinary financial circumstance" must be dealt with by reductions in faculty positions, and individual contracts must be terminated, it is expected that a University- wide plan of action will be developed. The departments or college faculties most immediately affected shall be a basic part of the group that develops "a plan of action." The Coordinating Committee on Education shall specify the procedures to be followed at the department and college levels in preparing this plan. The total plan of action for the University shall be examined by the Academic Priorities Review Committee and the Coordinating Committee on Education, which shall have primary responsibility for submitting a report and its recommendations to the Faculty Senate. (Editorial rev. 10/99) 

A "plan of action" that specifies terminations or nonrenewals should first eliminate part-time, temporary, nontenured, and then tenured faculty, with length of service and academic rank being discriminating factors within each category. Only in extraordinary circumstances where a serious distortion of the academic program would otherwise occur will there be a modification of the termination procedure specified. It is expected that the plan of action will take into consideration affirmative action responsibilities, relocation possibilities within the University, retraining, and opportunities for voluntary early retirement. 

If the elimination of a faculty position or academic department is part of the "plan of action," there is the presumption that that position or department shall not be reinstated within a three-year period after elimination. If such a reinstatement is proposed within the three-year period, those terminated will be given first choice to be rehired. 

New programs should not be instituted within the three-year period after instituting the "plan of action" unless it is clearly demonstrated in advance that they are self-sufficient and are not in need of University funding. Further, they must have educational merit and be consistent with stated University goals. (Rev. 11/1/76)