February 22, 2007

Dear colleagues,

The Tulane Chapter of the AAUP is concerned to do everything it can to help the university avoid the possible censure consequent upon the recent AAUP Draft Report. To this end, we wish to provide information to help avoid censure and to clarify how Tulane's resolution of the issues addressed in the report will strengthen Tulane as an academic institution.

Basic questions about censure that faculty members are asking include:

What are the report's conclusions about the state of faculty governance and academic tenure at Tulane, including why the administration's responses to date have been deemed unsatisfactory?

Correspondence with Tulane and information received from many faculty members led the authors of the report to reach four conclusions:

1) that the Tulane administration refused to present sufficient information to link specific faculty terminations with the university's financial problems

2) that by refusing to seek other suitable internal positions for terminated tenured faculty members, Tulane was violating its own procedures as well as AAUP standards

3) that in restructuring the faculties without faculty participation, Tulane violated faculty constitutions as well as AAUP standards

4) that the university does not appear to have distinguished tenured from untenured faculty members in decisions to terminate and that that lack of distinction, together with recent ambitious plans for various expenditures, puts in doubt the claims of financial exigency and the existence of the system of academic tenure at Tulane.

What is the likelihood of censure?
It is important to state that the AAUP's goal is to resolve issues, not to censure institutions. Concomitantly, respected institutions whose actions are called into question by the AAUP usually undertake reparatory steps to avoid censure because they recognize that observing AAUP standards creates the collegial environment essential to academic excellence. It is for this reason that very few respected institutions are on the censure list. Censure, the strongest measure that the AAUP takes, occurs only as a last resort when an institution fails to repair egregious violations of faculty tenure and academic freedom after a lengthy process of investigation, report, negotiation and, finally, a recommendation by Committee A that is passed at the annual meeting. Whether or not Tulane is censured will depend upon the steps the university takes in the near future. Proposals made to the University Senate at the February meeting by the Select Committee on Financial Exigency and Tenure are a start: these proposals include that the Senate determine ways in which it would provide the appropriate faculty governance role in any future decisions leading to terminations, that it make an explicit statement of the positive value of tenure in such decisions that would eventually be incorporated into the Faculty Handbook, that the Board of Administrators make a clear statement on their view of the contractual status of the employment rules governing tenured faculty of the Faculty Handbook, and, while stating that it is not appropriate to amend the Faculty Handbook during a state of financial exigency, that a number of recommended amendments to the Handbook be formulated and implemented when that state has concluded.

What are the consequences of censure for the University?
The first consequence will be that the university and a summary of the investigative report will appear on the list of censured institutions that is published in each issue of Academe until censure is lifted. Other consequences may also follow. Approximately 200 academic, professional, and scientific societies and associations that are signatories to the AAUP's 1940 Statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure will join in censure http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/policydocs/endorsersalpha.htm. Measures they could take include banning Tulane from job placement activities at conferences and not allowing faculty at the institution to compete for grants and fellowships. Both Loyola and Tulane colleagues have reported that major foundations that have given grants to faculty members at our institutions have questioned the grantees or institutional officers about the university administration and the grantees' futures there. Because of government and private granting agencies' concerns with academic freedom and the continued presence of grant recipients in the institutions they support, some grants may be in jeopardy. In recent years, numerous presidents have made concerted efforts to remove their institutions from the censure list by solving the policy and termination issues involved http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/academe/2007/JF/Feat/HowWe.htm. They recognized that there is "a moral sting to that label that cast negative aspersions" and they valued "develop[ing] a highly qualified faculty" and working with the faculty in a collegial and respectful manner.

What steps outlined by AAUP can Tulane take to avoid censure?
The report outlines measures that may be taken to resolve the issues; the recommendations of the Select Committee of the Senate include some of them.

How should we proceed in obtaining advice from the AAUP?
The Tulane chapter is in continuous contact with the national office; its website lists the officers, who may be contacted. Moreover, the national office welcomes contact from the Tulane administration and Tulane faculty members. The best person to talk with is Associate General Secretary Jordan Kurland, who may be reached at (202) 737-5567, ext. 124 or by e-mail at jkurland@aaup.org.

Tulane's resolution of the issues raised by the AAUP will benefit the university by reassuring current faculty and candidates for faculty positions that this is a university that values its faculty members and recognizes that guaranteeing academic freedom and faculty governance is the basis of academic excellence. We have already failed to attract our best-qualified candidates in some faculty searches this year, and we do not want to contemplate the damage that would be done should Tulane fail to give that reassurance.

How We Got Off the Censure List Six top administrators explain how they cleared their institutions’ names. By Robert M. Yoho, Jerry E. McGee, James "Cid" Seidelman, Sandra L. Kurtinitis, David F. Turk, James T. Barry Des Moines University, Wingate University, Westminster College, Community College Of Baltimore County, Nyack College, Mount Marty College

List of Censured Institutions (2007) 
Institution Name Academe Citation  Year  
Grove City College (Pa.) March '63, 15-24 1963 
Frank Phillips College (Tex.) Dec. '68, 433-38 1969 
Concordia Seminary (Miss.) April '75, 49-59 1975 
Murray State University (Ky.) Dec. '75, 322-28 1976 
State University of New York Aug. '77, 237-60 1978 
Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas 
May '78, 93-98 1978 
Nichols College (Mass.) May '80, 207-12 1980 
Yeshiva University (N.Y.) Aug. '81, 186-95 1982 
American International College (Mass.) May-June '83, 42-46 1983 
Metropolitan Community Colleges (Miss.) March-Apr. '84, 23a-32a 1984 
Talladega College (Ala.) May-June '86, 6a-14a 1986 
Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico May-June '87, 33-38 1987 
Husson College (Maine) May-June '87, 45-50 1987 Hillsdale College (Mich.) May-June '88, 29-33 1988 
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (N.C.) May-June '89, 35-45 1989 
The Catholic University of America Sept.-Oct. 1989, 27-40 1990 
Dean College (Mass.) May-June '91, 27-32 1992 
Baltimore City Community College May-June '92, 37-41 1992 
Loma Linda University (Calif.) May-June '92, 42-49 1992 
Clarkson College (Neb.) May-June '93, 46-53 1993 
North Greenville College (S.C.) May-June '93, 54-64 1993 
Savannah College of Art and Design May-June '93, 65-70 1993 
University of Bridgeport Nov.-Dec. '93, 37-45 1994 
Benedict College (S.C.) May-June '94, 37-46 1994 Supplementary Report Jan.-Feb. '05, 51-54 
Bennington College March-April '95, 91-103 1995 Supplementary Report Jan.-Feb. '98, 70-75 
Alaska Pacific University May-June '95, 32-39 1995 
St. Bonaventure University (N.Y.) July-Aug. '95, 65-73 1996 
National Park Community College (Ark.) May-June '96, 41-46 1996 
Saint Meinrad School of Theology (Ind.) July-Aug. '96, 51-60 1997 
Minneapolis College of Art and Design May-June '97, 53-58 1997 
Brigham Young University Sept.-Oct '97, 52-71 1998 
University of the District of Columbia May-June '98, 46-55 1998 
Lawrence Technological University May-June '98, 56-62 1998 
Johnson & Wales (R.I.) May-June '99, 46-50 1999 
Albertus Magnus College (Conn.) Jan.-Feb. '00, 54-63 2000 
Charleston Southern University (S.C.) Jan.-Feb. '01, 63-77 2001 
Tiffin University (Ohio) Jan.-Feb. '02, 53-63 2002 
University of Dubuque (Iowa) Sept.-Oct. '01, 62-73 2002 
Philander Smith College (Ark.) Jan.-Feb. '04, 57-68 2004 
Virginia State University May-June, '05, 47-62 2005 
University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) March-April, '05 99-113 2005 
Meharry Medical College (Tenn.) Nov.-Dec., '04, 56-78 2005 
New Mexico Highlands University May-June '06, 52-70 2006