Issues with Chapter 6 of Truman’s Code of Policies (August 2021)
- Nearly all U.S. universities (private nonprofit and public) follow the guidelines on academic freedom and tenure set forth in AAUP’s 1940 Statement of Principles.
- At Truman State University, the Board of Governor’s Code of Policies explicitly states that it “affirms its belief” in AAUP’s 1940 Statement of Principles (section 6.010).
- However, Chapter 6 (“Academic Affairs”) of that Code of Policies is in fact out of compliance with the AAUP Statement of Principles in the following ways:
- By excluding full-time, non-tenure-track faculty from the dates by which faculty should be notified of non-reappointment. (Under the current language, those dates of timely notification apply only to tenure-track faculty.)
- By recently changing the dates by which tenure-track faculty need to be notified of non-reappointment (from December 1 to March 10 for first-year faculty; from March 1 to March 10 for second-year faculty).
- By failing to state that faculty who are not reappointed may, upon request, be provided written reasons for the nonrenewal.
- By failing to state that faculty who are not reappointed may, upon request, ask for an elected faculty committee to review the decision.
Why is this a problem?
- Currently, full-time faculty on year-to-year contracts (i.e. non tenure-track faculty) are vulnerable to being denied a contract weeks or days prior to the start of the academic year. This level of job insecurity is unacceptable. AAUP’s principles of timely notification are intended to give far more advance notice to all full-time faculty in the event of non-reappointment. (First-year faculty must be notified by March 1; second-year faculty must be notified by December 10; third-year faculty and beyond must be given 12 months notice).
- Tenure-track faculty in their first and second years at Truman have had their dates of timely notification significantly rolled back.
- All faculty at Truman currently have no assurances in the Code of Policies that they can request written reasons and/or a review of a decision to not reappoint them.
- Altogether, Truman will have more difficulty attracting quality faculty if it is out of compliance with AAUP’s Statement of Principles. Moreover, the university will likely be sanctioned by AAUP’s national body if the current Chapter 6 language remains in place.
The Truman chapter of AAUP has discussed this issue repeatedly with President Thomas, VPAA Gooch, and General Counsel Amy Clendennen:
University administrators have repeatedly justified the current Chapter 6 language by suggesting that the later dates of timely notification are in better sync with faculty review cycles. They have also indicated that the later dates of timely notification afford second-year faculty a chance for a second-year review before a decision on reappointment is made.
Administrators have further indicated that they are not concerned with potential sanctions from the AAUP national body.
VPAA Gooch has said that the university is open to discussing changes to Chapter 6 language if faculty are surveyed and indicate a desire for such changes.
Board of Governor’s Code of Policies at Truman State University:
AAUP 1940 Statement of Principles:
Advisory Letter – Truman State University – AAUP Executive Council – Standards for Nonrenewal (August 6, 2021), together with referenced attachments:
- 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure
- Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure
- Standards for Notice of Nonreappointment
- Statement on Procedural Standards in the Renewal or Nonrenewal of Faculty Appointments
- Van Alstyne – Furnishing Reasons for a Decision Against Reappointment