FACULTY/STAFF POLICY & PROCEDURE MANUAL

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2.14.3. Dismissal, Termination of Contract, or Demotion in Mid-Contract


2.14.3.1 Definitions

2.14.3.2 Reasons

2.14.3.3 Procedures

2.14.3.3.1 Preliminary Proceedings

2.14.3.3.2 Formal Hearing Procedures

2.14.3.3.3 Formal Hearing Committee

2.14.3.3.4 Committee Proceedings

2.14.3.3.5 Consideration by the Formal Hearing Committee

2.14.3.3.6 Presidential Action and Notification

2.14.3.3.7 Board of Supervisors Review Hearing

2.14.3.1 Definitions

  • “Dismissal“ (also called discharge) is a severance action by which the University, for adequate cause, ends its employment relationship with tenure contract faculty, or with term or probationary contract faculty in mid–contract.
  • “Termination of contract“ is an action short of dismissal by which the University, for adequate cause, changes the contract status of tenure contract faculty, or with probationary contract faculty in mid–contract.
  • “Demotion“ is an action short of dismissal by which the University, for adequate cause, lowers the rank of tenure contract faculty, or with term of probationary contract faculty in mid–contract.”
  • “Adequate cause“ for dismissal must be directly and substantially related to the performance of the faculty member.
  • The Board of Supervisors policy regarding dismissal of tenured academic staff is as follows: “Cause for discharge, termination of contract or demotion in rank shall consist of conduct seriously prejudicial to the college or university system such as infraction of law or commonly accepted standards of morality, failure to follow orders, violation of institutional or Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System board rules and regulations, willful neglect of duty, inefficiency or incompetence, or other conditions that impair discharge of duties and the efficiency of the institution. Financial exigency also constitutes cause. The foregoing enumeration of causes shall not be deemed exclusive; however action to discharge terminate or demote shall not be arbitrary or capricious nor shall it infringe upon academic freedom.
  • “Each institution shall have a written policy for due process concerning academic dismissal for tenured faculty. This policy shall provide for hearings before a committee that includes faculty members. Its findings and recommendations shall be forwarded to the chief executive officer who shall make a final determination.
  • “The member of the academic staff who has exhausted due process procedures at the institutional level may petition the Board within 30 days when the institution is in session for a review and no official action shall be taken by the institution until the final determination is made by the Board.”

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2.14.3.2 Reasons

Besides Board of Supervisors descriptions, dismissal may occur for the following non–exclusive reasons:

  • professional incompetence;
  • continued neglect of duties or responsibilities in spite of two or more written warnings from the Dean;
  • conviction of a felony;
  • deliberate and grave violation of the rights of others;
  • failure to meet reasonable written and published standards contained in or incorporated by reference to this Manual and any other appropriate policy statements.

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2.14.3.3 Procedures

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2.14.3.3.1 Preliminary Proceedings

The preliminary proceedings for dismissal shall be as follows:

  1. When a Department Head or Dean has reason to consider a decision to dismiss a person who has tenure rights or a non–tenured faculty member prior to the expiration of an appointment, he or she shall discuss the matter with that person privately. After the discussion, if the decision of the Department Head or Dean is to recommend dismissal, he or she shall prepare a statement of the grounds constituting the cause for dismissal (including specific details such as time(s), place(s), and date(s) of occurrence where applicable) and forward it to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, with a copy going to the faculty member and the President.
  2. If the faculty member requests it, within five working days after receipt of the statement, an Informal Hearing Committee composed of five tenured faculty appointed by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs shall meet to make an inquiry into the situation and to recommend an adjustment, if possible. If no settlement is effected, the Informal Hearing Committee shall recommend whether, in its view, formal proceedings shall be instituted to consider the individual’s dismissal, and it shall notify the individual concerned, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the President of its recommendation.
  3. The President shall review all records and recommendations. Based on his or her findings, a settlement may be effected or a formal proceeding shall be initiated. If a formal proceeding is initiated, action shall be commenced according to the procedures that follow.
  4. The formal proceeding shall be initiated by a written communication addressed to the individual by the President informing him or her of the dismissal and the specific grounds for it, and that, if he or she so requests, a hearing to recommend whether his or her employment by the University shall be terminated on the grounds stated, will be conducted at a specified time and place by a faculty committee constituted as described below.

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2.14.3.3.2 Formal Hearing Procedures
  1. Sufficient time shall be allowed to permit the individual to prepare a defense. The individual shall be informed in detail, or by reference to published regulations, of the procedural rights to which he or she is entitled, including the right to advice of counsel.
  2. The individual shall indicate whether he or she wishes a hearing and, if so, shall file in writing with the President within two weeks of the date of the mailing of the communication by the President an answer to the statement of grounds for the proposed dismissal.
  3. If the individual does not request a hearing, no further action shall be taken. Further, at the request of the individual the proceedings provided for herein may be terminated at any time after the request for a hearing on written notice to the President of the employee’s acquiescence in the dismissal. Similarly, the administration may drop dismissal proceedings at any stage.
    1. The President shall send a list of 10 tenured faculty (two from each college and the library) to the Committee on Committees. The Committee on Committees shall recommend to the President six of those listed (one from each college and the library) to serve on the Formal Hearing Committee. The President will then appoint one at–large faculty (who has tenure, who has the rank of professor, but who is not from the college of the accused) as Chair.
    2. Upon receipt in writing from the President a copy of the statement of grounds for dismissal, accompanied by the individual’s answer thereto, the Chair of the Formal Hearing Committee shall conduct hearings and recommend a course of action as provided in Section 2.14.3.3.5.
    3. The Formal Hearing Committee is authorized to prepare specific rules for the conduct of the hearing.
      1. The committee shall proceed by considering, before the time of the hearing, the statement of grounds for dismissal already formulated and the individual’s written response.
      2. In addition to the members of the committee, only the person requesting the hearing and that person’s representative, the President and/or the President’s designee, the President’s representative, and witnesses called by the committee are permitted to attend the hearing. The meeting will be recorded on tape and copies of the tape shall be made available to the appropriate parties.
      3. Charges contained in the initially formulated statement of grounds for dismissal may be supplemented at the hearing by evidence of new events occurring after the initial communication to the individual which constitute new or additional cause for dismissal. If such supplementary charges are adduced, the committee shall provide the individual with sufficient time to prepare his or her defense.
      4. The President shall have the option to attend or not to attend the hearing, and he or she may designate an appropriate designee and/or representative to assist in developing and presenting the case.
      5. The committee shall determine the order of proof and shall supervise the questioning of witnesses and their sequestration.
      6. The individual or his or her representative and the President or his or her designee and/or representative shall have the right within reasonable limits to question all witnesses who testify orally.
      7. The committee will use its best efforts to provide an opportunity for those involved to confront all witnesses, but where this cannot be achieved despite the efforts of the hearing committee, the identity of such non–appearing witnesses, and any written evidence they may have furnished, shall be disclosed to all interested parties before the hearing.
      8. Subject to these safeguards, written statements may, when necessary, be taken outside the hearing and reported to it. All of the evidence shall be duly recorded. Formal rules of court procedure need not be followed, but the committee shall exercise reasonable efforts to protect the rights of the parties in the reception of evidence.
    4. The committee shall formulate its recommendation in private, on the basis of the hearing. Before doing so, it shall give opportunity to the individual and the President or his or her designee and/or representative to make oral statements before it. If written arguments are desired, the committee may request them.
    5. The committee shall proceed to arrive at its recommendation promptly without having the record of the hearing transcribed when it feels that a just decision can be reached by this means; or it may review the tape of the proceedings, or await the availability of a transcript based on the tape of the hearing. It shall make explicit findings with respect to each of the grounds for removal presented.
    6. A copy of the record of the hearing and the recommendations of the hearing committee shall be furnished to the President of the University for his or her decision.
    7. A copy of the proceedings and recommendations shall be furnished to the individual upon request and upon payment of the cost of preparing said record.

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2.14.3.3.3 Formal Hearing Committee

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2.14.3.3.4 Committee Proceedings

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2.14.3.3.5 Consideration by the Formal Hearing Committee

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2.14.3.3.6 Presidential Action and Notification

The President shall make his or her recommendation known to the Board of Supervisors.

Written notice of the President’s recommendations must be sent from the President to the faculty by registered mail and must include reasons for and the evidence supporting the recommendation and the faculty member’s right to a review hearing by the Board of Supervisors.

Salary and benefits shall cease on the effective date of dismissal. Such action will become effective upon the date of final determination by the Board of Supervisors.

Written notice of the Board of Supervisors determination shall be sent by the President to the faculty by registered mail.

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2.14.3.3.7 Board of Supervisors Review Hearing

Review of dismissal for term, probationary, or tenure contract faculty is possible on grounds of violation of academic freedom or an injury resulting from arbitrary or capricious application of the provisions of Chapter 2 of this Manual. Requests for review of dismissal must be made directly to the Board of Supervisors in accordance with its policies. The member of the academic staff who has exhausted due process procedures at the institutional level may petition the Board within 30 days for a review and no official action shall be taken by the institution until a final determination is made by the Board.

The President shall transmit to the Board of Supervisors the full report of the hearing committee, stating its recommendation and his or her own decision. The review shall be based on the record of the previous hearing, accompanied by opportunity for argument, oral or written or both, by the principals at the hearing or by their representative. The decision of the Board of Supervisors on review shall be final. It shall be communicated to the President and through him or her to the person involved.

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