Paul L. Caron

Friday, July 13, 2018

Vermont Strips Tenure From 14 Of 19 Law Profs

Vermont Law School Logo (2017)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  ABA Journal, 14 of 19 Vermont Law Professors Lose Tenure, Retention Chair Tells Professors' Organization:

After being informed by the chair of Vermont Law School's retention committee that the school stripped 14 law professors of tenure, the American Association of University Professors has questioned whether the school followed proper regulations.

In a June 19 letter sent to the school’s tenure and retention committee chair, the AAUP conceded that under “extraordinary circumstances because of financial exigencies,” law schools can terminate faculty appointments for reasons other than adequate cause. However, in such circumstances, the faculty, administration and governing board should together determine if financial exigencies exist, and faculty should have a “primary responsibility” in determining where the termination of appointments occur, as well as identifying criteria for the terminations, according to the letter.

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The tragic unwritten story about law schools and rising tuition, is that the money really doesn't go to the professors. I wish there was more analysis of where that revenue goes.

Posted by: anon | Jul 16, 2018 8:55:46 PM

I'm sorry for the personal difficulties of the impacted professors, however they all new VLS was struggling and had been for years, that the high tuition for a law degree of limited marketability was pricing them out of the market, that the ROI on a law degree has been plummeting for most recent law graduates, given the huge amounts of student debt their kids were taking on. The music was bound to stop sometime, and there aren't enough chairs to go around. Another casualty in the evolving field of legal education and practice. Welcome to the world of blue collar workers of 25 years ago.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Jul 16, 2018 10:20:32 AM

"Yet academic institutions cannot be treated as a private business in the marketplace."
Sure they can. In fact, there is no particular reason they can't.
It's not like academic institutions are religions.

Posted by: Steve Kellmeyer | Jul 13, 2018 2:28:25 PM

Apparently, Vermont Law School needs to face the new reality. There are TOO MANY institutions chasing too little demand. Time to fold its tents.

Posted by: OldLawProf | Jul 13, 2018 11:13:23 AM

Vermont Law School has distinguished itself in Environmental Law. Higher education is a business, especially for tuition dependent institutions. Most law schools are financially hurting today. A stand alone law school, such as Vermont, is especially vulnerable. Yet academic institutions cannot be treated as a private business in the marketplace. Tenure, and especially faculty handbooks and manuals, create contractual rights, including how dismissals should occur in a financial exigency. Non-tenure faculty are usually the first to be cut. An action such as this will severely impact applications, enrollment, and transfers.

Posted by: Denis Binder | Jul 13, 2018 6:25:48 AM