Paul L. Caron

Monday, June 17, 2019

AAUP Adds Vermont To List Of Schools Sanctioned For 'Serious Departure' From Shared Governance In Detenuring 14 Of 19 Law Profs To Close $2 Million Budget Gap

Vermont Law School Logo (2017)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  AAUP Updates (June 15, 2019):

Delegates to the 105th Annual Meeting of the AAUP voted today ... to add Vermont Law School to the AAUP’s list of institutions sanctioned for serious departures from AAUP-supported standards of academic governance. ...

AAUP sanction is imposed when an institution violates generally accepted standards of college and university governance, as set forth in the Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities. ...

Added to AAUP’s Sanctioned Institutions list in 2019:

Vermont Law School (South Royalton, Vermont) – The investigating committee’s report describes departures from AAUP-supported standards of academic governance evident in a faculty “restructuring” process at Vermont Law School that resulted in lowering salaries, reducing the number of full-time positions, and effectively eliminating the tenured status of nearly 75 percent of the institution’s highest paid faculty members. Fourteen of the nineteen tenured faculty members were essentially turned into at-will employees—transferring the bulk of the teaching load to lesser-paid faculty members serving on contingent appointments and radically reducing the size of the full-time faculty. Faculty members who accepted restructured appointments in lieu of termination were required to sign releases-of-claims and nondisclosure and non-disparagement agreements. The investigating committee found that the faculty played no meaningful role in analyzing, assessing, or, most important, approving the restructuring plan. The report also found that unacceptable conditions of academic governance prevail at the institution.

Vermont Law School Response to AAUP Decision:

We are disappointed by the AAUP’s action and the process by which the AAUP reached its conclusions. It is important to remember that the AAUP is an advocacy organization and is not involved in the accreditation of Vermont Law School. VLS nevertheless continues to abide by the AAUP’s stated principles of shared faculty governance and academic freedom.

VLS remains committed to providing our students with an outstanding law and policy education, maintaining the nation’s premier environmental law program, and promoting environmental and social justice. Our response to the AAUP has previously been provided here.

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