When Tenure Means Nothing

by E Wayne Ross on January 14, 2010

Inside Higher Ed: When Tenure Means Nothing

Clark Atlanta University violated the rights of 55 faculty members — 20 of them with tenure — when it eliminated their jobs without faculty consultation or due process, and without regard to whether or not they had tenure, according to a report issued Wednesday by the American Association of University Professors. The AAUP called the dismissals — covering a quarter of the faculty — “outrageous” and “especially egregious.”

The historically black university said at the time that it was responding to an “enrollment emergency,” and repeatedly denied that it was facing “financial exigency.” The latter state is one that the AAUP requires for the elimination of the jobs of tenured professors (although even in such cases, the association’s guidelines require faculty participation in the process, which was largely absent at Clark Atlanta). Not only do AAUP guidelines not allow for such job eliminations as a result of enrollment declines, but the report questioned whether the declines were as significant as the university claimed.