Wednesday, May 16, 2007

AAUP Report: Post-Katrina some universities did not respect faculty rights

The AAUP, the major national watchdog over universities and their faculties, has concluded that there were serious inadequacies, omissions, and perhaps even purposeful injustices in the practices of several Louisiana universities concerning the firing or laying off of tenured faculty in the aftermath of Katrina. The report found that several institutions did not follow their established policies, prepared poorly for disaster, provided poor rationales for "draconian" actions, avoided necessary faculty consultation, terminated more faculty than necessary, provided inadequate notice to faculty, violated due process, neglected adequate measures to insure alternative placement of faculty, ignored faculty tenure rights, and perhaps used the emergency to get rid of faculty who "were disliked by those in authority for having previously opposed or criticized their actions . . ." The report deals with the LSU Health Services Center, UNO, SUNO, Loyola and Tulane. (An attached report deals with Katrina-related matters at Our Lady of Holy Cross College.)

The full report can be found at:

From the Advocate:

The American Association of University Professors took aim at the post-Hurricane Katrina decisions that resulted in many faculty losing their jobs.

Even the unprecedented hurricane, the report released Tuesday says, did not justify actions that harmed the future of higher education in southeastern Louisiana.

Administrators ignored proper procedures with a “nearly universal departure from (or in some cases complete abandonment of) personnel and other policies” in the aftermath of Katrina, which struck in August 2005.

Particularly targeted in the report are the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, the University of New Orleans, Southern University in New Orleans, Tulane University and Loyola University, where an AAUP special committee conducted investigations.

“Widespread failure to adhere to stated policy almost universally created serious, sometimes inexplicable, lapses in protecting academic freedom and due process,” the report states.

The report states the number of faculty terminations “exceeded the inescapable or minimal needs of the institution, sometimes substantially.”

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