University Handbook, Appendix M:
Procedure for Review of Dismissal of Tenured Faculty
Procedure for Review of Dismissal of Tenured Faculty (FSM 2-11-86)
The Committee to Hear a Case Regarding the Dismissal of a Tenured Faculty Member, hereafter referred to as the committee, is established according to the regents policy incorporating the 1940 AAUP Statement of Principles of Academic Freedom and Tenure (University Handbook Appendix C). It is convened upon the request of the faculty member and represents an independent peer review of the faculty member's case. The charge of the committee shall be to receive evidence at the hearing, to make written findings of fact, and to recommend to the president of the university action concerning the proposed dismissal.
The jurisdiction of the committee shall extend to cases involving the dismissal of tenured faculty for reasons other than financial exigency and program discontinuance.
- Composition and Eligibility
The committee shall be composed of six tenured faculty members, none of whom shall be administrators or faculty with administrative tenths time. One of the six shall serve as the non-voting chair. Faculty of the college in which the faculty member holds an appointment shall not be eligible. Members of the committee shall hold appointments of at least nine-tenths time at or above the academic rank of the faculty member.
- Nature of Hearing
The hearing shall be open, unless the faculty member requests it to be closed; however, deliberations of the committee shall be conducted in closed session.
- The hearing procedure shall be initiated by a written request submitted by the faculty member to the president of faculty senate. Within 20 class days from the receipt of such request, the president of faculty senate shall designate a panel of 13 faculty members, by random selection, from a list of eligible faculty. There shall be at least one member from, and the composition of the panel shall reflect as nearly as possible the numerical balance of faculty in, each of the remaining colleges. Within ten days from the designation of the panel, the president of faculty senate shall call the administration and the faculty member, and/or their respective representatives, together for the purpose of selecting the hearing committee. For the list of 13 names, each party shall remove three names, one at a time, in alternating sequence, with the administration striking the first name. From the remaining seven names, six shall be selected by lot; the seventh shall serve as a alternate. Within five class days after the committee has been named, the president of Faculty Senate shall convene the committee and the members shall select one member as the nonvoting chair. Within two class days after the selection of the chair, the provost shall submit to the chair a statement of the specific grounds for the dismissal.
- Within five class days from the selection of the chair, the chair shall provide to each party:
- a copy of the specific ground for the dismissal,
- a list of the membership of the committee,
- a notification of the date, time, and place of the pre-hearing conference.
The date of the pre-hearing conference shall be not less than five nor more than ten class days after such notification.
- At the pre-hearing conference each party shall provide a list of proposed witnesses to be called and a list of documents to be introduced, with copies available to the other party. The date, time, and place of the hearing shall be determined by the chair and both parties shall be so notified. The hearing shall begin not less than 10 nor more than 20 class days after the pre-hearing conference. In a period of time not to exceed five class days following the pre-hearing conference, both parties, or their respective representatives, shall confer and assemble a common set of documents, consecutively numbered and with duplications eliminated. An attorney for each party and for the committee may be present at the pre-hearing conference.
- At the hearing, each party may be accompanied by (1) a representative, who is not an attorney, to serve as an advocate and/or assist in the presentation of evidence, and (2) an attorney who may advise and participate in the proceedings. Both parties, or their representatives, must be present. If the faculty member wishes to be represented by independent counsel, the university shall provide funds for reasonable attorney's fees which shall be construed to mean funds for no more than two weeks of full-time service, or 96 hours, at the average per hour rate in the area.
- The chair shall call the hearing to order, summarize the case, establish the order of business, and review the rules. Because the hearing is conducted by peers, the committee shall not be bound by strict rules of legal evidence; it may admit any evidence it deems to be of value and may exclude evidence judged not pertinent to the case. If the hearing is open, the chair shall have the right to limit the number of observers. Observers shall not participate in any of the proceedings. Witnesses shall be excluded from the hearing room until they testify. Photographs of the hearing room and the participants shall be allowed only when the committee is not in formal session. A plainclothes officer of the university police shall attend the door of the hearing room when the committee is in session. The duties of the officer shall be to keep order and call witnesses.
- The administration and the faculty member, in that order, shall make an opening statement and present evidence, which may include testimony by supporting witnesses.
- The administration and the faculty member shall have the opportunity to question the witnesses and/or present rebuttal.
- Members of the committee may question the parties and/or witnesses.
- The parties may be recognized by the chair for the purpose of objecting to any testimony or question on the grounds that it is not pertinent to the case. The chair shall rule on each objection; the chair may consult with the committee and/or its attorney.
- The administration and the faculty member, in that order, shall be given the opportunity to make closing statements.
- The administration bears the burden of proof by presenting clear and convincing evidence of the justification for dismissal.
- The chair may, on request of any member of the committee or either party, continue the hearing to a specified date, time, and place. The chair, after consultation with members of the committee, may request the production of additional information and/or invite other witnesses to provide testimony pertinent to the case. Reasonable expenses for outside witnesses, invited by the chair, shall be borne by the university.
- A sound recording of the hearing shall be available to the parties concerned. A stenographic record shall be made of the hearing. An official copy of the record and supporting documents shall be kept in confidential files in the office of the president of the university for a period of at least three years following these proceedings and may be examined only with the approval of the faculty member, except in the case of a closed hearing for which consent of both parties shall be required. With the consent of both parties a videotape recording shall be made, at the expense of the requesting party.
- The decision of the committee shall be based upon only testimony and evidence presented at the hearing. The report of the committee shall provide findings of fact regarding the evidence and shall recommend action concerning the proposed dismissal. Its content shall reflect a majority vote. A minority report may be appended.
The decisions of the committee and the president of the university shall be communicated in the following manner: In the case of either an open or a closed hearing, within 60 calendar days from the conclusion of the hearing, the chair shall send the report to the president of the university and the faculty member; a copy shall be sent to the president of faculty senate, unless the faculty member requests otherwise, in which case only written notice of the committee's recommendation(s) will be sent to the president of faculty senate. Within 60 calendar days from the receipt of the report, the president of the university shall send a written notice of his/her decision and a full explanation of the reasons to the faculty member; a copy shall be sent to the president of faculty senate, unless the faculty member requests otherwise, in which case only written notice of the decision shall be sent to the president of faculty senate. The president of faculty senate shall announce the information received at its next meeting.
- Rights of Participants
The effective and equitable discharge of the responsibilities of the committee require the following guidelines to safeguard the rights of principals and committee members and to preserve the autonomy of the process:
- The charge of the committee and its procedures as defined by action of the faculty senate shall not be abridged in any way. Proposed changes in procedures shall require a review of the faculty affairs committee and approval of the faculty senate. The committee shall have the right to adopt necessary operational procedures which are not inconsistent with these procedures.
- The university shall arrange for an outside attorney to advise the committee as required. Expenses incurred by the committee for the hearing shall be borne by the provost's office.
- The provost will inform the appropriate dean and department head of each committee member's responsibility for the task of the committee. The provost shall confer with the appropriate dean or department head to discuss how assigned responsibilities for each panel member will be arranged while the panel member is involved with the hearing and committee deliberations. This form of university service must receive positive recognition and shall not jeopardize the faculty member's yearly evaluation for performance, merit pay increase, or promotion.
- Rights of the parties to the hearing shall include but are not limited to the following:
- To be represented by an attorney
- To present supporting witnesses
- To question opposing witnesses
- To make closing statements
- To receive written findings and recommendations of the committee and written notice of the president's decision and a full explanation of the reasons
- To obtain and/or examine the record of the proceedings
As indicated by the academic calendar established by the Kansas Board of Regents, class days include all days that classes are conducted, excluding legal holidays, vacation periods, the period of final examinations, and intersessions; in addition, for the purpose of this document, summer sessions are also excluded.