Wednesday, May 13, 2015

AAUP Releases University of Southern Maine and Felician College Investigative Reports

AAUP National
May 13th, 2015

Academic Freedom and Tenure: The University of Southern Maine addresses the actions taken by administrators at that institution to discontinue, reduce, and consolidate numerous academic departments and to reduce the size of the faculty by fifty positions as of the end of the fall 2014 semester. The investigating committee sought to determine whether the program closures and retrenchments were conducted in accordance with AAUP-supported principles and due-process standards. The committee concludes that the USM administration violated the Association’s standards on financial exigency and program discontinuance, as well as those on academic governance.
“We were genuinely surprised by some of these closings,” said Michael Berube, investigating committee chair. “We have grown wearily accustomed to seeing French departments shuttered, but USM also closed an applied science program that had a great deal of support in the local biotech industry and a geosciences program that had the support of the state geologist’s office. Shockingly, none of the closed programs had any meaningful ‘teach-out’ provisions for students whose programs were shut down mid-year.”

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