Personnel Policies
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Employee Discounts

Policy:  PAc-26

Subject:  Termination of Faculty for Cause, Financial Exigency, and Discontinuance of Program

Approval Date: 05/22/87
Revision Date:

GENERAL POLICY:  

The Board of Regents has a paramount statutory duty to the people of Kentucky to maintain a quality educational program consistent with the mission statement and within available financial resources as determined by the Council on Higher Education, the Governor, and the General Assembly.  Accordingly, determination of the existence of cause, financial exigency, or discontinuance of program based essentially on educational considerations, that may involve the termination of tenured faculty members, is a prerogative reserved for the Board and will not be delegated.

The Board of Regents is fully aware of the fact that adjustments due to a financial crisis or discontinuation of a program that include the termination of tenured faculty members are matters of gravity and require thoroughly considered balancing of the public and private interests.  These actions are to be taken under exacting criteria and with assurance of requisite safeguards of academic due process to maintain a quality education program consistent with the mission statement and available financial resources.

Upon a documented report of the University needs and available fiscal resources and recommendation of the President that a case of financial exigency or need to discontinue a program exists, faculty termination decisions will be made by the Board of Regents.  The President's report to the Board of Regents shall result from and reflect the advice and written recommendations of the Faculty Senate and ad hoc committees which are listed in the specific procedures which follow.

In making specific recommendations for termination of individual tenured faculty appointments, the President shall take into account the following:

1. If funded vacancies exist, an offer will be made to the tenured faculty members concerned existing positions for which they are qualified by education and/or experience.  If any faculty members are unqualified by education or experience, the University will grant the maximum of a one-year period of sabbatical leave during which the faculty member will retrain and prepare for the specific vacancy.  Financial support will be granted in accordance with the sabbatical leave policy.

2. In the event of the termination of a tenured faculty member, that faculty member will not be replaced for a period of three years:

a. By another person of comparable qualifications at the same or higher salary without first offering reinstatement to the terminated tenured faculty member and allowing thirty calendar days for acceptance;

b. By another person at a reduced level of compensation without first offering reinstatement to the faculty member's most recent compensation and allowing thirty calendar days for acceptance.

3. In the event of the termination of all tenured faculty members in a particular area or discipline for discontinuance of program, that area or discipline will not be reinstated at the University for a period of five years.

4. Faculty members, who have been employed full-time at Morehead State University for seven or more consecutive years and are untenured, shall be afforded the same rights of Academic Freedom and Due Process as a tenured faculty member, upon recommendation of the President and approval of the Board of Regents.

PROCEDURE FOR FACULTY TERMINATION FOR CAUSE:  

This procedure will be used when it is recommended by the President that the University terminate a faculty member for cause. Reasons for cause to dismiss will be limited to (1) Incompetency, (2) Neglect of Duty, (3)Refusal to Perform Duties, and/or (4) Immoral Conduct.  It specifically outlines the rights and academic due process that are accorded a faculty member on a continuing contract and does not attempt to deal with other staff and University personnel procedures.  It is recommended that, in the general interest of Morehead State University, a procedure be developed for these employees and that a process be set up to reconcile the interests of the University as a whole.

IDENTIFICATION OF A CASE OF TERMINATION FOR CAUSE: 

Recognizing that the President has the authority to initiate termination charges, for cause, against a faculty member, the University will generally rely though upon the Dean of the College in which a faculty member resides to identify that a case of termination for cause exists at Morehead State University.  Once a case of termination for cause is identified by the Dean of the College, the Dean will inform the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the President in a written, signed statement of the facts relied upon to support one or more of the statutory grounds for dismissal for cause.  The stated formal charge(s) against the faculty member will be only on the grounds of (1)Incompetency, (2) Neglect of Duty, (3) Refusal to Perform Duties, and/or (4) Immoral Conduct.  This provision preserves a Dean's discretion to handle complaints against one of his/her faculty members informally before initiating formal charges for the termination for cause.

STEP ONE:

The President, after consultation with the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Dean preferring the charges, the Department Chair of the department in which the faculty member resides, and the Chair of the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee, will determine whether to prefer charges against the faculty member or to refer the matter back to the Dean for further consideration.  Absolute discretion is essential in this process to protect the rights and privacy of the individuals involved.

STEP TWO: 

If the President decides to prefer charges against the faculty member, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will meet with the faculty member and hand a copy of a written statement, signed by the President, specifying in detail the charge or charges against the faculty member to the faculty member.  Every effort shall be made at this point to outline the case being preferred against the faculty member and to advise the faculty member of the procedure which will be followed and the faculty member's academic and civil rights in the proceedings.  Upon receipt of the written statement specifying charge(s) at the meeting, the faculty member shall have thirty calendar days in which to file with the Vice President for Academic Affairs a written, signed response to the charges within the written statement.  If the faculty member wishes to decline his/her right to a hearing, he/she has the option of submitting a letter of resignation to the Vice President of Academic Affairs within thirty days following the meeting.  The Vice President for Academic Affairs will forward the letter of resignation along with copies of all pertinent materials to the President of the University for recommendation to the Board of Regents.

STEP THREE:

If the faculty member fails or refuses to file a response within the thirty-day period, or if the faculty member files an answer denying any or all of the charges outlined in the written statement, the Vice President for Academic Affairs shall convene a five-member ad hoc Termination for Cause Hearing Board and will provide the faculty member with a written, signed notice of a hearing of record to take place not less than thirty calendar days nor more than sixty calendar days, excluding the day notice is received by the faculty member.  The ad hoc Termination for Cause Hearing Board will consist of one member of the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee elected by the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee, three faculty members elected by the Faculty Senate, and the Faculty Regent, who will serve as Chair.  The Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Chair of the Faculty Senate, and the Chair of the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee may serve as nonvoting, ex officio members of the ad hoc Termination for Cause Hearing Board.

1. The ad hoc Termination for Cause Hearing Board, in consultation with the charged faculty member, will exercise its judgments as to whether the hearing should be public or private and the expressed wishes of the charged faculty member shall take precedence;

2. Entry into the written record of appearances and testimony of the concerned parties and witnesses;

3. Entry into the written record of the written statement specifying the charge or charges against the faculty member and the faculty member's response to them;

4. Presentation of witnesses, documents, and other pieces of evidence by the Dean who initiated charges;

5. An opportunity for the faculty member or his/her counsel to call and cross-examine witnesses, and to present documents, and other pieces of information reputing the charges in the written statement;

6. The University and faculty member will have the right to confront and cross-examine each others witnesses;

7. An opening statement on behalf of the University;

8. An opening statement by the faculty member or his/her counsel;

9. A verbatim record of the hearing will be taken, and a transcribed copy will be made available, without cost to the faculty member;

10. The burden of proof that cause for termination exists rests with the University;

11. A recommendation with findings of facts and conclusions based upon the record considered as a whole will be made in an open session as to whether cause for termination of the faculty member exists.  The Hearing Board may go into closed session to discuss the evidence presented at the hearing;

12. The recommendation of the ad hoc Termination for Cause Hearing Board will be sent to the President and copies of the recommendation will be sent to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Dean preferring the charges, the Department Chair of the faculty member, the charged faculty member, and the Faculty Regent.  Dissenting minority reports shall be included in the final report;

13. The President and the faculty member will be given a copy of the transcribed hearing and record within five calendar days of the Hearing Board's recommendation.

STEP FOUR: 

If the recommendation of the ad hoc Termination for Cause Hearing Board is that cause exists for termination of the faculty member's contract, or for the application of another appropriate action, the faculty member has thirty calendar days excluding the day the recommendation of the Hearing Board is received to file a written, signed exceptions to the Hearing Board's recommendation to the President of the University.  A copy of the exceptions will be sent to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Dean preferring the charges, the Department Chair of the faculty member, the charged faculty member, and the Faculty Regent.

If the faculty member feels that he/she has not received due process, he/she has the right to file an appropriate grievance with the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee which will investigate the matter within four weeks and submit a recommendation to the President.  A copy of the report will be sent to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Dean preferring the charges, the Department Chair of the faculty member, the charged faculty member, and the Faculty Regent.  Dissenting minority reports shall be included in the final report.

STEP FIVE:

If the recommendation of the ad hoc Termination for Cause Hearing Board is that cause does not exist for termination of the faculty member's contract and, if the President rejects the recommendation of the ad hoc Termination for Cause Hearing Board that adequate cause for dismissal has not been established by the evidence of the record considered as a whole, the President will state the reasons for doing so, in writing, to the ad hoc Termination for Cause Hearing Board and the faculty member.  The President will provide an opportunity for written exceptions by the faculty member within fifteen calendar days before making any recommendation to the Board of Regents.

STEP SIX: 

After a review of the facts and the procedures followed, if it is the decision of the President to make a recommendation of termination of employment for cause to the Board of Regents, prior to final action of the Board of Regents, the Board shall consider any written exceptions and responses to the Hearing Board's recommendation and the recommendation of the President, and at the request of a party or on its own, permit oral argument before the full Board of Regents.  The Board of Regents shall review the transcript of the hearing and the record of evidence, and recommendations, exceptions, and response, and may discuss same in closed session.  In open session, the Board of Regents, will determine whether or not to terminate the faculty member's contract.  This ends the formal process of academic appeal but does not preclude the possibility of seeking redress through the legal system for perceived injury and harm.

PROCEDURE FOR FACULTY TERMINATION FOR FINANCIAL EXIGENCY:

This procedure will be used when it is proposed by the President that the University reduce the total number of faculty positions on a campuswide basis due to a case of financial exigency. It specifically outlines the rights and academic due process that are accorded a faculty member on a tenured or non-tenured contract and does not attempt to deal with other staff and University personnel procedures.  It is recommended that, in the general interest of Morehead State University, a procedure be developed for these employees and that a process be set up to reconcile the interests of the University as a whole.

IDENTIFICATION OF A CASE OF FINANCIAL EXIGENCY:  

The Vice President for Administrative and Fiscal Services will identify that a case of financial exigency exists at Morehead State University and will inform the President of the situation with supporting documentation.

STEP ONE: 

The President will submit a written report to the Faculty Senate which states that a case of financial exigency exists and give budgetary and financial information which would support that position.  The President should also give a personal assessment of the situation and preliminary recommendations for solving the situation.  The emphasis at this point in the process is to identify the number of faculty positions which are proposed to be eliminated and/or the dollar amount of savings in faculty salaries which are necessary to deal with the situation.  The preliminary recommendations should also outline what other cuts are being proposed.

STEP TWO: 

Following notification by the President, the Faculty Senate will determine whether or not a case of financial exigency exists.  If the Senate decides that the President's case for financial exigency has not been sufficiently documented, the President will be invited by the Chair of the Faculty Senate to make a presentation to the Senate at a regularly scheduled Faculty Senate meeting to present more supporting evidence for the position.  If the Faculty Senate determines that a reasonable case for financial exigency exists, the matter will be referred to the three independent ad hoc committees listed in STEP THREE.  The Senate may also choose at this time to prepare an independent and more comprehensive report for submission to the Faculty Regent and the President.

If the Senate decides that a case of financial exigency has not been adequately demonstrated, the Senate will submit a dissenting opinion to the President with a copy to the Faculty Regent.

If after receiving a Faculty Senate dissenting opinion, the President feels that a case of financial exigency does exist, the President may proceed to develop a full report to the Board of Regents regarding the financial condition of the University.  The report will include, but not be limited to, information and reports from the Faculty Senate and a recommended procedure to be followed regarding the termination and due process rights of tenured faculty affected by the financial exigency.

STEP THREE:

The Faculty Senate will elect the nine faculty members who are to serve on the three ad hoc committees listed below.  Every effort will be made to have an equitable representation from nontenured as well as tenured faculty, since it is the former who are likely to bear the brunt of the reduction.  There will also be a faculty representative from each of the three colleges on each ad hoc committee.  The committees will work independently on the determination of financial exigency and will propose possible solutions and alternative courses of action.  Faculty positions to be eliminated, but not specific faculty members, may be identified at this point in the process.

1. AD HOC COMMITTEE CHAIRED BY VICE PRESIDENT FOR ADMINISTRATIVE AND FISCAL SERVICES.  The sevenmember committee will consist of the Deans of the three academic colleges and one faculty member from each of the three colleges appointed by the Faculty Senate as outlined above, and will be chaired by the Vice President for Administrative and Fiscal Services.

2. AD HOC COMMITTEE CHAIRED BY VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS.  The seven-member committee will consist of the Faculty Regent, the Faculty Senate Chair, the Chair of the Faculty Senate Fiscal Affairs Committee and one faculty member from each of the three colleges appointed by the Faculty Senate as outlined above, and will be chaired by the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

3. AD HOC COMMITTEE CHAIRED BY FACULTY RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES CHAIR.  The seven-member committee will consist of three Department Chairs and one faculty member from each of the three colleges appointed by the Faculty Senate as outlined above, and will be chaired by the Chair of the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee.  The Department Chairs will be appointed by the President, and every effort should be made to choose Chairs that will be most adversely affected by the proposed eliminations of faculty positions.

STEP FOUR: 

The three ad hoc committees will present written reports to the President within 120 calendar days from the time the committees are convened.  Copies of the reports will be sent to the Faculty Senate, the Faculty Regent, and the chairs of the other ad hoc committees.  Dissenting minority reports shall be included in the final reports.

STEP FIVE:

The President, after receiving the reports of the three ad hoc committee and the final recommendations of the Faculty Senate, will make recommendations regarding the specific faculty positions and faculty members who will be terminated for a case of financial exigency.  The President will follow the Order of Termination Sequence in determining the faculty members to be terminated.

ORDER OF TERMINATION SEQUENCE:    

1. Tenured faculty members will have the preference of retention over nontenured faculty members.
     
2. A faculty member who has attained tenure prior to another faculty member will have preference of retention.

3. If the time of tenured service is equal, then tenured faculty of superior academic rank will have preference of retention.

4. If service and rank considerations are the same for two faculty members, the faculty member with the longer period of employment at the University will have preference of retention.

These specific recommendations will be submitted to the Vice President for Academic Affairs who will notify in writing, within five business days, those faculty members whose positions are proposed to be eliminated.  The Vice President for Academic Affairs will also convene the ad hoc Committee on Reconciliation listed in STEP SIX.

STEP SIX:  AD HOC COMMITTEE ON RECONCILIATION. 

The seven-member committee will consist of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Vice President for Administrative and Fiscal Services, the Chair of the Faculty Senate, one faculty member elected by the Faculty Senate from each of the three committees listed in STEP THREE, and the Faculty Regent who will serve as Chair.  There should be a faculty member from each College represented on the committee.  The committee will meet individually with each affected faculty member and will make every effort to reach some accommodation with the individual regarding his/her rights and possible courses of alternative action.  Such advice may include, but not be limited to, proposing such alternatives as a reassignment of work duties, sabbatical leave for the purpose of retraining or re-adapting teaching skills towards a new position, and informed of any early retirement incentive programs available.  The faculty member affected will be afforded the opportunity to present documentation or other evidence in support of his/her objection to the proposed elimination of position due to financial exigency and the resulting intention to terminate the faculty member's contract.  If the faculty member and the ad hoc Committee on Reconciliation can reach a mutually agreeable solution, the faculty member and the Committee will submit a written proposal of settlement to the President outlining the conditions of acceptance.

If the matter cannot be resolved successfully with the faculty member, the ad hoc Committee on Reconciliation will issue a written report to the President within five business days from the time of the final meeting with the affected faculty member.  The report will outline the areas of disagreements.  A copy of the report will be sent to the Chair of the Faculty Senate and the Faculty Regent.  Dissenting minority reports shall be included in the final report.

If the faculty member feels that he/she has not received due process, he/she has the right to file an appropriate grievance with the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee which will investigate the matter within four weeks and submit a recommendation to the President.  A copy of the report will be sent to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Chair of the Faculty Senate, and the Faculty Regent.  Dissenting minority reports shall be included in the final report.

STEP SEVEN: 

The President will meet personally with the faculty member and will attempt to reconcile the areas of disagreement regarding the termination of the faculty member.  The President, after consultation with the Vice President for Administrative and Fiscal Services, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Faculty Regent, the Chair of the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee, and a person of the faculty member's choosing will then make a final recommendation regarding the position of the faculty member which will be submitted to the Board of Regents for consideration and action.  A written copy of the formal recommendation will be given to the faculty member within five business days of the final meeting.  This ends the formal process of academic appeal but does not preclude the possibility of seeking redress through the legal system for perceived injury and harm.

PROCEDURES FOR FACULTY TERMINATION FOR DISCONTINUANCE OF PROGRAM: 

This procedure will be used when the President proposes that the University eliminate all faculty positions in a particular department, discipline, or program area (hereafter referred to only as Program) for a case of discontinuance of program which is based essentially on educational considerations.  It specifically outlines the rights and academic due process that are accorded a faculty member on a continuing contract and does not attempt to deal with other staff and University personnel procedures.  It is recommended that, in the general interest of Morehead State University, a procedure be developed for these employees and that a process be set up to reconcile the interests of the University as a whole.

NOTE.  "Educational considerations" do not include cyclical or temporary variations in enrollment.  They must reflect long-range judgments that the educational mission of the institution as a whole will be enhanced by the discontinuance.

INITIAL DETERMINATION FOR THE NEED TO TERMINATE TENURED FACULTY POSITIONS FOR DISCONTINUANCE OF PROGRAM: 

Recognizing that the President has authority for program discontinuance, the University will generally rely upon the Vice President of Academic Affairs to determine whether it would be desirable and in the best interests of the University as a whole, based essentially on educational considerations, to discontinue a Program and to eliminate all of the tenured faculty positions in that Program.  After consultation with the appropriate Dean(s) and Department Chair(s), the Vice President will inform the President in writing of the situation with supporting documentation.

STEP ONE. 

The President will submit a written recommendation to the Faculty Senate which states that the President intends to propose to the Board of Regents that a particular Program be discontinued and that all tenured faculty positions in that Program be terminated due to the changing program needs of the University.  The recommendation will include, but not be limited to, the rationale for discontinuing the Program, the perceived effect that the elimination of the Program will have on the University as a whole, and the number of faculty positions that will be terminated.  The President will also submit copies of the recommendation to the Dean of the College in which the Program is located, the specific Program Chair, and the Chair of the appropriate University curriculum committee.  Graduate and undergraduate programs in the same Program will be handled as separate recommendations.

STEP TWO. 

The President will convene a seven-member ad hoc Committee on Program Elimination to report on the effects that the elimination of the Program will have on University curricula.  The ad hoc Committee on Program Elimination will consist of the two college representatives on the appropriate graduate or undergraduate University curriculum committee from the College in which the Program is located; two members from the Educational Standards Committee of the Faculty Senate elected by the Faculty Senate; two faculty members from the affected Program elected by faculty within the Program; and the Dean of the College in which the Program is located who will serve as Chair.  The Program Chair(s) may serve as nonvoting, ex officio member(s) of the committee.  The ad hoc Committee on Program Elimination will have at least 120 calendar days in which to prepare and submit its finished report to the President with a copy to the Faculty Senate Chair and Faculty Regent.  The appropriate graduate or undergraduate University curriculum committee and the Faculty Senate shall also prepare separate reports and recommendations for the President.

STEP THREE. 

If the ad hoc Committee on Program Elimination recommends that elimination of the Program and its faculty positions is in the best interest of the University based essentially upon educational considerations, and if the appropriate University curriculum committee and the Faculty Senate concur in this recommendation, the President will ask the Vice President for Academic Affairs to convene an ad hoc Committee on Reconciliation as constituted in STEP FOUR.

If the Faculty Senate and the appropriate University curriculum committee concur with an opinion from the ad hoc Committee on Program Elimination that the discontinuance of the Program(s) and its faculty positions is not in the best interest of the University, and if the President feels that the need for a program(s) discontinuance exists, the President may proceed to develop a full report to the Board of Regents regarding Program discontinuance.  The report will include, but not be limited to, information and reports from the Faculty Senate, the appropriate University curriculum committee, and the ad hoc Committee on Program Elimination; and a recommended procedure to be followed regarding the termination and due process rights of tenured faculty affected by the Program discontinuance.

STEP FOUR. 

AD HOC COMMITTEE ON RECONCILIATION.  If the President decides to convene the seven-member ad hoc Committee on Reconciliation, the seven-member committee will consist of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Vice President for Administrative and Fiscal Affairs, the Chair of the

Faculty Senate, and three members elected by the Faculty Senate, and will be chaired by the Faculty Regent.  There shall be a faculty member from each College represented on the committee.

The committee will meet individually with each affected faculty member and will make every effort to reach some accommodation with the individual regarding their rights and their possible courses of alternative action.  Such advice would include, but not be limited to, proposing such alternatives as a reassignment of work duties, sabbatical leave for the purpose of retraining or re-adapting teaching skills towards a new position, and informed of any early retirement incentive programs available.  The faculty member affected will be afforded the opportunity to present documentation or other evidence in support of his/her objection to the proposed elimination of position due to financial exigency and the resulting intention to terminate the faculty member's contract.  If the faculty member and the committee can reach a mutually agreeable solution, the faculty member and the committee will submit a written proposal of settlement to the President outlining the conditions of acceptance.

STEP FIVE. 

If the matter cannot be resolved successfully with the faculty member, the ad hoc Committee on Reconciliation will issue a written report to the President within five business days from the time of the final meeting with the affected faculty member.  The report will outline the areas of disagreements.  Dissenting minority reports shall be included in the final report.

If the faculty member feels that he/she has not received due process, he/she has the right to file an appropriate grievance with the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee which will investigate the matter within four weeks and submit a recommendation to the President.  A copy of the report will be sent to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Chair of the Faculty Senate, and the Faculty Regent.  Dissenting minority reports shall be included in the final report.

STEP SIX. 

The President will meet personally with the faculty member and will attempt to reconcile the areas of disagreement regarding the termination of the faculty member.  The President, after consultation with the Vice President for Administrative and Fiscal Services, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Faculty Regent, the Chair of the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee, and a person of the faculty member's choosing will then make a final recommendation regarding the position of the faculty member which will be submitted to the Board of Regents for consideration and action.  A written copy of the formal recommendation will be given to the faculty member within five business days of the final meeting.  This ends the formal process of academic appeal but does not preclude the possibility of seeking redress through the legal system for perceived injury and harm.