Introduction

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SECTION 1 - REGULATION ON ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND TENURE

§9-201 of the college CODE

A.        Foreword. These regulations are designed to enable Prince George's Community College (hereinafter called the "college") to protect academic freedom and tenure and the requirements of academic due process. The principles implicit in these regulations are for the benefit of all who are involved with or are affected by the policies and programs of the college.

B.        Definitions. As used in these regulations, the following definitions shall apply:

            1.         Faculty member means a person employed by the college on a full-time basis as a member of the teaching faculty or as a librarian or counselor, other than one whose employment as such is a member of the classified staff.

            2.         A faculty member employed on a Fixed-Term Contract means one whose appointment will end on a clearly defined termination date, unless extended for a period of no more than one additional year or part thereof, without notice of nonrenewal. A part-time contract is a fixed-term contract which may be terminated before the termination date for such cause that the college president, acting in good faith, determines is good cause for termination.

            3.         A faculty member employed on an annual contract means one who may expect appointment for the succeeding year unless he/she receives written notice of nonrenewal by the date stated in this regulation.

            4.         A faculty member with tenure means one whose employment will continue unless terminated in accordance with this regulation.

C.        Statement of Terms of Appointment.

            1.         The terms and conditions of every appointment to the faculty will be stated or confirmed in writing, and a copy of the appointment document will be supplied to the faculty member. Any subsequent extensions, or modifications of an appointment and any special understandings, or any notices incumbent upon either party to provide, will be stated or confirmed in writing and a copy will be given to the faculty member.

            2.         All full-time appointments are of two kinds:

                        a.         Tenured appointments

                        b.         Untenured appointments.

            3.         All untenured appointments are of two kinds:

                        a.         Fixed-Term Contract

                        b.         Annual Contract.

D.        Tenured Appointments.

            1.         The president will determine openings for a tenured position based on the need to attract and to retain a competent work force necessary for the efficient operation of the college, at which time applications for tenure will be solicited.

            2.         In order to be eligible for a tenured position, the faculty member must have been employed at least five years as a full-time faculty member at the college, at least two years of which must immediately precede the application for tenure. Except as provided in Section O. and except for extended sick leave, time spent on authorized leave of absence will count as eligible service unless the leave occurred within the two years immediately preceding the application for tenure or unless the individual and the college agree to the contrary at the time leave is granted. In addition, the faculty member must have attained the rank of associate professor or higher before applying for tenure.

E.        Annual Contract.

            5.         Written notice that an annual contract appointment is not to be renewed at the end of the academic year will be given by the appropriate vice president to the faculty member as follows:

                        a.         Not later than April 15 of the first academic year of service.

                        b.         Not later than March 15 of the second continuous academic year of service.

                        c.         Not later than December 15 after three or more continuous academic years of service at the college.

            2.         A faculty member on a probationary appointment during the 1986-1987 academic year who would be entitled to greater notice of nonrenewal under the prior Regulation on Academia Freedom and Tenure, shall continue to be entitled to receive not less than the notice to which he/she was entitled during the 1986-1987 annual year.

F.        Termination of Appointment by the Faculty Member.

A faculty member may terminate his appointment effective at the end of an academic year, provided that he gives notice in writing at the earliest possible opportunity, but not later than May 15, or 30 days after receiving notification of the terms of his appointment for the coming year, whichever date occurs later.

The faculty member may properly request a waiver of this requirement of notice in case of hardship or in a situation where he would otherwise be denied substantial professional advancement or other opportunity.

G .       Termination of Appointment by the College.

            1.         Termination of an appointment before the end of its term may be affected by the college only for cause.

            2.         If termination takes the form of a dismissal, it will be pursuant to the procedure specified in Section H.

            3.         If termination of an appointment during its term or without the notice provided in this regulation is based upon financial exigency or bona fide discontinuance or reduction in size of a program or department of instruction, Section H will not apply, but the faculty member shall be able to have the issues reviewed by the Faculty Grievance Committee, with the ultimate review of all controverted issues by the Board of Trustees. In every such case the faculty member concerned will be given notice as soon as possible and never less than a contract year's notice if tenured, and if untenured, such notice, if any, as is provided in this regulation, or in lieu thereof he/she will be given severance salary for any such period, unless the board shall determine that the budgetary conditions leading to such financial exigency preclude such notice or severance salary and shall uniformly apply such determination to all faculty members terminated at that time because of financial exigency. Before terminating an appointment because of discontinuance or reduction in size of a program or department of instruction the college will make every effort to place affected faculty members in other suitable positions. If an appointment is terminated pursuant to this section, the released faculty member's place will not be filled by a replacement within a period of two years, unless the released faculty member has been offered reappointment and a reasonable time within which to accept or decline. To the extent the provisions of the Reduction In Force Policy and Rules do not conflict with the other provisions of this section, they shall be applied in terminations pursuant to this section.

            4.         Termination for medical reasons of a tenured or nontenured appointment before the end of the period of appointment or without such notice of nonrenewal as may be required by these regulations, if any, will be based upon clear and convincing medical evidence which, if the faculty member so requests, shall be reviewed by the Faculty Grievance Committee before a final decision is made by the board on the recommendation of the president of the college.

H.        Dismissal Procedures.

            1.         Adequate cause for dismissal will be related, directly and substantially, to the fitness of the faculty member in his professional capacity as a teacher, librarian, or counselor. Dismissal will not be used to restrain faculty members in their exercise of academic freedom or other rights of American citizens.

            2.         Dismissal of a tenured faculty member at any time, or of an untenured faculty member before the end of the period of appointment or without such notice of nonrenewal as may be required by these regulations, if any, will be preceded by:

                        a.         Discussions between the faculty member and appropriate administrative officers looking toward a mutual settlement.

                        b.         Informal inquiry by the duly elected faculty committee which may, failing to effect an adjustment, determine whether in its opinion dismissal proceedings should be undertaken, without its opinion being binding upon the president.

                        c.         A statement of charges, framed with reasonable particularity by the president or his/her delegate.

            3.         A dismissal, as defined in Section H (1), will be preceded by a statement of reasons, and the individual concerned will have the right to be heard initially by the elected faculty committee. A member will remove himself/herself from the case, either at the request of a party or on his/her own initiative, if he/she deems himself/herself disqualified for bias or interest. Each party will have a maximum of two challenges without a stated cause. The Faculty Senate shall provide for alternates, or for some other method of filling vacancies on the hearing committee resulting from disqualification, challenge without stated cause, illness, resignation, or any other reason.

                        a.         Service of notice of hearing with specific charges in writing will be made at least 20 days prior to the hearing. The faculty member may waive a hearing or may respond to the charges in writing at any time before the hearing. If a faculty member waives a hearing, but denies the charges against him/her or asserts that the charges do not support a finding of adequate cause, the hearing tribunal will evaluate all available evidence and rest its recommendation upon the evidence in the record.

                        b.         The committee, in consultation with the president and faculty member, will exercise its judgment as to whether the hearing should be public or private.

                        c.         During the proceedings, the faculty member will be permitted to have an academic advisor and counsel of his/her choice.

                        d.         At the request of either party or the hearing committee, a representative of a responsible educational association shall be permitted to attend the proceedings as an observer.

                        e.         A verbatim record of the hearing or hearings will be taken and a typewritten copy will be made available to the faculty member without cost to him/her, at his/her request.

                        f.         The burden of proof that adequate cause exists rests with the college, and shall be satisfied only by clear and convincing evidence in the record considered as a whole.

                        g.         The hearing tribunal will grant adjournments to enable either party to investigate evidence as to which a valid claim of surprise is made.

                        h.         The faculty member will be afforded an opportunity to obtain necessary witnesses and documentary or other evidence, and the administration of the college will, in so far as it is possible for it to do so, secure the cooperation of such witnesses and make available necessary documents and other evidence within its control.

                        i.         The faculty member and the administration will have the right to confront and cross-examine all witnesses. Where the witness cannot or will not appear, but the committee determines that the interest of justice requires admission of his statement, the committee will identify the witness, disclose his statement, and if possible provide interrogatories.

                        j.         In the hearing of charges of incompetence, the testimony shall include that of qualified faculty members from this or other institutions of higher education.

                        k.         The hearing committee will not be bound by strict rules of legal evidence, and may admit any evidence which is of probative value in determining the issues involved. Every possible effort will be made to obtain the most reliable evidence available.

                        l.         The findings of fact and the decision will be based solely on the hearing record.

                        m.       Except for such simple announcements as may be required, covering the time of the hearing and similar matters, public statements and publicity about the case by either the faculty member or administrative officers will be avoided so far as possible until the proceedings have been completed, including considerations by the Board of Trustees. The president and the faculty member will be notified of the decision in writing and will be given a copy of the record of the hearing.

                        n.         If the hearing committee concludes that the adequate cause for dismissal has not been established by the evidence in the record, it will so report to the president. If the president rejects the report, he will state his reasons for doing so, in writing, to the hearing committee and to the faculty member, and provide an opportunity for response before transmitting the case to the Board of Trustees. If the hearing committee concludes that adequate cause for dismissal has been established, but that an academic penalty less than dismissal would be more appropriate, it will so recommend, with supporting reasons.

I.         Action by the Board of Trustees.

If dismissal or other penalty is recommended, the president will, on request of the faculty member, transmit to the Board of Trustees the record of the case. The board's review will be based on the record of the committee hearing, and it will provide opportunity for argument, oral or written or both, by the principals at the hearing or by their representatives. The decision of the hearing committee will either be sustained, or the proceeding returned to the committee with specific objections. The committee will then reconsider, taking into account the stated objections and receiving new evidence if necessary.

The board will make a final decision only after study of the committee's recommendation.

J.         Suspensions.

Until the final decision upon termination of an appointment has been reached, the faculty member will be suspended, or assigned to other duties in lieu of suspension, only if immediate harm to himself/herself or others is threatened by his/her continuance. Before suspending a faculty member, pending an ultimate determination of his/her status through the college's hearing machinery, the administration will consult with the Faculty Grievance Committee. Suspension is appropriate only pending a hearing. A suspension which is intended to be final is a dismissal, and will be dealt with as such. Salary will continue during the period of suspension.

K.        Terminal Salary or Notice.

On the recommendation of the faculty hearing committee or the president, the Board of Trustees may determine what, if any, payments will be made beyond the effective date of dismissal, taking into account the length and quality of service of the faculty member.

L.        Academic Freedom.

All members of the faculty, whether tenured or not, are entitled to academic freedom as set forth in the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, formulated by the Association of American Colleges and the American Association of University Professors.

M.       Academic Freedom of Nontenured Faculty.

If a faculty member alleges that considerations violative of academic freedom significantly contributed to a decision not to reappoint him/her, his/her allegation will be given preliminary consideration by the Faculty Grievance Committee, which will seek to settle the matter by informal methods. His/her allegation shall be accompanied by a statement that he/she agrees to the presentation, for the consideration of the faculty committee, of such reasons and evidence as the college may allege in support of its decision. If the difficulty is unresolved at this stage, and if the committee so recommends, the matter will be heard in the manner set forth in Sections H and I, except that the faculty member making the complaint is responsible for stating the grounds upon which he/she bases his/her allegations, and the burden of proof shall rest upon him/her. If he/she succeeds in establishing a prima facie case, it is incumbent upon those who made the decision not to reappoint him/her to come forward with evidence in support of their decision.

N.        Administrative Personnel.

The foregoing regulations apply to administrative personnel who hold academic rank, but only in their capacity as faculty members. Where an administrator alleges that a consideration violative of academic freedom significantly contributed to a decision to terminate his/her appointment to his/her administrative post, or not to reappoint him/her, he/she is entitled to the procedures set forth in Section M.

O.        Political Activities Of Faculty Members.

Faculty members, as citizens, are free to engage in political activities. Where necessary, leaves of absence may be given for the duration of an election campaign or a term of office, on timely application, and for a reasonable period of time. The terms of such leave of absence shall be set forth in writing, and the leave will not affect unfavorably the tenure status of a faculty member, except that time spent on such leave will not count as probationary service unless otherwise agreed to.

P.        Grievance Procedure.

If any faculty member feels that he/she has cause for grievance in any matter other than dismissal proceedings—such matters as salaries, assignment of duties, assignment of space or other facilities, and propriety of conduct—the faculty member may petition the elected Faculty Grievance Committee for redress. The petition shall set forth in detail the nature of the grievance and shall state against whom the grievance is directed. It shall contain any factual or other data which the petitioner deems pertinent to his/her case. The committee will have the right to decide whether or not the facts merit a detailed investigation. Submission of a petition will not automatically entail investigation or detailed consideration thereof. The committee may seek to bring about a settlement of the issue satisfactory to the parties. If, in the opinion of the committee, such a settlement is not possible or is not appropriate, the committee will report its findings and recommendations to the petitioner and the appropriate administrative officer and faculty body. The petitioner will, at his/her request, be provided an opportunity to present his/her case to them.

The grievance committee will consist of a number fixed by the Faculty Senate of tenured faculty members elected at large. No department chairman or administrative officer shall serve on the committee.

Q.        Conflicts With Other Code Provisions.

In the event of conflict between the terms of this regulation and the terms of other provisions of the Code, the terms of this regulation shall prevail, and the president, as editor of the Code, is authorized to amend conflicting terms of other Code provisions to conform to this regulation.

R.        Fixed Term.

A faculty member on a fixed-term contract has no expectation of continued employment beyond a specified date, except where a fixed-term appointment of one year or less is extended for a period not to exceed one additional year. A fixed-term contract may be terminated by the president prior to the end of the specified period of appointment for just cause.