AAUP Says Tenure Is Under Threat in Louisiana

June 06, 2011

The University of Louisiana system has begun an "unprecedented and unwarranted assault" on the job security of its faculty, says a statement released Monday by the American Association of University Professors.

The group issued its statement in response to two separate dismissals of tenured professors in the system. In 2010, Southeastern Louisiana University canceled its undergraduate major in French and fired the department's three tenured professors with one year's notice. The University of Louisiana at Monroe followed suit this year by announcing it plans to dismiss its four tenured chemistry professors with six months' notice.

At both institutions, some of the professors were offered positions as temporary instructors in the departments where they had previously been tenured faculty.

The statement's author, Michael F. Bérubé, who serves as chair of the Subcommittee on Program Closures of the AAUP's Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, wrote that the university system's actions went beyond justifiable budgetary concern and represented a "capricious assault on tenure."

Rene Abadie, a spokesman for Southeastern Louisiana, said he could not discuss the dismissals at his university because the issue had gone into litigation, although he added that his silence did not imply agreement with the allegations or the AAUP's presentation of the situation. The University of Louisiana at Monroe could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.