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4.24 / Financial Exigency

Financial Exigency Background:
Recent higher education enrollment trends have made educators increasingly aware of the need to anticipate possible needs for budget and staff reductions (known commonly as retrenchment) by developing orderly procedures for making such reductions. Like governing boards in many other states, the Kansas Board of Regents recognized that advance planning for such contingencies would serve the best interests of everyone in the academic community; it adopted the following definition of financial exigency for the Regents system.

Definition:
Financial exigency is the formal recognition by a Regents institution that prior reductions in budget or authorized number of positions have required the elimination of nontenured positions and operating expenditures to such a point that further reductions in these categories would seriously distort the academic programs of the institution; hence, further budget or position reductions would require the nonreappointment of tenured members of the faculty or the failure to meet the standards of notice for nonreappointment of faculty. It is not a requirement of financial exigency that all nontenured positions throughout the University be first eliminated.

Procedure:

1.  It shall be the responsibility of the chief executive officer of each Regents institution, in consultation with appropriate campus groups, to develop a plan for reductions in personnel as necessitated by conditions of financial exigency.

2.  In the event that financial conditions at a Regents institution may warrant the declaration of financial exigency, the chief executive officer shall notify the board of that fact and shall provide a complete statement of the circumstances that may warrant the declaration of financial exigency. The statement shall also include a review of all reasonable alternatives to financial exigency. If the board and the chief executive officer concur as to the existence of a financial exigency, it shall be the responsibility of the chief executive officer to so declare.

Kansas Board of Regents Policy Manual, Chapter II, Section C, Item 5 

In response to the Regents action, the faculty of Wichita State University adopted a document entitled, "Policies and Procedures for the Reduction of Unclassified Staff for Reasons of Financial Exigency" on September 15, 1980.

Policies and Procedures for the Reduction of Unclassified Staff for Reasons of Financial Exigency:

Preface: The document, which represents ongoing faculty review in the area of financial exigency, is devised to provide an operational plan if sharply declining enrollments should lead the University President to declare a state of financial exigency at WSU. From the beginning it was agreed that advance study and plans would relieve some of the personal, departmental, and college conflicts which might be expected to occur with the sudden declaration of financial exigency. Effort has been made to consider the welfare of the University and its programs, as well as the most humane treatment possible for faculty members who have served it. The original document was approved by the University Senate on May 4, 1976, after nearly two years of faculty deliberation. The following procedures are to provide a formal process of retrenchment proceedings prior to and during a period of financial exigency.

I.  Committee Structure

The following committees shall be selected each year for three-year rotating terms and elect their own chairpersons:

A.  College Advisory and Appeals Committees for Retrenchment

  1. Each degree-granting college shall select a committee of its faculty according to the same procedures it uses to select its Tenure and Promotion Committee, or by other similar procedures adopted by the faculty of the college, except that:
    1. the college dean shall not be a member of this committee, and
    2. an Equal Opportunity Agent of the college shall be a nonvoting member of the committee.
  2. An election shall be held among the Academic Services staff to form a committee of six members by which such staff shall be represented. No more than two members of the committee shall be from the same division of the Academic Services staff. In addition to the elected members, an Equal Opportunity Agent will be designated as a nonvoting member by the Director of Equal Opportunity.
B.  The University Advisory and Appeals Committee for Retrenchment. The University Retrenchment Committee shall comprise the chairpersons of each College Retrenchment Committee, the Director of Equal Opportunity as a non-voting member, and a representative of the Student Government Association.
  1. The term "college dean" shall refer to the deans, including associate and assistant deans, of the degree-granting colleges and to the administrator charged by the President with developing the retrenchment program for Academic Services staff.
  2. Hereinafter, the term "college committee" shall refer to this committee as well as those defined in I/A/1.
C.  Functions of the College Committees
  1. To regularly review the status of the college and its various departments in relation to those aspects relevant to possible financial exigency.
  2. To participate in preventive planning with the college prior to a declared exigency.
  3. To review college and departmental plans for retrenchment should a declaration of financial exigency be necessary.
  4. To serve as an appeals committee as described in section IV/K.
D.  Functions of the University Committee
  1. To regularly review the status of the University and its component parts in relation to those aspects relevant to possible financial exigency.
  2. To participate in preventive planning for the University prior to a declared exigency.
  3. To review University and college plans for retrenchment should a declaration of financial exigency be necessary.
  4. To serve as an appeals committee as described in section IV/M.
II.  Preventive Planning During a Non-Crisis Period

A.  In that faculty involvement is imperative in a declared exigency, it follows that preliminary participation is even more important. Such involvement will serve the dual purpose of uniting the forces of faculty and administration in achieving and maintaining University strength and of minimizing the corrosive effects of declining enrollments. Systematic planning should consider the following approaches:

  1. Biannual review of the current status and future projections for the University by the President and/or Provost and Senior Vice President with the University Committee and others as appropriate.
  2. The chairperson of the University Committee shall be involved regularly in discussions with the University administration regarding University financial status and especially at times of budget hearings.
  3. Such approaches as the following should be actively reviewed and instituted by administration whenever feasible:
    1. Considerations of policies for early retirement or semi-retirement status.
    2. Consideration of further utilization of shared positions.
    3. Assessment of faculty skills in functional areas as well as areas of specialization to facilitate possible reassignment of faculty members.
    4. Retraining of faculty for alternative positions.
    5. Development of additional curricular offerings to expand enrollment without jeopardy to existing programs.
    6. Any other potential means for avoiding loss of faculty expertise.
Note: This section reflects the AAUP document on "The Role of Faculty in Budgetary and Salary Matters," (1972).

III.  Restrictions and Guidelines on Termination for Reasons of Financial Exigency

A.  Prima Facie Restrictions

Each of the following restrictions expresses a reasonable expectation about the criteria that will be used to select those persons to be terminated for reasons of financial exigency; but it is possible, even likely, that on occasion these restrictions shall conflict with one another and that on these occasions one or more of them will have to be violated. All parties contributing to programs of retrenchment constructed under Part IV of this document are enjoined to adhere to these restrictions to the fullest extent possible and to deviate from them only to the extent required by the best interests of the University. Any report at any level recommending the termination of any individual in such a way as to violate any of these restrictions must be accompanied by a full explanation of the reasons for such a recommendation.

  1. Termination should not be made in any way which would prevent any unit of the University from performing the tasks appointed for it.
  2. Any terminations in any given unit which are based on the decreasing demand for the services of that unit should be based on services over no less than a three-year period.
  3. Terminations within a given department or unit should ordinarily be made according to rank (lecturers and graduate assistants first), followed in order by assistant instructors, instructors, assistant professors, associate professors, professors, and within rank according to years of service at the University at that rank. The appointment of a faculty member with tenure will not be terminated in favor of retaining in that department a faculty member without tenure, except in extraordinary circumstances where a serious distortion of the academic program would otherwise result.
  4. Terminations should be made in such a way as to maximize compliance with the University's obligations to affirmative action guidelines.
  5. Administrative terminations should be made in the same proportion as faculty terminations.
B.  Mandatory Guidelines on Termination of Staff for Reasons of Financial Exigency
  1. If the University, because of financial exigency, terminates appointments, no new state-funded positions will be established except in extraordinary circumstances where a serious distortion in the academic program would otherwise result. The appointment of a faculty member with tenure will not be terminated in favor of retaining within the department a faculty member without tenure, except in extraordinary circumstances where a serious distortion of the academic program would otherwise result. The existence of "extraordinary circumstances" shall be determined by the University Retrenchment Committee. The appointment of a faculty member with tenure will not be terminated in favor of retaining a faculty member without tenure in another unit of that college, if the tenured faculty member can establish with the College Retrenchment Committee that he is at least as qualified for the position as the untenured faculty member.
  2. Except in the utmost emergency, which could not have been foreseen, the standards of due notice of nonreappointment stated in the Handbook for Faculty shall not be violated.
  3. In all cases of termination of appointment because of financial exigency, the place of the tenured faculty member concerned will not be filled by a replacement within a period of three years, unless the released faculty member has been offered reinstatement and a reasonable time (not to exceed 60 days) in which to accept or decline it.
  4. Any tenured faculty member chosen for termination on the grounds that he/she is less competent in performance than someone who otherwise would have been terminated instead, must be terminated according to the procedures for dismissal for cause.
  5. If a dean recommends a retrenchment program requiring the elimination of a department or a degree or certificate program, it may not be approved either by a College Retrenchment Committee or by the University Retrenchment Committee unless the elimination of the program has been approved by the faculty of the college in which the department or program is located. Approval of the faculty is defined as a majority of the college faculty casting votes, provided that number also constitutes a majority of a quorum of the faculty of that college. (This document states the possibility and conditions of a retrenchment committee's being overruled by a dean or by the President. Hence, this wording in no way confers a veto power on the elimination of departments to the faculty.)
IV.  Procedures to be followed when a State of Financial Exigency has been Declared by the President of the University

A.  The President shall announce to the deans and the University Retrenchment Committee that he/she has declared a state of financial exigency for the University and the proposed plan for,

  1. the number of positions to be eliminated from the central administrative staff of the University,
  2. the number of positions to be eliminated from each college, and
  3. the calendar for procedures to determine cutbacks.
B.  The University Committee will
  1. review the entire program of retrenchment for the University to see that it conforms with the restrictions and guidelines (Part III),
  2. consult with the deans concerning the proposed retrenchment program, and
  3. file with the President and the deans any changes it recommends in the retrenchment program and the committee's reasons for those changes.
  4. In this context the term "college" shall refer to the degree-granting colleges and to the divisions making up the Academic Services staff.
C.  After reviewing the University Committee recommendations, the President will send to the deans and the University Committee a copy of the final university retrenchment program and reasons for any departures from the University Committee's recommendations.

D.  The dean of each college, after consultation with the College Committee, shall announce to the college

  1. the number of positions provisionally to be eliminated from the administrative staff of the college,
  2. the number of faculty positions provisionally to be eliminated from each department within the college.
E.  The chairperson of each department shall consult with the tenured faculty of that department, or a representative committee thereof, according to the procedures used in the making of recommendations for tenure, and shall then provide the dean in writing
  1. any evidence that serious programmatic difficulties would result from the proposed retrenchment in the department or other departments or colleges, and
  2. recommendations of the department concerning the particular individuals to be terminated, including the reasons for those recommendations.
F.  The dean shall, in consultation with the College Retrenchment Committee and taking into account the written arguments from department chairpersons:
  1. Design a program of retrenchment designating each member of the college to be terminated, containing explicit reasons for the termination of any tenured faculty member, or for any deviation from restrictions in Part III or college restrictions and guidelines.
  2. Inform each department chairperson of:
    1. The particular individuals designated for termination from that department.
    2. Any reasons explicitly stated in the college retrenchment program for the selection of those individuals.
    3. The number of persons designated for termination from other departments and from the administrative staff of the college.
  3. Inform in writing each person designated for termination of his/her status of any reasons explicitly stated in the college retrenchment program for his/her designation for termination and of his/her right to appeal as below.
  4. Present the entire program of retrenchment, including chairpersons' recommendations, to the College Retrenchment committee.
G.  The College Retrenchment Committee shall
  1. maintain confidentiality with respect to the names of individuals designated for termination to the extent permitted for the adequate fulfillment of its charge,
  2. hear any appeals from tenured or probationary staff according to the definitions of charges and procedures given in Part V, and
  3. report its findings to the dean and to the appellant.
H.  The dean shall take appropriate actions on the committee recommendations concerning appeals from IV/B, and report to the committee any modifications he/she wishes to make. He/she shall also report these changes to the appropriate chairpersons and individuals as in IV F/2-3.

I.  The College Retrenchment Committee shall

  1. review the entire program of retrenchment for the college to see that it conforms to college restrictions and guidelines, if any, and the restrictions and guidelines in Part III of this document,
  2. consult with the dean concerning the proposed retrenchment program, and
  3. file with the dean any changes it recommends in the retrenchment program and the committee's reasons for those changes.
 J.  The dean shall modify the college retrenchment program as he/she deems appropriate in the light of the committee recommendations, and shall
  1. inform the College Retrenchment Committee of the changes he/she has made, and of his/her reasons for not accepting any committee recommendations that he/she has rejected;
  2. inform each department chairperson of
    1. the particular individuals from that department designated for termination in the modified retrenchment program from that department,
    2. differences between the dean and the College Committee concerning individuals to be terminated from that department,
    3. his/her reasons for rejecting the recommendations in section J/2/b;
  3. inform in writing each individual designated for termination in the modified retrenchment program of his status, of the Dean's reasons if the College Committee does not concur in that designation, and of any right to appeal;
  4. the procedures are designated to allow each faculty member only one opportunity to appeal if that appeal results in a negative recommendation by the committee to which he appeals.
K.  The College Retrenchment Committee will
  1. hear appeals from any tenured or probationary staff designated for termination in the modified retrenchment program of any college but not designated for termination in the original retrenchment program of that college, and
  2. report its findings to the appropriate dean and the faculty member.
L.  The dean shall present a report of the college's retrenchment program to the Provost and Senior Vice President who shall transmit these reports to the deans of the other colleges, this report to include
  1. the modified retrenchment program of the college, together with supporting arguments,
  2. copies of all recommendations from chairpersons, together with supporting arguments,
  3. a list of all recommendations from the college retrenchment committee that were not accepted, together with the committee's reasons for those recommendations and the dean's reason for rejecting them.
M.  The University Retrenchment Committee shall
  1. hear any appeals, according to the definitions of charges and procedures given in Part V, from any member of the central administrative staff of the University designated for termination by the Provost,
  2. hear any appeals from faculty members who do not have a designated college channel for redressing grievances (only one opportunity for appeal will be possible),
  3. hear appeals from any college based on programmatic impact in that college of decisions made in other colleges,
  4. recommend to the Provost and Senior Vice President appropriate procedures for redress of any appeals it upholds from M/1-2-3.0
N.  The Provost shall act on the recommendations, if any, from M/4.

O.  The Provost shall transmit to the President

  1. the complete report on retrenchment from each college,
  2. his/her recommendation for terminations from the central administrative staff of the University,
  3. the recommendations of the University Retrenchment Committee concerning central administrative staff appeals,
  4. his/her own responses concerning the recommendations of the University Retrenchment Committee.
P.  The President shall in consultation with his/her staff
  1. construct a program of retrenchment for the University;
  2. notify the University Retrenchment Committee of the entire program, and of his/her reasons for any deviations from recommendations of the University Retrenchment Committee;
  3. notify each dean of
    1. any changes he/she has made in the modified retrenchment program presented by the dean, and
    2. his/her reasons for those changes;
  4. notify each department chairperson of
    1. the individuals to be terminated from that department, and
    2. his/her reasons for any terminations not recommended by the College Retrenchment Committee;
    3. the numbers of individuals to be terminated from other departments of that college,
  5. notify each individual to be terminated under his/her program of termination
  6. notify any individual to be terminated under his/her program who has not had prior opportunity to appeal his/her case of his/her right to appeal according to the procedures in Part V.
Q.  The appropriate College Retrenchment Committee (for central administrative staff, the University Retrenchment Committee) shall hear appeals according to definitions of charges and procedures given in Part V, from any tenured or probationary faculty member who is designated for termination in the report of the President and has not had prior opportunity to appeal his/her designation for termination.

R.  President shall act on any upheld appeals and notify the appellants.

V.  Appeals Procedures

Sections G, K, M and Q of Part IV of this document describe conditions under which a member of the unclassified staff may appeal a decision to designate him/her for termination. All appeals from probationary and tenured faculty members will go to their College Advisory and Appeals Retrenchment Committee and appeals from central administrators will go to the University Retrenchment Advisory and Appeals Committee. Such a staff member, hereinafter referred to as the appellant, shall file his/her appeal with the chairperson of the committee described in the section under which the appellant is appealing, hereinafter referred to as the Appeals Committee, basing his/her appeal on the charges described in the following:

A.  If the appellant alleges that a decision not to reappoint him/her was based significantly on considerations that violate (1) academic freedom or (2) governing policies precluding prejudice with respect to race, gender, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, age, or Vietnam-era veteran status, the allegation shall be given preliminary consideration by the Appeals Committee which shall seek to settle the matter by informal methods. The allegation shall be accompanied by a statement that the appellant agrees to the presentation, for the consideration of the committees hearing the appeals, of such reasons and evidence as the institution may allege in support of its decision. If the difficulty is unresolved at this stage, and if the committee or the faculty member so recommends the matter will be heard in the manner set forth in Regulations 5 and 6 of the 1972 AAUP Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure, except that the appellant is responsible for stating the grounds on which he bases his/her allegations, and the burden of proof shall rest on him/her. If the appellant 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.

B.  If the appellant alleges that the decision to designate him/her for termination was based on inadequate consideration, the Appeals Committee shall review the faculty member's allegation and shall determine whether the decision was the result of inadequate consideration in terms of the relevant standards of the university. The Appeals Committee shall not substitute its judgment on the merits for that of those making the decision. If the Appeals Committee believes that adequate consideration was not given the appellant's qualifications, it will request reconsideration by those who made the decision to designate the appellant for termination, indicating the respects in which it believes the consideration may have been inadequate. The Appeals Committee shall provide copies of its findings both to the appellant and to those who made the decision to designate the appellant for termination.

These procedures are adapted from sections 10 and 2f, respectively, of the 1972 AAUP Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure of the American Association of University Professors.

Revision Date:
August 4, 2000

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