The legal defense committee of NFA is engaged in several issues that affect faculty directly, and which raise serious questions for faculty indirectly everywhere.
In October, two tenured professors filed lawsuits based upon their termination from their institution as a result of the curricular review process. The curricular review determination sought to end the professors’ administrative assignments by sending both individuals back to academic departments that were slated to be closed. The litigation is predicated upon violations of the Nevada System of Higher Education Code and policy interpretations that do not appear supported by code language or precedence. NFA is providing legal and financial support for both professors.
In a related matter, the legal defense committee is studying instances of tenured faculty being terminated because of curricular review when there are legitimate positions available within the institution for which the faculty are qualified and willing to serve. Reassigning the affected tenured faculty to other positions within their institution is a guiding principle of American higher education, and has been a cornerstone of AAUP policy for 100 years.
The committee is also studying the manner in which the curricular review process has been interpreted and administered across NSHE. There appears to be no uniformity of the process or of the intended results. On most campuses, curricular review has been a transparent process by which faculty and administrations sit and determine collaboratively how painful cuts to programs and departments are to be made. Other campuses enjoyed no such transparency or collaboration. NFA Legal Defense has responded to these complaints of inequity on several occasions.
The collective bargaining agreement at Truckee Meadows Community College will be opened for renegotiation formally in March 2012. Faculty at several NSHE institutions are contemplating collective bargaining during this period. NFA as the legal bargaining agent will provide logistical support for the renegotiation and to other institutions that request assistance.
The NFA legal defense committee is available for legal support to NFA members as recommended by their respective campus chapter committees. This process is outlined in the NFA legal defense policy, which can be found on our Legal Defense Services