Charlottesville partner Craig Wood was quoted in a July 12 ABA Journal story about Vermont Law School stripping 14 professors of tenure, a move that drew scrutiny from the American Association of University Professors.
The article noted that the AAUP questioned whether the school followed proper regulations. Wood pointed out that, prior to the Great Recession, AAUP recommendations regarding financial exigencies and tenure removals applied only to situations in which a school’s future was at risk. The recommendations were “softened up” in 2013 to cover financial circumstances that could threaten academic integrity, he explained.
“You do have a lot more schools that are fighting for survival that will qualify under the new standard,” said Wood, who represents higher education institutions in employment matters.
He said that recruiting new students becomes difficult when a school argues it should be able to strip professors of tenure because of financial issues. “I think a natural resistance to this remains. Once you do it, the message to your market is that you’re in trouble,” he added.