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MSU streamlines policy for firing tenured faculty with cause

MSU sign next to a roadway
Michigan State University

The Michigan State University Board of Trustees is putting in place a new policy for disciplining and removing tenured faculty with cause.

MSU Provost Teresa Woodruff empowered a task force last spring to review the university’s process for dismissing tenured faculty members among other initiatives tied to the university's Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct policies.

The task force's recommendation was for a streamlined process limited to 120 days.

Removing those employees had been an undertaking in the past that could be dragged out for years.

Calling the action a "defining moment" of the institution, Woodruff says the new policy will increase transparency in the dismissal process.

“This action is intended to instill confidence in the community about the nature of this matter and remove troubling opacity," she explained.

MSU President Samuel Stanley Jr. says up to now, firing a tenured faculty member has been a long, convoluted undertaking involving multiple trips to multiple committees.

“Many of these things, I think, can be decided in a much faster and definitive way, but then there also is the ability, again, to remove, which has been done at MSU," he said.

"We have removed people with tenure. So, I think it’s less about changing the reasons to do it and more about streamlining the process.”

The new policy garnered unanimous votes of support from the MSU Faculty Senate and other committees on tenure and academic affairs, and was approved by all eight MSU trustees during their Friday meeting.

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