- Associated Press - Thursday, December 24, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A University of Wisconsin System task force has finalized new tenure rules that would allow chancellors to lay off faculty for financial reasons and fire them for poor performance.

The task force wrapped up its work Wednesday, the Wisconsin State Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1J6BxTq ), and is expected to forward the policy to the Board of Regents’ education committee by February. UW System spokesman Alex Hummel said the policy also will be circulated on campuses for more feedback.

The full board is expected to vote on the plan in March. Hummel said the policy could be in effect by the fall 2016 semester.

Under the new rules, faculty members could be laid off for financial reasons or if academic programs are discontinued. A faculty committee would consult with chancellors in both scenarios. Senior faculty would receive the most retention preference.

Professors also would be subject to a performance review at least once every five years after they gain tenure. A poor performance could lead to termination.

Tenure status typically means a UW faculty member can be fired only for just cause or in a financial emergency. Tenure protections at UW had been part of state for decades but Republican legislators stripped the provisions out of the statutes in the 2015-17 state budget. The move gave the regents the power to redefine tenure.

Faculty members have pushed back against the new policy, saying it would violate professors’ rights to due process and threaten academic freedom.

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Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, https://www.madison.com/wsj

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