AAUP will investigate UNI over proposed cuts - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: AAUP will investigate UNI over proposed cuts

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

Proposed cuts at UNI's have received an immense amount of attention. Now, one professors' organization wants to know if the administration is violating any rules when it comes to closing programs and laying off faculty.

The American Association of University Professors sent a letter to President Ben Allen last week. It says the AAUP is concerned about the recent actions proposed by the school's administration. It also says tenured professors are entitled to a hearing before any action is taking regarding layoffs or firings.

The University of Northern Iowa administration has responded to the AAUP.
Tuesday President Ben Allen sent a letter to Dr. Greg Scholtz.  You can read Allen's response here.

Officials with AAUP say they want to make sure the proposed cuts don't violate the principles on academic freedom and tenure.

"There's no affordance of any appeals process or grievance process for these faculty members whose positions are terminated and that they're out the door at the end of June of July, which is very unusual for higher education," said Associate Secretary and Director of the AAUP, Greg Scholtz.

Cathy DeSoto is President of UNI's United Faculty and is a psychology professor. She says if UNI is found to have violated any rules that they could face censure.

"The average person might not realize what this would mean in academia, but this is a very rare thing," said DeSoto.

DeSoto says that censure would hurt the university's ability to attract quality faculty, it could also hurt the university by not keeping the quality faculty they already have at the university.

She also says UNI will be missing programs essential to compete with other schools.

"With 94 percent of all physics programs graduating less than 10 majors a year, that's also true of the University of Northern Iowa, but if you adopt this bizarre standard of saying if you have less than ten graduates a year you can't have a program that would eliminate 94 percent of the physics programs in the country," said DeSoto.

"The close of our letter that we sent to the administration says that we are open as always to the administration resolving our concerns in a way that would no longer make the investigation necessary," said Scholtz.

Censure by the AAUP is rare. In 2011 only two schools were censured, in 20-10 there was only one.

It will take several months for the AAUP's report to be finalized. The organization won't consider the UNI review until June of 2013.

For AAUP's letter to President Ben Allen click here.

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