Tenure Denial and Tenure-Based Matters

Tenure denial is a significant and stressful matter.  Typically, the person to whom tenure was denied will have spent their entire career mastering a subject, achieving undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, and conducting years of academic research and teaching.

Colleges and universities are subject to the same federal and state anti-discrimination laws as other employers.  In seeking to understand why a denial of tenure decision was made, it is first important to ensure that such decision was not made based upon an illegal reason.

Second, it is important to understand that each college and university institution will have both written and unwritten rules regarding tenure matters.  Universities and colleges must apply these rules in a similar manner; they cannot unilaterally apply one set of rules to one candidate, and another set of rules to another candidate.

Why Were You Denied Tenure?  What Appeal Options Exist?

If you were denied tenure, it will be critical to obtain the documented reasons for such denial.  Such reasons will serve as the starting point for building your case, and to determine the options and strategies that may exist for tenure reconsideration and/or appeal.

As attorneys who handle tenure denial claims, we are mindful that the best strategies are often to work first within the existing tenure appellate system at the college or university, as this will usually provide the best opportunity for a quick and successful outcome.  In these situations, we help build and establish the cases for our clients and help them to move forward, while seeking not to “over-lawyer” the process (which can put college and university administration in a defensive and adversarial position).

If a successful outcome does not result, or if it appears that the college or university engaged in illegal discrimination, we are then able to assert a stronger position, and to move forward in litigation, if our client chooses that option.  In the interim, we are often focused on achieving a successful outcome through either the given institution’s appellate processes, and sometimes also through mediation.

Other Tenure Matters

In addition to the decision to grant tenure, we are also available to represent college and university professors and other academicians in other tenure-related matters, which can include benefits, working conditions, retirement, and even (in some cases) the withdrawal of tenure or forced retirement.  If you are involved in any of these or a similar matter, we would invite you to call our firm for a free consultation so that we can learn about your case and determine if we may be able to help.

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