Associate Professor of Art History Susan Jarosi was a member of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) investigative committee that reviewed reports of violations of academic governance at Vermont Law School. The investigating committee’s final report describes departures from AAUP-supported standards of academic governance evident in a faculty “restructuring” process at Vermont Law School that resulted in lowering salaries, reducing the number of full-time positions, and effectively eliminating the tenured status of 75 percent of the institution’s highest-paid faculty members.
Fourteen of the 19 tenured faculty members were essentially turned into at-will employees—transferring the bulk of the teaching load to lesser-paid faculty members serving on contingent appointments and radically reducing the size of the full-time faculty. Faculty members who accepted restructured appointments in lieu of termination were required to sign releases-of-claims and nondisclosure and non-disparagement agreements. The faculty played no meaningful role in analyzing, assessing, or approving the restructuring plan.
The report found that, in its actions to restructure the faculty in spring 2018, the administration of Vermont Law School disregarded the standards set forth in the AAUP’s Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities and derivative Association documents. The report also found that unacceptable conditions of academic governance prevail at the institution. In June, delegates to the 105th annual meeting of the AAUP voted unanimously to add Vermont Law School to the Association’s list of sanctioned institutions.
AAUP published the investigative committee’s report in the 2019 Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors. The committee’s work spanned spring semester 2019.