State of Florida university presidents soon may have ultimate authority over challenges to personnel decisions about tenure, promotions or termination of employment, under a proposed change that higher-education officials are slated to consider this week.
The proposed change would require that “personnel actions, or decisions regarding faculty, including in the areas of evaluations, promotions, tenure, discipline, or termination, may not be appealed beyond the level of a university president or designee.”
Currently, the regulation guiding post-tenure review for faculty members at universities allows an arbitrator to review such decisions.
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“The arbitrator shall review a decision solely for the purpose of determining whether it violates a university regulation or the applicable collective bargaining agreement and may not consider claims based on equity or substitute the arbitrator’s judgment for that of the university,” the regulation says.
The proposed rule was spurred by a new state law (SB 266) signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in May. The law drew controversy for making other changes, such as preventing colleges and universities from spending money on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
A news release from the governor’s office announcing his signing of the measure touted the increased authority that it gives to university presidents.
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“Additionally, this bill will require that our university presidents renew their ownership of and accountability for hiring, promoting, and when necessary, disciplining faculty,” the May 15 release said.
The Board of Governor’s Academic and Student Affairs Committee is slated to consider initial approval of the regulation change on Friday.
If approved by the committee, the change would go before the full board at a future meeting.
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