The American Association of University Professors’ governing council voted to remove the University of Nebraska at Lincoln from the AAUP’s list of censured administrations, the group announced Monday. The council also voted to add Illinois Wesleyan University to the AAUP’s list of institutions sanctioned for alleged violations of academic norms surrounding shared governance.
Lincoln was censured in 2018 after the university suspended a graduate student and part-time lecturer from teaching without affording her a hearing, following a confrontation with a student political activist. In April, the university system’s Board of Regents amended its bylaws to require an adjudicative hearing prior to imposing a terminal suspension, satisfying the AAUP. This reconciliation was temporarily derailed over the summer, however, when a board member running for governor proposed a resolution against the teaching of critical race theory. The university opposed the resolution prior to its failure before the board, putting the institution back in the AAUP’s good graces.
Regarding Illinois Wesleyan, the university discontinued programs in anthropology, French, Italian and religious studies last year and planned to fire nine faculty members in ways that violated the AAUP’s recommended standards on academic governance. Specifically, according to the association, “the administration and governing board failed to engage in adequate communication regarding the possibility that the program review might result in appointment terminations; failed to honor existing provisions in the faculty handbook designed to preserve the faculty’s ‘primary responsibility’ for curricular decision-making; imposed their own program-review process; and declined to provide ‘compelling reasons stated in detail’ for rejecting the final curricular recommendations of the committee they had created.” Illinois Wesleyan did not respond to a request for comment about the vote.