Policies and Procedures

Archived Policy

Faculty Reduction in Force Policy

Effective
May 1, 1995
Category(ies)

***Please note: This section has been superseded by a more recent policy. ***

Prologue:

Using the state’s resources wisely and efficiently to provide excellent educational opportunities is the prime responsibility of the Board of Trustees and all employees of the college. To this end, this policy for Faculty Reductions in Force intends to provide a procedure through which the Board, the academic administration, and the faculty may consult together if the State’s allocation falls to such low levels that it seems that reducing the size of the faculty may be financially unavoidable. In keeping with the long-standing values and habits of the College, this policy calls for extensive consultation among the Board, administration and faculty before substantive decisions about faculty reductions in force are made by the Board. This policy indicates specific consultations that shall be taken before reduction in force decisions are made, but it encourages ongoing consultation among these parties throughout such a crisis, in addition to the conversations it specifies.

Section A: Declaration of Financial Exigency (for Termination of Other-than-Regular-Faculty)

The procedures for terminating other-than-regular-faculty contracts established by this policy may only be employed after the declaration of a state of "financial exigency" by the Board of Trustees. The Board may declare such a state and authorize the following process for laying-off faculty and terminating faculty contracts only if, in its judgement, the college’s finances have reached a point at which the college will no longer be able to function effectively if further cuts are made in other parts of the budget.

Before such a decision is formally considered by the Board, the Deans shall contact all available faculty, urging people to notify them within a reasonable specified time if they are willing:

a. to retire early,

b. to teach part-time for some period in a way that, in the Deans’ judgment, will fit satisfactorily with the curricular needs of the college, or

c. to go on voluntary leave without pay.

Such voluntary adjustment should, of course, be used to reduce or alleviate the budget crisis before resorting to a declaration of financial exigency and involuntary reductions in force.

Before a decision to declare financial exigency is made by the Board, the President shall consult with at least the Faculty Agenda Committee (or representatives selected by that committee), the Deans, and the Provost and report to the Board on their views and ideas about what should be done to deal with the situation.

1. Step One - Termination of Adjunct, Visiting, and Post-Retirement Re-Employment Faculty Contracts

The Deans as a group shall rank adjunct, visiting, and re-employed post-retirement members of the faculty according to their best judgment of the degree to which the teaching that each of them is scheduled to do for the remainder of his or her contract will contribute to the college’s overall future curricular needs. (This judgment is not to be made on the basis of the Deans’ views about the quality of their teaching.) In making this decision, the Deans shall rely upon their collective judgment, considering any other factors which they judge to be relevant to preserving the coherence and quality of the college’s curriculum, including the following:

1. The extent to which they think that the functioning of other continuing programs depends on the offerings that each of these faculty members is scheduled to teach during the remainder of his or her contract.

2. The extent to which they think that it is possible for regular faculty to assume the responsibility for each of these faculty members’ scheduled teaching.

3. The extent to which the college has committed itself to providing some classes or programs taught by these faculty as continuing offerings through which matriculated students expect to be able to proceed sequentially, e.g. Evening and Weekend Studies, language courses, or graduate programs.

The contracts of people in this group shall be terminated at the end of the current quarter according to the Deans’ ranking (beginning with those positions which the Deans judge to be the least essential to preserving the overall future educational quality of the college) until the needed budget reductions have been achieved or all their contracts have been canceled.

After September 1, 1995, no one shall be offered a new regular faculty position unless at least 12% of the college’s budget for faculty salaries and benefits is already being used for adjunct, visiting, and re-employed post-retirement faculty.

2. Step Two - Elimination of Regular Faculty on Term Appointments

The Deans shall rank the regular faculty on term appointments according to the date of the Provost’s letter that appointed each of them, and terminate the contracts of people in this group, beginning with the person who most recently signed his or her contract, until the remaining needed budget reductions have been made or all these positions are gone.

If, within three years of the date at which the college has terminated one or more such regular faculty contracts, it once again has money to hire faculty, then no faculty new to the college shall be hired, and no adjunct or visiting faculty shall be re-hired, until each of the regular faculty on term appointments whose contracts have been terminated in this step has been offered a contract for the remaining term of his or her previous contract at the time of its termination. (If there is only enough money available at some point to offer someone a contract for part of the remaining term of his or her previous contract at the time of its termination, the college may offer that person a visiting contract for a shorter term. However, neither the offering or the acceptance of a shorter visiting contract in such a case shall reduce the person’s right to the offer of a regular contract of the length specified, in addition to this shorter contract, should any further hiring be done within three years of the date of his or her original termination.) Offers to re-hire faculty shall be made in the inverse order of their termination, offering the first available position to the person terminated last, and so on. Faculty whose contracts have been terminated and who wish to receive such an offer if they become eligible for one are responsible for keeping the Deans informed of their current mailing address. Such offers shall be sent to the most recent address provided to the Deans by each such faculty member, and shall lapse if a written acceptance has not been received by the Deans within thirty days of the date on which the offer was mailed to the faculty member.

Section B: Sequential Steps for Reducing the Expenditures for Regular Faculty

The procedures for altering regular faculty contracts established by this policy may only be employed after the declaration of a state of " extreme financial exigency" by the Board of Trustees. The Board may declare such a state and authorize the following process for furloughing faculty only if, in its judgment, the college’s finances have reached a point at which the college will no longer be able to function effectively if further cuts are made in other parts of the budget.

In this policy, the term " involuntary furlough" means the temporary inability of the College to pay salary to an employee with a continuing relationship to the College. "Involuntary furlough" does not indicate a break in employment; instead it means a temporary layoff in which the College does not have enough money to pay the employee for a defined period of time. As the regular faculty are the core of Evergreen's teachers, this RIF policy based on involuntary furloughs is designed to do everything possible to preserve the strength of that core, and thus the strength of the College, during periods of financial emergency.

Before such a decision is formally considered by the Board, the Deans shall contact all available faculty, urging people to notify them within a reasonable specified time if they are willing:

a. to retire early,

b. to teach part-time for some period in a way that, in the Deans’ judgment, will fit satisfactorily with the curricular needs of the college, or

c. to go on voluntary leave without pay.

Such voluntary adjustment should, of course, be used to reduce or alleviate the budget crisis before resorting to a declaration of extreme financial exigency and involuntary reductions in force.

Before a decision to declare extreme financial exigency is made by the Board, the President shall consult with at least the Faculty Agenda Committee (or representatives selected by that committee), the Deans, and the Provost and report to the Board on their views and ideas about what should be done to deal with the situation. Should the Board entertain a motion to declare extreme financial exigency, they shall first hold a public hearing on its merits. If such a declaration is made, they shall make its rationale public.

If a state of extreme financial exigency has been declared, reductions in the size of the faculty shall be carried out as follows, proceeding step by step in sequence until the required savings have been obtained.

3. Step Three - Involuntary Furloughs for Regular Faculty on Continuing Appointment

On the adoption of this policy, the Deans shall randomly divide the regular faculty on continuous appointment (including themselves, any other regular faculty temporarily serving in non-teaching capacities, and any regular faculty on paid or unpaid leave) into twelve equal Involuntary Furlough Groups. The Deans shall distribute the faculty currently serving as Deans, faculty at different salary steps, and faculty with different disciplinary backgrounds as evenly as possible among these groups.

In order to help preserve the diversity of the faculty in the event of a RIF, the Deans shall provide a two week period before they set up the Involuntary Furlough Groups during which any member of the faculty may establish a Diversity List for the purposes of this policy by naming the Diversity List and describing some sort of faculty diversity that the list is intended to help distribute across the Involuntary Furlough Groups. Descriptions of the resulting Diversity Lists shall be sent to the faculty by the Deans so that members of the faculty who wish to place themselves on one or more of these Diversity Lists may add their names to a list or lists of their choice. The Deans shall distribute the members of each of the resulting Diversity Lists as evenly as possible over the twelve Involuntary Furlough Groups when they set them up.

Newly hired faculty shall be added to the Involuntary Furlough Group which is smallest at that time, or randomly to one of the smallest Involuntary Furlough Groups if more than one is equally small. If the selection of a new Dean results in a situation in which more than one of the Deans is in the same Involuntary Furlough Group, the newly selected Dean shall be permanently reassigned to the smallest of the Involuntary Furlough Groups without a Dean in it, or randomly to one of such groups if there is more than one.

The twelve Involuntary Furlough Groups shall be randomly created with appropriate stratification for groups of diversity, experience, and service as administrators. The groups shall be in place beginning with the academic year running from September 1995 to June 1996. The members of each Involuntary Furlough Group shall be randomly ranked in relation to each other when the Groups are established. New members of a Group shall be inserted randomly into the Group's current ranking.

Furlough Groups shall be numbered from I to XII. Groups I, II, and III will be vulnerable for involuntary furlough for the academic year 1995-1996 (fall, winter, and spring, respectively); Groups IV, V, and VI will be vulnerable in 1996-97; Groups VII, VIII, and IX will be vulnerable in 1997-98; and Groups X, XI, and XII will be vulnerable in 1998-99. Cycles of vulnerability will repeat in 1999-2000 and subsequently.

Step Three budget reductions shall be made by dividing the number of involuntary furlough quarters as evenly as possible among the three Involuntary Furlough Groups that are vulnerable during the academic year of the extreme financial exigency. If the number of quarters of involuntary furlough are not equal among the three groups, then the group allocated the largest number of involuntary leaves shall be the group in vulnerable in spring quarter. The regular faculty placed on involuntary furlough shall be those in the top ranking of each affected Involuntary Furlough Group, proceeding according to the random ranking of the Group until the necessary savings have been obtained or everyone in the Group shall have been furloughed.

Faculty placed on one quarter involuntary furlough shall have the option to enter furlough in one of two ways: (a) involuntary leave without pay but with health benefits for the quarter of furlough or (b) involuntary leave without pay and without health benefits but with the option of applying for unemployment benefits for the furlough period. Furloughed faculty may apply for unemployment compensation as provided for in state law.

If the College's financial position does not improve, Step Three budget reductions shall be made in the same way in subsequent years with the next three Groups (numbers IV, V, and VI) becoming, respectively, the Groups for furlough in Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters.

At the end of each four year cycle, faculty members shall remain in their Groups, but the random ranking of Group members within Groups shall be done anew in order to spread the highest degree of vulnerability among all members of the Group. If in any four-year cycle a faculty member is involuntarily furloughed, then the furloughed individuals shall move to the last of their Group's rankings for the next cycle; this provision is intended to give those people who have been furloughed the least possibility of being furloughed again in the subsequent cycle.

Members of the faculty serving as the President, Provost, Curriculum Dean, or Budget Dean shall be exempt from Step Three involuntary furloughs during their terms of service. Members of the faculty on sabbatical leave are subject to Step Three involuntary furloughs on the same basis as the other members of their involuntary furlough group. Should such a situation arise, such faculty members’ sabbatical awards will be canceled, and the remainder of those sabbatical leaves will be awarded through a new round of applications to the applicant with the highest number of accumulated leave credits who meets the requirements set out in the handbook for receiving such awards. The furloughed faculty members shall regain leave credits in proportion to the percentage of their sabbaticals which have been canceled, and may apply for sabbatical again the next year, when they are no longer in the designated Involuntary Furlough Group.

In the event that the college anticipates budget reductions of such severity that it seems possible that Step Three reductions will be necessary, faculty teaching assignments and program planning should be arranged to reduce the disruption created by such leaves as much as possible.

Faculty members in the Group affected by a Step Three reduction may have already volunteered to take a certain amount of leave without pay before extreme financial exigency was declared. If the length of their voluntary leave is already equal to or greater than the Step Three reduction, their situation will remain unchanged, but if it is less than the Step Three reduction demands, they will have to go on leave for the same total length of time as the other members of their pool.

The Deans shall consider the income lost from a Step 3 furlough as one of several factors when reviewing proposals to teach in the summer quarter following the involuntary furlough.

4. Step Four: Reorganization of the College

If the preceding steps are not sufficient to produce the necessary budget cuts, the college will have reached the point at which it is incapable of continuing to function effectively with its present structures. The Board of Trustees shall suspend the regular academic operations of the college for one month, during which the faculty shall, in consultation with students and staff, prepare a new long-term curriculum plan, reorganizing the college’s curriculum and other academic structures in a way which will make the college capable of functioning at such drastically reduced funding levels. The faculty shall also prepare and submit to the board a proposal for making the necessary further faculty reductions in force. If the Board does not wish to adopt the plan the faculty proposes, the additional cuts shall be made by seniority, applying the procedures described in Step Two above to the remaining faculty.

Section C: Appeals

A member of the faculty may appeal the termination of his or her contract, or his or her placement on involuntary furlough, only on grounds of a substantial violation of the procedures for a faculty reduction in force laid out in this policy. Any faculty member wishing to appeal a decision under this policy must send a certified letter to the Provost requesting an appeal of the college’s decision within fifteen days of receiving written official notification of that decision from the college. Within thirty days of a faculty member’s request for an appeal, or as soon after that as is reasonably possible, a formal hearing shall be conducted by an administrative law judge supplied by the state of Washington. The faculty member and provost may present whatever evidence and/or witnesses each pleases concerning whether or not there was a substantial violation of procedure in the termination of the contract or the decision to place the faculty member on furlough. Within one week of the hearing, the judge makes his or her decision, writes a letter to the faculty member and the provost stating the decision, and sends the letter to each of them by certified mail. If the judge decides that there was a substantial violation of procedure in the making of a decision to terminate a faculty contract or in the decision to place a member of the faculty on involuntary leave, the decision shall be immediately reviewed by the Deans, in proper accordance with the procedures established by this policy, and the previous decision as to which faculty contracts should be terminated or which faculty should be placed on involuntary furlough shall be appropriately adjusted.

Section D: Unforeseen Issues

If employing this policy reveals that it fails to specify the procedures for carrying out some aspects of the faculty reduction in force that it envisions, the necessary additional procedures shall be devised by the Deans in a way which conforms, as much as possible, to the general plan and the procedures already specified by the policy.