Academic Freedom "Insecure" At 2 State Universities in La., Education Group Finds

Ann McClure's picture

Claiming that Southeastern Louisiana University and Northwestern Louisiana University disregarded their own guidelines for eliminating about 30 programs and dismissing about 20 tenured professors, the American Association of University Professors concluded in a report Thursday. As a result, the group concluded, academic freedom at those campuses "will in all likelihood remain insecure."

Cost cutting in anticipation of budget cuts was the official reason for the actions at both schools during the 2009-10 academic year, according to the report, which was written after an investigation that included visits to the campuses in Hammond and Natchitoches.

These actions represent "an assault on principles of academic freedom and tenure," said Jordan Kurland, the organization's associate general secretary, because tenured faculty members were denied their rights.

Both schools are in the University of Louisiana System. System President Randy Moffett called the report "deeply flawed" and said its conclusions were based on the association's principles, not the rules in the state Constitution and the UL System's Board of Supervisors that the universities must obey.

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