Censures

American Association of University Professors, (AAUP)

From 2010, the state of Louisiana has received attention from the AAUP regarding faculty layoffs, firings, and other academic freedom violations.  In late August 2010, the AAUP sent a team of delegates to LSU, consisting of prominent faculty members from Michigan State University, Tulane University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Campaign.  The detailed report published in 2011, found two cases against Louisiana State University.  

The first case, Ivor van Heerden, a nontenured associate professor of engineering, involves academic freedom in regards to engaging in research. Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, van Heerden participated in several media interviews on his research relating to coastal issues in hurricane and flood-related matters.  He stated that his research pointed to the main cause of the devastating flooding was due to structural failure of the levees designed and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Following the statement, van Heerden's research and scholarly activities were severely restricted, eventually leading to his non-reappointment in 2008. A committee had concluded that van Heerden was denied due process and his academic freedoms were violated as well.

Listed below are the conclusions of the AAUP 2011 report:

  1. The administration of Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, acted in disregard of the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, which affords the protections of tenure to full-time faculty members after seven years of service, when it removed Professor Ivor van Heerden from the LSU faculty after seventeen years of service without having afforded him those protections.
  2. The LSU administration’s designation of Professor van Heerden as a researcher did not invalidate his right to the protections of academic due process that accrue with tenure.
  3. The administration’s claim to the contrary notwithstanding, financial constraints were not a significant factor in its decision against retaining Professor van Heerden.
  4. The administration decided not to retain Professor van Heerden largely in retaliation for his continuing dissent from the prevailing LSU position on the failed levees and the New Orleans flooding, thereby violating his academic freedom.
  5. The administration, by imposing a restriction on the nature of the research to be done by Professor van Heerden, constrained his academic freedom as a senior research scientist to determine his own research priorities.
  6. The administration, in acting against Professor van Heerden out of displeasure with his position on the reason for the flooding, violated his academic freedom also for exercising his extramural rights as a citizen

The second case, affecting a tenured professor of biology, Dominique G. Homberger, involves the freedom of a classroom teacher to direct a course and assign grades.  The professor took on an introductory class in Spring 2010 where the mid-term grades fluctuated in the lower D's and F's.  The college dean relieved Ms. Homberger of the class without notification and raised the students' grades.  The professor appealed to the Faculty Grievance Committee, of which their investigation found in her favor.  

Listed below are the conclusions of the AAUP 2011 report:

  1. The administration of Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, violated Professor Dominique Homberger’s right to assign student grades and, in peremptorily removing her from a course that was in progress, violated the provisions in the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure ensuring a faculty member’s freedom to teach.
  2. In imposing the severe sanction of suspension on Professor Homberger without having afforded opportunity for a faculty hearing in which it would demonstrate cause for its action, the LSU, Baton Rouge, administration denied her the basic protections of academic due process as set forth in Regulation 7a of the Association’s Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure.
  3. That no apology has been provided to Professor Homberger by the LSU, Baton Rouge, administrative officers responsible for the injustice of her suspension is much to be regretted

In 2012, during the AAUP's annual meeting, Louisiana State University was placed on the list of censured institutions.

AAUP supplementary censure report 

Professor Teresa Buchanan was fired in June 2015 for her alleged violations of federal law, the use of profanity constituting sexual harassment.  It has attracted criticism from several national programs.  The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the National Coalition Against Censorship, and the AAUP all responded to the firing.  LSU is one of only seven universities in the United States under censure by the AAUP where, in the 100-year history of the organization, has been forced to a second case meriting obvious cases against academic freedom and faculty rights.

For more information regarding Professor Teresa Buchanan's case, please see below.

LSU Faculty Senate Resolution 15-15

LSU Faculty Senate Resolution 15-05

LSU Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes, October 6, 2015

LSU Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes, September 2, 2015

LSU Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes, March 17, 2015

LSU Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes, February 24, 2015

LSU Faculty Senate Newsletter September 2016

LSU Faculty Senate Newsletter September 2015

LSU Faculty Senate Newsletter May 2010

Firing of LSU Professor Who Used Profanity in the Classroom Raises Concerns

AAUP New Report Raises Concerns about LSU Firing

AAUP Censures Louisiana State Over Buchanan Case

LSU Professor fired for using salty language

LSU Prof Fired for Telling Jokes Is Latest Victim of College Anti-Sex Hysteria

Teresa Buchanan, abuse of Title IX

Fired for being Profane

 

President Alexander King and Dean Damon Andrew of the College of Human Sciences and Education 

The LSU Faculty Senate voted to censure both President Alexander King and Dean Damon Andrew of the College of Human Sciences and Education for "their failure to adhere to due
process standards" in regards to the case of Teresa Buchanan. See the information below relating to the professor's case.

LSU Faculty Senate Resolution 15-15

Washington: Faculty Senate Censures LSU President for Firing Tenured Professor

LSU Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes, October 6, 2015

LSU Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes, September 2, 2015