E23.1 Dismissal of a Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Member for Cause

Scope: All regular non-tenure-track faculty as defined in E1.0 – Classification and Status and E6.0 – Policies on Faculty Rank.

I. Rationale

All members of the RIT community agree to uphold the C0.0 Compliance Policy and Code of Ethical Conduct and all policies of the university that are related to their positions and roles at the university. It is understood that there are performance problems that are ordinarily correctable and for which the faculty member has been given written documentation and warnings. In these situations, solutions will be attempted to correct the problem. When a solution cannot be reached or if there is an egregious performance problem for which immediate action must occur as determined by the  dean, a non-tenure-track faculty member may be dismissed for cause according to this policy before the expiration of an appointment or contract. Cause as defined below shall be related to the fitness of an individual's professional capacity as a faculty member as described in policies C0.0E4.0 Faculty Employment Policies, and E6.0 Policy on Rank and PromotionPolicy E1.0 Classification of Employment and Policy E6.0 define different classifications and categories of faculty.

II. Definitions

  1. Annual Appointment Letter is the letter that specifies terms and conditions of the faculty member’s employment on an annual basis.
  2. Business day is Monday through Friday and does not include official RIT holidays. This includes the fall and spring academic terms, intersession, and summer session.
  3. Certified communication is the communication between the parties as sent by certified mail via the US Postal Service. Such Communication shall be mailed to the faculty member’s mailing address on record. 
  4. Formal Communication is communication and information sent between parties, e.g., notices, responses. Such formal communications shall be delivered through university e-mail unless otherwise requested by the faculty member.  In this policy, Formally Communicated means Formal Communication.
  5.  “The faculty member” is defined in this policy as the individual faculty member who is under consideration for dismissal with cause.

III. Dismissal Charges for Cause

Continued employment and subsequent contracts for non-tenure-track faculty shall be conditional upon satisfactory performance, projected departmental needs and/or college resources, and compliance with RIT policies and procedures as outlined in E6.0.  In addition to the conditions noted above, a non-tenure-track faculty member may be dismissed under this policy for adequate cause.  Adequate cause shall be defined as any of the following:

  • Documented and repeated unsatisfactory performance of responsibilities negotiated in the faculty member’s plan of work such as teaching, research, service or administration.
  • Documented dishonesty related to teaching, research, service, or administrative responsibilities;
  • Willful failure to perform responsibilities for which the faculty member is employed;
  • Personal conduct that impairs the individual's fulfillment of institutional responsibilities;
  • Violation of university policy substantially related to performance of faculty responsibilities;
  • Falsification of information on employment application or other submitted information concerning qualifications for a position with the intent to deceive is grounds for immediate dismissal.

IV. Dismissal Review Committee

  1. A Dismissal Review Committee, hereafter referred to as the Committee, consisting of three members, shall be drawn by lot by the provost and the chair of the Faculty Senate from a pool made up of the tenured members of the Faculty Senate, each from a different college, prior to February 1 each year and shall serve until January 31 of the following year. Remaining members of the pool shall serve as alternates. Except in exceptional circumstances, Committee members shall serve until any ongoing case is concluded.  Deans serving on the Faculty Senate shall not be included in the pool of potential committee members.

  2. Upon notification of a pending dismissal case, members of the Committee (and alternates) shall disqualify themselves if a conflict of interest or personal bias exists.  If the faculty member’s department head is selected as a member of the Committee, that department head will be automatically replaced with an alternate Committee member.

  3. The faculty member or the dean bringing the charge(s) may exclude one member of the Committee with or without cause. Vacancies on the Committee caused by exclusions or disqualifications will be filled by random draw from the remaining pool of tenured members from Faculty Senate, ensuring that each committee member is from a different college.

    In the event that the pool is not sufficient to replace disqualifications and exclusions, the executive committee of the Faculty Senate and the provost shall select a replacement by lot from the tenured faculty chairs of the college promotion committees.

  4. The members of the Committee shall choose a chair from among themselves.

Dismissal Committee Deliberations

  1. The faculty member’s dean (or in the absence of the dean, the dean’s designee) shall send the faculty member a Certified Communication, with notification of the certified mailing through Formal Communication which includes the specific charges which have led to the process toward dismissal. On the same day, the faculty member’s dean shall notify the Committee chair, the faculty member’s department head, and the provost by Formal Communication that a dismissal for cause process has commenced.  The dean may notify others if necessary. This notice starts the dismissal process.  The Committee’s recommendation as to whether adequate cause has been established shall be sent to the provost within thirty (30) business days of the receipt by the committee of the Certified Communication from the dean.

  2. The faculty member may be suspended by the dean from part or all of his or her duties during the dismissal process. The suspended faculty member will continue to be paid until the procedures described herein are completed.

  3. Upon delivery of the Certified Communication, the faculty member shall Formally Communicate to the dean within ten (10) business days of the delivery of this notice. The faculty member’s response shall include a written response addressing the charges in the dean’s correspondence. Upon receipt of the faculty member’s response, the dean shall Formally Communicate the response to the Committee chair and the faculty member’s department head.

    The faculty member’s failure to respond to the written notice by the established deadline shall result in the committee making a recommendation to the provost based solely on the information provided by the dean.

  4. The Committee has the responsibility to review the documentation, make inquiries as needed, and make a recommendation to the provost as to whether adequate cause has been established.  As part of the inquiry process, the Committee shall provide an opportunity for the faculty member and the dean to meet individually with the Committee.

  5. The Committee shall send its recommendation based on the majority vote and a report of the vote (with a dissenting report, if any) signed by all Committee members to the provost with copies to the faculty member and the faculty member’s dean.

  6. The provost shall make the final decision in all dismissal for cause cases. After reviewing the Committee’s report, the provost decides to retain, dismiss, or impose a sanction such as, but not limited to, censure or suspension.  The provost’s decision and the reasons for the decision shall be communicated by Certified Communication to the faculty member and Formally Communicated to the Committee, the faculty member’s dean, and the faculty member’s department head within twenty (20) business days after the day on which the Committee’s recommendation was submitted to the provost (see V.E).  If the faculty member is dismissed, termination will become effective on the date specified in the provost’s Certified Communication.

  7. Upon delivery of Certified Communication of the final decision of the provost, if the faculty member alleges that the policies and procedures set forth above have not been properly followed, the faculty member may request a review of the alleged procedural violations by filing a grievance (see E24.0 – Faculty Grievance Procedure).  In these cases, the informal grievance process is waived and the grievance process begins at the Preliminary Inquiry stage.  The required documentation for this type of grievance must include the alleged procedural violation(s) and any supporting documentation for the procedural violation(s).

  8. As stated in the Faculty Grievance Procedure (E24.0), the Faculty Grievance Committee will determine whether this policy has been violated, misapplied or misinterpreted with respect to the aggrieved who filed the grievance.  The Faculty Grievance Committee will not substitute its substantive judgment on such matters for those of the regularly constituted authorities or committees.  The Faculty Grievance Committee is authorized to make recommendations to the president it believes are necessary to assure resolution of the grievance.

  9. During the grievance process, the dismissed faculty member is not considered an employee of the university and shall not be paid during the grievance process.  If the dismissed faculty member is reinstated, he or she will receive compensation from the date of dismissal.

    If the outcome of the grievance process upholds the dismissed faculty member’s grievance, a subsequent process for dismissal for cause shall be initiated by the fifth (5th) business day after the delivery of the Certified Communication of the decision by the Grievance Committee. In the subsequent dismissal for cause process, the Committee members remain the same and all time frames are reduced by one half (half days shall be rounded to the next even day).

Permanent Record of the Proceedings                   

At the conclusion of the dismissal for cause process, the committee chair will file all documentation as confidential records in the Department of Human Resources and in compliance with university policy  C22.0 - Records Management Policy.  If the provost determines that dismissal or lesser sanction is not warranted, all references to the dismissal charges and hearings shall be removed from the faculty member's personnel record.

RESPONSIBLE PARTY: Faculty Senate and the Office of the Provost.  Inquiries may be directed to:

Faculty Senate

Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

EFFECTIVE DATE:  24 August 2015

Approved February 5, 2015