FH 2.9 Dismissal and Termination
Effective Date Jul 4, 2011
FH 2.9.1 Termination by the University
The university reserves the right to prematurely terminate any faculty member for any of the following reasons: incompetence, neglect of duty, insubordination, moral turpitude or financial necessity on the part of the university as a whole.
Incompetence occurs if a lack of ability renders the faculty member unable or unwilling to effectively perform teaching or other duties assigned by the university. The incompetence must be of a sufficient degree that remediation is unlikely within a reasonable period of time or the faculty member’s attitude is such that he/she is unwilling or unable to make necessary changes. The university need not continue a faculty member whose methods are ineffective or whose attitude is improper, if his/her retention will directly harm students or otherwise impair the university’s pursuit of its educational mission.
Neglect of Duty
Neglect of duty is the failure to meet a specific duty related to the express and implied obligations of a faculty member under the contract of employment, which may extend beyond teaching to requirements related to service and research.
Some of the enforceable duties at the university are for reporting, committee work, maintenance of office hours and other obligations of the employment relationship, such as best effort concerning research contract deliverables.
Insubordination generally means a willful disregard of reasonable directives or a defiant attitude of noncompliance toward regulations specifically applicable to the faculty member.
Dismissal on grounds of insubordination would be warranted for willful failure to follow directives that are reasonable and rationally related to the university’s educational objectives. To justify dismissal, disobeying a directive must be shown to adversely impact the pursuit of educational goals or mission of the university.
Moral turpitude occurs when the individual’s private conduct adversely reflects on his/her ability to perform without harming the university’s educational process. In accordance with the statement on academic freedom, a faculty member’s opinions, personal moral code or religious belief shall not be used as criteria for appointment, promotion or dismissal. A faculty member's public actions may, however, be so used. Moral turpitude includes, but is not limited to, fraud in securing employment, dishonesty, drunkenness during working hours, conviction of a felony or misuse of university property or funds.
Anyone dismissed for moral turpitude need not be given prior notice and automatically forfeits all rights to benefits that would have otherwise accrued to him/her, excepting such benefits that have been paid through payroll deductions.
In the case of financial necessity, notice must be made by December 15 of the academic year before the year of the faculty member’s dismissal. A faculty member will not be terminated because of declining departmental enrollment or shifting departmental emphasis during the time his/her appointment is in effect. Termination for financial necessity requires a written statement to that effect by the chief operating officer with endorsement by the senior vice president for finance and the president.
FH 2.9.2 Appeal
A faculty member terminated for any reason may obtain a prompt evaluation of such administrative action by a Faculty Senate grievance committee on written request to the president of the Faculty Senate.
Faculty Senate Grievance Committee
On being presented with a bona fide grievance from a member of the faculty of Florida Tech, the president of the Faculty Senate shall choose a committee of four senators to serve as a Faculty Senate grievance committee, so that fair and impartial consideration will be given to the grievance. If adequate balance to the committee composition cannot be obtained from members of the senate, the president may appoint non-senators. The senate president is at liberty to designate a fifth member as committee chair or may serve in that capacity him/herself, so long as there is a chair and four committee members.
In separate sessions, the committee shall interview all parties to the grievance and consider all materials submitted. In addition, the committee shall request and examine further materials it deems relevant and investigate the legitimacy of “standards” claimed by either party. These tasks identified by the committee are to be assigned by the committee chair.
The committee shall meet a minimum of three times or as often as the committee chair sees fit during the consideration of the grievance. These must include an initial, organizational meeting, an interim or progress report meeting and a concluding meeting at which a vote shall be taken. Before the vote at the concluding meeting, the parties’ positions will be thoroughly discussed. The committee chair shall vote with the committee members. The outcome of the vote, which shall be considered the decision of the committee, is to be reported at the next meeting of the senate executive committee. The decision of the committee shall be reported to both parties to the grievance and to the vice president for academic affairs.
Either party may petition the executive committee to re-open the investigation by reconvening the committee only if the party presents new and compelling evidence pertaining to the grievance.
FH 2.9.3 Termination by a Faculty Member
If a member of the faculty desires to terminate an existing appointment or to decline renewal in the absence of notice of nonrenewal, they shall give notice not less than three months before the end of his/her duties during an academic year exclusive of a summer session if their rank is instructor or assistant professor, and not less than four months if their rank is higher. They may request a waiver of this requirement in the case of hardship or in a situation where they would otherwise be denied substantial professional advancement. Where the faculty member declines to accept the offered annual contract letter before the renewal date, usually May 1, the waiver is automatic.