Friday, June 13, 2014

Tenured professor provided due process, 6th Circuit rules

A unanimous three-judge panel of the federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that a university professor was provided the due process he was entitled to under the U.S. Constitution, despite his claims to the contrary. In that case, the professor had been employed by the university's Political Science Department for a period of almost thirty years. At some point, as a result of a dispute between the professor and the university, the two parties entered into an agreement wherein the professor agreed to abide by certain expectations. The agreement further provided that the professor's compliance with the agreement would be adjudged by a panel of three faculty members; one faculty member was to be chosen by the Dean, one by the faculty chair, and one by the professor himself. Within a year of entering into the agreement, the professor was accused of violating the agreement. A three person faculty committee was then formed. After a 'hearing,' the professor was terminated. The professor instituted suit in the U.S. District Court, alleging violations of the 14th Amendment, including procedural and substantive due process. The district court refused, however, to find a violation and found against the professor. This holding was upheld today on appeal by the 6th Circuit. The case is McKenna v. Bowling Green State University, Case No. No. 13-4054.