A Question of Tenure
By Marlane Rodriguez, The Collegian
No guarantee of transfer to UT-RGV, faculty told at meeting with Cigarroa
Are UT-Brownsville and UT-Pan American tenured professors going to be tenured at the new UT-Rio Grande Valley? That was the first question posed to University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa during a meeting Wednesday afternoon on the UTB University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, which was created last year and signed into law in July.
Bobbette Morgan, president of UTB’s Faculty Senate, told Cigarroa in front of a crowd of about 50 people, that she asked lawyers at the UT System “if tenure at UTB and UTPA means tenure at UT-RGV” and was told “no.”
“Can you ensure us some way?” Morgan, a professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Innovation, asked the chancellor.
“Legally, that is a true statement, but the intention here is to grow the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley into one of the larger universities,” Cigarroa said.
He said he sees the university as a growing university, which means there will be more students and programs.
“We are going to need faculty, you know that,” he said.
There will be transition causes, he said, adding: “I really want to do the right thing.”
Laid-Off UT-Brownsville Faculty Sue, Claiming School Ignored their Tenure Rights
by Beth Cortez-Neavel, The Texas Observer
Three former professors filed a federal lawsuit late Thursday morning against the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College, escalating a two-year battle over tenure rights between faculty members and the schools.
The two schools—one a state-funded university, the other a community college—are splitting after a 20-year partnership that’s become strained in recent years as the separate entities argued over budgets and other decisions.
As the Observer reported in May, the separation has left some faculty members without the jobs they’d been guaranteed years earlier. Others have been re-hired but without tenure. The schools announced their separation in November 2010, but aren’t scheduled to completely split until August 2015.
Former faculty suing TSC, UTB
By Melissa Montoya, The Brownsville Herald
Three tenured professors who were laid off in 2012 are now suing the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College, alleging their terminations violated the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the professors by the Texas Faculty Association in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, alleges that all three professors were over the age of 40 when they were terminated.
Faculty Group Sues UT-Brownsville, Texas Southmost
Inside Higher Ed
The Texas Faculty Association is suing the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College in federal court on behalf of three tenured professors who say they were fired for being too old, after the two institutions ended a 20-year-old joint operating agreement. Juan Antonio Gonzalez, a professor of modern languages; Dorothy Boven, an assistant professor of English; and Karen Fuss-Sommer, an instructor of nursing, all were granted tenure at Texas Southmost prior to the merger of the college and university in 1992 but had their tenure revoked following their split in 2012.
Faculty Association Sues Over Job Losses in Brownsville
By Reeve Hamilton, The Texas Tribune
The Texas Faculty Association filed a lawsuit against the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College on Thursday in a federal district court in Brownsville on behalf of three former faculty members alleging wrongful termination and age discrimination.
It's the latest hiccup in the complex and often contentious unraveling of a partnership between the two institutions, which operated as one for about 20 years. The institutions announced last week that they had reached a property agreement in anticipation of finally and officially separating the two campuses.
A spokeswoman for UTB said the school does not comment on pending litigation. A request for comment from TSC administration was not immediately returned.
The lawsuit, filed by Russell Ramirez, staff counsel for the Texas State Teachers Association, of which the Texas Faculty Association is the arm focused on higher education, alleges that Juan Antonio Gonzalez, Dorothy Boven and Karen Fuss-Somer, who are all over 40 years old, lost their positions in the wake of the split because of policies that prioritized the retention of nontenured faculty members over tenured ones.
All three faculty members were originally granted tenure at TSC and became tenured faculty members at UTB when the institutions merged in 1992.
The suit calls the decision to prioritize nontenured faculty members "an artificial, arbitrary, and unnecessary barrier to employment." The plaintiffs also contend that the policy had a disparate impact on faculty members over 40 years old.
According to the suit, the plaintiffs were not terminated for any reason having to do with their performance, they were not given adequate opportunity to respond to the decision to terminate their employment, and their positions were not subsequently eliminated.
"When faculty rights are violated, we are going to defend them," Mary Aldridge Dean, the executive director of TFA, said in a statement. "Tenure is a property right, and it is not to be taken without good cause or due process, and these individuals were denied both."
Former UTB/TSC faculty members suing schools for illegal termination
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — The Texas Faculty Association has filed a lawsuit on behalf of three former UTB/TSC faculty members allegeding they were illegally terminated from their jobs after the two schools were dissolved.
TFA and the National Education Association acted on behalf of plaintiffs Juan Antonio Gonzalez, Dorothy Boven and Karen Fuss-Sommer and contends that all three were terminated in violation of the federal Age Discrimination Employment Act and the University of Texas System rules.