Academic Freedom and Responsibility (CAFR)

The Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility (CAFR) works to ensure that role of the faculty is kept independent and free from undue influence or restriction. This committee considers faculty grievances about the conditions of faculty employment, and serves as a recourse for other faculty concerns.

Leadership

2018-2019 Chair

Donald Mutti

Committee Members

Member Source Term Expires
Jennifer Suchland Faculty Council 2021
Melvin Pascall Faculty Council 2020
Scott Schricker Faculty Council 2020
Don Mutti Faculty Council 2019
Sandra Metzler Faculty Council 2019
Korie Edwards Faculty Council 2019
Katja Turner Faculty Council 2019
Michael Koenig CGS 2019

Rules / Responsibilites

The committee on academic freedom and responsibility shall consist of eight members during autumn and spring semesters and ten members from May to the beginning of autumn semester.

(1) Six tenure-track faculty and one non-tenure-track faculty, at least four of whom are members of the senate or members-elect at the time of their selection by the faculty council. The term of service begins in the summer term following election and extends through the summer term following the third year of service.

(2) One graduate teaching, research, or administrative associate.

(1) Study all conditions which may affect the academic freedom or responsibility of the faculty of the university, including, but not limited to:

(a) the review of proposed changes in Chapter 3335-6 of the Administrative Code Rules of the University Faculty Concerning Faculty Appointment, Reappointments, Promotion and Tenure; and

(b) such changes in the Office of Academic Affairs Policies and Procedures Volume 3 Promotion and Tenure as may impinge upon academic freedom, responsibility, or tenure. If the committee finds that any such condition or proposed change adversely affects academic freedom, responsibility, or tenure, it shall report that finding promptly to the senate for its review.

(2) Hear and investigate complaints by individual faculty members concerning alleged infringements upon academic freedom or responsibility in the university; report findings and recommendations to the parties involved with the hope of mediating a dispute and report to the senate if further action by the senate is appropriate.

(3) Hear and investigate complaints by individual faculty members concerning alleged improper evaluation under the procedures of rule 3335-5-05 of the Administrative Code.

(1) A quorum consists of four members.

(2) As a standing committee of the senate, this committee is also governed by the provisions of rules 3335-5-46 and 3335-5-48 of the Administrative Code.

(3) Graduate Student member is recused in cases pertaining to Promotion and Tenure of faculty members.

(Board approval dates: 5/1/1986, 2/5/1988, 2/4/1993, 11/4/1994, 5/3/1996, 7/11/1997, 6/4/2004, 6/7/2005, 6/22/2012, 6/6/2014)

Guidelines

The following procedures from the Rules of the University Faculty outline steps for submitting written complaints concerning faculty promotion, tenure and renewal decisions.

Complaints should be delivered directly to:

(a) the Executive Vice President and Provost c/o the Office of Academic Affairs, 203 Bricker Hall; as well as to
(b) the chair of the committee on academic freedom and responsibility, c/o the Office of the University Senate, 119 Independence Hall. [see B(1) below]

3335-5-05 Procedures concerning faculty complaints about promotion, tenure and renewal decisions.

(A) Definitions and construction.

(1) Complaints concerning promotion, tenure, or renewal decisions may be made to the committee on academic freedom and responsibility by tenured or probationary faculty.

(2) In all formal proceedings under this rule, the burden of going forward and the burden of establishing proof shall be on the complainant.

(3) Improper evaluation, as used in this rule, shall mean:

(a) That a decision affecting the complainant was based upon an inadequate consideration of the pertinent facts by the individual(s) making the decision, or

(b) That such decision was based upon reasons or considerations that infringe a constitutional right of the complainant.

(4) In considering complaints alleging an improper evaluation under this rule, the review should consider only whether those individual(s) making the decision followed the appropriate procedures, considered the important evidence material to a fair determination, and acted in a responsible manner. When reviewing complaints, neither the committee on academic freedom and responsibility nor the faculty hearing panel shall substitute its judgment on the merits of the individual's performance for that of the academic unit.

(5) If a complaint is dismissed by either the committee on academic freedom and responsibility or a hearing panel pursuant to this rule, no appeal may be taken by the complainant.

(6) All records of the proceedings under this rule shall be kept in the office of the executive vice president and provost and shall not be open to public inspection without the written permission of the complainant and the executive vice president and provost.

(B) The committee on academic freedom and responsibility.

(1) Complaints alleging improper evaluation shall be presented in writing to the faculty members of the committee on academic freedom and responsibility (hereinafter committee) and to the executive vice president and provost within thirty days (whenever practical) after a faculty member has been notified of the decision the faculty member wishes to challenge.

(2) Upon receipt of a written complaint alleging improper evaluation, the committee shall have sixty days to review the complaint, and evidence relating to it (including evidence on behalf of the academic unit) to determine whether reasonable and adequate grounds exist for asserting improper evaluation.

(3) By means of informal procedures, the committee shall review the complaint, and evidence relating to it (including evidence on behalf of the academic unit) to determine whether reasonable and adequate grounds exist for asserting improper evaluation.

(4) If the committee determines that no reasonable and adequate grounds exist for asserting improper evaluation, it shall dismiss the complaint and forward all files on the matter to the executive vice president and provost.

(5) If the committee determines that reasonable and adequate grounds may exist for asserting improper evaluation, it shall forward the complaint and all additional materials gathered during examination of the complaint to the faculty hearing committee and to the complainant, established pursuant to rule 3335-5-48.9 of the Administrative Code.

(6) If the committee is unable to reach a decision in the allotted sixty days, the complaint shall be forwarded to the faculty hearing committee.

(C) The faculty hearing committee.

(1) Upon receipt of a complaint alleging improper evaluation, the chair of the faculty hearing committee shall meet with the complainant to discuss the issues in the complaint and to inform the complainant about the procedures to be followed in the hearing.

(2) The faculty hearing committee shall select a hearing panel according to the method provided in rule 3335-5-48.10 of the Administrative Code, to conduct proceedings in order to determine whether there is validity in the complaint.

(3) Actions being challenged under this rule shall be responded to by the executive vice president and provost or designee.

(4) In matters involving allegations under paragraph (A)(3)(b) of this rule, the hearing panel shall conduct its proceedings in a collegial manner in accordance with the following guidelines:

(a) The complaint shall be set forth in writing and a copy furnished to the party or parties that are alleged to have committed the infringement.

(b) The hearing panel may restrict the attendance of persons at the proceedings, provided that the complainant shall not be denied the right to have one observer of his or her choosing present at all times.

(c) Both complainant and respondent shall have the right to be accompanied and advised by any person of their choice, to present witnesses and evidence on their own behalf, and to examine witnesses and evidence.

(d) The hearing panel shall receive such testimony and other evidence as it deems to be material and relevant to the issues before it.

(e) An electronic recording shall be kept of all proceedings before a hearing panel.

(5) In matters involving complaints under paragraph (A)(3)(a) of this rule, the hearing panel shall conduct an investigatory proceeding in accord with the following guidelines:

(a) The proceeding shall not be adversarial in nature. The proceeding is an investigation leading to a report on whether or not adequate consideration was accorded.

(b) The complainant should be given opportunity to address the hearing panel in writing and in person, and offer any evidence substantiating the claim.

(c) If the complainant appears before the hearing panel, the complainant may bring an advisor. No formal transcript of the proceedings need be kept.

(d) The hearing panel shall request an oral or written report on the procedures followed and the evidence considered in reaching the decision that led to the complaint. The person or group who makes the decision may be called upon to demonstrate that all important and material evidence was considered.

(6) At the conclusion of a hearing, the hearing panel shall:

(a) Dismiss the complaint if it determines that there has been no improper evaluation.

(b) When it has found that an improper evaluation has been made, submit its findings to the dean of the college in which the complainant is a member and to the executive vice president and provost. The executive vice president and provost, in consultation with the hearing panel and the chair of the faculty hearing committee, shall take such steps as may be deemed necessary to assure a new, fair, and impartial evaluation. A copy of the hearing panel's findings shall also be sent to the president.

(7) If a decision is remanded under paragraph (C)(6)(b) of this rule, it shall be reconsidered promptly. Within thirty days of the receipt of the hearing panel's decision, the executive vice president and provost shall respond in writing to the hearing panel and the president, stating what action has been taken and the reasons therefor.

(8) All findings and recommendations of a hearing panel shall be made in writing and a copy shall be provided to the complainant.

(D) The president.

(1) Upon receipt of a report under paragraph (C)(7) of this rule, the president shall review the matter and take whatever action the president deems appropriate.

(2) All decisions of the president under this rule shall be provided in writing to the hearing panel and the complainant.

(B/T 5/2/75, B/T 6/7/84, B/T 5/1/86, B/T 11/2/90, B/T 5/3/96, B/T 4/4/97, B/T 12/4/98, B/T 6/1/2001)

(A) Appeals. It is the policy of the Ohio state university to make decisions regarding the renewal of probationary appointments and promotion and tenure in accordance with the standards, criteria, policies, and procedures stated in these rules, supplemented by additional written standards, criteria, policies, and procedures established by tenure initiating units and colleges. If a candidate believes that a nonrenewal decision or negative promotion and tenure decision has been made in violation of this policy and therefore alleges that it was made improperly, the candidate may appeal that decision. Procedures for appealing a decision based on an allegation of improper evaluation are described in rule 3335-5-05 of the Administrative Code.

(B) Seventh year reviews. Every effort should be made to consider new information about a candidate's performance before a final decision is made if the new information becomes available before a decision is rendered. In rare instances, a tenure initiating unit may petition the dean to conduct a seventh year review for an assistant professor who has been denied promotion and tenure. Both the eligible faculty of the unit and the chair must approve proceeding with a petition for a seventh year review. The petition must provide documentation of substantial new information regarding the candidate's performance that is germane to the reasons for the original negative decision. Petitions for seventh year reviews must be initiated before the beginning of the last year of employment because the seventh year review, if approved, would take place during the regular university review cycle of the assistant professor's seventh and last year of employment.

If the dean concurs with the tenure initiating unit's petition, the dean shall in turn petition the provost for permission to conduct a seventh year review. If the provost approves the request, a new review will be conducted equivalent to the one that resulted in the nonrenewal of the appointment. The conduct of a seventh year review does not presume a positive outcome. In addition, should the new review result in a negative decision, the faculty member's last day of employment is that stated in the letter of nonrenewal issued following the original negative decision.

A tenure-track faculty member may not request a seventh year review, appeal the denial of a seventh year review petition initiated by his or her tenure initiating unit, or appeal a negative decision following a seventh year review, since the faculty member has already been notified that tenure has been denied at the conclusion of the sixth year review.

(B/T 10/5/84, B/T 11/2/90, B/T 5/3/96, B/T 7/9/2004, B/T 6/7/2005)