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Problems Arising From Tenure Denials: A Review of Recent Claims

Heather Salko, Esq.
February 2021

Why Read This

Tenure candidacy and review is a high-stakes endeavor, both for the candidate hoping to achieve tenure and the institution contemplating granting the candidate permanent employment. After spending several years preparing for the tenure review, unsuccessful candidates are often angry and likely to bring a claim against the institution, many times out of fear regarding their future and frustration with an outcome they did not expect.

This review looks at the types of claims unsuccessful candidates bring, the cost and outcome of those claims, and the many consequences of those claims ─ both for the institution and the candidate. It examines steps to properly prepare for the tenure review process and what to do if that process results in a claim from an unsuccessful candidate. The end goal of any tenure denial should be to allow both the candidate and institution to move on in a way that can be satisfying for each side.

Key Takeaways

  • The average cost to defend a tenure denial lawsuit was $185,500, and the average cost to defend a tenure-related federal or state agency discrimination charge was $20,500.
  • The standards used to judge the merits of a tenure bid should be clear to the candidate and the evaluators.
  • Train full-time faculty and administrators on the institution’s tenure process and their responsibilities.

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