AAUP Censure of the Mines Administration and the Creation of the Faculty Senate
AAUP censured Mines’ Administration between 1973-1992(1)
Math professor Winton Laubach, an assistant professor, was denied renewal of his annual contract in 1971-72, in large measure due to failing eyesight which led to classroom management problems. He was given three months’ notice. CSM did not offer tenure then as it is today, although more job security existed for associate and full professors. Winton Laubach held the rank of instructor and then probationary assistant professor for 18 years.
In their case for censure, AAUP notes that CSM’s administration has “sorely deficient standards of academic tenure”, did not fully explain due process rights that Winton Laubach had resulting from medical disability, nor were faculty consulted in an appropriate manner regarding opportunities to be innovative in how Winton Laubach could continue as a faculty member(2). As a note, he was known as “the best differential equations man on campus”, later writing a book (3). A related cause of concern expressed by AAUP was a decision to fire 6 full-time faculty (saving $110K) enabling all remaining faculty to receive a 6% pay raise. CSM’s president at the time was Dr. Guy T. McBride Jr., who retired in 1984.
CSM’s Faculty Senate was formed in 1988, under direction to faculty by President George Ansell, who was motivated to remove the AAUP censure. Formation of a senate was Ansell’s initiative, not the faculty’s, and it is reported that Ansell’s colleagues at other institutions told him that he must start a Faculty Senate but that he would always be sorry that he did so! Dendy Sloan was elected by the faculty to serve as the first Senate President. Within six weeks of the Faculty Senate establishment, at a general CSM faculty meeting, the entire CSM faculty voted to empower the Faculty Senate to act on their behalf. Such action is recorded in the minutes of the CSM faculty meetings. Prior to this empowerment, getting to consensus or action in a meeting of 170 faculty was very daunting! Within three months of forming our first Faculty Senate, there was a vote of no confidence by the faculty in George Ansell. By and large this vote was driven by President Ansell’s desire to create research programs within an institution that was focused on undergraduate teaching and where many faculty did not have research activity as part of their contractual responsibilities. The vote of no confidence resulted in the removal of some deans, a clear articulation about the future expectations that faculty would have research programs, and a faculty voice through the Senate. George Ansell survived!
Through the work of the Senate, coupled with George Ansell’s desire to remove CSM from AAUP’s censure list, improvements to the Faculty Handbook, particularly in the areas of promotion and tenure, resulted in CSM’s administration being removed from censure by AAUP in 1992(4).
– Wendy J. Harrison, October 2016
4 https://www.aaup.org/our-programs/academic-freedom/censure-list. “Placing the name of an institution on this list does not mean that censure is visited either upon the whole of the institution or upon the faculty, but specifically upon its present administration. The term “administration” includes the administrative officers and the governing board of the institution.”