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Vermont Law School

Law School Sanctioned For Stripping Tenure

After stripping tenure from 75% of its tenured faculty, it seems Vermont Law School is now facing the consequences.

The law school was recently placed on the American Association of University Professors’ (AAUP) sanction list, the ABA Journal reports. While the AAUP isn’t an accrediting body, the decision does put the law school at odds.

“AAUP can’t do anything to Vermont Law; they are not an accrediting body, but this decision can impact future faculty hiring for sure—the irony being VLS likely doesn’t want near-future hires; they have what would appear to be a significant need to control their budget,” Mike Spivey, a former law school administrator who now does consulting work, tells the ABA Journal.

A LARGE DEFICIT

The decision last year for Vermont Law School to cut tenure stemmed from its near $2 million budget deficit.

And, according to experts, Vermont Law School isn’t the only law school to be facing budget concerns.

“Law schools specifically are tuition-driven and not endowment protected. What’s the single biggest budget line item by far? Faculty salary,” Spivey tells ABA Journal. “So this exact scenario may hit many law schools, or at least barring some major change in how universities and law schools are governed, in the not too distant future.”

LAW SCHOOL RESPONSE

While being placed on the AAU list hasn’t had any accreditation consequences Vermont Law, the law school has officially acknowledged the decision.

“It is important to remember that the AAUP is an advocacy organization and is not involved in the accreditation of Vermont Law School. VLS nevertheless continues to abide by the AAUP’s stated principles of shared faculty governance and academic freedom,” Thomas McHenry, the law school’s dean, tells the ABA Journal.

Sources: ABA Journal, Tipping The Scales