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Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7610-8531

Abstract

In May of 2020, the University of Akron administration invoked the force majeure clause in their collective bargaining agreement with faculty, which they used to justify bypassing the negotiated retrenchment procedures. The AAUP-Akron challenged the decision by administration, but ultimately lost in arbitration. Faculty at the university were laid off without consideration of rank or tenure status. The arbitrators decision in favor of the administration underscores the need for clear retrenchment language in contracts. This article analyzes the retrenchment language in AAUP chapter contracts in Ohio. Contracts are coded for language on financial exigency, conditions, consultation, order, alternatives, notice, and recall. Language is assessed using the AAUP Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure as a standard. The findings of this research underscore the importance of language specificity, the divide between the rights of tenured/tenure-track faculty and non-tenure-track faculty, and the problem of force majeure. This article concludes with a discussion of potential paths for improving retrenchment language in faculty contracts.

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