Reductions in Force
PDF Version: BOT Reduction in Force Policy
- Authority: C.R.S. § 23-54-102, et seq. (2019) authorizes the Trustees of Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) to establish rules and regulations to govern and operate the University and its programs. The Trustees retain authority to approve, interpret, and administer policies pertaining to University governance. The Trustees authorize the President of MSU Denver to approve, administer, and interpret policies pertaining to University operations.
- Purpose: This policy provides the justification and conditions when the University may authorize a reduction in faculty workforce or compensation due to financial exigency or program reduction or elimination.
- Scope: This policy applies to University employees.
- Responsible Executive: Chief Operations Officer
- Responsible Administrator: Chief Human Resources Officer
- Responsible Office: Human Resources Office
- Policy Contact: Chief Human Resources Officer, 303-615-0999
III. Policy Statement
A. Reasons Justifying a Reduction in Force and Termination of Employment or Reduction in Compensation
- A reduction in force is authorized in the event of either of the following: (a) a significant decline in state appropriations or other revenue creates a need to reduce expenses; or (b) the educational program or department in which the faculty member is employed is significantly reduced or eliminated. The President shall make the initial determination that either condition exits, after consulting with the academic administrative officers and the Faculty Senate President’s Council as required by this section. This determination is subject to approval by the Board of Trustees. If the President and the Board determine that faculty positions should be eliminated and/or that compensation (including salaries and benefits) should be reduced as part of a reduction in force, the employment and/or compensation of faculty members, including tenured faculty, may be terminated or reduced in accordance with the institutional procedures set out in subsection B below. Reductions in compensation shall be applied to all persons within a given class of faculty, and not on a faculty member-by-faculty member basis.
- When it appears that revenues have declined and/or will decline significantly, or when the reduction or elimination of a program or department is contemplated, the President or his or her delegate shall first seek the advice and recommendations of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, who shall consult with the deans, department chairs, and Faculty Senate President’s Council before making their recommendations to the President.
B. Termination and Compensation Reduction Procedure
- Considerations in determining whose employment is to be terminated and/or whose compensation is to be reduced. In determining which faculty members’ employment relationships are to be terminated or compensation is to be reduced, consideration shall be given to tenure status, years of service to the University, program needs, academic expertise, performance, teaching record, and other relevant factors. Political activities or views and ideological views will not be considered. Likewise, this policy shall be administered in accordance with the University's policy on academic freedom, set forth below in Section 5.1. The primary consideration shall be the maintenance of a sound and balanced educational program which is consistent with the educational mission and responsibilities of the University. In making these determinations, the President may decide on any combination of terminations or reductions in compensation which the President determines is in the best interests of the University.
- Timely notice of termination or reduction in compensation
- When a faculty member’s employment is to be terminated or compensation is to be reduced because of reduction or elimination of a program or department, and is not founded upon financial exigency, the faculty member shall be given notice as follows: (1) a faculty member who has tenure shall be given six months’ notice; and (2) a faculty member who was appointed to a fixed term and does not have tenure shall be given two months’ notice.
- When a faculty member’s employment is to be terminated or compensation is to be reduced because of a decline in revenue, the institution shall make a reasonable effort to give the same notice as set forth in the foregoing subsection. However, such notice is not guaranteed. The priority must be to maintain sound educational programs and financial conditions.
- A faculty member shall not be terminated before completion of the academic semester during which a reduction in force is determined to be appropriate.
- Type of notice to be given. The President, or his or her delegate, shall send the faculty member whose employment is to be terminated or compensation is to be reduced a written statement of this fact by registered mail, return receipt requested. This notice shall include a statement of the conditions justifying termination of the faculty member’s employment or reduction of the faculty member’s compensation; a general description of the procedures followed in making the decision; a disclosure of pertinent financial or other information upon which the decision to was based; a statement of the faculty member’s right, upon request, to a reconsideration of the decision if he or she alleges that the decision was arbitrary and capricious; and a copy of this procedure on termination of employment or reduction of compensation.
- Termination or reduction in compensation if reconsideration not requested. If, within 10 days after he or she receives the notice required by the foregoing subsection, the faculty member makes no written request for a reconsideration hearing, his or her employment shall be terminated or compensation shall be reduced at the date specified in the notice, without recourse to any institutional appeal or complaint procedure.
- Request for reconsideration hearing. Within 10 days after he or she receives the required notice, the faculty member may request by registered mail, return receipt requested, a reconsideration of the decision to terminate his or her employment or reduce his or her compensation if he or she alleges that the decision was arbitrary and capricious. The request shall be postmarked within the time limit and addressed to the President. The request shall specify the grounds upon which the faculty member contends that the decision was arbitrary and capricious and shall include a short, plain statement of facts that he or she believes support the contention.
Submission of such a request shall constitute on the part of the faculty member: (a) a good faith representation that he or she can prove the contention, and (b) an agreement by the faculty member that the institution may offer in rebuttal whatever relevant evidence it may have.
- Reconsideration procedure. If the faculty member makes a timely written request for reconsideration of the decision and the President does not reverse the decision, the President, or his or her delegate, shall provide the faculty member with the names and resumes of three independent hearing officers retained by the Board of Trustees. The faculty member shall strike the name of one hearing officer and notify the President in writing within 24 hours of receiving the resumes. Then, the President shall strike the name of one hearing officer. The President shall provide the remaining hearing officer a copy of the faculty member’s request for reconsideration and request that the officer hear the matter. The hearing shall be limited to resolution of the contentions made in the faculty member’s request for reconsideration under the “arbitrary and capricious” standard. The reconsideration hearing shall be held promptly, but the hearing officer shall give the faculty member five days from the time he or she receives the President’s written request for a hearing, to prepare.
- Conduct of reconsideration hearing. The hearing shall be conducted informally and shall be closed to the public. The faculty member and the President shall have the right to be represented by legal counsel, to present the testimony of witnesses and other evidence, to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses, and to examine all documents and other adverse demonstrative evidence. The faculty member and the hearing officer shall be given prompt access, upon request, to public documents that were used in making the decision. The hearing officer shall record the proceedings and the University shall, at its expense, provide a transcript at the faculty member’s request. The hearing officer may consider only such evidence as is presented at the hearing and need consider only evidence that he or she considers fair and reliable.
- Hearing procedures. The hearing shall begin with the faculty member’s presentation of facts, limited to those that are relevant to the grounds specified in the request for hearing and supported by such evidence as he or she desires to offer. The President or his or her representative may then present evidence in rebuttal of the faculty member’s contentions, or in general support of the decision.
At the end of this presentation, the hearing officer shall consider the matter and make written recommendations to the President within 10 days after the hearing concludes. The burden is on the faculty member to satisfy the hearing officer, by clear and convincing evidence, that the President’s decision was arbitrary and capricious.
Procedure after hearing. If the hearing officer determines that the faculty member’s contention has not been established, the hearing officer shall, by a simple unelaborated statement, so notify the President and the faculty member.
If the hearing officer determines that the faculty member’s contention has been established, the hearing officer shall so notify him or her and the President by a written statement that includes a recommendation for action by the President. The written statement shall also be provided to the Board, which may consult with the President to determine what action, if any, should be taken in response to the hearing officer’s finding.
Within 10 days after he or she receives the hearing officer’s recommendation, the President shall send written notice to the faculty member of what modification, if any, he or she will make with respect to the original decision. The President’s decision is final, and is not subject to any complaint or further appeal procedure.
C. Assistance for Faculty Members Terminated due to Changes in Program or Financial Conditions
The University, when requested in writing by an employee whose employment has been terminated, shall give him or her reasonable assistance in finding other employment.
IV. Policy History
- Approved by: Board of Trustees
- Effective: April 1, 2019
- Revised: This policy supersedes section 3.4 of the MSCD Trustees Manual, 2007.
- Review: This policy will be reviewed every five years or as deemed necessary by University leadership.