21.1     Definitions

21.1.1  “Reduction in Force” refers to the termination of a faculty appointment resulting from a financial exigency, program reduction, or financial emergency. Faculty may not be laid off as a result of a financial exigency or program reduction except as provided in this policy.

21.1.2  “Financial exigency” is defined as a condition of projected deficit in the University’s operating budget of such magnitude that reduction in faculty is necessary.

21.1.3  “Program reduction” is defined as the elimination or merger of degree programs, departments of instruction, or colleges, which is a function of the University in its regular review of enrollments, departments and programs, resource allocation and strategic planning.

21.1.4  “Financial emergency” is defined as a sudden, catastrophic situation (including but not limited to natural disaster, public health crisis, or act of terror) that requires budget reductions of such magnitude that the layoff of faculty is necessary and of such urgency that procedures and notice in Sections 21.2 and 21.4 cannot reasonably be followed.

21.2     Initiation of Reduction in Force

21.2.1  In order to maintain the University’s strong commitment to academic integrity and diversity, the rules set forth herein make provision for adherence during the reduction process to the University’s Strategic Plan and to the goals and requirements of the University’s Affirmative Action Program to the fullest extent allowed by law.

21.2.2  The paramount goal in the development of strategies and actions for dealing with reduction in force must be to maintain the goals of the University and the objectives of the strategic or long range plans of the University and its units.

21.2.3  Any reduction in force resulting from a financial exigency or program reduction shall be declared and initiated only after a 30-day period during which feasible alternatives to reduction in force have been considered by the University, with input from the Faculty Senate, Union, and faculty potentially affected by a reduction in force. Such measures may include, but are not limited to: reduced appointments; leave without pay; shared appointments; reassignment to another academic unit; transfer to a non-teaching position; supplementation of teaching with nonteaching duties; and early retirement with appropriate compensation. The Union shall be provided with written information regarding the reduction in force, including a rationale for the proposed reduction and a list of faculty whose positions are under consideration for elimination or assignment change.

21.2.4  When a reduction in force resulting from financial exigency or program reduction is declared, the University shall prepare and set forth, in writing, the circumstances giving rise to the declaration of a financial exigency or program reduction, and shall meet with the Union seeking recommendations as to the impact on faculty positions.

21.2.5  For any reduction in force resulting from financial exigency or program reduction, the affected unit(s) shall be notified of the proposed reduction and rationale for that reduction.

21.3     Retention priority criteria within academic units or sub-units. During reduction in force, the following criteria shall be utilized in determining the retention priority of all faculty members within an affected academic unit or sub-unit after programmatic needs have been determined:

21.3.1  Tenured faculty members shall have retention priority over all untenured faculty members; untenured, tenure-track faculty members shall have retention priority over all non-tenure-track faculty members;

21.3.2  Between faculty members with the same status (tenured, probationary, or non-tenure-track), the faculty member with the higher rank shall have retention priority (e.g., senior instructors shall have higher retention priority than instructors);

21.3.3  Between faculty members with the same tenure status and rank, the faculty member who has the greater seniority in rank at Western Washington University shall have retention priority, with the exception that any faculty member who did not meet department standards for teaching or librarianship on his/her most recent performance review shall forfeit all seniority in rank.

21.3.4  If after application of the above criteria two or more faculty members within the same college are equal in retention priority, then the dean of the college, or the Provost, if the program is not housed in a specific college, shall determine who shall be retained. If two or more faculty members from different colleges are equal in retention priority, then the Provost shall determine who shall be retained, in consultation with the deans from the affected colleges.           The dean’s retention decisions shall consider the recommendations made by a committee comprised of faculty from the relevant college.           These retention decisions shall be based solely on the faculty member’s contribution to the goals of the academic unit as defined by the faculty member’s demonstrable achievement in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service.

21.3.5  Faculty members with the least retention priority shall be the first to be terminated within the specific unit.

21.4     Notice

21.4.1  Faculty subject to layoff under this section shall be given appropriate notice whenever possible, except notice is not required in layoffs due to financial emergency.           Notification at least three months prior to termination shall be provided to non-tenure-track faculty (other than senior instructors) with a one-year contract.           Notification at least six months prior to termination shall be provided to senior instructors and probationary tenure-track faculty.           All tenured faculty shall receive notification at least 12 months prior to termination.

21.4.2 Faculty members shall be notified of termination via registered mail.

21.5     Re-employment. Re-employment procedures for laid-off faculty shall be as follows:

21.5.1  The Provost or designee shall establish and maintain re-employment lists for all departments and programs including the name of any faculty on lay-off status. It is the responsibility of the faculty member(s) terminated from employment in connection with a reduction in force to notify the Office of the Provost of any changes in address.

21.5.2  The University shall not fill a vacant faculty position by hiring an individual not on the re-employment list without first making written offers of re-employment to faculty members on the re-employment list who, according to the affected unit, are qualified for the position or may reasonably be retrained for the position.           Re-employment rights shall extend for a period of two years from the lay-off date.           Faculty members on the re-employment list shall receive offers of re-employment in reverse order of lay-off.           Faculty members on the re-employment list shall be notified of offers of re-employment via registered mail.

21.5.3  Any faculty member on a re-employment list who cannot be reached or who fails to accept an offer of re-employment within 15 working days of receipt of the offer shall be deemed to have declined the offer, and shall be removed from the re-employment list.

21.5.4  Any faculty member re-employed shall be placed at least at the same rank and salary held at the time of lay-off.

21.6     Affirmative Action Policy During Reduction in Force

21.6.1  In instances where application of the Retention Priority Criteria (above) shall have an adverse impact on the University’s affirmative action goals and obligations and the University’s commitment to a diverse and high quality faculty, the University shall make a good faith effort to prevent that impact by awarding retention priority to one or more tenured female and/or minority faculty members or other protected groups. Application of this policy shall have the effect of crediting the unit or sub-unit in question with the termination of an FTEF for the purposes of a reduction in force.

21.6.2  Affirmative action goals and obligations will be considered when faculty members would otherwise have the same retention priority.

21.7     Financial Emergency: Reductions Not Covered by the Exigency Policy

21.7.1  The University will notify the Union when a financial emergency will require a reduction in force. If in the University’s judgment emergency action is necessary, the President will present justifications for the declaration of a financial emergency.

21.7.2  Although the conditions that constitute an emergency may continue indefinitely, the emergency response to these conditions will extend no longer than two years.

21.7.3  The re-employment provisions specified in 21.5 will apply.

21.8     Declaration of financial emergency or financial exigency, decisions to discontinue or reduce programs or departments, and the scope of faculty reduction that result, are not subject to the grievance procedure.

21.9     The Office of Human Resources shall assist in the orderly transition from state-supported benefits to individually contracted programs.

21.10 Access to University Resources

21.10.1            Tenure-track faculty terminated under Reduction in Force shall continue to have access to their university email and internet account in accordance with university policies for the period in which that person is eligible for re-employment.

21.10.2            The university shall provide assistance in maintaining work products (including but not limited to living stocks) for the period in which that person is eligible for re-employment.