American Association of University Professors v. Bloomfield College

322 A.2d 846 (1974)

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American Association of University Professors v. Bloomfield College

New Jersey Superior Court
322 A.2d 846 (1974)

Facts

Bloomfield College (defendant) was a small, private college with declining enrollment and significant financial problems. Although Bloomfield had a net worth of $6,600,000, which included ownership of a golf course worth $3,370,000, it had an issue with liquidity. Bloomfield did not have enough cash to pay its accounts payable, and this had been an ongoing problem Bloomfield had faced for many years. Bloomfield’s Faculty Handbook provided that faculty members would be tenured after a probationary period of seven years, and once tenured, could only be terminated for cause except “under extraordinary circumstances because of financial exigency of the institution.” Further, the handbook provided that termination of tenured faculty due to financial exigency “must be demonstrably bona fide.” In June of 1973, Bloomfield’s Board of Trustees adopted Resolution R-58, which terminated 13 tenured faculty members due to financial exigency, converted all remaining faculty contracts to one-year terminal contracts for the 1973-1974 academic year, and ordered a faculty evaluation committee to determine and recommend which of the remaining faculty members would remain at Bloomfield beyond the 1973-1974 academic year. Between June and September of 1973, Bloomfield hired 12 new, untenured faculty members. The American Association of University Professors, Bloomfield College Chapter (AAUP) (plaintiff) filed a lawsuit against Bloomfield on behalf of both the 13 tenured faculty members that had been terminated and the remaining faculty that had been given terminal contracts. The AAUP sought a declaratory judgment and specific performance for Bloomfield to honor the faculty’s contracts for tenure.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Antell, J.)

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