Statement in Regard to Academic Freedom and Tenure

(Titles I and II were adopted by the University Board of Trustees on October 24, 1960, and have been amended through October 12, 2023).

Article I. Authorization by the Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees of New York University has authorized the following statement in regard to academic freedom and tenure at New York University. It reserves the right to amend this statement at its discretion, but no amendment shall take away a status of permanent or continuous tenure acquired before such amendment.

Article II. The Case for Academic Freedom

Academic freedom is essential to the free search for truth and its free expression. Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth. Freedom in teaching is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the faculty member in teaching and of the student in learning. Academic freedom imposes distinct obligations on the faculty member such as those mentioned hereinafter.

Article III. The Case for Academic Tenure

Academic tenure is a means to certain ends, specifically: (1) freedom of teaching and research; and (2) a sufficient degree of economic security to make the profession of teaching attractive to individuals of ability.

Article IV. Academic Freedom

Faculty are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties, but outside occupations and research for pecuniary gain, except in the case of sporadic and wholly unrelated engagements, should be based upon an understanding with the administration of the University.

Faculty are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should not introduce into their teaching controversial matter that has no relation to their subject.

Faculty are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but this special position in the community imposes special obligations. As individuals of learning and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they at all times should be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others and for the established policy of their institution, and while properly identifying themselves to outside audiences as associated with the University should clearly indicate that they are not institutional spokespeople unless specifically commissioned to serve in such a capacity.

Article V. Academic Tenure

1. [Part-time positions and other positions] A distinction is made between part-time and full-time members of the faculty. Unless their notices of appointment explicitly state that they are appointed for full-time teaching service, officers of instruction, of whatever rank, are considered part-time members of the faculty. The full-time members of the faculty are those faculty who give full-time service to the University and whose notices of appointment explicitly so indicate.

All part-time appointees to the University staff, irrespective of title, rank, or cumulative length of service, are entitled to no right of tenure, and their appointments are limited strictly to the periods stipulated in the official notices thereof. Likewise, all instructors, and all those receiving appointment in such temporary capacities as fellow, assistant, associate, lecturer, or as acting, adjunct, clinical, and visiting officers of instruction in the several ranks, whether rendering full- or part-time service, are ineligible for tenure on the basis of such service and are restricted in the duration of their connection with the University to the period stipulated in the official notices of appointment. The same stipulation applies to personnel appointed with professorial or other titles, whether on full- or part-time service, on subsidized assignments such as sponsored research, or in teaching programs where expense of the program is dependent upon a subsidy of limited duration.

2. [Tenure described] The general policy of the University with respect to probation and tenure for full-time assistant professors, associate professors, and professors is given below. After expiration of the stipulated probationary periods, full-time associate professors and professors are considered to have permanent or continuous tenure, and their services are to be terminated only for adequate cause, except in the case of retirement, or under extraordinary circumstances because of financial exigencies, or because of the discontinuance of a considerable part of the University, such as a college, school, or division or a department in a college, school, or division. It is understood that the University has the right to reduce the length of the probationary period in specific cases.

3. [Assistant Professor] The rank of Assistant Professor should be granted only to those who have proved their worth as faculty members and have given evidence of character and productive scholarship. The assistant professor should possess the maturity and attainment in the field of scholarship or professional practice of which the doctor’s degree is usually the testimonial. Appointment to an assistant professorship carries with it the possibility but no presumption of reappointment and includes no right to permanent or continuous tenure or to further reappointment, or to promotion to any higher rank.

A full-time assistant professor in any school, college, division, or department except the Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine and its departments, the Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine- Long Island and its departments, the Leonard N. Stern School of Business and its departments, the College of Dentistry and its departments, and the Rory Meyers College of Nursing and its departments, who is not promoted at the expiration of seven years as full-time assistant professor shall be ineligible for further full-time appointment in the University. A full-time assistant professor in the Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine or any of its departments, the Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine- Long Island and its departments, the College of Dentistry or any of its departments, or the Rory Meyers College of Nursing and any of its departments, who is not promoted at the expiration of ten years as a full-time assistant professor shall be ineligible for further full-time appointment in the University. A full-time assistant professor in the Leonard N. Stern School of Business or any of its departments, who is not promoted at the expiration of nine years as a full-time assistant professor shall be ineligible for further full-time appointment in the University.

4.  [Associate Professor] The rank of Associate Professor should be granted only to those who, in addition to all the qualifications for an assistant professorship, have an unusual contribution to make to the University through the excellence of their character, teaching, productive scholarship, or other educational service. There is no presumption in appointing an Associate Professor that the Associate Professor will later be promoted. Reappointment as an associate professor does not imply any subsequent appointment at higher rank.

Under any of the following conditions the appointment or reappointment of an associate professor carries with it the right of continuous or permanent tenure if it is for:

(a) the sixth year as a full-time associate professor at New York University; or

(b) the eighth year as a full-time faculty member at New York University in the rank or ranks of assistant professor or associate professor in any school, college, division, or department except the Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine and its departments, the Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine- Long Island and its departments, the College of Dentistry and its departments, the Rory Meyers College of Nursing and its departments, and the Leonard N. Stern School of Business and its departments, or

(c) the eleventh year as full-time faculty member at New York University in the rank or ranks of assistant professor or associate professor in the Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine or any of its departments, the Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine- Long Island and its departments, the College of Dentistry or any of its departments, or the Rory Meyers College of Nursing or any of its departments; or

(d)  the tenth year as full-time faculty member at New York University in the rank or ranks of assistant professor or associate professor, in the Leonard N. Stern School of Business or any of its departments, or

(e) in any school, college, division, or department except the Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine and its departments, the Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine- Long Island and its departments, the College of Dentistry and its departments, the Rory Meyers College of Nursing and its departments, and the Leonard N. Stern School of Business and its departments, the fifth year as a full-time faculty member at New York University in the rank or ranks of assistant professor or associate professor if this fifth year follows a term of more than three years, (i.e., not less than seven semesters) of full-time teaching in one or more institutions of higher education other than New York University in the rank or ranks of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor, except as provided in paragraph six of this Article V, Exclusion of Full-Time Teaching Service at Another Institution.

(f) in the Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine or any of its departments, the Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine- Long Island and its departments, the College of Dentistry or any of its departments, or the Rory Meyers College of Nursing or any of its departments, the eighth year as a full-time faculty member at New York University in the rank or ranks of assistant professor or associate professor if this eighth year follows a term of more than three years, (i.e., not less than seven semesters) of full-time teaching in one or more institutions of higher education other than New York University in the rank or ranks of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor, except as provided in paragraph six of this section;

(g)  in the Leonard N. Stern School of Business or any of its departments, the seventh year as a full-time faculty member at New York University in the rank or ranks of assistant professor or associate professor if this seventh year follows a term of more than three years, (i.e., not less than seven semesters) of full-time teaching in one or more institutions of higher education other than New York University in the rank or ranks of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor, except as provided under number six of this section.

A candidate for their first appointment in the rank of associate professor at New York University who has formally gained permanent or continuous tenure in another institution of higher education is subject to a tenure review at New York University at the department, school and university levels; a formal offer of an appointment with tenure can be made contingent on a positive outcome of the tenure review, and this condition shall be recorded in the appointment letter.

5. [Professor] The rank of Professor should be granted only after careful consideration of the individual’s character, scholarship, productivity, teaching ability, and reputation among peers in their own field, as well as their capacity for inclining students toward noteworthy attainments. It should be granted only to individuals who have been so tested that there is reasonable certainty of their continuing usefulness throughout the remainder of their working years. It should never be granted as the reward of seniority and should be reserved as a mark of distinction in the field of scholarship and instruction. It should never be granted as a recognition of usefulness in administration.

Under any of the following conditions the reappointment of a professor carries with it the right of continuous or permanent tenure:

(a) if the reappointment is for the fourth year as a full-time professor at New York University; or

(b) if the reappointment is for the sixth year as a full-time professor or associate professor at New York University; or

(c) in any school, college, division, or department except the Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine and its departments, the Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine- Long Island and its departments, the College of Dentistry and its departments, and the Rory Meyers College of Nursing and its departments, and the Leonard N. Stern School of Business and its departments, if the reappointment is for the eighth year as a full time faculty member at New York University in the rank or ranks of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor;

(d) in the Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine or any of its departments, the Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine- Long Island and its departments, the College of Dentistry or any of its departments, or the Rory Meyers College of Nursing or any of its departments, if the reappointment is for the eleventh year as a full-time faculty member at New York University in the rank or ranks of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor;

(e) in the Leonard N. Stern School of Business or any of its departments, if the reappointment is for the tenth year as a full-time faculty member at New York University in the rank or ranks of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor, or

(f) in any school, college, division, or department except the Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine and its departments, the Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine- Long Island and its departments, the College of Dentistry and its departments, the Rory Meyers College of Nursing and its departments, and the Leonard N. Stern School of Business and its departments, if the reappointment is for the fifth year as a full-time faculty member at New York University in the rank or ranks of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor and follows a term of more than three years of full-time teaching in the rank or ranks of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor in one or more institutions of higher education other than New York University except as provided under number six of this section;

(g) in the Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine or any of its departments, the Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine- Long Island and its departments, the College of Dentistry or any of its departments, and the Rory Meyers College of Nursing or any of its departments, if the reappointment is for the eighth year as a full-time faculty member at New York University in the rank or ranks of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor and follows a term of more than three years of full- time teaching in the rank or ranks of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor in one or more institutions of higher education other than New York University except as provided under number six of this section;

(h) in the Leonard N. Stern School of Business or any of its departments, if the reappointment is for the seventh year as a full-time faculty member at New York University in the rank or ranks of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor and follows a term of more than three years of full-time teaching in the ranks of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor in one or more institutions of higher education other than New York University except as provided under number six of this section.

A candidate for their first appointment in the rank of professor at New York University who has formally gained permanent or continuous tenure in another institution of higher education is subject to a tenure review at New York University at the department, school and university levels; a formal offer of an appointment with tenure can be made contingent on a positive outcome of the tenure review, and this condition shall be recorded in the appointment letter.

6.   [Exclusion of prior full-time teaching service at another institution] When full-time teaching service at another institution of higher education does not meet the criteria recognized for service at New York University, that service may be excluded from the probationary period under paragraph 4, clause (e) to (g), or paragraph 5, clause (f) to (h), of this Article V. In determining whether prior service at another educational institution should be excluded, consideration shall be given to whether or not the prior service: (a) was at an Association of American Universities’ institution or equivalent; (b) followed the attainment of the terminal degree; (c) was in a tenure earning position; and (d) related factors. Recommendations that service at another institution of higher education be excluded from the probationary period should be predicated on a written agreement between the prospective faculty member and the dean, and should be submitted by the dean to the Provost for approval before the initial appointment is effective. The faculty member will be notified in writing by the dean, upon consultation with the Office of the Provost, whether or not prior service will be included within the probationary period at New York University.

7.   [Administrative posts; promotions] Appointment to administrative posts may be terminated or modified by the University Board of Trustees without prejudice to the teaching rights of officers holding such positions. If a faculty member gains permanent or continuous tenure at New York University in one rank, the faculty member’s tenure will not be invalidated by subsequent promotions in rank.

Article VI. Notification of Resignation

The following provisions shall apply to notifications of resignation:

1.   [Early notice] Notification of resignation ought, in general, to be early enough to obviate serious difficulty to the University, the length of time necessarily varying with the circumstances of the particular case.

2.   [Minimum notice] Subject to this general principle it would seem appropriate that a professor or an associate professor should ordinarily give not less than four months’ notice and an assistant professor or instructor not less than three months’ notice.

3.   [Notification before resignation] It is assumed that a faculty member may answer an informal inquiry about whether the faculty member would be willing to consider leaving for another institution under specified conditions without previous consultation with University officials, with the understanding, however, that if a definite offer follows the faculty member will not accept it without giving such notice as is indicated in the preceding provisions. A faculty member is at liberty to ask their dean to reduce, or waive, the notification requirements there specified, but the faculty member is expected to conform to their decision on these points.

Article VII. Whom Tenure Cannot Protect

Nothing in this statement is to be interpreted as giving the protection of tenure to anyone who advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States by force, violence, or any unlawful means.