Victory for Legal Defense Fund Grantees

Date: 1/9/17

An important victory for faculty rights has resulted from a case supported by the Foundation's Legal Defense Fund. The fund gave grants totaling $10,000 for litigation costs incurred by faculty challenging New York University's salary reduction policy. NYU Medical School professors Marie Monaco and Herbert Samuels had their salaries significantly slashed after NYU arbitrarily imposed a salary reduction policy. The salary reductions occurred after a decline in their net grant income following the loss of valuable research data due to damage from Superstorm Sandy.

The professors believed that the salary reduction policy violated the policies of the faculty handbook. NYU argued that it was not bound by the faculty handbook. On December 15, 2016 the New York Supreme Court allowed the professors to continue their case against NYU, finding that NYU's faculty handbook had the force of a contract and that the salary reductions may have violated that contract.

Laws about faculty handbooks vary significantly from state to state. The AAUP maintains a state-by-state guide to faculty handbooks as enforceable contracts, accessible to members on the AAUP website.