3.4 Termination of Tenure

This policy was last updated October 11, 2022. See the update history page for more information.

Tenure may be terminated by the Institute only for adequate cause or in the event of financial exigency that, if not addressed, could threaten the financial soundness of the Institute as a whole, in the judgment of the Academic Council and Corporation.

3.4.1 Administrative Reorganization

The tenure of faculty members does not constrain the Institute from reorganizing or closing a department or other academic unit. However, tenure may not be terminated because of such a reorganization or closing unless the termination is necessitated by a financial exigency that affects the Institute as a whole. When the continued appointment of a tenured faculty member in a given department or other academic unit is not feasible because of a reorganization or closing, it will be the policy of the Institute to appoint the faculty member to another department or academic unit.

When a reorganization or closing occurs in a situation of Institute-wide financial exigency, tenure may be terminated, but only if such termination is a component of a comprehensive program adopted by the Institute in the exercise of its judgment to resolve the financial peril that includes other measures reasonably fashioned to achieve that goal. The President will be responsible for preparing such a program, which will require approval by the Executive Committee of the Corporation, after consultation with the Officers of the Faculty regarding tenure termination. If a faculty member's tenure is terminated for reasons of financial exigency, relocation assistance will be provided to the tenured faculty member, and special consideration will be given to each individual, including appropriate notice of termination.

The reorganization or closing of a department or other academic unit will not be grounds for reducing the term of appointment for nontenured faculty. The Institute will reassign the individuals affected by a department reorganization or closing to other departments or other academic units within the Institute for the duration of the appointment.

Academic instructional staff other than Faculty are subject to the Institute's layoff policy.

3.4.2 Faculty Misconduct or Performance Below Standards

From time to time it may be necessary to take action with respect to a faculty member who engages in conduct that violates MIT policy, is incompatible with the responsibilities of faculty membership, or who fails to meet reasonable standards of performance. The circumstances that can lead to such action cannot be anticipated in precise terms. However, academic dishonesty and misconduct (for which the procedures in Section 10.1 Procedures for Dealing with Academic Misconduct in Research and Scholarship are also applicable), disregard of duties, violation of Institute policy, including policies against harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, violations of law, and criminal acts are among the offenses that may call for disciplinary action.

The responsibility for disciplinary action (other than revocation of tenure) normally resides with the heads of the faculty member's department, the director of one’s lab, Institute, or Center, or the School, College, or equivalent administrative unit, or the Dean or Vice President for Research.

Depending upon the nature of the offense, sanctions may be preceded by educational interventions, such as professional coaching, required trainings or workshops, and/or mentoring may also be warranted.  If the coaching does not result in significant improvement or cessation of the offending conduct or if the circumstances warrant action without coaching, sanctions may be imposed.

Disciplinary actions may include, but are not limited to, a reprimand, oral or written, private or public; a period of suspension with or without pay; a reduction in salary; removal of privileges; reduction or change in assignments or resources; reduction in eligibility for recognition or remuneration; or termination of tenure.

When the President has received a recommendation to terminate an individual faculty member's tenure, the faculty member involved will be entitled to a review by a committee of peers, if the faculty member so requests. The committee will be appointed by the President in consultation with the Officers of the Faculty and will report its findings and recommendation to the President. The President will make the final decision on termination of tenure.