What You Need to Know About Your Rights

  • CSU Academic Faculty and Administrative Professional Manual. Much of the language in this document is adapted from declarations negotiated by the AAUP with the Association of American Colleges and other organizations representing university administrations. This is your bill of rights as a faculty member. In addition to the First Amendment, it is what gives us a role in the governance of our university and protects our academic freedom. It is what gives us the institution of tenure, and sets forth procedures for resolving disputes and appealing administrative decisions. Begin by browsing Section E.
  • Your department’s Code. This contains additional departmental policies, and can cover criteria for evaluating performance in the department, what the responsibilities of various committees and people who hold offices in the department, and procedures for reaching decisions. They can often be found on a department’s webpages. Examples are Computer Science Department Code and Economics Department Code.
  • The national AAUP site at has many resources for faculty. A box provided at the top of the page for searching resources by keywords is especially useful. For example, type “free speech classroom” for information on what protections and limits there are to professorial speech in the classroom.Type “Faculty Handbooks” into the box and you will see a Faculty Handbooks Guide. From this guide, you can find Faculty Handbooks as Enforceable Contracts: A State Guide. Read the introduction, then scroll down to Colorado to see mention of some court cases involving CSU. Type “Post-tenure review,” click on Post-Tenure Review: Some Case Law (2005) , and you will find some history of this relatively recent trend, the AAUP’s position in Section I, variations on its implementation in Section II, which includes a reference to CSU’s Manual as an example, legal issues and case histories in Section III, including a case at CSU, and some cautionary notes in Section IV that are relevant to possible appeals at CSU. Experiment with words and phrases to get used to using this search engine.
  • Get informed about the history of the rules we see implemented in our Manual, their rationale, and why administrators embraced them as part of best practices. The AAUP Redbook contains the most important joint statements of the AAUP and its administrative counterparts, which established tenure and the principle of shared governance in this country. Our local chapter has complimentary “Mini-Redbooks” that contain the most important documents. Some people find it best to read these side-by-side with lively histories recounting the events leading up to them, such as Benjamin Ginsberg, The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why It Matters. Chapter 5 is especially relevant.
  • If your tenure case is in trouble or you face a problematic post-tenure review or need advice about a grievance, don’t go it alone. Network with others who are interested in and knowledgeable about faculty rights, as well as others who may have faced similar difficulties and who are willing to compare notes. A good way to do this is to contact our local chapter and find out about our meetings and membership.
  • Some of us have experience at providing confidential advice to faculty in difficult tenure cases, post-tenure reviews, and grievances, in addition to the other kinds of advocacy on behalf of faculty that you see on these web pages. We can help you interpret the Manual and identify the key elements of your case. Contact our leadership and we will refer you to someone who can give you informed advice. You needn’t be a member of the AAUP to receive this kind of help.