The American Association of American Law Schools (“AALS”), of which Albany Law School is a member, conditions law school membership on continued satisfaction of its Bylaws and Regulations: http://www.aals.org/about_handbook_bylaws.php. The AALS expressly incorporates AAUP principles of academic freedom in its rules. For example, AALS Bylaw Section 6-6(d) provides that a “faculty member shall have academic freedom and tenure in accordance with the principles of the American Association of University Professors”, as defined by the 1940 Statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure and the 1970 Interpretive Comments. The Executive Committee Regulations for AALS further provide that the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure have “jurisdiction to hear matters relating to tenure and academic freedom under AALS Bylaw 6-6(d).”
Other pertinent AALS rules include Article 6 of the Bylaws. Section 6-5, entitled “Law School Governance” provides the following:
“a. A member school shall vest in the faculty primary responsibility for determining institutional policy.”
“c. The faculty shall exercise substantial control over decanal and faculty appointments or changes in faculty status, such as promotions, tenure designations, and renewal or termination of term appointments. To enable the faculty to make the pertinent decisions, a member school shall employ procedures under which:
(i) The faculty…, assembled in a meeting of which suitable notice has been given, makes the initial choice with respect to faculty appointments or changes in faculty status for submission through any intermediate approving authorities to the final appointing authority;
(iii) Except in rare cases and for compelling reasons, no decanal, or faculty appointment or change in status is made over the expressed opposition of the faculty (acting as a whole or by a representative portion determined by reasonable criteria).”
Section 6-10 of the Bylaws, entitled “Financial Resources,” also provides that “the faculty’s judgment concerning the school’s opportunities and needs shall be given appropriate weight by the law school administration and by the university which it is a part in the decisions regarding the allocation of resources so as to support the school’s ability to comply with the obligations of membership.”
For more information concerning AALS protections, please visit the AALS website at http://www.aals.org/about_handbook_bylaws.php.