Tenure Litigation: The Case Howard University V. Best, 547 A.

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Problems in Tenure Litigation The case Howard University v. Best, 547 A.2d 144 (D.C. Cir. 1988), is the second appeal arising out the employment contract of appellee Dr. Marie L. Best with appellant Howard University. In Howard University v. Best, 484 A2d 958,990 (D.C. 1884) (Best I), Dr. Best stated claims of indefinite tenure, sex discrimination, and intentional infliction of emotional distress as a result of, not being awarded indefinite tenure but a late notice for a non-renewal of her contract ( Kaplin, W. A., & Lee, B. A. ,2013). In the trial, the verdict was in favor of Dr. Best, holding the University had breached its contract with her by failing to provide timely notice of non-renewal. In the retrial, the jury again favored for …show more content…

Best was entitled to indefinite tenure on her “previous appointment “theory (Kaplin, W. A., & Lee, B. A., 2013). The jury believed Dr. Best’s assertion that the University did not always require a faculty member to serve a three- year probationary period to obtaining indefinite tenure, was reasonable based on the information from the Dean. There were several faculty members that testimony supported the fact, that other members of the faculty had received tenure in a manner inconsistent with Faculty Handbook. However, the faculty members who received tenure were in full-time or a teaching position. Therefore, Dr. Best was serving in a part- time, non- teaching, non- resident appointment did not follow that rule of thumb for assigning indefinite tenure. Dr. Best herself questioned her “pervious appointment” under the Faculty Handbook Section III(C) (2), by writing letters to the dean and vice president to state that she was in the final year of her three – year probationary appointment( Kaplin, W. A., & Lee, B. A. ,2013). Therefore, Dr. Best seemed to be looking for well- define direction on her appointment. Dr. Best seem to be under the school of thought, her situation would fall under “exceptional circumstances” in the Faculty Handbook. Exceptional circumstances were granted to faculty member that had indefinite tenure before coming to the University or held a previous full- time teaching appointment for the usual probationary period (Kaplin, W. A., & Lee, B. A.,

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