In the exceptional event that it is necessary to take immediate action in order to prevent harm to members of the Washington University in St. Louis community (e.g., students, faculty, staff and patients), to preserve the integrity of records, or to protect university facilities, a person with administrative authority within the university (e.g., a dean or department chair) may deem it necessary or advisable to place a faculty member on administrative suspension. Examples of such circumstances might include (but are not limited to) the existence of credible evidence relating to physical harm or sexual misconduct, performance of sensitive job duties (e.g., patient care) under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, or destruction of data or research records. Administrative suspension must be based on a determination by the administrative authority that there are no other satisfactory means of redress.
Administrative suspension is the significant interruption of a faculty member’s professional activities, ordinarily pending the completion of an investigation or a hearing concerning the faculty member, as a result of action taken by a person with administrative authority. Depending on the circumstances, examples of a “significant interruption” might include (but are not limited to) a discontinuation of teaching privileges, access to a laboratory or laboratory records, contact with patients as part of a medical practice, contact with students, staff or other colleagues, or use of university facilities such as libraries or computing services.
When instituting an administrative suspension, the administrative authority should take the least restrictive measures he or she deems appropriate to effectively protect the university or members of the university community. In particular, the suspension should not be unduly long.
In each case of administrative suspension, the faculty member in question should receive, as soon as feasible after notification of the suspension (ordinarily, within two working days of notification), a written statement that includes: 1) the nature of the allegations or circumstances giving rise to the administrative suspension, 2) the limitations or restrictions to be imposed, 3) the reasons for the restrictions or limitations, and 4) the specific expected duration of the administrative suspension.
A faculty member placed on administrative suspension may challenge that action by filing a grievance with the university’s Advisory Committee on Tenure and Academic Freedom, which shall follow the procedures set out in section VII.C of the university’s Policy on Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure. In addition, nothing in the present document is intended to supersede that tenure policy.
This policy was initiated by the Senate Council and was discussed by the University Council, Senate Council and full Faculty Senate in 2006. It became university policy on January 1, 2007.