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Committee on Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Employment Security (CAFTES)

(Dissolved January 2017)

General Description

The original charge (but see Rules below) was prepared by the Secretary on instruction from the Council and with editorial revisions, is as follows:

CAFTES is prepared to consider cases of individuals who believe they have been wronged in regard to some academic freedom or employment situation. The main function of CAFTES is to determine the facts of the case, rather than becoming a party to the dispute. There are certain guidelines which the committee follows. If a case is better handled by some other organization such as the AAUP or a government agency, CAFTES will guide the aggrieved person to the organization. The committee will only consider cases brought by regular members of the American Mathematical Society. CAFTES also cannot respond to anonymous complaints, although they will make every effort not to violate confidentiality for those aggrieved members who request it. The committee requests a complete vita of the complainant, details of the complaint including copies of all available documentation, and names of individuals whom CAFTES could contact for additional information on the institutional procedures on appointments and promotions or for verification of undocumented claims.

Principal Activities

The Committee should give substantial consideration to cases referred to it by the Council or the Executive Committee.

The Committee should give preliminary examination to cases which come to it from other sources, such as by direct application from an individual who thinks himself aggrieved. The preliminary examination is to determine whether the case merits substantial consideration.

On the other hand, the Committee should not consider cases for which there is another more natural point of reference. As an example, a case of inequitable compensation for reason of race or sex has natural points of reference, such as the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare under the Civil Rights Act and the executive orders based upon it. Such a case does not need the services of this committee. Cases in the natural domain of the American Association of University Professors probably do not require the services of this committee.

The Committee should not restrict its attention narrowly to cases between employer and employee. For example, the Committee might receive a complaint from one who was considered for employment but not employed, of such nature as to merit investigation.

The Committee should restrict itself to cases in which the aggrieved is an American member of the Society. Canadian and Mexican members are on a par with the American members in the United States, in that they pay full dues (no membership by reciprocity) and geographically have as ready access to Society amenities, such as meetings, as U.S. members. However, and I speak from experience, the Committee should proceed with great caution if one party to a dispute is a Canadian institution. The same remark, but not my experience, probably applies if it is a Mexican institution. The Canadians, at least, are sensitive to their position of sleeping in the same bed with an elephant.

The next question is how to investigate and what not to do. These matters will clearly depend on the case itself. As a general procedure, the Committee should determine facts and report to the Council, perhaps with a recommendation to publish either their report or a summary of it that they prepare for publication.

Other Activities

The Committee is not an arbitration board. It is not supposed to be engineering a solution to a problem although it is well recognized that a clear statement of facts is sometimes useful in effecting solutions or in preventing similar problems from arising at another time or place.

The Committee is not a party to a dispute. It should not espouse the case of any party to a dispute lest it undermine its usefulness in other disputes.

The Committee should sometimes avail itself of the services of others as investigators, perhaps delegating an investigation in the same manner as the AAUP Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure, and reviewing the work of its delegates, both because experts may be available and because the work might easily exceed their capacity.

The financial aspect of the Committee's work must be considered. The Council and the Committee must be aware that investigations take both time and money. It has been the experience of the Committee on Dismissed Mathematicians that occasionally a site visit is an essential part of an investigation. The Committee should have this in mind when it chooses whether to investigate directly or to delegate, since both the time and the travel cost of a site visit might be reduced by the latter course.

The original charge was modified by a report entitled Report of the Committee to Write Rules for CAFTES and endorsed by the Council of 26 January 1977 as a three year trial with review at the Council of January 1980. The Rules are attached.

Miscellaneous Information

The Committee will have a small budget, so that correspondence, telephone calls, and similar items can be reimbursed. They will have the convenience of a telephone credit card. Their larger financial needs should be referred to the Agenda and Budget Committee through the Secretary, who is a member. At that level it can be decided whether funds, as for site visits, should be immediately forthcoming or budgeted by the Trustees.

Note to the Chair

Committee chairs should be informed, at the beginning of each fiscal period, of the budget of their committees and cautioned to remain within the budget. Such items as travel reimbursement, accommodations, and meals for guests of any kind fall within these budgets.

For the purpose of archiving the committee activities, the Secretary maintains a central file system for archiving committee records. Committee Chairs are asked to submit committee records on yearly basis. Chairs can submit material at their discretion, and some materials that they may wish to provide are meeting minutes, agenda, and emails. Confidential material should be noted, so that it can be handled in a confidential manner.


Past Members

A list of current and past members is available here: