University of Kansas School of Law Charter
The University of Kansas School of Law has adopted a Charter for internal governance.
Approved by the University of Kansas School of Law faculty on October 26, 2022.
Article 1: Purpose and Effects
Section 1.1: General Statement of Purpose
In keeping with its mission to “further the knowledge and understanding of law and the legal system through a balanced and integrated program of teaching, research and service,” the University of Kansas School of Law (the Law School) has adopted this Charter for internal governance. The Charter sets forth the role and responsibilities of the Dean, the faculty, and the students in the formation and approval of policies relating to the Law School’s teaching, research, and service activities. The Charter is by necessity a statement of general principles and therefore leaves much to the discretion of the Dean, faculty, staff, and students. It is meant to be applied in a spirit of cooperation and collective endeavor.
Section 1.2: Adoption and Amendment
This Charter and any subsequent amendments to it shall become effective upon the approval by two-thirds vote of the full-time faculty, pursuant to the following process.
1.2.1. The Dean shall make the text of the proposed Charter or Charter amendments publicly available for a period of public discussion, which shall include opportunities for written comments.
1.2.2. The Dean and faculty must consult with law school’s student government. Student government leaders shall be afforded the opportunity to present their objections, concerns, or suggestions to the Dean and faculty prior to any vote on the proposed Charter or amendment to the Charter.
1.2.3. Prior to any vote on the proposed Charter or amendment to the Charter, the faculty must have the opportunity to discuss the proposal at one or more previous faculty meetings substantially devoted to the issue.
1.2.4. The two-thirds vote requirement means two-thirds of the full-time faculty, whether or not present or voting at any meeting in which the vote is taken. Voting by proxy is permitted.
Section 1.3: Effect
This Charter operates as the foundational document for the internal governance of the Law School. All internal governance policies adopted after it enters into effect must be adopted pursuant to its provisions and conform to its requirements.
1.3.1. This Charter and policies adopted pursuant to its provisions are subject to applicable University of Kansas (University) and Kansas Board of Regents policies; federal, state, and local laws; and American Bar Association accreditation standards.
1.3.2. Except as altered by the provisions of this Charter, Law School policies currently in effect at the time of the adoption of the Charter shall be deemed to have been adopted pursuant to the Charter.
Article 2: The Dean of the Law School
Section 2.1: Responsibilities and Authorities of the Dean
The Dean of the Law School (the Dean) shall be a full-time member of the faculty with tenure. The Dean has primary responsibility for the management of the Law School and decisional authority on matters related to its administration, including oversight of building operations, student services, and budgets and fundraising. The Dean makes personnel decisions pursuant to applicable rules and policies, including policies related to faculty appointments, evaluation, promotion and tenure, and post tenure review.
Section 2.2: Administrative Structure
The Dean has authority to establish an administrative structure to assist in the management of the Law School, provide services to students, and support faculty activities.
2.2.1: The Dean may establish and fill positions for associate and assistant deans, as well as other staff positions, and assign to these positions such responsibilities as the Dean deems appropriate.
2.2.2: The Dean shall establish Law School committees with responsibility to review and recommend policies and other important actions affecting the faculty, students, and staff of the Law School. Except as otherwise provided in this Charter or policies adopted pursuant to the Charter, the creation, authority, and composition of Law School committees is determined by the Dean, taking into account the representation of affected constituencies and the experience and expertise of members.
Section 2.3: Appointment and Periodic Review of the Dean
The Dean is appointed by the Chancellor and Provost after a national search pursuant to procedures established by the Provost with input from the faculty, students, and staff of the Law School. The Provost reviews the Dean’s performance periodically, at least once every five years, pursuant to procedures set forth in Article X, Section 4 of the Faculty Senate Rules and Regulations. Subject to University rules and policies, the faculty and staff shall adopt a policy for nominating individuals to serve on a Dean search or Dean review committee.
Article 3: Faculty
Section 3.1: Full-Time and Other Faculty Members
The full-time faculty of the Law School includes (1) tenured and tenure-track faculty; (2) clinical faculty; and (3) the director the law library. Except as otherwise explicitly provided in a particular policy, all members of the full-time faculty are eligible to vote on all matters within the jurisdiction of the faculty. Other Law School faculty, including library faculty, emeritus faculty, visiting faculty, adjunct faculty, professors of practice and courtesy professors, lecturers, and persons who occupy similar positions are not eligible to vote on matters within the jurisdiction of the faculty unless expressly provided in this Charter or in policies adopted pursuant to the Charter.
Section 3.2: Faculty Governance
Matters within the jurisdiction of the full-time faculty include (1) academic policies and programs; (2) policies concerning faculty appointment, evaluation, rights, and responsibilities; and (3) other important policies concerning the operation of the Law School. Unless otherwise specified in policies adopted pursuant to this Charter, the following procedures apply to policies and decisions within the jurisdiction of the faculty.
3.2.1. Policies and other decisions within the jurisdiction of the faculty become effective only if approved by a formal vote of faculty, with the concurrence of the Dean, at a meeting for which adequate notice is provided that the policy or decision will be the subject of a formal vote. Unless otherwise specified in this Charter or policies adopted pursuant to this Charter, a policy or decision will be approved if a majority of those present and voting approve it. Unless otherwise specified by this Charter or policies adopted pursuant to this Charter, voting by proxy is permitted. Votes may be taken by voice vote or by a show of hands, unless a policy specifies that the ballot shall be secret.
3.2.2. Ordinarily, important policies within the jurisdiction of the faculty should be considered by committee and approved by vote at a regularly scheduled faculty meeting after having been debated and discussed in a prior meeting. This process may be suspended with the consent of two-thirds of the full-time faculty, whether or not present or voting at any meeting in which the vote is taken. Voting by proxy is permitted.
3.2.3. The process for approval of major policies that directly affect students shall include an opportunity for student input pursuant to Article 5 of this Charter.
3.2.4. It is understood that not every decision requires faculty approval and that many subsidiary policies may be adopted by the Dean, other administrative officials, and appropriate committees. Such policies must be consistent with this Charter and any other policies within the jurisdiction of and approved by the full-time faculty. In cases of doubt, faculty approval should be sought and obtained for policies that have a significant impact on the Law School.
Section 3.3: Faculty Responsibilities, Rights, and Evaluation
Each faculty member has teaching, scholarly, professional performance, and/or service responsibilities as specified in that faculty member’s job description and developed in policies concerning annual evaluation, promotion and tenure, and post-tenure review. Each faculty member has the right to academic freedom in teaching, research, professional performance, and service, subject to professional standards and norms.
3.3.1. Each faculty member has the responsibility to teach such courses within that faculty member’s position description that are assigned by the Dean and the responsible Associate or Assistant Dean, at the assigned times and locations. Each faculty member has a right to be consulted on the assignment of courses.
3.3.2. Policies concerning faculty appointment, evaluation, and promotion and tenure (or job security) shall not take effect unless they are approved by the faculty. Such policies shall incorporate standards and procedures that provide for a fair and objective evaluation. Each faculty member is entitled to advance notice of the expectations, standards, and criteria that will be used to judge that faculty member’s performance.
Article 4: Academic Matters
Section 4.1: General Principles
The Law School and its faculty, staff, and students shall maintain high standards of academic rigor and professional integrity in all academic matters, including degree programs, academic requirements and regulations, courses offered for academic credit, and other policies or programs.
Section 4.2: Degree Programs
No degree program may be created, amended, or eliminated without the approval by a two-thirds vote of the faculty, whether or not present and voting at a meeting in which the program has been approved. No such program may be created unless it has also been approved by the University and the Board of Regents (if necessary), and received approval or acquiescence (as needed) from the American Bar Association. Prior to a faculty vote, the proposed creation, amendment, or elimination of any degree program must be considered by committee and approved by vote at a regularly scheduled faculty meeting after having been debated and discussed in a prior meeting. The process for creation, amendment, or elimination of a degree program shall include an opportunity for student input pursuant to Article 5 of this Charter.
Section 4.3: Academic Requirements and Regulations
The Law School shall adopt, publish, and adhere to academic requirements and policies including, inter alia, standards for regular class attendance, grading, good standing, academic integrity, graduation, and dismissal. The adoption, amendment, or approval of academic requirements and regulations, new or modified courses, and nondegree programs shall require the consent of the faculty, which shall adopt a procedure for such matters. This procedure may include a policy and process for the waiver of academic requirements and regulations in exceptional circumstances. Academic requirements and regulations must be clearly designated and published so as to provide sufficient notice to students.
Article 5: Students
Section 5.1: Student Services
The Law School shall provide appropriate services to students in connection with admissions, student loans and financial aid, academic and other support, and career services. The Dean shall be responsible for the staffing, authority, and responsibilities of offices that perform these functions. Each office may adopt such policies as may be necessary to fulfill its responsibilities in relation to student services, with appropriate input from faculty and students. No policy adopted in relation to students can affect any academic standards for students without faculty approval.
Section 5.2: Student Participation in Governance
Students are entitled to meaningful participation in the adoption of policies that affect their educational experience at the Law School, including policies related to the Law School’s educational program, admissions standards, academic requirements and standards, career services, student affairs, and the library and library services.
5.2.1. Student representatives shall be included as voting members on committees with jurisdiction to consider and make recommendations to the faculty with respect to programs and policies within the scope of this section.
5.2.2. If a decision with respect to programs and policies within the scope of this section is likely to have a significant impact on students, including decisions concerning graduation requirements, the grading curve and related policies, or other important policies, the Law School shall seek student input through public comment and consultation with an advisory committee formed by student governance for this purpose. The Student Bar Association shall provide for the formation and operation of this committee, which shall include the following individuals (or their designated representatives): the president of the Student Bar Association; the presidents of the first-, second-, and third-year classes; and the leaders of each recognized student organization.
Section 5.3: Honor Code
Students shall be subject to the Honor Code, which shall establish standards of integrity and conduct that reflect the ethical norms of the legal profession. The Honor Code shall establish procedures, consistent with the requirements of due process, through which students accused of misconduct shall receive notice and an opportunity to be heard by an unbiased panel of their peers. The Honor Code as previously adopted shall remain in effect and may be amended by the Student Bar Association, subject to the approval of the faculty and Dean.
Section 5.4: Student Organizations
Students have the right to form organizations for lawful purposes consistent with the academic and professional standards of the school. To be officially recognized by the school, an organization must comply with requirements established by the University and the Law School.
Article 6: Statement of Principles
Section 6.1: Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression
The Law School is founded on the principles of academic freedom, freedom of expression, and free inquiry. As an academic institution, it subscribes to the American Association of University Professors Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure. As a state institution, it is bound by constitutional requirements related to freedom of expression.
Section 6.2: Nondiscrimination and Inclusion
The Law School seeks to create a learning environment in which all students can thrive. It is committed to providing fair and equitable treatment to all faculty, students, and staff, regardless of their background, and to combating discrimination in all its forms.
Section 6.2.1. The Law School will foster and maintain equality of opportunity for students, faculty, and staff, without discrimination or segregation on the basis of race, color, ethnicity religion, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, or military status.
Section 6.2.2. The Law School will foster diversity and inclusion by providing full opportunities for the study of law and entry into the profession by members of underrepresented groups, particularly racial and ethnic minorities, and by ensuring that the student body, faculty, and staff are diverse with respect to gender, race, and ethnicity.
Section 6.2.3. The Law School will provide reasonable accommodations for students, faculty and staff with disabilities and establish a process, in conjunction with the University, for assessing and handling requests for reasonable accommodations.
Section 6.3: Due Process
The Law School will adopt and adhere to fair procedures for the resolution of disputes and decisions with significant effects on individuals. No person should be subject to disciplinary or other adverse actions without advanced notice of the rules and requirements on which such actions are based. Decisional processes shall provide for adequate notice and an opportunity to be heard by an unbiased decisionmaker.
Section 6.4: Professionalism and Integrity
The Law School faculty, staff, and students will uphold the standards of the legal profession, including standards for ethical behavior and professional conduct. Faculty and staff will model professional behavior in their interactions with students and with each other and hold students to the highest standards of professionalism and integrity in their academic and professional work and other law school-related activities.
Section 6.5: Transparency and Privacy
As a public institution, the Law School is committed to principles of transparency in its governance activities and subject to Kansas open meetings and open records laws. Transparency includes public notice, open deliberations, and opportunities for interested constituencies to participate in the formation of policies and other actions that will affect them. At the same time, students, faculty, and staff often have access to private information concerning other students, faculty, or staff and members of the public whom they serve. Those with access to private information have an essential obligation to protect the privacy of such information by preserving confidentiality and taking appropriate steps to protect the security of private information in their possession.