Professor Michael Yelnosky speaks to PBN (story teaser and photo above the fold on front page!) about a husband-wife hiring dispute at Brown University.

Upcoming Events

Attorney General Open Government Summit

Attorney General Open Government Summit

Pro Bono Collaborative Cocktail Reception
MAY
28
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
One Citizens Plaza Rotunda, Providence, RI
Boston Law Alumni Networking Reception
JUN
03
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Highball Lounge, Boston
Class of 2018 "How to Prepare for Law School" BBQ/Mixer
JUN
12
11:00 am - 2:00 pm
RWU Law, 10 Metacom Avenue, Bristol, RI 02809
Law Alumni Association Annual Breakfast Meeting
JUN
18
7:45 am - 9:15 am
Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence
17th Annual Rhode Island Attorney General Open Government Summit
JUL
31
8:30 am - 12:00 pm
RWU School of Law, Bristol, RI

Trending@RWULaw

05/20/2015
By Tom Peterson, 2L
Having served 22 years in the Navy before coming to law school, some habits die harder than others. One thing that we always stressed during my time in the Navy was filing a Post Exercise report – or...


Affordable Excellence at RWU LAW

Archives

Newsroom

Yelnosky on Academic Hiring Quandry

Professor Michael Yelnosky speaks to PBN (story teaser and photo above the fold on front page!) about a husband-wife hiring dispute at Brown University.

From PROVIDENCE BUSINESS NEWS: "Academic hires often come in pairs" by Rebecca Keister, PBN Staff Writer

Professor Michael Yelnosky in PBN

September 10, 2012: Beverly Haviland, a senior lecturer and visiting associate professor in Brown University’s American Studies department, holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Princeton University.

Before coming to Providence, she was a tenured professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and, before that, at Vassar College.

Well-published with a long list of awards on her research page on Brown’s website, she is, by all measures, an accomplished academic.

But what she wants is to be treated like a tenured professor at Brown. It’s a promise she said the university made to her when she was hired as part of a package deal with her husband, Paul Armstrong, who was hired as dean of the college in 2001, and did not deliver.

“I think [such a hiring] is a fairly unique aspect of academic employment,” said Michael Yelnosky, a professor of law at Roger Williams University School of Law in Bristol. “I [also] think it’s not uncommon for some people to say, ‘This is opening up a bad can of worms, and we just shouldn’t do it.’ ”

Haviland sued Brown University in 2005 for breach of employment contract and for the right to be reviewed as a tenured professor would. In July, the R.I. Supreme Court ruled in Haviland’s favor, meaning she now has job protection similar to that of a tenured professor.

“It’s a cautionary tale, but these two [Brown professors] did it right,” Yelnosky said. “I read a lot of employment law cases from lots of jurisdictions, and I teach the subject. These people did much more and got much more [in writing] than most plaintiffs in employment wrongful-discharge [cases] get.”

Brown University, according to legal documents, recruited Armstrong in 2000 when he was a dean at Stony Brook and Havilland was a tenured professor of comparative studies there.

Armstrong made it clear that he wouldn’t go to Brown unless they could find a tenured position for Haviland.

After originally saying they couldn’t do that, the university created a position for Haviland as a visiting professor and said in writing it would allow her to be reviewed in the same manner as a tenured professor facing nonrenewal.

In short, Haviland wouldn’t be a tenured professor but she would be held to the same benefits and standards, including job security, as a tenured faculty member.

For full story, click here.