Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Perry v. Sindermann
Sindermann was a teacher at several schools in the state college system of the State of Texas under a system of one year contracts from 1959 to 1969. In 1965 he became a professor at Odessa Junior College where he was successful enough to be appointed department co-chair for a time. During the 1968-1969 academic year, Sindermann became involved in public disagreements with the policies of the Board of Regents as president of the Texas Junior College Teachers Association. In May of 1969 Sindermannís one-year contract terminated and was not renewed. The Regents issued a press release alleging insubordination but no official hearing was provided Sindermann to contest the basis for non-renewal.
Does a non-tenured teacher still have due process rights as provided by the Fourteenth Amendment through a de facto tenure policy created by rules and policy? Were Sindermannís 14th Amendment due process rights violated?
The court decided that Sindermannís due process rights had been violated because while Sindermann did not have tenure per se, due to his length of service at his last institution (more than the four years mentioned as the probationary period for a full-time instructor in the ďPolicy Paper 1Ē guidelines) he had achieved a kind of tenure. The court pointed to Board of Regents v. Roth , 408 U.S. 564 (1972) as an example of a non-tenured teacher not having a claim for a hearing. However, Sindermann was able to point to the policy paper as providing an expectancy of treatment as if being tenured.
The problem the court faced was that without having a record of a hearing of Sindermannís non-renewal, the court was unable to determine if Sindermannís First Amendment right to free speech had been violated since there was no documented reason for the non-renewal. The court required that Sindermann be given a hearing at which it could be determined if his First Amendment rights had been violated by the Regents refusal to renew his contract due to his public utterances.
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