Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. The Honorable Richard L. Curry, Judge Presiding.
Rehearing Denied August 2, 1995. Petition for Leave to Appeal Denied December 6, 1995.
The Honorable Justice Cahill delivered the opinion of the court: Hoffman, P. J., and S.m. O'brien, J., concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cahill
JUSTICE CAHILL delivered the opinion of the court:
We review a grant of summary judgment where the trial court found that the coming together of Loyola University and Mundelein College in 1991 extinguished the tenure of the Mundelein faculty. We reverse.
Plaintiffs were tenured faculty members at Mundelein College. Yohma Gray, an English professor, was hired in 1964 and granted tenure in 1969. Elvira Hasty, a chemistry professor, was hired in 1978 and granted tenure in 1982. Each year, the Mundelein tenured faculty signed contracts and salary agreements entitled "CONTRACT FOR TENURED FACULTY." The contracts incorporated the faculty manual which defined tenure:
"APPOINTMENTS WITH CONTINUOUS TENURE
Tenure refers to a commitment of the College to offer continued employment subject to satisfactory conduct and effective teaching and, upon making application and upon recommendation, is the status granted to faculty members after the probationary period, protecting them from dismissal except for reasons and according to procedure stated by the [American Association of University Professors].
Renewed appointment and tenure status are confirmed in writing. When faculty members acquire tenure, this fact will be so stated in the contract for the ensuing year and thereafter in each year's contract."
Tenured faculty could be terminated, under the manual, because the College faced financial difficulty -- labeled in the manual as a state of financial exigency --, discontinued a program or department, or for health or cause. Before tenured faculty could be terminated because the College was in a state of financial exigency, that state had to be formally declared by the Board of Directors.
Mundelein found itself in severe financial difficulty in 1989 and 1990. Members of the Mundelein Board met with representatives of Loyola in January 1991 to discuss a possible solution. Mundelein and Loyola signed a "Memorandum of Agreement" on April 15, 1991. They agreed that:
"Loyola will establish the Mundelein College of Loyola University which will be governed and administered as a separate college of the university. It is Loyola's intention to continue the new Mundelein College in existence on a permanent basis. " (Emphasis added.)
The agreement was to take effect in June 1991.
On April 29, 1991, Mundelein sent to all tenured faculty a document entitled "1991-92 CONDITIONAL AND TERMINAL CONTRACT FOR TENURED FACULTY." This document stated that it was conditioned on Mundelein remaining independent and that if Mundelein College became part of Loyola University, the document would not take effect. The document ...