Opinion of the Court

408 U.S.

MR. JUSTICE STEWART delivered the opinion of the Court.

In 1968 the respondent, David Roth, was hired for his first teaching job as assistant professor of political science at Wisconsin State University-Oshkosh. He was hired for a fixed term of one academic year. The notice of his faculty appointment specified that his employment would begin on September 1, 1968, and would end on June 30, 1969. The respondent completed that term. But he was informed that he would not be rehired for the next academic year.

The respondent had no tenure rights to continued employment. Under Wisconsin statutory law a state university teacher can acquire tenure as a "permanent” employee only after four years of year-to-year employment. Having acquired tenure, a teacher is entitled to continued employment "during efficiency and good behavior.” A relatively new teacher without tenure, however, is under Wisconsin law entitled to nothing beyond his one-year appointment. There are no statu

1 The respondent had no contract of employment. Rather, his formal notice of appointment was the equivalent of an employment contract.

The notice of his appointment provided that: David F. Roth is hereby appointed to the faculty of the Wisconsin State University Position number 0262. (Location:) Oshkosh as (Rank:) Assistant Professor of (Department:) Political Science this (Date:) first day of (Month:) September (Year:) 1968.The notice went on to specify that the respondent's “appointment basis” was for the "academic year.” And it provided that “[r]egulations governing tenure are in accord with Chapter 37.31, Wisconsin Statutes. The employment of any staff member for an academic year shall not be for a term beyond June 30th of the fiscal year in which the appointment is made." See n. 2, infra.

2 Wis. Stat. $ 37.31 (1) (1967), in force at the time, provided in pertinent part that:

"All teachers in any state university shall initially be employed

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tory or administrative standards defining eligibility for re-employment. State law thus clearly leaves the decision whether to rehire a nontenured teacher for another year to the unfettered discretion of university officials.

The procedural protection afforded a Wisconsin State University teacher before he is separated from the University corresponds to his job security. As a matter of statutory law, a tenured teacher cannot be "discharged except for cause upon written charges” and pursuant to certain procedures. A nontenured teacher, similarly, is protected to some extent during his oneyear term. Rules promulgated by the Board of Regents provide that a nontenured teacher "dismissed” before the end of the year may have some opportunity for review of the "dismissal.” But the Rules provide no real protection for a nontenured teacher who simply is not re-employed for the next year. He must be informed by February 1 "concerning retention or nonretention for the ensuing year.” But “no reason for non-retention need be given. No review or appeal is provided in such case.” 4

on probation. The employment shall be permanent, during efficiency and good behavior after 4 years of continuous service in the state university system as a teacher.”

3 Wis. Stat. $ 37.31 (1) further provided that: “No teacher who has become permanently employed as herein provided shall be discharged except for cause upon written charges. Within 30 days of receiving the written charges, such teacher may appeal the discharge by a written notice to the president of the board of regents of state colleges. The board shall cause the charges to be investigated, hear the case and provide such teacher with a written statement as to their decision."

4 The Rules, promulgated by the Board of Regents in 1967, provide: “RULE I—February first is established throughout the State University system as the deadline for written notification of non-tenured faculty concerning retention or non-retention for the ensuing year. The President of each University shall give such notice each year on or before this date.” “RULE II—During the time a faculty member is on probation, no reason for non-retention need be given. No review or appeal is provided in such case. "RULE III—'Dismissal as opposed to 'Non-Retention' means termination of responsibilities during an academic year. When a nontenure faculty member is dismissed he has no right under Wisconsin Statutes to a review of his case or to appeal. The President may, however, in his discretion, grant a request for a review within the institution, either by a faculty committee or by the President, or both. Any such review would be informal in nature and would be advisory only. “RULE IV–When a non-tenure faculty member is dismissed he may request a review by or hearing before the Board of Regents. Each such request will be considered separately and the Board will, in its discretion, grant or deny same in each individual case.”

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In conformance with these Rules, the President of Wisconsin State University-Oshkosh informed the respondent before February 1, 1969, that he would not be rehired for the 1969–1970 academic year. He gave the respondent no reason for the decision and no opportunity to challenge it at any sort of hearing.

The respondent then brought this action in Federal District Court alleging that the decision not to rehire him for the next year infringed his Fourteenth Amendment rights. He attacked the decision both in substance and procedure. First, he alleged that the true reason for the decision was to punish him for certain statements critical of the University administration, and that it therefore violated his right to freedom of speech.5

5 While the respondent alleged that he was not rehired because of his exercise of free speech, the petitioners insisted that the nonretention decision was based on other, constitutionally valid grounds. The District Court came to no conclusion whatever regarding the true reason for the University President's decision. "In the present case,” it stated, "it appears that a determination as to the actual bases of [the] decision must await amplification of the facts at trial. . . . Summary judgment is inappropriate.” 310 F. Supp. 972, 982.

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Second, he alleged that the failure of University officials to give him notice of any reason for nonretention and an opportunity for a hearing violated his right to procedural due process of law.

The District Court granted summary judgment for the respondent on the procedural issue, ordering the University officials to provide him with reasons and a hearing. 310 F. Supp. 972. The Court of Appeals, with one judge dissenting, affirmed this partial summary judgment. 446 F. 2d 806. We granted certiorari. 404 U. S. 909. The only question presented to us at this stage in the case is whether the respondent had a constitutional right to a statement of reasons and a hearing on the University's decision not to rehire him for another year. We hold that he did not.

I The requirements of procedural due process apply only to the deprivation of interests encompassed by the Fourteenth Amendment's protection of liberty and property. When protected interests are implicated, the right

6 The courts that have had to decide whether a nontenured public employee has a right to a statement of reasons or a hearing upon nonrenewal of his contract have come to varying conclusions. Some have held that neither procedural safeguard is required. E. g., Orr v. Trinter, 444 F. 2d 128 (CA6); Jones v. Hopper, 410 F. 2d 1323 (CA10); Freeman v. Gould Special School District, 405 F. 2d 1153 (CA8). At least one court has held that there is a right to a statement of reasons but not a hearing. Drown v. Portsmouth School District, 435 F. 2d 1182 (CA1). And another has held that both requirements depend on whether the employee has an "expectancy" of continued employment. Ferguson v. Thomas, 430 F. 2d 852, 856 (CA5).

Opinion of the Court

408 U.S.

to some kind of prior hearing is paramount. But the range of interests protected by procedural due process is not infinite.

The District Court decided that procedural due process guarantees apply in this case by assessing and balancing the weights of the particular interests involved. It concluded that the respondent's interest in re-employment at Wisconsin State University-Oshkosh outweighed the University's interest in denying him re-employment summarily. 310 F. Supp., at 977–979. Undeniably, the respondent's re-employment prospects were of major concern to him-concern that we surely cannot say was insignificant. And a weighing processs has long been a part of any determination of the form of hearing required in particular situations by procedural due process. But, to determine whether

? Before a person is deprived of a protected interest, he must be afforded opportunity for some kind of a hearing, “except for extraordinary situations where some valid governmental interest is at stake that justifies postponing the hearing until after the event." Boddie v. Connecticut, 101 U. S. 371, 379. “While '[m]any controversies have raged about the Due Process Clause,' ... it is fundamental that except in emergency situations (and this is not one) due process requires that when a State seeks to terminate [a protected] interest ..., it must afford ‘notice and opportunity for hearing appropriate to the nature of the case' before the termination becomes effective.Bellv. Burson, 402 U. S. 535, 542. For the rare and extraordinary situations in which we have held that deprivation of a protected interest need not be preceded by opportunity for some kind of hearing, see, e. g., Central Union Trust Co. v. Garvan, 254 U. S. 554, 566; Phillips v. Commissioner, 283 U. S. 589, 597; Ewing v. Mytinger & Casselberry, Inc., 339 U. S. 594.

8 "The formality and procedural requisites for the hearing can vary, depending upon the importance of the interests involved and the nature of the subsequent proceedings.Boddie v. Connecticut, supra, at 378. See, e. g., Goldberg v. Kelly, 397 U. S. 254, 263; Hannah v. Larche, 363 U. S. 420. The constitutional requirement

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