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I signed a contract for an academic faculty position in the US in February. Now with the pandemic affecting universities, do you think it is possible that they rescind the offer? Is it appropriate to reach out to the dean or someone else and ask how the situation is developing in light of hiring freezes at some universities in the US?

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  • What does the contract say?
    – Bryan Krause
    Mar 18, 2020 at 21:11
  • it's a regular TT contract with all the info about job responsibilities, teaching load and salary. It does not say anything about contingencies and emergency procedures.
    – Rite
    Mar 19, 2020 at 0:35
  • Once you have signed the contract, I don't think the offer can be rescinded - but you could still be laid off like any other untenured faculty member. The procedures around that are probably in the faculty handbook or some similar university policy document. Mar 19, 2020 at 1:03
  • Thanks. I'm more worried about it being rescinded at this stage since I stopped applying when I signed the contract. In fact, I rejected another offer then as well.
    – Rite
    Mar 19, 2020 at 1:20
  • It is also possible the institution closes permanently. Mar 19, 2020 at 9:18

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Yes, it is appropriate to explore the situation. I doubt that the offer would be rescinded, but who can say except them. They will need the personnel now as much or more than ever.

You have a signed contract so they are bound as well in all but the most extreme situations.

But timing and such might be disrupted. And if you aren't already in the US, note that border crossing is very difficult if even possible.

But ask, and ask to be kept informed.

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  • Thanks. I'm in the US so border crossing won't be an issue.
    – Rite
    Mar 18, 2020 at 19:50
  • And you signed a contract, which binds them. Some emergency procedures might be used to change contracts, but I'm pretty sure nothing like your case.
    – Buffy
    Mar 18, 2020 at 19:51
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    It is possible, and not at all uncommon, for a US employment contract to not bind the employer at all. A signed contract could very well leave "at will" employment in place, where either party can terminate the employment relationship at any time even without a good reason.
    – eps
    Apr 17, 2020 at 20:43

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