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Utah to do away with professor tenure?

From the Leiter report: Lawmaker's bill would end tenure for Utah profs

This deserves a long scree, but it's late and I have a reading list quota still to meet. So I'll limit myself to two points:

  • One of the main reasons for tenure is to protect faculty who express unpopular opinions. Academia at its best should be about the free exchange of ideas. Recently a Brooklyn College adjunct had his contract threatened because of his views. Ultimately he was allowed to teach there, but only because of pressure put on the university administration. Adjuncts lack the kind of protection tenured professors get. I have no problem with bad teachers losing their jobs, but taking away tenure full-stop is going too far.

  • Tenure takes years to reach. All over Utah there are people who have been doing the things academics are supposed to do - teaching, writing papers, supporting their universities - in the expectation that if they met benchmarks they could reasonably expect tenure. It's not a hard-and-fast promise, true, but still it's an expectation agreed to by both sides. Which makes this monumentally uncool.


So much for the non-interference of government in private business, I guess...

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marta_bee
Feb. 19th, 2011 10:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Lots of money gets spent on Education
I suspect as much. Look at the current debate over what's been dubbed the "sub-prime education lending market" - those for-profit colleges that accept unqualified students, get them federal loans, and then when the students don't make it the student or the state ends up footing their bill.

I do think there are some people who dislike professors on principle and think tenure is a bad thing. But I also suspect they're not the movers and shakers behind this move.

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