Monday, April 25, 2011

FA: Imposed terms would destroy tenure

A new FA "Fact Sheet" makes the argument that the administration's imposed "Reduction in Force" language would essentially end tenure on this campus.

These terms would make for a radical change from the prior contract, which allowed for layoffs of tenured faculty only in the event of program elimination or "just cause" (i.e., serious misconduct). The last contract even included a side-letter saying that the administration would not lay off faculty on the grounds of financial exigency. Now they are claiming the authority to lay off faculty even without the messy PR and fiscal consequences of declaring a financial exigency. If you can be laid off at the sole discretion of the administration, your tenure isn't worth a damn.

Tenure is an essential part of academia as most faculty understand it. These terms, therefore, are poison. If not withdrawn or massively modified they will result in a strike. I think it's as simple as that.


  1. I hope search committees for tenure-track positions here make it clear to anyone who interviews for a job that tenure here does not have the same meaning that it is commonly understood to have in higher education.

  2. Search committees? I wish. The only searches we've got lately were completely outside the normal process, basically making them administrative approval searches. There is a lot more at stake here than just tenure.

  3. We faculty need to do a much better job of explaining tenure to the public. The example of the faculty member in CASA who testified before Congress about Toyota is a case in point. He could not have said what he did without tenure.

    Most examples aren't as obvious. Tenure does not just protect individuals but intellectual traditions. This is why it is important that it be hard to get rid of a department. Administrators tend to take a short term view and sometimes think the preferences of 18 year-olds should determine scholarly priorities as they do in pop culture.


I will review and post comments as quickly as I can. Comments that are substantive and not vicious will be posted promptly, including critical ones. "Substantive" here means that your comment needs to be more than a simple expression of approval or disapproval. "Vicious" refers to personal attacks, vile rhetoric, and anything else I end up deeming too nasty to post.