Utah Republican Rep. Chris Herrod (Provo) has introduced a bill eliminating tenure for all professors at public universities and colleges in the state.



Update: Original article link has broken. Thanks, ricki, for letting me know. I’ve linked to a Bloomberg article.

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7 Responses to “Blowing tenure out of the water.”

  1. Is it time to go on strike? « More or Less Bunk Says:

    […] you teach at a public college or university in Utah, you have tenure and then this bill (h/t to UD) passes. There goes your tenure in the name of “accountability” and […]

  2. david foster Says:

    Just let ’em have tenure if and only if they can pass a marksmanship test in addition to the ususal requirements. That should make everybody happy!

  3. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Nice idea, david.

  4. ricki Says:

    Link to news story is apparently broken.

    I don’t know. I admit it; I kind of like having tenure. I like the fact that my continued employment is not so much tied to some kind of popularity contest (which is what it could become, in a tenure-free setting) or to the whims of “what research fields are hot RIGHT NOW.” And that I can just work, without worrying that one bad research year – or one bad class – will lead to my unemployment.

    On the other hand, I can see some benefit to making it easier to remove people who really aren’t doing their jobs. We keep getting spectacularly obvious (or so I thought) e-mails from higher-ups reminding us of our duties, and when I expressed puzzlement over why we were being told that, a colleague noted, “In some departments here the faculty DON’T actually hold their office hours or meet their classes on Fridays.”

  5. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Thanks, ricki. I’m linking to another article.

  6. david foster Says:

    ricki…employment tied to “the whims of “what research fields are hot RIGHT NOW.”

    Yet it seem that even with tenure, an awful lot of academics are focused on the hot fields or subfields du jour…surely there is much financial (funding) and social pressure to do so, even if one’s employment is 100% guaranteed.

    Especially during the tenure-seeking process, I’d guess that the pressure to work on whatever’s hot is particularly strong, and that this might screen out strong nonconformists.

  7. ricki Says:

    Interesting. So they are not going to “revoke” tenure of the tenured (which is how the tenure concerns are sometimes spun) but eliminate it for new hires.

    Which could be bad. I know if I were a hot-shot who could write my own ticket, I would be considerably less likely to apply for a job somewhere without a tenure track.

    But at least they’re not talking about yanking it from profs who already have it, which could lead to all kinds of problems. (I’m not sure if tenured people would have any legal grounds for protesting an across-the-board legislative revocation of tenure)

    I will say the article’s author brings up a point sometimes overlooked in the tenure wars: it IS possible for a tenured college prof to be fired for cause; tenure is not a sinecure. We get reviewed every three years and while I’ve never heard of anyone here losing tenure, I assume it is possible. There is a list of “causes” given in our Policies and Procedures Manual, and honestly, most of them, you’d have to be willfully stupid or have had a true break with reality to violate them, but whatever, I suppose some people DO.

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