9.621 threat to tenure?

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Tue, 12 Mar 1996 19:09:53 -0500 (EST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 621.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: Pamela Cohen <pac@rci.rutgers.edu> (86)
Subject: Tenure abolition?

[2] From: "Warren G. Frisina" <wgfrisi@emory.edu> (64)
Subject: Tenure eliminated? (fwd)

[These two messages both quote news about the threat to tenure at the
University of Minnesota and elsewhere in the U.S. Humanist occasionally
serves to carry information of obvious interest to its members even
though this information has nothing to do with computing. No objection
from your editor to that. In this particular case discussion on Humanist
may help, since the issues raised by the institution of tenure necessarily
take on an international context and so lead to the question of how
academics have fared outside N. America in these uncertain times.
More importantly, perhaps, because Humanist is a seminar on humanities
computing, for accomplishments in which tenure has very rarely been
granted, we may expect a somewhat different perspective than the
ordinary. Allow me to suggest that among other aspects of the
topic, we discuss the particular role that academic computing humanists
play or should be playing in the cultural and social assimilation of
computing. Are there any issues hot enough to get us into trouble for
speaking our minds on them? In other words, as computing humanists do we
see any need to defend tenure along the classic lines. What do we have to
be idealistic about? Much, I hope. --WM]

Date: Tue, 12 Mar 1996 09:24:27 -0500
From: Pamela Cohen <pac@rci.rutgers.edu>
Subject: Tenure abolition?

[See the following message; contents are identical.]

Date: Tue, 12 Mar 1996 09:29:46 -0500 (EST)
From: "Warren G. Frisina" <wgfrisi@emory.edu>
Subject: Tenure eliminated? (fwd)

Greetings all! This seemed alarming enough to warrent wider distribution.

I can't verify any of the facts contained herein, but I would appreciate
hearing from anyone who knows more about the situation.

Warren G. Frisina
Associate Executive Director
American Academy of Religion
1703 Clifton Rd., NE Suite G5
Atlanta, GA 30329-4075

404-727-7920 tel
404-727-7959 fax

---------- Forwarded message ----------

University of Minnesota President Niels Hasslemo and the university's
Board of Regents are launching a serious campaign to end tenure not
only at the University, but nationally as well. The threat to tenure
nationwide is serious enough to warrant strong protests to the
president and the Board of Regents (address for both: Morill Hall,
Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455) from all over the country
by individual faculty, faculty organizations, and professional

At its December meeting, the Board of Regents set May 1996 as a
deadline to effect changes in the tenure code in order that they may be
put into effect in the fall. President Hasselmo in a letter of
November 20, 1995 to Regents Chair Thomas R. Reagan wrote: "Tenure
imposes rigidities of lack of flexibility... It is assumed that the
proportion of faculty who are tenured must decrease." Hasselmo not only
proposed reduction of the number of tenured faculty (apparently to
under 50% of the faculty), but also proposed a redefinition of tenure
that would make it possible to eliminate faculty by dissolution of
their departments (by shifting the place of tenure from the university
as a whole to one's department) or to force individual faculty to leave
by reduction of their salaries (in Hasselmo's words: "partial
decoupling of compensation from tenure").

President Hasselmo and the Regents initiated these moves and set a
schedule for their implementation without meaningful consultation with
the faculty, seriously undermining the institution of faculty
governance. The Regents have the power to abolish tenure with or
without Senate concurrence and recent statements by some adminstrators
and regents indicate the intention to do so. This is why faculty
collective bargaining to save tenure is on the agenda today. Aware
that tenure is honored at all research universities and at
essentially all other public institutions of higher learning,
President Hasselmo also recommended that the Regents initiate a
national discussion on tenure, which one can only interpret as a
recommendation for dismantling tenure nationwide.

To defend themselves from this threat, a faculty union was formed
this month, the University Faculty Alliance (UFA). The UFA is now
soliiciting signatures on authorization statements for
collective-bargaining reprentation. If sufficient numbers of
signatures are obtained, the union can request a cease and desist
order from the state Bureau of Mediation Services to prevent changes
in the conditions of employment until a collective-bargaining
representation election is held. The adminstration is attempting to
counter this faculty reaction by a widespread disinformation campaign
in the local media that no serious changes are being contemplated for
the present, despite the fact that at its February meeting, the
Regents did not even discuss rescinding its decision to act on tenure
changes at its mid-May meeting.

Please circulate this news as widely as possible

Erwin Marquit
School of Physics and Astronomy
116 Church Street SE
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0112

(612) 922-7993