Wednesday, February 25, 2015


So I was reading about tenure recently, which is strange because I have been tenured for 16 years so it never really crossed my mind to re-examine it until recently. I have been asked why do I post the things I do on this blog and why do I give voice to the dissatisfaction felt by many of my colleagues. I actually do this because it is the right thing to do and I feel the burden that tenure imposes. Tenure is not a job for life. It is a responsibility to protect the higher ideals of the institution. It is actually an arrangement between the faculty member and the university that due process will be used to dismiss a tenured professor and the grounds for that will be evaluated by faculty. Its original purpose was to protect academic freedom, the introduction and spread of controversial ideas and the criticism of those in power. Without tenure the academy is meaningless. So as my colleagues and I expose the utterly contemptible mismanagement of this university, I am heartened by that fact that I am using my tenure status to serve the greater good of the university. I have advised junior colleagues for some years to avoid conflict as petty tyrants will deny tenure to vulnerable employees. The current president has abrogated the contract so often that it is now virtually a suggestion in his eyes. Therefore, I have come to believe that un-tenured faculty should stay out of the line of fire because their academic freedom is not as protected as mine is. Additionally, un-tenured faculty tend not to have longevity at the institution thus don’t have the corporate memory of the place. Consequently, their perspectives aren’t necessarily as broad or deep as those of us who have been here more than ten years. There has been discussion in the Faculty Senate about having tenured faculty only serve in that body so that vulnerable employees are not subjected to retaliation for voting no confidence in a plagiarizing provost or condemning the actions of a failed president (pick an action). The Senate President must be tenured so that pressure cannot be applied when misconduct is detected and brought to the public's attention. This principle applies to certain search committees as well. The current regime cherry picks faculty amenable to their ambitions and that is  detrimental to the university. A faculty member with less than three years of service at CSU should never be on the search committee for a vice president. Though not a member of the UPI Executive Committee, I would imagine that tenured faculty would best serve the university in protecting the contractual rights of the members. Otherwise untoward pressure could be brought to bear upon un-tenured faculty serving in critical union roles. My invitation to my tenured faculty colleagues is to embrace the responsibility of tenure and join in protecting the university from further harm.

In a previous post I attempted to provide a balanced critique of the role of the former Illinois State Senate President Emil Jones. After some reflection, I discovered there were some other important things that he did for the university that I did not mention. First, he got the university a percentage of the gambling money from the last gambling license awarded by the State. That battle yielded several million dollars in funds used to directly support our students. The lack of financial resources is the number one impediment for our students. Other state universities expressed their displeasure over CSU getting the funds thus it is imperative that those funds be used and distributed appropriately. Putting someone with no financial aid experience in charge of those funds was sheer folly. As the softest target in the state for budget cuts, I hope the university isn't at risk of losing those monies. Senator Jones also provided start up money for the university to open a Policy Institute, which in subsequent years failed because of university administrative mismanagement. Like his support in other areas it was done without fanfare or publicity. Senator Jones was also instrumental in getting money for the university to get several of its academic programs and the College of Business accredited. Those activities cost money and the past president leaned on Senator Jones to get resources. It was usually the administration that found a way to mismanage those resources. Loyal readers, if you know of other instances of Senator Jones providing help to the university, let me know.

And finally watch this space for the next chapter of As The University Gets Sued.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with my colleague concerning the privileges and responsibilities of tenured faculty members. Just to clarify, it is absolutely appropriate for employees who are not eligible for tenure (i.e., non-tenure track faculty members, Academic Support Professionals [ASPs], and Technical Support employees) to engage in union activities to the extent they wish to. I do, however, always encourage tenure-track faculty members who have not yet received tenure to refrain from participation in high-profile union activities until they have attained that status.