DEVELOPMENTS IN ATTACK ON TENURE AT U OF MINNESOTA

Charlotte Kates ckates at mosquito.com
Fri Apr 26 19:52:20 MDT 1996


>From: MARQUIT at physics.spa.umn.edu
>Date: Fri, 26 Apr 1996 19:56:23 -0500 (CDT)
>To: MARXISM at jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU
>Subject: DEVELOPMENTS IN ATTACK ON TENURE AT U OF MINNESOTA
>Sender: owner-marxism at jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU
>Reply-To: marxism at jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU
>
>PLEASE GIVE THIS MESSAGE THE WIDEST POSSIBLE
>CIRCULATION THROUGH ALL APPROPRIATE CHANNELS. TENURE AND
>ACADEMIC FREEDOM ARE AT STAKE THROUGHOUT THE NATION. AS
>CAN BE SEEN FROM WHAT FOLLOWS BELOW, THE RESPONSE THUS
>FAR TO AN EARLIER INTERNET POST HAS HAD A DECISIVE
>INFLUENCE ON THE DEVELOPMENTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF
>MINNESOTA.
>
>The attempt by University of Minnesota president Nils
>Hasselmo and the Board of Regents to dismantle tenure
>and undermine academic freedom at the university and to
>extend this action nationwide received a sharp, but by
>no means final, rebuff on April 18 when the University
>Senate overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning
>the procedures being used to depict the process of
>Tenure Code revision as originating with the faculty.
>The resolution stated that the process has been "flawed
>from the beginning" and "has not been faculty initiated
>or faculty led as has been claimed by the central
>administration."
>
>Although this action did not put an end to the threat
>to tenure and academic freedom at the University of
>Minnesota, it did open the opportunity to strengthen
>the local and national resistance to the attacks on the
>institution of tenure. Expression of opposition to the
>dismantling of tenure at the University of Minnesota by
>individuals and university bodies nationwide can be an
>important factor in the struggle to save tenure and
>academic freedom everywhere.
>
>On November 20, 1995, in a letter to Board of Regents
>chair Thomas J. Reagan, President Hasselmo outlined
>several changes in the current Tenure Code that he
>wished to see made. Among them were shifting of tenure
>from the university as a whole to the departments
>(which obviously would permit elimination of tenured
>faculty with the elimination or reorganization of
>departments and units), reduction of the percentage of
>tenured faculty, decoupling salary from tenure, and
>increasing beyond seven years the length of the
>probationary period before tenure is granted. On
>December 8, 1995, the Board of Regents called for a
>nationwide discussion on tenure and set a timetable to
>adopt the changes to the Tenure Code at its May 1996
>meeting. The administration and the chair of the
>Faculty Consultative Committee (FCC, the University
>Senate's steering committee), Professor Carl Adams,
>without prior discussion with the members of the FCC,
>had already agreed to assign the drafting of Tenure
>Code revisions to an ad hoc Tenure Working Group, a
>committee that proved to be dominated by members of the
>administration and administration-oriented faculty.
>
>An editorial in the Washington Post on March 12, 1996,
>mentioned the fierce negative reactions expressed by
>faculty around the country on the Internet about the
>developments at the University of Minnesota. The
>editorial, quoting from President Hasselmo's letter of
>November 20, expressed support for his efforts to
>weaken tenure. Embarrassed by the editorial, since he
>steadfastly maintains that he is committed to preserve
>tenure (in its dismembered form), he sent a letter on
>March 15 to all University of Minnesota faculty, the
>Washington Post, and a national list of university
>administrators alleging that his position as reported
>in the editorial was the result of misinformation being
>propagated on the Internet. Carl Adams cosigned the
>letter as chair of the FCC without consulting the
>members of that committee.
>
>At its March 21 meeting, one FCC member proposed that
>the FCC inform via E-mail all University of Minnesota
>faculty that the information reported in the Washington
>Post was a "fair summary" of both President Hasslemo's
>letter of November 20, 1995, and the resolution adopted
>by the Board of Regents at its December 1996 meeting.
>After being watered down somewhat by amendment so as
>not to acknowledge explicitly the accuracy of the
>Washington Post editorial, the resolution passed. The
>amended resolution provided for including in the E-mail
>dispatch both Hasselmo's letter and the Post editorial
>so that faculty could compare both.
>
>Preliminary, but incomplete results of the Tenure
>Working Group, consisting of some thirteen proposed
>amendments to the Tenure Code, were transmitted to the
>Tenure Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Faculty
>Affairs, which, in turn, released them to the faculty
>without endorsement for discussion at the April 18
>meeting of the university senate. These proposed
>changes, embraced, among other things, decoupling
>salary from tenure and extension of the probationary
>period for the granting of tenure.
>
>The present Tenure Code provides for "advice and
>recommendation" from the senate on amendments to the
>code prior to adoption by the Board of Regents. In
>response to an appeal by nineteen senior faculty, the
>senate, at its April 18 meeting, voted to suspend the
>rules so that no proposals for changes in the Tenure
>Code be presented for discussion at the meeting and
>therefore not set in motion the "advice and
>recommendation" process that would actually permit the
>regents to change the code without the consent of the
>senate. The senate then adopted the resolution
>mandating that the present process be stopped. The
>members of the University Senate were particularly
>incensed by the fact that three of the four attorneys
>that drafted the tenure code revisions represented the
>administration.
>
>The senate resolution stated that "no information has
>been provided by the central administration nor by the
>Regents of the extent and cause of the financial crisis
>that justifies drastic changes in the Tenure
>Code....There is no explanation of why the old Tenure
>Code is inadequate."
>
>The resolution notes that "there is evidence of
>increasing national concern by faculties at other
>universities throughout the U.S. about the revision of
>the Tenure Code at the University of Minnesota as shown
>by the attached resolution from the University of
>California [senate] at Berkeley [See excerpt below].
>The negative impact has had serious ramifications for
>the prestige of the University of Minnesota which have
>begun to make faculty recruitment and retention
>difficult."
>
>The resolution concludes with a formal declaration that
>"the Faculty Senate has no confidence in the process of
>revision of the Tenure Code as it has been carried out
>thus far. The Faculty Senate mandates that the present
>process be stopped." The resolution concludes with the
>demand that the "ad hoc Tenure Working Group be
>disbanded immediately and its functions be assumed by
>the three faculty governance committees, that is, the
>Tenure Subcommittee, Judicial Committee, and the Senate
>Committee on Faculty Affairs."
>
>Although the administration's initial strategy has been
>disrupted, the threat to tenure still remains. After
>all, the ad hoc Tenure Working Group was established
>with the agreement of the senate's steering committee.
>There is no guarantee that the senate, whose members
>were elected on the basis of personal prestige when the
>questions of tenure and academic freedom were not under
>discussion, will be able to resist administrative and
>outside pressure to compromise on this issue of tenure.
>For this reason, many faculty consider collective
>bargaining to be the only secure defense of faculty
>rights. The University Faculty Alliance, formed in
>January to defend tenure, has been gathering signatures
>on collective bargaining representation statements. If
>thirty percent of the faculty sign such statements, a
>cease-and-desist order can be obtained from the state's
>Bureau of Mediation Services to prevent changes in the
>Tenure Code until the collective bargaining issue is
>resolved.
>
>In the meantime, faculty at other institutions can
>defend the institution of tenure, both at the
>University of Minnesota and in academe as whole by
>expressing their concern about any weakening of tenure
>to the president of the University of Minnesota, Nils
>Hasselmo, to the chair of the Board of Regents, Thomas
>J. Reagan, and to the Office of the University Senate
>(all three at Morrill Hall, University of Minnesota,
>Minneapolis, MN 55455). The numerous expressions of
>concern received from individual faculty and faculty
>bodies from all over the United States have had an
>important effect in our struggle to protect tenure. For
>example, the Academic Senate of the University of
>California, Berkeley, passed a resolution calling on
>the regents of the University of Minnesota to "cease
>all efforts to undermine the institution of tenure,
>whether by easing restrictions on the termination of
>tenured faculty or by forcing tenured faculty to leave
>by decoupling their compensation from tenure." This
>resolution was reported by the local and university
>press and was cited in E-mail messages to the
>university faculty on the eve of the senate meeting of
>April 18. It was reproduced in full for distribution to
>the senators at the meeting itself on the reverse side
>of the appeal from the nineteen senior faculty who
>urged support the suspension of the rules to stop the
>administration-guided tenure revision process.
>
>It will be helpful to inform the University Faculty
>Alliance (Professor Tom Walsh,, Co-coordinator UFA,
>School of Physics and Astronomy, University of
>Minnesota, 116 ChurchStreet S.E., Minneapolis,
>MN 55455-0112; E-mail:tfw at mnhepo.hep.umn.edu)
>of actions taken to support the defense of tenure at
>the University of Minnesota. For updated information
>on the situation and full text of various documents
>concerning the tenure question at the University of
>Minnesota, see the Web home page of the University
>Faculty Alliance at the following Internet address:
>
>http:\\mnnt1.hep.umn.edu/ufa
>
>Submitted by:
>Professor Erwin Marquit, School of Physics and Astronomy.
>University of Minnesota 116 Church Street SE, Minneapolis,
>MN 55455-0112
>
>(612) 922-7993
>
>marquit at physics.spa.umn.edu
>
>
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