FIGHTING THE SYSTEM: UA administration proposal to change tenure rule draws fire from law professors.
In addition to football, the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees
has another important matter to consider — a system administration proposal to change the rule governing faculty tenure.
The crux of the opposition from faculty is their contention the rule would allow firing for the single reason that a supervisor found a faculty member non-collegial or disruptive. This is viewed as a threat to academic freedom, a way to punish statements administrators don't like. Collegiality can already be considered in an annual review, though not as the sole factor, they say. But as a stand-alone ground for firing, it would be ripe for abuse, the faculty argues.
For those following the case:
UALR Law faculty members Robert Steinbuch a
nd Joshua Silverstein
have written a lengthy response to the UA System counsel's defense of the rule change. You can read it here
. They say the counsel's representations have been frequently wrong or misleading. They argue against a rule change or, if a change is needed, to produce a proposal from an all-university committee including faculty members.
They begin with this point:
Counsel's Office claims “Some faculty members and administrators have expressed support for the proposed change while some faculty have shared concerns.”
Response: This language suggests that there is a division among the faculty on the proposal.
That is false. Faculty are almost universally opposed to the suggested amendments. For example, the faculty governing bodies of virtually every UA System campus have formally expressed their opposition to the proposed changes—on both substantive and procedural grounds.In addition, the feedback email address—firstname.lastname@example.org—had received only one comment in favor of the revisions as of December 9, 2017
The policy change may come up for action at the March meeting of the UA Board of Trustees.