Re: hittin' the road

Steve Krause (krause@MIND.NET)
Wed, 25 Sep 1996 21:01:12 -0700

Gene writes:

>Maybe this Minnesota thing will wake a few people up the the fact that
>there's no safe place to hide. No more crystal mountain top palace. We're
>in this world with the rest of the rabble and Lord help us if we don't
>learn the real meaning of praxis.
I think this is a good point and it points out that tenure has (de)volved
into infinite job security, when the fact of the matter is it was
originally intended as a means of protecting academic freedom-- after you
demonstrated your "worthiness" to the institution, you could pretty much
say and write whatever you wanted without fear of getting fired. I dunno,
maybe this is a bit idealistic. Maybe it always was idealistic. But I
think its fair to say that the sort of free speech/free scholarship that we
value in academia is frequently at odds with a college or university run
like a "lean and mean" corporation.

I agree that tenure ought to be reformed and we ought to end the "crystal
mountain" as Gene puts it. But there is a middle-ground between
untouchable and unprotected. For example, why not provide some form of
tenure that is necessarily renewable, meaning that if someone becomes lazy
and incompetent, it's easier to dismiss them? Why not try to re-write the
tenure rules so that it is much more closely tied to protecting our rights
to express potentially unpopular views instead of just blanket job

I mean, I'm not worried about getting fired anytime soon-- doing computers
and compositon makes me a valuable asset to my institution, as I suspect it
does for a lot of folks on this list. But I don't want someone yanking the
one thing that I see as enabling faculty from trying to effect radical
change within the institution.

Steve Krause * Department of English * Southern Oregon State College
1250 Siskiyou Blvd. * Ashland, OR 97520 * Office Phone: 541-552-6630
School e-mail: * Personal e-mail: