Re: hittin' the road

Albert Rouzie (rouzie@OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU)
Thu, 26 Sep 1996 09:03:51 -0600

while your point about fitting in and tenure is well-taken, this does not
mean that tenure bears no relation to academic freedom. I wonder if there
are some good histories of tenure that might give us some perspective on
its role in protecting politically sensitive profs. I am also thinking of
countries where academic freedom simply does not exist and wonder whether
USA style tenure has helped to maintain at least the idea of protection
from censorship and retaliation here.

A last point: Getting rid of tenure is not going to eliminate grading,
evaluation, and fitting in standards in the profession. Some system of
evaluation will be put in its place. Perhaps that system will protect
controversial profs, perhaps not. Maybe it can help to prune dead wood
(although I think that more appealing early retirement options might do
that more humanely). Constitutional guarantees of free speech have never
and still don't apply to the workplace. That's why a corporation can fire
anyone for saying anything. If that happens in academia, look for more
bland homogenous scholarship and pedagogy. Also, it seems to me that
corporations and maybe even those in between spaces you suggest would share
the need to make its employees prove themselves over and over again.

I aint sayin keep tenure as is. But I am disturbed by this some of this
list's apparent eagerness to jump ship just when we need folks to take a


[Paragraph exised] Bob King wrote:
>RE: tenure and freedom of speech. The argument that tenure protects
>academic freedom is, in practice, in many cases, specious! First of all,
>a person gets hired as a tenure track faculty first of all because it's
>likely they already "fit in" with the existing faculty mindset at an
>institution. Then, if they prove otherwise in the next 6 or so years, they
>don't get tenure anyway.
>I think we have can look at the questions such as: who benefits from
>tenure, what exactly are the benefits that aren't already guaranteed by
>the constitution, what are the net effects of tenure in terms of morale,
>etc. Personally, the idea of tenure is a disincentive for me to want to
>work in academic institutions -- I'm not interested in proving myself to
>anyone, not interested in any more grading rituals! :)

Albert Rouzie
Dept of English-Ellis 385
Ohio University
Athens, OH. 45701

Eng: (614) 593-2838
Office: 593-2784
fax#: 593-2818

"Your book fills a much needed gap."
--Moses Hadas