Saturday, February 26

Tenure stronger than ever?

Even to the right-leaning Mickey Kaus on Slate, the recent republican controversy over Ward Churchell may have only helped to bolster the case for academic tenure.

Newt Gingrich is calling for the dismissal of "anti-American" professors:

We ought to say to campuses, it's over…We should say to state legislatures, why are you making us pay for this? Boards of regents are artificial constructs of state law. Tenure is an artificial social construct. Tenure did not exist before the twentieth century, and we had free speech before then. You could introduce a bill that says, proof that you're anti-American is grounds for dismissal. [Emph. added]

This is the sort of provocative, popular, excitedly half-thought idea you'd say if you were Newt Gingrich or if you had a book to promote. If you are Newt Gingrich and you have a book to promote ... well, Katy bar the door! It's overdetermined. ... If the case for giving tenure to college professors was weakening before, it just got stronger, Gingrich having provided a living, breathing contemporary example of what the system was designed to protect against. ...