Bill to eliminate tenure in Utah fails in House committee

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 8 2012 7:03 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — A second attempt by Rep. Chris Herrod, R-Provo, to eliminate tenure from university professors failed in a House committee Wednesday. 

Herrod, an adjunct professor at Utah Valley University, told the House Education Committee he believes a good way to improve the state's academic institutions is to eliminate tenured positions. He unsuccessfully ran similar legislation last session.

"What is so special about the university that we don't give to anybody else?" he said. "(Taxpayers) find it very difficult to understand why somebody has a lifelong position because they do not have it in their life."

Herrod's HB322 would have prevented all the state's higher education institutions from offering tenure-track positions after Jan. 1, 2012. It would, however, have allowed for 10-year contracts at the states two public research institutions — Utah State University and the University of Utah.

But the contract provision wasn't enough for most committee members and representatives from state schools. 

"This bill is not only unnecessary but would be very detrimental," said David Buhler, associate commissioner for the Utah System of Higher Education.

Buhler said it would put Utah at a disadvantage in attracting quality professors and administrators. 

Herrod's bill failed 10-4. 

Molly Farmer

Twitter: mollyfarmer

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