Comments about ‘Lawmaker's bill would end tenure for Utah professors’

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Published: Monday, Feb. 14 2011 1:00 p.m. MST

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Cedar City, UT

Wee dont kneed no kwalitee eddicashun heer in Yew-Tah!

brookings, SD

As a tenured full professor I can see the lawmaker's point of view. He believes this way because to him all professors are just cut out of same cookie cutters and can be replaced: one in English with a specialty in grammar, with one in Biology who knows all about gnomics and DNA and tree frogs. Yup, replace A with B.
Good grief. Where in the world did you go to school?

City, Ut

What's not to agree with??

"...after professors receive tenure the taxpayers cannot hold them accountable and the benefits of competition are removed." TRUE

"...when state agencies are trimming budgets, it is unfair for tenured professors to be exempt from cuts." TRUE

"...all professors should be evaluated for academic success and teaching skills. That would ensure the best professors are retained." TRUE AGAIN.

Only tenured professors who are enjoying the fruits of tenure, and feel entitled to them without any accountability--or those designing to be so tenured as well--will have issues with this.

Salt Lake City, UT

If this gets any national coverage via AP, it'll be Shooting Feral Cats, The Sequel.

On the other hand
Spanish Fork, UT

Take away the ability of Utah's universities to offer tenure-track positions, and you take away their ability to attract decent professorial talent. Professors aren't stupid and there are 49 states offering tenure to choose from.

The vast majority of professors are highly competitive professionally by nature, whether they're tenured or not. This bill sounds like a solution in search of a problem.

Ogden, UT

Who elects these nut jobs?

Catonsville, MD

This may be partly about muzzling the faculty. When I was a student at USU in the 1960s I learned the story of a state legislator who went to the USU vice president and asked him to silence two professors who had spoken against the legislator's pet project on the basis of their research expertise. If tenure is eliminated, professors will have to keep their mouths shut outside the classroom. They will also be very careful what they say within the classroom.

Fillmore, UT

not a good idea. are there good and bad professors at our universities? Yes. with this bill all that will be left is mediocre.

Logan, UT

Wow, so why would ANY professor want to teach in Utah? If there were no tenure then we would only get the leftovers that no other University with a tenure track wanted to hire. This is frighteningly short sighted.

Moab, UT

A bill written by a person that got his Bachelor's degree from BYU, a private university, and got his Master's Degree from BYU, a private university. His knowledge of this subject is extensive! WOW! Let's agree to you, Mr. Herrod, oh great wise one on public universities!

Moab, UT

Oh, and you would never guess what Mr. Herrod lists on his other possible conflict of interests section - Fencing. Fencing? The sport fencing? How is that a possible conflict of interest? The fencing association is requesting state funds to hold tournaments and training?

American Fork, UT

One thing is for sure. With this crackdown on intellectuals, Utah will experience a brain drain at our universities.

Tooele, UT

Re: "Who elects these nut jobs?"

We do. The people of Utah. The same people that pay you more than any other category of public servant in the state.

The same people that are mighty sick of listening to your childish, dismissive rants.

The same people that recognize tenured professors have developed a keen sense of entitlement to double, triple, quadruple or more, the wages we earn, and from whose pay theirs' is deducted.

The same people who recognize that we pay them many times what we pay police, firefighters, paramedics, soldiers, and other public servants who regularly place their lives on the line for us, and/or who actually do important, lifesaving work for us.

That's who elects these "nut jobs" that are beginning to see there is no good reason for maintaining "higher" education's expensive and unnecessary ivory tower.

Salt Lake City, UT

This "Representative" obviously doesn't even understand the concept of tenure, much less its purposes, obviously. Researchers need tenure to guarantee academic freedom. Just as someone mentioned in an earlier post, sometimes the results of this research is irritating to those in power: politicians, businesses, lobbyists, and even other professors and university bureaucrats. Researchers need the freedom to pursue subjects and results which may be accurate, but unpleasant.

I don't even know where to begin with your post, but I do know where to end: By dismissing it at ignorance.

Tenure produces medical cures, technology advances, and other quality of life improvements for society as a whole.

"police, firefighters, paramedics, soldiers, and other public servants who regularly place their lives on the line for us, and/or who actually do important, lifesaving work for us."

None of these individuals would be able to save as many lives as they do without the medical and technological advances that the tenured staff, such as Nobel Laureate Mario Cappechi, produce at Research I Universities like the University of Utah.


You know, I would really, really encourage these legislators before they begin making ridiculous laws, like getting THIS involved in education, to get into the universities and classrooms and find out what is really going on. I would never premise to understand how to run a hospital until I actually got in there and understood the stresses doctors, nurses, and other administrators are under. I wouldn't feel remotely comfortable making cuts to police, paramedic, and other departments until I had experience in how these departments needed to be run and the risks they take. Yet, legislators assume that because they barely know how to read, they can run the education system. They had better start doing their homework before the teacher calls on them and they find out they really didn't have all of the answers.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

This is a good proposal.

College costs continue to skyrocket, and tenured professors often teach few classes, and do little research, but merely feed at the public trough. We cannot afford that any more.

Much of higher education is infested with liberal hacks who do little more than indoctrinate students with leftist propaganda. [c.f.- Ayers, William or Obama, Barack]. The current system certainly fails to promote "diversity" as shown by the absence of all but a few token conservatives on campuses.

As for "none of the prestigious Harvard people will want to come to Utah" argument- Is that really a bad thing, or just a bunch of bruised egos?

Higher education needs to cut costs, improve quality of the education the provide to students, and present more balanced content, at least if they want public funding. Let the private schools hire and keep the Marxists if they like, but not on my tax dollars.

Agua Dulce, TX

What Herod doesn't realize is that tenure grants an academic researcher or professor the ability to question long-held presumptions or falsehoods without the feat of the taxpayers revolting. This is a good thing.

And it's very much like "term-limits" for House and Senate elected officials -- you don't want to be the first state to implement this, only the last. It will make Utah a wasteland for the quality professor job market.

Hyde Park, UT

USU and the UofU brought more than $500 Million in research funding into the Utah economy last year. Without the ability to attract top scientists and scholars, what percentage of that would be lost? (most of it)

Talk about shooting yourselves in the foot. Utah legislators... are they really so inept that they would kill the goose that laid the golden egg?

What would the Utah economy look like without that money? Our research universities are a huge benefit to the State.

Let's kick them again, legislature.... Makes sense.

Tooele, UT

Re: "Researchers need tenure to guarantee academic freedom."

Yeah, academic freedom, that's the ticket. That'll carry the day with the construction workers, day-care providers, and McDonald's employees that you demand must continue to pay your ridiculous salaries!

Let's see -- academic freedom -- that would be that misnamed concept of rigid, institutional orthodoxy that prevents any genuine independent thought, right?

The same concept that prohibits publishing by climate scholars whose papers may be critical of global warming myths, right? Or that ridicules researchers attempting to explain the Pons-Fleischman effect? Or that rides economists daring to differ with stuffed-shirt Keynesians out of universities on a rail?

Yeah, we're real worried about maintaining that "educational" fixture.

The term "freedom," in any other context, implies a lack of coercion or constraint. In "higher education," it connotes only strict, unbending adherence to Marxist dogma and permanent exemption from honest work.

Academics interested in real freedom have all left Academe, leaving only the whiners posting here.

Riverton, UT

I'm a professor at one of Utah's public universities. Here are a few facts, for readers who are lacking them.

It's already difficult to find qualified people to fill faculty positions. Perhaps that's because we get paid less than faculty at comparable universities in other states. We certainly don't "teach few classes and do little research".

When the economy is bad, students flock to the colleges and universities, and more faculty need to be hired. The tendency is not to cut faculty in those times. But in the present system tenured faculty can be cut if their departments need to be reduced/eliminated for budgetary reasons.

As was mentioned, tenure is really about academic freedom, and that leads to *progress*. I suspect that some taxpayers feel the faculty's only responsibility is to pass on knowledge from one generation to the next. In fact the universities are much more valuable than that. We know many things our professors didn't know because of research that is fostered by academic freedom.

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