Professors in Utah say ending tenure would stifle academic freedom

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  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 11:07 p.m.

    Re: "Don't discount the possibility that these crazy bills will pass. Herrod has friends on the hill . . . ."

    And many, many friends among those that really count -- the voters and taxpayers.

    Expect "crazy" bills, those reintroducing sanity and accountability to tax-funded activities -- including "higher education" -- to become the norm.

    We also expect shrill, desperate liberal spinmeisters to label anything approaching sanity or accountability as "crazy."

  • farley Provo, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 6:26 a.m.

    Mr. Herrod want to take over control of the university TV and radio, and end the tenure system. It looks like he is unhappy with a point of view different from his own.

    There have been elected officials in the past who have done similar things -- we often forget that Hitler was elected as president in Germany. He didn't like the media -- so he took over control of it. Destroying the university -- which is what the destruction of the tenure system will be -- fits the bill.

    Herrod, I see also re-introduced the bill that was defeated last year, that children not be required to be in booster seats.

    Where do we get these guys? When will the voters get rid of these ideologues?

    The answer: when we start voting for good people instead of those with the R by their name.

    The system is broken and Herrod's totalitarian bills are the best measure of it.

    Don't discount the possibility that these crazy bills will pass. Herrod has friends on the hill -- Sandstrom, Wimmer, and a bunch of others.

  • Rock Of The Marne Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 17, 2011 8:47 p.m.

    Getting rid of tenure would cause immense harm to Utah's two major research universities (University of Utah and Utah State) especially in terms of being able to recruit quality faculty. How are you going to attract quality professors if they have no guarantee of academic freedom? This has to be one of the most shortsighted and potentially economically damaging proposals to come out of the Utah State Legislature in a long time (and thats saying something). Why the huge grab for power and control by the Legislature? They seem to want to control everything which is what they turn around and accuse the Federal Government of. Young talented PHDs/future candidates the writing seems to be on the wall. Get out of Utah while you can as the elected officials in Utah have little respect for education (primary and higher) as evidenced by their attacks there on. Those that refuse to adequately invest in it and respect it should not garner your loyalty in any way. Utah will reap what it sows and I fear it wont be good in a competitive economic sense in an ever more competitive world.

  • geedub Santee, CA
    Feb. 17, 2011 6:14 p.m.

    Tenured university professors, for the most part, are a bunch of lazy coasters who barf up the same lecture year after year. I know, because I spent 8 years getting two degrees in geology and engineering. Most of the professors I had had no idea of the real world. Make the professors earn their keep for a change.

  • washcomom Beaverton, OR
    Feb. 17, 2011 6:04 p.m.

    I will support tenure - only when it is supported by a job well done. If the job is faulty, the support will be as well, and tenure is out the window.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 17, 2011 5:51 p.m.

    Tenure should be ended in Utah's public colleges and universities!

    It might be nice if it were (as intended) protection for excellent researchers and teachers. However, tenure is now little more than guaranteed immunity and featherbedding for liberals who are mostly adept at running liberal indoctrination centers.

    End tenure now in all public schools (K-12 and college). Let the "best and brightest" who cannot survive in the marketplace of ideas and freedom of expression flee to private schools.

    It has been said "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." It is time to clean out the parasites being supported at the taxpayers' expense and get back to actual academic excellence.

    And, maybe that might even encourage some of the "diversity" loved by liberals, to include a few token conservatives into the academia.

  • logical Meridian, ID
    Feb. 17, 2011 5:47 p.m.

    "Intellectual Freedom" what a statement. The bottom line is that the people of the state pay these people's (Yes they are employees, not Gods) wages and we don't have any say about what they teach? I am certainly not in favor of telling people what they believe, but I firmly believe that I have a say on how my tax dollars are spent. If you want total freedom, teach at a private university. Oh, yea they control their "Professors", because they have to keep their constituency happy. The state schools should do no less.

  • byronbca Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 17, 2011 5:10 p.m.

    Tenure is necessary only if we want good professors teaching at our universities.

    Professors don't make much money for the education that they have but one thing they do have is stability. If we take that stability away from them they are not going to want to teach here.

    It's going to be really hard to attract good professors to Utah if we end tenure.

  • Gentile brookings, SD
    Feb. 17, 2011 4:57 p.m.

    Ahem... as a university professor with tenure let me say this: it is a needed protection against the vagaries of deans, department heads, and citizens with too much money demanding only one thing gets taught in the classroom, etc.
    Tenure protects intellecualism and free thinking. Without it, thoughts would fly by with the wind and head to where ever someone most powerful would push them. Seen it, been there, done it. Tenure is what keeps the university system viable. Without it ... oh, you don't want to go there. Protect your professionals so that they can tell the truth to your children and to society.

  • Mukkake Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 17, 2011 4:52 p.m.

    One further note: At the University of Utah even Art professors do research.

  • deserthound Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 17, 2011 4:49 p.m.

    Another example of brilliance from the Utah Legislature. It would be great if Herrod would admit it that he simply doesn't want his kids or anyone else learning to think for themselves. That's what this is about. Same as his wanting to exert legislative control over KUED. He want's everyone to look at the world through his blinders. What's ironic is the blatant hypocrisy. The narrow-minded rants about big government and preserving individual freedoms ring pretty hollow when somebody else's freedom contradicts their narrow-minded view of the world.

    To 'Considering' and your rant about "guaranteed academic freedom for liberals but inability to even get a teaching job for conservatives", I would love to see some statistics to prove that one.

  • Mukkake Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 17, 2011 4:46 p.m.


    Many Universities, such as the University of Utah, require both tenured and tenure-track professors to conduct research. Research and published work are also what is evaluated when granting tenure, not just teaching ability.

    Unlike what most may think, most Universities place research as high, if not higher than teaching ability. Quality research is what earns Universities grants and prestige. The quality of a specific department at a University is usually evaluated by the the type and quality of the research being performed, and most informed students pick a university based on this.

    Good teaching is directly related to good research. Most doctorates require research and a professor who does not continue to do research is lazy, uncurious, and will be left behind before too long, as most academic disciplines require constant effort on the part of a professor to keep up with current knowledge of a topic.

    Research is all about staying up to date and making a contribution to your field. Any college professor not engaged in research, required or not, is not one who you would want to take a class from. (The caveat to this is if they are near retirement.)

  • On the other hand Spanish Fork, UT
    Feb. 17, 2011 4:33 p.m.

    In the 1600s, Galileo Galilei was condemned to house arrest for conducting research which, much to the displeasure of the Roman Catholic church, demonstrated that the sun, not the earth, was at the center of the solar system.

    In the Soviet Union, all academic work was subject to censorship, and academics whose research agendas displeased the Communist party could lose their jobs, be arrested, or even be banished to forced labor camps. For example, the Soviets disliked genetics, so all geneticists were forced, one way or another, to suspend their research. In recent years, Vladimir Putin has called for a return to academic censorship, arguing that "unpatriotic" academic publications are hurting Russia.

    In China today, academics who anger the government can be fired with no explanation. You can imagine that any academic criticism of China's government is pretty tame.

    Herrod's shortsighted bill would take us one dangerous step closer to joining this academic censorship hall of shame, not to mention making it ridiculously difficult for colleges to recruit quality faculty. The legislature has no business micromanaging state universities and colleges.

  • BO Holladay, UT
    Feb. 17, 2011 4:24 p.m.

    Time to take your medicine!

  • readAbook Provo, UT
    Feb. 17, 2011 3:54 p.m.

    Can this state get anymore broken? Apparently, yes.

    So this guy basically wants all schools to function on ONLY adjunct faculty that are under payed with no benefits...Because that's what you'll get with no tenure. Just like Public Ed anyone good will go elsewhere.

    I have two siblings that are professors in other states and they didn't even consider applying for non-tenure track jobs. In fact one was fast tracked so they could make her department head.

    One good friend who has taught in Utah for 10 years is moving to Texas so she can finally get payed a living wage with benefits. All my other other Prof friends have retired. This state is hemorrhaging good teachers already, this is a nail in the coffin.

  • Considering Stockton, UT
    Feb. 17, 2011 3:35 p.m.

    For those few professors actually involved in publishing and research, tenure may have some merit. Of course, the manner in which tenure is granted leaves a lot to be desired. What we have today is, effectively too often, guaranteed academic freedom for liberals but inability to even get a teaching job for conservatives.

    However, how many professors, Statewide, are really engaged in research or publishing rather than merely teaching? Anyone whose job description does not include research and publishing should not expect tenure.

    Even those who have tenure should expect that it is limited to merely academic freedom, not a guarantee against job loss for anything short of a felony.

  • EJM Herriman, UT
    Feb. 17, 2011 3:01 p.m.

    And for the powers that be that scares them. Encouraging intellectual curiosity? We would hate to teach or encourage our students to go down that road. They might actually learn how to THINK. My only question is this: When are Utahns going to finally demand, through the ballot box, common sense? When are we going to begin to vote for the person and NOT for the party? Probably never but a guy has to dream!