August 1, 2012
The undersigned individuals and organizations of the academic community, from local and neighboring states, write to express their concern with the attempt to end tenure for the faculty at Wayne State University, and eliminate job security for Academic Staff at the negotiations table.
By describing their actions as a “financially-based reduction in force” - which the administration has always had the ability to enforce - the administration has mischaracterized this as a dispute over the terms and conditions of employment. Blinded by their will to advance the corporate model agenda, the administration has lost sight of the traditional idea of a university and mistakenly challenged the entire academic community, not just those on the other side of the table.
The proposed language by the administration is extremely broad, stating that any faculty member “tenured or probationary,” may be terminated for “adequate cause” in “failure to meet professional responsibilities, including teaching and scholarly and research productivity,” and “failure to perform academic assignments competently.” Peer review will be eliminated, replaced with the judgment of a collection of administrators, chairs, deans, and directors.
If adopted, the result of this language would be devastating to the University. Current faculty will begin to look elsewhere and prospective faculty will seek other employment. Further, we are extremely concerned that the position of the administration will have a chilling effect on the quality of education at Wayne State University. And if an idea that is so destructive gains traction at Wayne State, other administrations elsewhere may well adopt it as a goal to undermine the faculty at other universities.
We hope you will join us in supporting the Wayne State Negotiating Team in their attempt to preserve tenure at Wayne State University.