Faculty Senate fights for tenure at AIU

By Yvonne Condes
Arizona Daily Wildcat
January 23, 1996

UA Faculty Senate passed a motion yesterday in support of a tenure system at Arizona International University in opposition to the regents' recent decision not to instate tenure there.

"I think we need a strong public statement from the Faculty Senate supporting tenure," said Karen Anderson, associate history professor and senator-at-large.

Originally, Miklos N. Szilagyi, senator-at-large and electrical and computer engineering professor, proposed that an institution without tenure be kept separate from the University of Arizona. But Anderson suggested that more "friendly" wording be used in the proposal.

Anderson addressed the regents' claim that the system of tenure at AIU, the new four-year liberal arts university, will be experimental.

It is an experiment whose rationale has been articulated, but the real rationale is political, she said. She urged the senate not cave to the regents and spare other Arizona campuses the erosion of tenure.

Tenure on college campuses protects college professors from being reprimanded when speaking the truth, said Roy G. Spece Jr., law professor and representative. Not having academic security undercuts their freedom, he said.

"It is such a damaging blow to have one of our campuses experiment (with tenure)," Spece said.

But Faculty Chair John Schwarz, political science professor, said there are well-known colleges in the country without a legally-instated system of tenure.

For tenure to be reconsidered at AIU, the Faculty Senate must continue pushing, said Raphael P. Gruener, physiology professor and senator-at-large.

Kenneth J. Smith, education psychology professor and representative, questioned whether it is fair for some at AIU to have tenure while new faculty will not. He asked Celestino Fernandez, executive vice president and provost of AIU, if he was going to give up his tenure.

"I don't think it is yours or the senate's business," Fernandez replied.

Smith then asked, "You said what? You said it was none of our business?"

After the meeting Fernandez said "part of the situation is due to the fact that this is a new entity ... Nothing new ever happens without controversy."

UA President Manuel Pacheco said Fernandez is protected the same way that tenured faculty are. It would be inappropriate for faculty to suggest he give it up, he said.