By Shannon M. Davis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tenure received staunch support from both UA President Manuel Pacheco and Faculty Senate Chair John Schwarz at yesterday's Faculty Senate meeting.
As part of his regular report to the Faculty Senate, Pacheco addressed the issue, stating tenure is vital for the future well-being of the University of Arizona as well as for maintaining competitiveness with peer institutions.
"Faculty must be free to research in controversial areas and profess unpopular ideas," Pacheco said. "The days of the McCarthy era are not all that far distant."
Both Schwarz and Pacheco emphasized the need for faculty and administration unity on the tenure issue and said they were working closely together.
"I believe it is possible to be an advocate for tenure down to the very last breath for this institution," Schwarz said.
Opponents of tenure argue that the courts will protect academic freedom, but some members of faculty and administration disagree.
"No right that must be protected and enacted on a daily basis should be subject to lengthy, expensive litigation processes," said Sen. Karen Anderson, associate history professor. "The individual shouldn't be expected to protect academic freedom through these means. The institution has the obligation to provide protection, not the individuals being affected. The academic integrity of the institution is being protected."
"I believe the notion that the courts will protect academic freedom is incorrect," said Paul Sypherd, vice president for academic affairs and provost, in a previous interview with the Wildcat.. "As soon as there is an inroad make against that fundamental and vital element of tenure, it will be eroded and disappear."
Agreement was not as strong regarding the issue of which institutions should have tenure. Both Pacheco and Schwarz said they would consider other ways to ensure academic freedom at future institutions.
When asked specifically about the possibility that tenure will not be offered at the New Campus, Pacheco said, "No determination has been made. We shouldn't refuse to consider other arrangements as other institutions are established."
Sen. Marlys H. Witte, professor of surgery, said she wants academic freedom for all levels of education.
"Tenure is an appropriate institution for all teachers, from kindergarten to college. It protects due process and free speech," Witte said.
The issue of tenure was discussed at the Arizona Board of Regents meeting last week in Tempe. The administrative staff for the regents will work with a faculty task force to compile a report for regents reviewing tenure.
Pacheco said regents are reviewing the merits of tenure based on a nationwide trend.
Anderson thinks the examination of tenure is based on an ideology of economics and control.
"They want to turn us into a low wage labor force," Anderson said. "It will become the revolving door of academia. They want control of our teaching, how we teach, what we teach and when we teach."
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