From: Tzvee Zahavy <email@example.com> (86)
Subject: UM Tenure controversy continues
The Minnesota Daily 3/25/96
Tenure fuels heated debate
F.J. Gallagher - Staff Reporter
Changes in the University's tenure code inched closer to reality Thursday
afternoon when the University's Faculty Consultative Committee reviewed
proposed amendments to the policy.
"It's very much open to amendment," said Fred Morrison, a Law School
professor who helped author the amendments. "If anybody has any ideas,
you should draw up some text."
The Faculty Senate as a whole will consider tentative changes to the policy,
including one that ties future pay increases to incentives such as teaching
awards or grant funding gains, at meetings April 18 and May 16. An
additional meeting will be held May 30, if necessary. Any faculty member
wanting to make additional proposals must present revisions to the
committee's secretary by April 10.
Although the committee met, ostensibly to consider the proposals, members
instead spent the majority of time debating the wording of a statement
introduced by committee member Roberta Humphreys.
Before any discussion about changing the tenure code, Humphreys motioned
that the group adopt a three-part statement in response to a March 15
letter to the Washington Post from University President Nils Hasselmo and
consultative committee Chairman Carl Adams. The letter came on the heels
of a March 10 Post editorial criticizing Hasselmo's handling of the
The committee's statement, which Humphreys offered in the hope of "restoring
credibility to faculty governance and the tenure review process," corrected what
Humphreys said were "factual errors" in Hasselmo's response to the Post
editorial. Those corrections, she said, were:
The group pointed out that the original resolution by the Board of Regents
directs the administration, with no mention of any faculty input, to
develop changes in the tenure system. Hasselmo's letter to the Post,
Humphreys said, creates the impression that the regents' original
directive included a reference to faculty consultation.
The tenure review process actually began on Oct. 19, much earlier than
Hasselmo's letter to the Post stated. In his letter, Hasselmo maintains
that the regents first asked for a review of the code on Dec. 12.
The committee issued a statement agreeing with the Washington Post editorial.
The committee passed the statement by unanimous vote after amending the third
portion so it directs people to compare information in the Post editorial
with a Nov. 20 letter by Hasselmo to Regent Chairman Thomas Reagan. In
that letter, Hasselmo offers information that committee members said
contradicts his statements to the Post.
Several committee members expressed dissatisfaction with consultative committee
chairman Adams signing on to Hasselmo's letter without first consulting the
group. Others disagreed with Hasselmo's contention in the letter to the
Post that changing the tenure code in no way suggests that faculty
members will be laid off.
Apparently surprised by the criticism, Adams acknowledged that he should have
consulted the group before signing Hasselmo's letter.
The proposed changes to the tenure code now begin an arduous process, wending
through a series of committees before ultimately being handed to Hasselmo for
presentation to the regents.
Several committee members said they were concerned that the procedure could
stretch well into the next academic year. Faculty influence, they said, could be
reduced if important decisions are made during the summer when most people
are on vacation.
Health Sciences Provost William Brody appeared at the meeting to brief committee
members on the progress of restructuring the Academic Health Center. He answered
committee members' questions ranging from the nature of mistrust between the
public and the University to his experience with the legislative process
and University funding.
The fate of the center is by no means certain, Brody said, adding that any
number of factors could render the project impossible.
"At this point, it's still fairly probable," Brody said of retooling the
center, "but there are any number of ways that it could not happen."
Among them, he said, were concerns -- which he called "unfounded" -- about
employee pensions and the labor unions' continued obstinance regarding the
proposed academic entity.