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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, July 1, 2022
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Tenure Protects Faculty and Academic Freedom

Dear Source:

So, what are the provisions for tenure, etc? I sincerely hope it adopts and follows the AAUP Policy on Academic Freedom and Tenure. I have been a strong proponent of the AAUP standards for over forty years. While a law professor in the states, I published a lengthy law review article on the AAUP standards and the courts. Academic freedom is absolutely essential in an institution of higher learning. While many administrators complain that its provisions for tenure “prevent” them from weeding out unproductive professors who have already attained tenure, I have been in a position while representing colleges to successfully remove such unproductive tenured professors–all it takes is management doing its job of evaluating faculty in a meaningful way, putting them on notice of shortcomings and following up on them, keeping the paper trail, and if progress is not achieved, terminating them. It is no different from any other just-cause termination. In the meantime, academic freedom and tenure protects faculty and hence students in the quest for knowledge through questioning and exploring the many facets of subjects in academia. If the UVI policy calls for something different, it would be good to know that. More information, please.

Dena Langdon
St. Thomas

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to visource@gmail.com.

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Dear Source:

So, what are the provisions for tenure, etc? I sincerely hope it adopts and follows the AAUP Policy on Academic Freedom and Tenure. I have been a strong proponent of the AAUP standards for over forty years. While a law professor in the states, I published a lengthy law review article on the AAUP standards and the courts. Academic freedom is absolutely essential in an institution of higher learning. While many administrators complain that its provisions for tenure “prevent” them from weeding out unproductive professors who have already attained tenure, I have been in a position while representing colleges to successfully remove such unproductive tenured professors--all it takes is management doing its job of evaluating faculty in a meaningful way, putting them on notice of shortcomings and following up on them, keeping the paper trail, and if progress is not achieved, terminating them. It is no different from any other just-cause termination. In the meantime, academic freedom and tenure protects faculty and hence students in the quest for knowledge through questioning and exploring the many facets of subjects in academia. If the UVI policy calls for something different, it would be good to know that. More information, please.

Dena Langdon
St. Thomas

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to visource@gmail.com.