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Eagle Eye

March 23rd, 2005 - 10:11 pm

Max Boot argues in favor of ending academic tenure:

[Ward] Churchill and his professorial colleagues are beneficiaries of the most ironclad protection for mountebanks, incompetents and sluggards ever devised. It’s called tenure.

To fire a tenured professor requires a legal battle that can make the Clinton impeachment seem like a small-claims dispute. Even if there is clear evidence of wrongdoing, professors are entitled to endless procedural safeguards against being fired.

The University of Colorado wanted to offer Churchill a generous financial settlement to leave voluntarily, but that idea has been torpedoed by regents angry at the idea of buying off this buffoon. An epic struggle looms in which Churchill and his numerous faculty defenders will nail their colors to the mast of “academic freedom.”

I’m still agnostic on the issue. Now that we have 24/7 news and a growing blogosphere to help keep it honest, I worry less and less about entrenched institutions. Universities can keep tenure if they so choose – but they can no longer avoid close public scrutiny and loud public derision.

And for now, that ought to do.

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