The Sept.-Oct. 1997 issue of Academe presents a policy statement of the AAUP on post-tenure review. This statement was considered at meetings of the Executive Committee of the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Chapter of AAUP in December 1997 and January, 1998. The following expresses the Executive Committee's views on the topic.
As the policy statement in Academe makes clear, the topic of post-tenure review is not new and the AAUP has by past statements made clear that any such review, which undermines tenure policy as formulated by AAUP, is not approved. Therefore, there is significant doubt as to whether the existing stance of the AAUP is no longer adequate and, as a consequence, a new statement is now required.
The justification compelling to us for issuing a new statement is that various forms of post-tenure review are being proposed and, in many cases, implemented at American colleges and universities. Some of these thwart basic tenets of tenure defined by AAUP policy, and some have been administratively imposed rather than proposed and adopted by faculties. It is reasonable to provide some response from AAUP.
However, the response proposed in Academe is unsatisfactory because, in presenting a balanced discussion of the pros and cons of various proposed policies, statements are made which could be quoted out of context to defend some policies which in fact undermine tenure; further, the response fails to provide a clear condemnation by AAUP of such policies.
Instead of this response, it would be wiser for AAUP to offer a short statement which restates its long-maintained views on the topic.
The President of the University of Michigan has stated his opposition to post-tenure review and has strongly endorsed the maintenance of tenure.
Wilfred Kaplan (email@example.com)
University of Michigan Chapter