tenure a thing of the past?

Tue Jul 22 03:47:27 UTC 1997

From:   IN%"RTROIKE at CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU"  "Rudy Troike" 21-JUL-1997 10:47
Subj:   FYI re AIC

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Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 10:46:53 -0700
Subject: FYI re AIC
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Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 10:10:00 -0700
From: Tenney Nathanson <tenney at AZSTARNET.COM>

For those of you who don't know Kali, she came to AIC this past year with
a critical book (from Cambridge)already in print and as the publisher
of a widely-respected journal and small press.

I'm out of town now so I haven't seen the Tucson Weekly piece, but I bet
it's a good read!.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 20 Jul 97 13:53:26 +0100
From: Kali Tal <Kali.Tal at yale.edu>

Subject: Fire-at-Will University

Dear Friends,

This is a copy of the letter I've sent to the Delegates list of the Modern
Language Association.  I'd very much appreciate it if you could forward it to
appropriate discussion lists, and bring it to the attention of academic
organizations to which you belong.  I'm interested in getting as much public
attention as possible directed at Arizona International Campus of the Univ. of
AZ, and in making the profession aware of the ways in which the University of
Arizona system is supporting the denial of faculty rights, academic freedom, and
due process.

Thank you,
Kali Tal


Dear Colleagues,

Arizona International Campus is a new campus in the University of Arizona
system.  It's a small liberal arts college, and it was advertised last year as a
non-tenure-granting institution that would develop other means to guarantee
academic freedom and due process for its faculty.  Five new professors were
hired and moved, from different parts of the country, to open its doors for the
1996-97 school year as its "Founding Faculty" members.  We were asked to make a
long-term commitment to the institution, and told that we'd take part in the
development of this new non-tenure system. We were also assured that the
one-year contracts given in our first year were "just a formality" because the
Arizona Board of Regents had not yet approved multi-year contracts for AIC
faculty.  On the promise of the Provost of AIC, Celestino Fernandez, that
multi-year contracts would certainly be offered the following year and that we
had nothing to fear in terms of nonrenewal, we relocated to Tucson and began our

The distressing turn which AIC has taken is described extremely well in this
week's issue of the _Tucson Weekly_.  You can find it on the Web at:


The 3800+ word article was written by Margaret Regan, who has received two
awards for her previous coverage of AIC's development.

The bottom line is that there is no due process and no protection of academic
freedom at AIC. All faculty members again received one-year contracts. My own
contract was not renewed, and the Provost refused to give an explanation for his
decision, though I believe that he did not renew me because of my tendency to
speak my mind, and to question his commitment to the principles of the
institution--particularly his commitment to due process.  Faculty evaluations
were highly irregular.  This may be hard to believe, but faculty were evaluated
with *the same one-page form* that was used to evaluate secretarial staff, and
there was no process for evaluating teaching, service work or scholarship.  No
faculty member took part in looking over the dossiers of other faculty members;
the decision was solely administrative and in the hands of one man, the Provost.
Finally, even though our letters of offer stated that we were to serve under the
terms and conditions of employment under development at AIC, my letter of
nonrenewal stated that I was no more than a year-to-year appointee, with no
rights under the tenure system in place at our parent campus, the University of

The push to eliminate tenure is very strong now, all over the country.  Some of
us have even supported the development of alternatives to tenure--I thought,
when I took the job at AIC, that I was helping to create a new kind of system
which would have the advantages of tenure, but none of its drawbacks.
Unfortunately, I discovered that those with the greatest enthusiasm for
eliminating tenure want most to eliminate its protections for faculty.  AIC has
been touted as "the future" of the academy.  If it *is* the future, then our
future will be made of academic sweat shops and a growing class of intellectual
migrant laborers.

I hope that you will take the time to read the _Tucson Weekly_ article, and to
pass it on to your colleagues.  At a time when tenure lines are going unfilled
for lack of funding, and part-time and year-to-year employment among academics
is growing by leaps and bounds, we need to pay careful attention to the ugly and
ill-constructed foundations upon which the "non-tenure revolution" in the
academy rests.

I'd appreciate responses, either on the list or privately, as well as any
suggestions about how to publicize the situation at AIC.

Kali Tal

Until recently a Professor at Arizona International Campus, Tucson.
Now a woman without an institution.

Kali Tal
kali at kalital.com

New Word Order Web Development
"Web Sites for Academics and Other Smart People"

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