Mon. Oct 14th, 2019

Protect professors, protect education, protect tenure

By Megan Brewer — 

Picture this – your friend tells you on Monday she’s going to take you to dinner on Friday. She tells you to put together your best outfit, have your makeup looking popping and hair looking the best. She tells you she’s taking you somewhere five-star, and then she spends the whole week hyping it up.

Friday rolls around and you’re ready. You two go to the restaurant and she breaks it to you that all she’ll pay for is your drink.

That’s what the bill Sen. Chris McDaniel wants to pass is going to do to tenure for professors. except this is seven or more years of their lives and careers.

This is also what it’s going to do to student’s education.

Tenure allows professors to have academic freedom, which allows them to have lectures and content that is richer and on the edge. In turn, this allows students to receive a more intense and exceptional education.

Putting House Bill 200 into place would tell professors and students the most valuable part of education isn’t education, it’s money.

That’s why the state wants to pass it, to help with state budget, but why even have tenure at all if you’re going to do is put laws that contradict the whole point of tenure?

This bill will also allow for programs to get cut by the university.

“It would allow the (board of trustees) to dismiss tenured faculty whenever they judge that there is a need to modify or cancel an academic program; this makes holding tenure worthless,” professor David Owen said. “Tenure is essential to a vibrant research university as it insulates the discovery of new knowledge and construction of new understandings from political demands.”

Students come to college knowing they have a broad range of academic fields to choose from and study. Cutting certain programs that students are genuinely interested in isn’t the way to fix state budget problems.

After cutting a program, a professor would receive a 10 day notice they no longer have a job and just like that, a program students are enrolled in and a professor or two or three are gone.

Passing this bill is the state saying they’re going to fix budget problems by hindering education.

If we don’t have professors who can trust that tenure will allow them academic freedom and to keep their jobs, how will we get intellectual, intelligent professors?

It’s going to be hard to hire and retain faculty with a bill like this one.

How can we promise students an exceptional education if we do not have exceptional professors? If majors can be thrown away because someone outside of the educational system believes it isn’t a valuable major?

Tenure shows the universities commitment and trust to professors. Making this change would put a dent in that commitment and trust.

House Bill 200 shouldn’t be adopted, professors and students deserve so much more. Education shouldn’t be put on the back burner, it should be a priority.

After all, our representatives were all students once too. I’m sure they wanted nothing more than an exceptional education, so why don’t we get that as well?

Graphic by Mitchell Howes / The Louisville Cardinal

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