Your Tenure May be Terminated… by an Angry Student!
One of the advantages of being a university teacher is being ‘tenured,’ which really means that no one, not even the University president, can send you home.
And you earn tenure either through reputation or by climbing the academic ladder in the department.
But realizing that not even the incoherent Dean, or the the often absent and often unapproachable Director of your institute, cannot prevent you from doing what you like to do most — and incidentally feed your family.
It is an historic arrangement, which permits the Professor to say what he thinks fear no reprimand or revenge from any power, unless he believed in an extraterrestrial article which would mete out punishment undeterred by freedom of speech!
The origin of a teacher’s tenure is associated with the so-called Age of Reason. battles between the Republican French and the Church to remove the Church from controlling the schools and universities led to their transformation from instruments of religious and political whims to ‘sacrosanct’ institutions, which even the army or the police can enter.
In the United States adopted the scheme in the early 20th Century, but not the protection of universities from the police and the army, and shootouts did occur in many occasions. The most notorious is the killing of Kent State University demonstrators during the Vietnam era.
This went along with the structural violence which underlies the American traditions, and permeates socially as well as politically, domestically as well as overseas.
The University of Texas at Houston, was ordered by the court to permit students to carry arms, which was forbidden, throughout the university campus, and into the lecture room.
In response, the hapless university administration is preparing an advisory for teachers, some of them predict it would include, “Avoid sensitive topics” and “watch for angry students,” as well as “limit your access to students outside lectures” and “cut out topics that may inflame passions,” amongst the armed students.
One supposes that bullet-proof vests would be at a premium in Houston these days, but sniggering is not helpful, as the same may spread to other universities soon.
Tenure, as such, may be terminated without “due cause” by terminating the life as well as the employment of the “free thinker.”
The blanket covering the underlying violent structure is being trimmed by the Right Wing, a square foot at a time.
The American young, scurrying from one lecture hall to another, should make certain not to bump into an armed thug with a concealed weapon!