Minnesota takes aim at tenure University faculties begin organizing drive


Minnesota's public university system is exploring revisions to the faculty tenure code that would allow cuts for the first time in professors' salaries for reasons other than financial emergency and would allow the dismissal of professors if their programs were eliminated.

Under the current code, tenured professors can be laid off only if a department or a college is closed.

In response, some faculty members have begun a drive to organize a union that would represent the 3,000 or so professors at the university system's four campuses.

Their move has prompted the state labor board to bar the university from any changes until after a facultywide referendum on unionizing is held, perhaps as early as next month.

The tenure proposal, made Sept. 5 by the 12-member Board of Regents, has been condemned by the Minnesota faculty, whose professors teach 67,000 students at campuses in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Duluth, Morris and Crookston.

Fred L. Morrison, a University of Minnesota Law School professor who helped write the current tenure code, said he and many colleagues opposed the proposal because it "dramatically shifts the burden of tenure decisions from the faculty to the regents and reduces the right of appeal."

Pub Date: 9/22/96

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