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Friday, February 4, 2011

End the Tenure

The argument in favor of "academic freedom" (which is just a euphemism, it is not freedom if it infringes upon the right of the university to fire their professors) is that professors and intellectuals should be able to publish their ideas, no matter how controversial, without the fear of being fired. If professors and intellectuals knew that their job is threatened by what they say then they might suppress their controversial ideas because of this fear. Hence, the argument goes, that these ideas need to be protected. So that professors and intellectuals would be able to express their true intentions.

This is something that concerns me. I got no tenure, I am just a professor who lectures classes. But I do see a future in where I hold a regular position with tenure. In a way I am speaking of my own future. I do not agree with a tenure. I should not, nor should any other professor, be given this privilege. If universities are happy to give such positions to their professors then that is okay, but there should be absolutely no mandate requiring universities to always keep their professors.

Not just tenure but everything else about being a professor is wrong too. Take for example the Sabbatical. Every number of years a professor takes a year (or half-a-year) off and gets paid in the meantime. Why? What did a professor accomplish exactly that makes him deserve such a privilege? Being a professor is by far, without any exception, the laziest job in the whole world. You work like 10 or 12 hours a week, sometimes even less. You have off during the winter time, off during the summer time. There is no any physical hard work in being a professor. But somehow they get off for a half-a-year to a year because it is such a hard job. Miners who dig for 12 hours a day with an extremely dangerous job and very physical work get no such privilege. Nor does any other kind of profession that I know of. But somehow professors, the laziest of all the lazy people, get so much time off. Why?

If professors want to make themselves some extra money they should go and work (or start a business, which in a way, is work also). With all the free time that they have I am sure they can hold a temporary job, with a good pay since of their high level of education. They should work instead of having all of these bonuses given out for them for free.

I do not believe in any kind of protected species of people. Because this is contrary to equality before the law. If professors are given all of these benefits by law that other people do not get that is not exactly legal equality.

I remember I once heard an argument in a forgein country that reporters should be protected from certain speech put against them because that would enhance their reporting abilities. How is this argument really so different from academic "freedom"? Why should reporters be given this special protection status above other people? That is inequality before the law.

But really now let us just consider whether or not it is true tenure actually helps professors express themselves? Do most tenured professors write deep works of controversy? None at all. There are some professors who do, but that is rare. Most professors are exactly just like most people. Most people repeat the mainstream ideas that are currently held. Why should we expect professors to be any different.

Even if it was true that professors and intellectuals were expressing ideas that are controversial to the public there will still be something holding them back. The outrage of the public. People do not just stop themselves from saying controversial things because they fear they will lose their job, they also fear how other people will think of them. In simpler words, collectivism. Professors, just like most people, are stopped from sometimes saying their true thoughts and ideas because they are afraid of how other people will treat them. Thus, I do not see how academic "freedom" really helps remove this fear that professors supposedly have about saying their true thoughts.

Tenure is not a harmless policy. It disincentives professors from working hard to be professors. Professors with tenure often come late, become irresponsible, and other negative traits they would not have if they had to work for their position. And who suffers? The students. Well not just the students who have to sit in the lectures of these terrible professors. But also the future professors would are excellent and who are able to do a superior job than these lazy irresponsible tenures. This policy is harmful and produces very little that is positive, it should be abolished, entirely.

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