The SanityPrompt

This blog represents some small and occasional efforts to add a note of sanity to discussions of politics and policy. This blog best viewed with Internet Explorer @ 1024x768

Saturday, April 23, 2005

You Can't Make this Stuff Up

My university (the University of Colorado) has been in the news lately for some unsavory reasons. Coming out of the controversy over how Ward Churchill was awarded tenure has been the proposal to form a university committee to study tenure. This placates the community somewhat because everyone thinks that tenure is being reconsidered. But the agenda set by administators and the Regents is to look at the process by which tenure is awarded. So far so good from the perspective of those within the academy.

Then comes this news from Denver Post:

A committee charged with reviewing the University of Colorado's systems for awarding tenure picked a retired U.S. Air Force general to lead the probe into whether to reform the process. Gen. Howell Estes III will become a member of the Advisory Committee on Tenure Review Processes. He will work with consultants to learn about the tenure process and how it's granted at other schools. The committee was formed after questions surfaced about why controversial professor Ward Churchill was given tenure without a seven-year review and without a Ph.D.

"We wanted a person who was absolutely beyond reproach," said Mark Alan Heckler, chairman of the review committee.

I think my favorite part of the story is "He will work with consultants to learn about the tenure process and how it's granted at other schools." Not quite sure how to interpret that. Does this mean he needs to learn about tenure? That's an interesting choice for someone to head the probe. The best way to seem above reproach is to know nothing at all about the issue that is central to the discussion.


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