Some define it as the securing of a permanent teaching position; whereas, I define it as the biggest load of feces in our education system – second only to the termination of mandatory naptime after kindergarten. Tenure was originally created to ensure that professors could work in an atmosphere conducive to free thinking and open inquiry. Unfortunately, it led to permitting unwarranted anti-Americanism and redundant liberalism to flow through our lecture halls unceasingly and irresponsibly.
Professor Ward Churchill of the Dept. of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, is the perfect example of why tenure is damaging to our university system. Churchill is best known for recently spouting off anti-American comments, like when he referred to the horrific 9/11 attacks as “gallant sacrifices” on the part of the terrorists and compared the victims of the attacks to one of the most notorious Nazi perpetrators. He constantly spews forth this treasonous rhetoric, knowing that year after year, he will still have a prestigious occupation and a decent salary funded by hardworking American taxpayers.
While, at first, Churchill appears to be an extreme example of what’s wrong with tenure, he’s hardly a rare case. Professor Linda Brodkey of UC San Diego required her students to read articles “proving” that all whites are racist; Dr. McTighe of the University of Louisville suggested that, in response to the Christian “zealot” inclination to vote Republican, his students “should all buy AK-47s and shoot them all!” Examples of this flagrancy could continue incessantly and each one of these professors has job security regardless.
Liberals and power-hungry professors across the country defend these people under the broad First Amendment, specifically the part that reads “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.” What these defenders fail to acknowledge is that, despite being incredibly high and mighty, university administrators are not Congress and can regulate the speech of the professors they employ. The “free speech” defense is thus completely ineffective, as even the Churchills of the university system should recognize. After all, a considerable number of tenured professors have been reprimanded in the past for speech-oriented reasons:
Professor Charles Fairbanks at Johns Hopkins University was relinquished from his duties when he spoke in favor of waging war against states that harbor terrorism.
Duke University forcibly removed one of its professors’ websites that had a link to an article suggesting that a strong military response to terrorism was appropriate.
University of North Carolina professor Michael Adams was suspended without a hearing for addressing Muslim terrorism in the United States and Israel.
Why are these and other professors not protected by the First Amendment rights and liberals like Ward Churchill are? Could it have something to do with the political orientation of their respective comments?
Clearly, tenure is nothing more than an excuse to defend liberal indoctrination and political extremism; it is a shield for the leftist soapbox commentaries and is mysteriously meaningless when conservatives are up to the firing squad. Professors like Ward Churchill and Dr. McTighe must be held responsible for their egregious and treasonous rhetoric. Universities clearly have a duty to repeal this abuse of authority to ensure professors are accountable for their actions — maybe then we can all work to bring back mandatory naptime.
Patrick Callahan is a junior political science major.