The authoritative right wing governor who is against woke and pushed through the don’t say gay bills in schools including up to 12th grade (yes no child has internet and heard about gay people by the time they are legal able to vote) has appointed a board to judge each teacher / professor by their ideology. If they are not republican enough, then they get fired or denied tenure. Remember the point of tenure was to ensure that political influence was removed from higher education teaching. That has not worked well for Republicans that are now a dying minority desperate to hold on to power. This is scary as everything DeathSantis has managed to do in Florida has been copied in other red states. Hugs
Inside Higher Ed reports:
During a contentious Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday, five professors at the New College of Florida were denied tenure—even though they had already received approvals at every other point in the process.
Those professors are the latest casualties of the culture-war politics that led conservative trustees appointed by Florida governor Ron DeSantis to spearhead a self-declared “hostile takeover” of the college.
The tenure denial prompted the abrupt resignation of Matthew Lepinski, the faculty trustee on the board, who accused fellow members of destabilizing NCF. Lepinski walked out after the vote, announcing suddenly that he was “quitting the college.”
The Associated Press reports:
The school’s interim president, DeSantis ally and former state House Speaker Richard Corcoran, said in a memo to the trustees that he wanted the professors’ tenure denied or delayed in part because of the administrative changes and because of “a renewed focus on ensuring the college is moving towards a more traditional liberal arts institution.”
The trustees denied tenure for all five professors on identical 6-4 votes, with the new conservative board members in the majority. Shouts of “shame on you!” came from the audience afterward.
The five professors denied tenure are Rebecca Black and Lin Jiang, who both teach organic chemistry; Nassima Neggaz, history and religion with a focus on Islam; coastal and marine science professor Gerardo Toro-Farmer; and Hugo Viera-Vargas, whose specialty is Caribbean/Latin American studies and music.
In my 13 years in the Florida State University System I have NEVER seen a Board of Trustees overturn a tenure decision. The justification here were vague "extraordinary circumstances," with one board member citing "questionable publication histories." A 🧵on why that's bunk:
Tenure isn't just a rubber stamp. It's a years long process involving all levels of university governance, and it's incredibly thorough. These are the steps those candidates would have gone through before the Board decided to overturn it on a whim:
When you're hired to a tenure-track position, you receive both annual performance evaluations and annual tenure appraisals from your department chair. These monitor your progress towards tenure, and provide guidance for hitting the relevant marks.
At the midpoint between hiring and tenure, you undergo mid-tenure review. This involves compiling an exhaustive dossier of your accomplishments, which is appraised by a committee of your colleagues, your chair, and the dean.
All candidates must go up for tenure by their 6th year in a tenure-track position. If you go up early, as all of these New College professors did, it's because your case is a slam-dunk. You also tend to get extra scrutiny from your colleagues for going up early.
The tenure dossier is literally hundreds of pages, and it's a colossal amount of work to assemble. I've been through this process twice, once for tenure, and again for promotion to full professor. It's not fun.
Once your dossier is complied, it goes through multiple levels of review pursuant to established departmental, university, and CBA criteria. Most cases are approved (self-selection), but even then it's not 100%. Rejections happen, and it sucks for everyone involved.
By self-selection, I mean that weaker candidates tend to be weeded out earlier. Their appraisals and mid-tenure reviews make it clear that they are not progressing adequately, and they look for other positions rather than face rejection. Denial of tenure is a really bad look.
Tenure cases are reviewed by external referees, a committee of departmental faculty, the department chair, the dean, the university promotion & tenure committee, the provost, and the university president before ever getting to the Board of Trustees.
The university promotion and tenure committee is where most rejections happen. It consists of faculty from all over the university, and they take their job very seriously. The time commitment is immense, and I have the utmost respect for my colleagues who take this service on.
This basic process is used at every Florida SUS institution, including New College. There are some variations. New College, for instance, has divisions instead of departments, and a provost's advisory committee rather than a tenure and promotion committee, but you get the idea.
So by the time these cases arrived on the desks of Chris Rufo and his fellow partisan hacks, they had already gone through an exhaustive internal and external review process at the university level, and been found to have satisfied all of the relevant tenure criteria.
A note about the Boards of Trustees in the Florida State University System. They consist of 13 members: 6 appointed by the governor, 5 appointed by the SUS Board of Governors, as well as the student body president and the faculty association president.
DeSantis made 6 appointments to the Board back in January. They voted unanimously to deny tenure, and they were the only Trustees to do so. The vote was 6-4 in all five cases. I haven't seen any reporting yet on why three Trustees did not participate in the vote.
So there you have it. Five exceptional academics were voted down by a board of partisans appointed by a governor who's using the nation's highest ranked system of public universities as a political football in his quest for higher office.
Since these professors went up early, they can still apply for tenure again next year. But the more likely outcome is that they'll look for jobs elsewhere, as talented university faculty across Florida are now doing in ever-increasing numbers.
Originally tweeted by Nick Seabrook (@DrSeabrook) on April 27, 2023.