March 4, 2011
Some Thoughts on the ABA and Tenure
Law.com is reporting on the latest reactions to an ABA draft which interprets its accreditation standards as NOT requiring an approved school to offer tenure to its faculty. As Joe notes in his post, the Georgetown faculty issued a resolution opposing the draft interpretation, joining two other law schools who have done the same.
Faculty are naturally alarmed. Tenure protects not only statements made in the classroom but in those stormy faculty meetings that happen oh so occasionally. Tenure affects the political climate of a law school by limiting the retribution options when a faculty member expresses a candid view on a controversial issue. I think this is one of those reasons that junior faculty tend not to take stands that would jeopardize reaching the holy grail of job security.
Law.com notes that the ABA committee's thinking is that requirement or not, that schools would not abandon tenure practices because they are traditional in school operations. The committee may be right, though I think that university presidents could use the relaxed standard to more tightly govern their law school operations. Certainly it gives universities the option to tighten their tenure standards as to who gets the coveted status within a law school faculty. If I had to guess, I think the ABA is saying to faculty that if a tenure dispute comes up, don't come to us looking for some kind of enforcement under any of our standards. We really don't want to get involved in personnel disputes and we won't threaten a law school if there is one. It seems as if the market's invisible hand is about to hit the teaching side of law school. [MG]
Thank you for limiting your comments to the actual news regarding tenure and the ABA standards, and not, like one of your colleagues, using this forum to editorialize regarding his by now well-known pro-employer, anti-employee views.
Posted by: Kevin | Mar 7, 2011 6:55:47 AM