In a recently filed federal lawsuit, Wetherbe accuses Texas Tech University of violating his First Amendment rights by denying him two promotions on account of his anti-tenure stance.
“I never expected something like that to happen at the end of my career but, given that it has, I’ve decided to challenge the system and see what happens,” said Wetherbe, a Texas Tech alumnus who’s served as a business professor there since 2000. “The question I’m concerned with is if freedom of speech is sufficient protection for you to be able to teach and research as long as you’re not doing misconduct and writing the truth as you understand it to be.”
According to the suit, Wetherbe was up for two key jobs within the last year: a Paul Whitfield Horn Professorship, the highest honor bestowed upon a faculty member, and dean of the Rawls College of Business. But Provost Bob Smith, who has said under oath that Wetherbe’s tenure views made him unfit for either job, along with former university President Guy Bailey, ignored the recommendations of two search committees and blocked him from further consideration as dean and Horn Professor.
I had a longtime colleague who got battered and beaten and knocked out of the profession because he was always standing up for what made sense, and what he thought would make our college and our profession better.ReplyDelete
There is nothing more fierce than a group of rule makers who think they are going to have to amend rules, especially when the rule makers realize that they're wrong.
The Wetherbe story sounds a bit like that to me, a good guy with an interesting idea, who got bullied for no good reason.
In other words, he thinks freedom of speech will protect those who say something unpopular, despite the fact that he's being unfairly punished for saying something unpopular.ReplyDelete
You hit the nail right on the head.Delete
I agree. He may have proven his own position wrong.
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....And this is a job for the ACLU. Seriously; you have the Provost UNDER OATH saying that not believing in tenure makes a prof unworthy of a position, it's a slam-bang win for the plaintiff.Delete
UNDER OATH, mind you, not "overheard" or "said in private company." UNDER OATH. The school would pay me handsomely to have the Provost and the former college prez blown up in their cars if they knew where to reach me. And if I would take the job of course, WHICH I WOULDEN'T, because like the Romanoffs there are people too stupid to work for and deserving of their fates.
Just because we have first amendment rights does not mean they will not be violated and we will not have to defend them. Tenure and academic freedom can be violated as well. When freedom of speech is violated, legal remedy is required which is what the lawsuit is about. Faculty have had lawsuits pertaining to tenure and freedom of speech. Don't miss the irony here, aren't academic freedom and freedom of speech the same? The federal court has denied two attempts by the university to get this case dismissed and are now appealing for a third time. This will take time but the facts remain the same.Delete
Unfair Punishment. My college's favorite stick and carrot.ReplyDelete
At the place where I used to teach, nothing was done unless it was political, though, quite often, however, the politics became personal. Witch hunts were a favourite administrative activity. Speaking out about something that was wrong was a good way of scuttling one's career there as that meant one wasn't a "team player".Delete
Maybe they're trying to make an example of him. "Here's what happens when you don't have the protection of tenure ..." A bit ironic.ReplyDelete
I wouldn't want a dean who opposes tenure either. That's a policy position and I'd want someone in that position who supports the policy of the university, favor of tenure.ReplyDelete
A fair concern since you don't know me but be assured not true. I have supported tenure cases within my institutions and have written recommendation letters for faculty at other schools throughout my career. Just because I resigned tenure as a personal, principled decision doesn't mean I deny it to others. No one has ever claimed otherwise.Delete
Approximately 30 nominations were made on my behalf for dean. Well over half were from faculty and most of those from colleagues at Texas Tech well aware of my personal views on tenure.
The search committee appointed by the provost were mostly academics and they asked about my views on tenure. Nonetheless, the search recommended me as one of four finalists to be interviewed.
Do you think that would be the case if colleagues were concerned my personal views on tenure were perceived as a leadership problem?
Hi Jim. When writers post comments on old posts, our filter catches it. Our stats show that very few people ever read old posts, so your comments may not generate any discussion. There's a link in the sidebar if you ever want to send us new material.Delete
I knew Jim Wetherbe at Texas Tech. An interesting guy.ReplyDelete