Joint Statement Urging the KCTCS To Restore Tenure and Regain the Academic Community’s Confidence
Gary Rhoades, AAUP and Cynthia Leonor Garza, AFT
Faculty across the Kentucky Community and Technical College System recently gave a vote of no confidence to the KCTCS Board of Regents and condemned its March 13 decision to eliminate tenure in the college system. So far, faculty members at six of the 16 community and technical colleges have criticized the actions of the board of regents and the system President Michael McCall, and more votes are expected. The American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors issued this joint statement today regarding the situation:
Washington—The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) urge the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) to regain the confidence of the academic community by restoring tenure and continuing-status rights for new hires. The negative action of the KCTCS Board of Regents, against the judgment and will of its own faculty, threatens to compromise the quality of education in the system.
Tenure is a process that protects professors from arbitrary dismissal and therefore ensures that educational decisions are made by frontline educators for strictly educational reasons. Tenure and shared governance are the cornerstones of American leadership in higher education and the norm around the country. For Kentucky to gallop in the opposite direction under the shaky banner of “managerial flexibility” makes no sense at all.
* Students need professors with job security, continuity and academic freedom to address challenging topics and maintain high standards.
* Students need professors who can protect the free exchange of diverse ideas in the classroom.
* Students need faculty members who are highly trained and professionally compensated. Continuing the trend of expanding administrative and noninstruction-related expenditures at the expense of instruction is not in the state’s interests.
* Students need all their teachers—including part-time and temporary faculty—to earn an equitable salary, along with benefits and professional supports, so they can be consistently available to their students and give them their best.
* Students need a community and vocational college system in which important decisions about the colleges and the system are shaped with the input and wisdom of the professionals who teach and serve the students.
* Students need an education system that invests in its intellectual capital—the faculty—by expanding the proportion of tenure-track positions and by providing opportunities for contingent faculty to assume tenure track positions.
In short, faculty working conditions are student learning conditions. Abandoning an education system that is professionally sound for one built on job insecurity and top-down management is a disservice to every student who invests his or her money and hopes in higher education.
The AAUP and the AFT stand together in support of our colleagues in Kentucky. We support the efforts of the Kentucky Community College Faculty and Staff Alliance (FSA/AFT Local 6010) and the Kentucky Technical Faculty and Staff Alliance (TFSA/AFT Local 6083) to help preserve the quality of the educational experience in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System by insisting on the restoration of tenure and continuing status for new employees.
The American Association of University Professors is a nonprofit charitable and educational organization that promotes academic freedom by supporting tenure, academic due process, and standards of quality in higher education. Founded in 1915, the AAUP has approximately 47,000 members at colleges and universities throughout the United States.
The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.
Link to the Statement