respects tenure as much as any other state university..... As president of this university I want that quote to be entered into the record in a way that cannot be misunderstood and shouldn't be accepted as anything but what I mean it to be. This university supports tenure. That's a fact.Well, that's always nice to hear, but is it borne out by what's been going down? Five tenured faculty, all of them with more than 15 years' service here, given pink slips & told to clean out their offices by August – not even the one academic year's notice mandated by the collective bargaining agreement.
What really boggles me about all this is how it was done. The College of Engineering went thru a massive restructuring this spring (with one suspects absolutely minimal faculty input). Several departments were merged, among them Computer Science & Electrical Engineering. But on top of that fairly common merging activity, the following arcane horizontal structure was cross-cut over the three remaining departments ("Ocean/Mechanical," "Computer/Electrical/Computer Science," & "Civil/Environmental/Geomatica" –dig those snazzy names)*:
Yes, that's right: every faculty member, of every rank from instructor thru full professor, belongs not merely to a department but to a "Functional Unit" as well, based one assumes on her or his "function" within the college. (Those units, in case you can't read 'em, are "Pre-professional Program," "Innovation Leadership Honors Program" [huh?], "Undergraduate Programs," and "Graduate Programs/Research.")
If the administration wanted to lay off a handful of faculty from a given department, by the terms of the collective bargaining agreement they'd be obliged to lay them off in order of seniority, instructors & assistant professors first. But lo & behold, by some unaccountable fluke, it turns out that the "Functional Unit" devoted to "Undergraduate Programs" consists of nothing but tenured faculty. So they're slicing the pie, not in a traditional department-based direction, but on the basis of a set of "Functional Units" whose precedent I've never seen in the academy. (Feel free to enlighten me, by the way.)
If one were paranoid & distrustful of authority, one might suspect that the "Functional Units" were expressly established to rid the college of a handful of highly-paid tenured faculty.
But Maximum Leader has told us that "This university supports tenure." And I believe, just as I believe we have always been at war with Eurasia.
*If you're a glutton for punishment, the entire presentation from which this snippet is drawn can be yawned thru here.
UPDATE, via the Palm Beach Post education news blog:
The President's full statement (dig the 3rd person):
This president respects tenure as much as he did when he arrived. I need to go on the record saying that because I think if it will be a negative impact on this university it will be brought about by the rhetoric of those making the statement that this is an attack on tenure. The fact is it’s not, period. So the suspicions are misguided. FAU respects tenure as much as any other state university. As president of this university I want that quote entered into the record in a way that cannot be misunderstood and shouldn’t be accepted as anything but what I mean it to be. This university supports tenure. That’s a fact.(Thas a fact, Jack.) Now I don't wanna get all Orwellian, but it's kinda fun (once you've sorted out the grammar) to parse the logic of that there 2nd sentence.