Faculty Senate Condemns Proposal That Could Fire Profs For Not Being ‘Cooperative’

Rob Shimshock | Education Reporter

A faculty senate of a school in the University of Arkansas system condemned a proposal Monday that could fire professors for not being “cooperative.”

The University of Central Arkansas’s faculty senate decried the proposed changes to the University of Arkansas’s tenure policy, according to a document obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“It’s hard to know precisely what impact this will have,” said Josh Silverstein, a law professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. “Here is what we do know: the more voices [addressing] the proposal, the better. And when those voices are from outside the UA System, that has particular value.”

Silverstein has also speculated that the policy could harm minorities of any variety, including conservatives. The professor pointed out that the University of Central Arkansas is not part of the University of Arkansas system; therefore, the proposed changes would have no impact on faculty at the school. (RELATED: University Of Arkansas Tenure Policy Could Make It Easier To Fire Conservative Profs)

The University of Central Arkansas faculty senate begins by establishing that academic freedom is necessary for free inquiry and that tenure reaffirms academic freedom. The senate proceeds to note that the University of Arkansas System board of trustees proposed that tenured professors who are perceived to display “pattern of disruptive conduct or unwillingness to work productively with colleagues” or who are judged by one administrator to have “unsatisfactory” performance or lack cooperation can be fired. (RELATED: University Of Arkansas Profs Bash Proposal That Could Fire Profs For Not Being ‘Cooperative’)

“If the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees adopts the proposed changes, our colleagues in the university of Arkansas System will lose the rights of academic freedom, hampering their effectiveness in teaching, research and service, and face severe hardship in recruiting and retaining qualified faculty,” said the faculty senate.

Nate Hinkel, spokesman for the University of Arkansas system, told TheDCNF that the system is still taking public comment “for another couple weeks” before conferring with heads of UA system faculty senates.

Robert Steinbuch, another law professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, told TheDCNF he “heard that the University Counsel told a reporter that they intend to meet with faculty, but faculty has NOT been so informed.  So, if this statement was made, then University Counsel is saying one thing to the press and something different to faculty.”

“No academic body or organization supports this proposal,” he asserted. “I wonder what will happen next year in the legislature when they decide the University’s budget.”

TheDCNF reached out to the University of Central Arkansas for further comment, but received none in time for press.

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