In “Part-time profs beyond the classroom” (Nov. 12/14), I am quoted as saying that “[i]t saves the university money, but mostly it gives them incredible flexibility because that means … the full-time faculty, they’re tenured; you can’t get rid of them.” I have edited the punctuation and want to put this quote into context for your readers. The discussion was about why a university might want Contract Academic Employees (CAE) instead of tenured faculty. The common belief is it’s cheaper, but the real appeal is that CAE can be gotten rid of easily, arbitrarily and without consequence for everyone but the CAE themselves.
Out of context, the quote implies I am opposed to tenure. I am most definitely not. Tenure alone keeps programs from being abolished on a whim. And contrary to popular belief, full-time faculty can lose their jobs for many of the same reasons any other worker can. But a university functions only if these same people believe they cannot just be gotten rid of because they challenge vested interests, are disliked by the wrong person, or because of sudden administrative changes.
This is in stark contrast to the situation for CAE, who know they are easy to get rid of if they rock the boat, annoy the wrong person or are caught up in the type of restructuring this article points out is in the works at UNB. The resulting self-censorship and constant anxiety about the future of their livelihood is hardly a healthy situation for anyone in the university.
– Arthur James