Hidden (and Not-So-Hidden) New Threats to Faculty Governance

By Jan H. Blits

Faculty governance has been under serious attack across the country in recent years. Some of the threats are obvious; others are not. Some are directly connected to one another; others are linked only by their ultimate effects. In Parts 1 and 2, I describe an outrageous Residence Life program at my institution. While this so-called “educational” program was a flagrant violation of students’ rights, its appropriation of faculty prerogatives and responsibilities was no less important. In Parts 3 and 4, I discuss several other current threats to faculty governance. Although separate from questions of political indoctrination and the violation of student rights, some of them are pointed up by the Residence Life program, such as the disappearing distinction between academic and administrative powers. Others concern dangers to faculty independence stemming from recent rulings in federal courts. The common thread running through all the new threats, hidden and obvious, is the growing attempt on the part of administrators and others to corporatize higher education in America.

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