Antitenure Legislation in North Dakota Defeated

By Jenna Sablan

The AAUP recently spoke out in opposition to House Bill 1446, a proposed bill in the North Dakota state legislature that would have effectively ended tenure at two higher education institutions in the state and could have been extended to all of the state’s public colleges and universities. This bill threatened to establish a dangerous precedent that would have undermined academic freedom, tenure, and shared governance and further entrenched the growing politicization of higher education. After making it out of the House committee and passing the House, the bill failed to pass out of the Senate committee in a 21–23 vote.

If HB 1446 had passed as introduced, it would have placed limitations on the speech of tenured faculty members, including their ability to criticize the institution in public. The bill also would have given college and university presidents the power to dismiss faculty members unilaterally, without affordance of academic due process or the ability to sue in the courts.