In a victory for academic freedom and tenure, the American Bar Association (ABA) has rejected proposals to eliminate or water down the tenure provisions in the accreditation standards for law schools, according to a National Law Journal blog (password required). The ABA body with authority over the accreditation standards was considering several proposals to eliminate or water down the requirement for tenure at accredited law schools. The law journal reports that at its meeting on March 14 and 15 the ABA voted to reject the proposed changes, and to leave the accreditation standards in their current form.
The AAUP vigorously opposed the removal of tenure from the accreditation standards; we submitted comments in opposition and AAUP general counsel Theresa Chmara spoke at a recent hearing on the issue. Tenure is a key protection for academic freedom–the ability of faculty members to research, write, teach, and participate in governance and professional activities without fear of punishment or reprisal when they exercise professional judgment. We are pleased that arguments made by the AAUP, and separately by AAUP members and other supporters of academic freedom, prevailed.