Mahalo to all of the faculty who took the time and effort to share their concerns and perspectives regarding the findings and recommendations of the Tenure Permitted Interaction Group (PIG) at the University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents meeting held last Thursday, Oct. 21st.
Don’t Mess with Tenure
There were 634 pages of lengthy and meaningful testimony and those testifying virtually overwhelmingly opposed the Tenure PIG recommendations. This sent a very strong and powerful message and point to the BOR: Faculty need to be actively engaged in building and strengthening the University of Hawai‘i as a land grant R-1 research institution. The ill-advised dismantling of UHʻs existing tenure system, as recommended by the Tenure PIG, would be ruinous and destructive, and start the downfall of the quality of Hawai‘i’s public higher education system.
The passion of the faculty behind the testimonies, both written and oral, came through loud and clear. It was clear the Tenure PIG was an epic failure. It strayed from its intended purpose and charge and obviously did not include faculty input in its recommendations.
Support from UH Administrators
Faculty concerned about upholding the quality of the UH inspired several UH administrators. Typically, administrators are at odds with the faculty, but on this Tenure PIG issue, they fully supported the viewpoints of the faculty and stepped forward to also voice their concerns during the Board of Regents meeting and in the media.
A Major Victory
The faculty efforts paid off. Faculty set the tone for the meeting, single handedly stopped the recommendations of the Tenure PIG in their tracks, and prevented them from being implemented. This was no small feat and will go down in history as a major victory by the faculty.
Not Out of the Woods Yet
But we cannot celebrate just yet. The policy recommendations in the Tenure PIG remain intact and although implementation has been averted for now, the Board of Regents voted to defer these recommendations to an ad hoc committee of the whole for review. We have come very far and cannot afford to let our guard down. But from the unabashed display of boldness by the faculty last week, we know that faculty are being taken seriously and are a force to be reckoned with.