Missed the mark

It goes without saying further that since the Tenure PIGʻs report and recommendations were released on September 16, 2021, it did not gain any traction, support, or defense worthy of any consideration and action by the BOR in the eyes of faculty and UHPA.  Although the stated intent was to review: (1) the history and purpose of tenure; (2) the evolution of and current views and developments on tenure; and (3) the current criteria and decision making process for tenure, it seems the Tenure PIG was unjustly aiming at harming faculty as their primary target.  

Although former BOR Chair Ben Kudo declared at the February 18, 2021 meeting that the Tenure PIG would be comprised of all major stakeholders including faculty and administrators involved in research and tenure, the Tenure PIG reneged on its promise and lost a tremendous opportunity in fulfilling its original purpose and intent.  The composition of the Tenure PIG as noted in the Report of the Permitted Interaction Group on Tenure dated September 10, 2021 is absent of any faculty and short on full representation of UH administrators with years of knowledge and experience in research and tenure.    

Noted is current BOR Chair Randy Moore who also went on record at the same meeting that he “was encouraged that the Task Group will contain a wide spectrum of members with diverse backgrounds that will allow various perspectives to be brought forward” and “that having rational discussions through the Task Group will allow the board to gain a better understanding of tenure.”

The question to the Regents is whether or not the Board gained a “better understanding of tenure.” It seems impossible to “gain a complete understanding of the concept of tenure” by reading the Report and Resolution offered by the Tenure PIG, let alone be  ready and prepared to make radical and future decisions on this issue?  If so, we are anxiously awaiting to hear from the BOR.

Just a Sham

With due respect, the Tenure PIG was doomed the minute former Regent Chair Kudo failed to uphold his promise and commitment that experienced faculty and administrators involved in research and tenure, who are considered as major stakeholders, must be part of the Tenure PIG.  Rather than seeking dialogue and discussions that are open, honest, informative, and thoughtful to seek common ground in achieving worthwhile goals, the Tenure PIG turned to what is more comfortable – working in a silo to construct a predetermined narrative and agenda.  If there is still honor in oneʻs words, then the BOR should examine its actions, statements, and commitments in determining whether the Tenure PIG fulfilled its due diligence in its report and recommended resolution.  The impact of such radical proposals and decisions will be felt in the years and generations to come.

Call to Unity

The challenge to tenure will always be present and will continue as long as faculty cherish and protect their rights to academic freedom in that they can continue to advance and transmit knowledge; to pursue research and innovation; and draw upon evidence-based conclusions free from corporate or political pressure.

The untimely and without basis Resolution offered by the Tenure PIG will cause a revolution if adopted by the BOR.  The work of the Tenure PIG, in its current form, is not worthy of any action or consideration by the BOR.  Change is inevitable.  However, meaningful change is one that is embraced, supported, and adopted by everyone, especially those who will be impacted by the change.  In this regard, we turn to the preamble of Chapter 89, HRS, or Hawaiiʻs collective bargaining law wherein it states:

“The legislature finds that joint decision-making is the modern way of administering government.  Where public employees have been granted the right to share in the decision-making process affecting wages and working conditions, they have become more responsive and better able to exchange ideas and information on operations with their administrators.  Accordingly, government is made more effective.  The legislature further finds that the enactment of positive legislation establishing guidelines for public employment relations is the best way to harness and direct the energies of public employees eager to have a voice in determining their conditions of work; to provide a rational method for dealing with disputes and work stoppages; and to maintain a favorable political and social environment.”

The Tenure PIG initially was on this path, but clearly deviated beyond not only the ranch but the reservation.  The respectful and honorable action for the BOR to take is to defer any action on the Tenure PIGʻs report and resolution and begin the process again with fulfilling its original purpose and intent.  Itʻs TIME TO IMU THE PIG.

UHPA calls upon all Unit 7 faculty who not only cherish but want to safeguard their rights to academic freedom to let your voices and actions be heard loud and clear by testifying at the upcoming October 21, 2021 BOR meeting.  It’s time that BOR hears the voices of faculty. 

How to submit BOR testimony

All written testimony on agenda items received after posting of a meeting’s agenda and up to 24 hours in advance of the meeting will be distributed to the board. Late testimony on agenda items will be distributed to the board within 24 hours of receipt. Written testimony may be submitted via the board’s website, US mail, email at bor.testimony@hawaii.edu, or facsimile at (808) 956-5156. All written testimony submitted are public documents. Therefore, any testimony that is submitted for use in the public meeting process is public information and will be posted on the board’s website.

Those wishing to provide oral testimony for a virtual meeting must register in advance via the registration link on the meeting agenda. Given constraints with the online format of our meetings, individuals wishing to orally testify must register no later than the registration closing time as noted on the agenda. It is highly recommended that written testimony be submitted in addition to registering to provide oral testimony. Oral testimony will be limited to three (3) minutes per testifier.

Individuals providing oral testimony at a virtual meeting will need to connect through the Zoom application. When signing up, please note that the name used upon registration may be included in the meeting minutes. After completing the registration form, registrants will receive an email confirmation with the necessary meeting information and connection instructions.

On the meeting day, individuals registered to provide oral testimony will be placed in a viewing room upon connection to the scheduled meeting. When called upon to begin their testimony, oral testifiers will be unmuted and have the ability to turn their video on. Microphones will be muted and video will be disabled upon conclusion of providing testimony.

For further assistance regarding testimony, please contact the board office at bor.testimony@hawaii.edu or (808) 956-8213.

For disability accommodations, contact the board office at (808) 956-8213 or bor@hawaii.edu. Advance notice requested five (5) days in advance of the meeting.