Faculty hold tenure info forum

Jim Martyka

While faculty members at an open forum Thursday expressed concerns regarding faculty unionization, many characterized the move as their only option.
“We are vulnerable,” said Faculty Senate Delegate Ed Fogelman. “If we are in the same position on this issue as we are now at the time of the election, we are going to have no other choice but to vote for a union.”
The meeting at the University Law Building was the first in a three-forum series set up by University professors specifically to inform faculty members about the tenure issue and the collective bargaining process.
More than 70 faculty members from various University departments asked questions and voiced their opinions about the issue and the responsibility of both the faculty and the Board of Regents.
Many participants said that forming a union is the only way to give the faculty a voice.
Professor of Law Fred Morrison, however, asked faculty to be careful when characterizing the actions of the regents. “Don’t assume that all of the regents are working against us,” he said. “There are regents working quietly and not so quietly to move forward on this issue.”
The drive toward unionization comes after proposed tenure revisions containing strong provisions for laying off tenured professors which were released by the regents in September upset many faculty members.
The second forum, to be held Oct. 17-18, will include discussions on the collective bargaining process.

In other proceedings this week:
The largest University faculty group joined University President Nils Hasselmo and Board of Regents Chairman Thomas Reagan on Thursday in welcoming Gov. Arne Carlson’s participation in the tenure issue.
According to a joint press release issued by the University Faculty Alliance and the local American Association of University Professors chapter, the two groups are “pleased that the governor has expressed interest in the future of the University” and that they “welcome a commission to explore ways of restoring the University of Minnesota to its previous status as a top 20 ranked research institution.”
However, the governor’s involvement has raised concerns among the faculty members. According to the release, “Many faculty question the impartiality of the governor in the present process.”
Gov. Carlson announced Wednesday that he would assemble a panel to try and resolve the tenure issue.