Orders create tenure impasse

Former University of Minnesota Alumni Association President Fred Friswold said he is “sick at heart” of the “internecine warfare” over tenure issues being waged between University faculty members and the Board of Regents.
Friswold, who served as alumni president in 1987-88, made his comments last week in a letter to board chairman Tom Reagan lamenting the effects the tenure crisis is having on the University’s reputation. Friswold and 14 other former alumni presidents sent a second letter to the regents Wednesday urging them to find a solution to the tenure issue, as it is “tearing the University apart.”
Regent Patricia Spence said the board has looked at the association’s recommendations but emphasized that it cannot negotiate with faculty members because of the cease-and-desist order. She also said that because the regents can talk to the Law School, which is not under the order, the suggestions were valuable.
In this week’s letter, the former alumni leaders also said they feared the crisis will hurt the University’s chances of recruiting a new president and obtaining adequate state funding. University President Nils Hasselmo plans to retire in June, while the University will send its biennial budget request to the governor and legislature in the coming months.
Friswold suggested in his letter that the regents pull their tenure proposal from the table. Friswold was unavailable for comment.
The University of Minnesota Foundation also sent a letter to the regents suggesting that they adopt the faculty proposal. The letter also called for the regents to work on restoring trust with the faculty.
The regents will publicly discuss tenure for the first time since September at their monthly meeting today.

— Jim Martyka