21.11.02

TENURE DENIED. Volokh Conspiracy has done some research on the case of CUNY historian Robert David Johnson, whose lack of "collegiality" oughtweighed a solid publication record and effective teaching. The CUNY Association of Scholars is following the case. Where is the lack of collegiality? "Professor Johnson’s difficulties at Brooklyn College started when he adopted public positions questioning the desirability of affirmative action quotas in hiring and the suitability of a college-sponsored 'teach-in' containing no known supporters of U.S. or Israeli policy in the Middle East. When Professor Johnson championed the need for quality in academic and hiring standards within his own department, the department chairperson termed this position 'preposterous, specious, and demeaning'." Given that a department chairman often has the responsibility of making a separate recommendation on tenure, getting into such a fight pre-tenure is risky. But that any position on academic or hiring standards be dismissed in those terms says more about the chairman than it does about Johnson. Volokh Conspiracy is correct, there are questions of fact, and of policy, yet to be settled, but his allusion to Bad Behavior by CUNY rings true.

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