Wayne State U. Seeks to Revoke Tenure of 5 Medical-School Professors

Wayne State University is trying to revoke the tenure of five professors at its medical school for allegedly underperforming in their academic duties, according to The Detroit News.

Hearings to withdraw tenure from the professors began on Wednesday. All told, the university is eyeing 37 members of the faculty at the medical school who could either retire or be terminated for “grossly underperforming.” The five faculty members also appeared on a list of “60 to 80 unproductive medical-school faculty” generated by the Detroit university last year, the newspaper said.

The efforts are, in part, to answer growing concerns at the university’s medical school, which faces a deep budget deficit and accreditation problems.

M. Roy Wilson, president of Wayne State, told the News that faculty members who face dismissal are “taking advantage of the tenure system,” which is an indefinite appointment. When tenure is “abused so blatantly,” he said, “it makes it very difficult for other people who are doing what they are supposed to do to come to work and do their jobs, because they see another person getting the same amount of money or more, and not coming into work and not being accountable at all.”

Charles Parrish, president of Wayne State’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers, attributed the move to failed cost-cutting measures by previous administrations and called it an attack on tenure. “No other university that I know of in American history has launched an attack on tenure in this way,” he told the News. “There have been attacks on tenure all over the country … but not from inside the university.”

Wayne State has tried on two previous occasions in its history to revoke tenure. It was unsuccessful in both attempts.

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