Tenure, the Aberrant Consumer Contract

By: James J. White

Abstract

The tenure contract that prevails among the faculty at nearly all American colleges and universities is unusual, for the employee, who is normally the weaker, is favored by the contract over the employer, who is normally the stronger. The first part of the paper explains what tenure means and how it came about in the early twentieth century. The second part of the paper argues that the contract protects not only academic freedom but also bad teaching and weak scholarship. Finally the paper argues that the tenure contract should be abolished or restricted to minimize the inefficiencies that are now forced on colleges and universities by the contract in its unfettered form.

Cite as: James J. White, Tenure, the Aberrant Consumer Contract, 89 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 353 (2014).

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