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As Emporia State fires some tenured faculty, what is the future of tenure in higher education?

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A modern building with a brick front and lots of glass windows with matte silver finish stands on a college campus with the words "Emporia State University Memorial Union" on it.
Carlos Moreno
/
KCUR 89.3
Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas, was founded in 1863 and currently has an enrollment of 5,615 students.

Emporia State University recently fired dozens of tenured faculty members. What does that mean for the future of tenure at universities in Kansas and across the nation?

Last week, Emporia State University fired 33 tenured faculty members after the Kansas Board of Regents unanimously approved the school's justification to suspend tenure.

Max McCoy, a journalism professor who was among those laid off, wrote an opinion piece for the Kansas Reflector opposing the suspension of tenure just before the school's announcement. He says the university gave him no specific reason for his firing, only phrases like "realignment of programs" and "financial need."

KCUR's Up To Date was joined by McCoy, along with economist Richard Vedder, to talk about recent events at Emporia State and the future of tenure in American academia.

  • Max McCoy, journalist, novelist, longtime professor at Emporia State
  • Richard Vedder, distinguished professor of economics emeritus at Ohio University
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