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December 8, 2012

Tenure Fight Takes New Form

Tom Fowler & Dougles Belkin:

As a professor, James C. Wetherbe recognized the advantages that tenure provided. In his other roles as a board member and business consultant, though, he sensed that it sometimes undercut the credibility of his advice to clients and companies.

"I would get wisecracks...that it was easy for me to make some statements because I had a guaranteed job," Mr. Wetherbe said. "So I decided to resign tenure."

James C. Wetherbe, shown this week at Texas Tech in Lubbock, says he believes tenure can allow ineffective teachers to remain at schools.

Now Mr. Wetherbe claims in a federal lawsuit that his views on tenure have spurred officials at Texas Tech University, the Lubbock school he joined in 2000, to oppose his advancement, including to business-school dean. He calls it an ironic twist to the argument that tenure helps ensure academic freedom.

Mr. Wetherbe, an information-technology expert who formerly served on Best Buy Co.'s BBY -1.64% board of directors, maintains in the lawsuit filed this past week that Texas Tech has violated his First Amendment rights by penalizing him for his views on tenure when considering him for promotions.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at December 8, 2012 2:16 AM
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