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College tenure under fire

February 9, 2005
By: Daniel Frumson
State Capital Bureau

Ending tenure for college professors: One republican is for it, another against it. Dan Frumson has more from the state capitol.

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Republican Representative Mark Wright believes professors at public universities have too much protection under the current tenure laws. Wright says the law currently protects public professors like UMKC professor Harris Merkin from statements that would cost those in the private sector their jobs.

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"It's almost impossible under the tenure laws to fire Harris Merkin for saying pedophilia ought to be legal in the State of Missouri. Now if I went in to my job, to my boss tommarow and said, `I think pedophilia is a good thing and ought to be the law of the State of Missouri,' he'd look at me like I was a cooke and probably run me out on a rail and rightfully so."

Wright feels at minimum the issue needs open debate, but fellow House Republican and former University of Missouri-Columbia Professor Ed Robb disagrees. Robb says it is possible for a tenured professor to be fired if the institution completes all the proper documentation.

From the state Capitol, I'm Dan Frumson.

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One house republican wants to change current tenure laws: another says they're just fine. Dan Frumson has more from the state capitol.

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Representative Mark Wright says public university professors have too much protection under current tenure laws. Wright says his ultimate goal is to open up debate about the current tenure laws.

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"I think people are supportive of the concept. Maybe not necesarrily the end of what I'm recomending right now, but at the end of the day I think people are very receptive to the idea of our tenure laws being revised so that we can hold these public university professors accountable for their actions in the classroom."

Former University of Missouri-Columbia Professor and fellow House Republican Ed Robb believes that current tenure laws are sufficient, because Universities can fire teachers so long as they complete all the necessary paperwork.

From the state Capitol, I'm Dan Frumson