Penumbral Academic Freedom: Interpreting the Tenure Contract in a Time of Constitutional Impotence

27 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2009 Last revised: 21 Oct 2011

See all articles by Richard J. Peltz-Steele

Richard J. Peltz-Steele

University of Massachusetts School of Law at Dartmouth

Date Written: August 16, 2009

Abstract

This article recounts the deficiencies of constitutional law and common tenure contract language - the latter based on the 1940 Statement of Principles of the American Association of University Professors - in protecting the academic freedom of faculty on the modern university campus. The article proposes an Interpretation of that common language, accompanied by Illustrations, aiming to describe the penumbras of academic freedom - faculty rights and responsibilities that surround and emanate from the three traditional pillars of teaching, research, and service - that are within the scope of the tenure contract but not explicitly described by it, and therefore too readily subject to neglectful interpretation. This proposal means thus to provide more comprehensive protection for academic freedom at a time when the constitutional concept is near defunct, and thus more broadly to realize, through proper understanding of the written tenure contract, the ideal of the university as the quintessential marketplace of ideas.

Keywords: penumbral, penumbra, academic freedom, tenure, contract, university, college, higher education, education, law, first amendment, professor, employment, AAUP, Statement of Principles, faculty

JEL Classification: L30, L31, L32, L39, I20, I28, I29

Suggested Citation

Peltz-Steele, Richard J., Penumbral Academic Freedom: Interpreting the Tenure Contract in a Time of Constitutional Impotence (August 16, 2009). Journal of College and University Law, Vol. 37, p. 159, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1467221

Richard J. Peltz-Steele (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts School of Law at Dartmouth ( email )

333 Faunce Corner Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747-1252
United States
15089851102 (Phone)

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