Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Scott Walker wants to fire academics with whom he disagrees politically

The Guardian 
August 11th, 2015

The work of scientists often produces facts that are uncomfortable and inconvenient to the interests of those in power. That’s why we should all be concerned that, recently, politicians are testing new tactics in their attempts to strip scientific inquiry of its independence. Nowhere is this more on display than in Wisconsin, where Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin legislature have joined forces to gut statutory guarantees of tenure and shared governance – the twin pillars protecting academic freedom and the integrity of scientific research – in the University of Wisconsin system.
Tenure – earned by a researcher after many years of work, original contributions to the body of knowledge that constitutes his or her discipline and extensive vetting by his or her institutional and disciplinary colleagues – protects academic freedom and scientific integrity by making it so that the researcher can’t be fired for investigating awkward questions or reaching conclusions powerful people don’t like. Shared governance is the means by which academics shape their institutions’ academic programs – through the development of curriculum and the hiring of faculty - to meet the highest standards in the production and dissemination of knowledge.

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