Kirstein to Appear Before Northeastern Illinois University Board of Trustees re: John Boyle Tenure Case

I have been invited upon request to appear before the NEIU board of trustees at their February 21, 2013 meeting on the campus of Northeastern Illinois University. They have a public comment session that is mandated by Public Act 91-0715. Nevertheless President Sharon Hahs and the board approve of the agenda. My purpose is to urge the university to reconsider the denial of tenure of Assistant Professor of Linguistics John Boyle and adhere to American Association of University Professor guidelines. Professor John Boyle received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and was unanimously endorsed for tenure from his department chair, the Department of Linguistics, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the University Personnel Committee. The latter refers to a university-wide faculty elected committee that reviews promotion and tenure cases. Some universities only have such review at the school or college level. Some have personnel committees at both the school/college and university-wide unit.

What is so striking is the unanimity of support. There was not a dissenting vote in any of the aforementioned levels of tenure review. Illinois American Association of University Professors Committee A investigated the case and filed this report. I have two minutes to read a prepared statement that urges the board of trustees to take a courageous but ethically imperative stand and reconsider the denial of tenure. Seldom in the United States of America does a tenure-track professor receive such a comprehensive unit-level of support ranging from chair to university personnel committee only to have a university president deny tenure or recommend its denial to a governing board. It is under these circumstances that we must unite in solidarity behind shared governance and academic freedom.

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