President Sharon Hahs in her embargo-breaking release of the AAUP report on December 16, 2013, on the tenure travesty of Linguistics Professor John Boyle, also attached a fiery defence of her actions and a strong critique of the AAUP findings. She exults in the continued support of the Board of Trustees with her performance amidst a no-confidence vote by the faculty, and the emerging national outrage over the unconscionable denial of tenure of one the university’s star professors, John Boyle. He recently received a campus-wide teaching honour award and is perceived as one of the top classroom instructors at Northeastern Illinois University (N.E.I.U.) in Chicago.
Marvin Garcia N.E.I.U. Board of Trustees
What is particularly noteworthy is the N.E.I.U. Board of Trustees voted to accept the egregious decision of the president to deny tenure and promotion to the University of Chicago doctoral-trained Boyle. Yet she was unable to garner a unanimous vote from a generally supportive and supine board that ONLY John Boyle not be granted tenure among all the eligible probationary faculty that applied for tenure during the 2011-2012 academic year.
The vote to deny tenure to Dr Boyle was 7 in favour to 1 against at the June 14, 2012 Board of Trustees meeting. Rarely do boards have split decisions particularly in rank and tenure matters. They don’t know the faculty member under review; they have not studied the paper-tenure trail which President Hahs ignored and disregarded in her still unstated reasons for the denial of tenure and promotion. They probably are not aware of the specific handbook and bylaws provisions that govern the process of evaluation. They tend to default against faculty rights or rarely challenge a president who violates them.
Governing boards usually endorse the president’s actions and recommendations in faculty personnel matters except in rare displays of courage. Only Marvin Garcia voted NOT to approve President Hahs’s recommendation that Dr Boyle be denied tenure and promotion to associate professor. In the Illinois AAUP Committee A report (the national AAUP report will be released tomorrow) we noted that Professor Boyle was recommended for tenure by his department, by his department chair, by his school dean, by an elected university-wide personnel committee. So why was he denied tenure? AAUP does not need to know but Dr. Boyle does! Why was he denied tenure? Out of anger? Out of spite? Out of rage? Out of an effort to reestablish control as major national organisations come to examine the world of N.E.I.U?
Yet for reasons dealing with collegiality, petty turf battles between Teaching English as a Second Language faculty and the Linguistics Department, Professor Boyle was caught in a crossfire. Stand at home plate and face first and third. Home plate was the Linguistics faculty and first base was TESL that complained that Professor Boyle, head of undergraduate academic advising for the Linguistics Department, dared attempt to recruit minors for his unit. What is this East Germany before the Berlin Wall breach? At third base is the president, Sharon Hahs, whose no-confidence vote was orchestrated from faculty from LING through their senate offices and efforts to expand shared governance and academic freedom at N.E.I.U. So from one point of extension, Boyle is caught between LING and mean-spirited TESL faculty who saw him as vulnerable. Between first and third, he was swept up in the struggle between President Hahs and non-obedient Linguistics faculty. But remember Marvin Garcia! A person of courage and a profile of courage!