The LSA is pleased to announce our support for the preservation of tenure and academic freedom in the state of Wisconsin and our endorsement of a letter on this issue recently released by the American Historical Association and co-signed by over 20 organizations.


Recent legislation being discussed by the Wisconsin state government would remove higher education tenure policy from state law, change the University of Wisconsin's system of shared governance, and make it easier to dismiss tenured professors for budgetary and programmatic reasons. In its letter, the AHA writes:

The policies recommended by the Joint Finance Committee and included in the 2016 budget pose a direct threat to academic freedom by expanding the circumstances under which tenure can be revoked (beyond dire financial emergencies and just cause) while simultaneously removing its protection under state statute. Tenure is a linchpin of vigorous shared governance and independent rigorous scholarship. This assault on the structure of Wisconsin’s model arrangements poses a threat to the university’s stellar reputation and international leadership in research and education — and it betrays a celebrated Wisconsin tradition [...]

Rather than making the University of Wisconsin system more fiscally nimble, the Joint Finance Committee recommendations threaten to damage, possibly irreparably, the distinguished educational system that has justifiably been the pride of Wisconsin residents for more than a century and a half.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has also written an editorial in opposition to these changes.

The LSA supports linguists and others in Wisconsin who would be affected by these changes, and thanks those who have kept us updated on this issue.