Magazine article Academe

Tenure Denied over Topic of Research

Magazine article Academe

Tenure Denied over Topic of Research

Article excerpt

When John Lewis, an assislant professor in the Department of History and Politicai Science at Ashland University, applied for tenure in fall 2006, he received the enthusiastic support of colleagues in his depart ment. Nonetheless, his application for tenure was denied in early 2007 after the administration decided that his work failed to support the university's mission. While members of the administration acknowledged that Lewis's portfolio exceeded the stated requirements for tenure at Ashland, they were particularly disturbed by his writings that, in their view, "advocate[d] for Objectivism views," referring to Ayr) Rand's philosophy of individualism, which they considered alien to the JudeoChristian values upheld by the uni versity and its founding organization, the Brethren Church. Ashland's 2002 mission statement reads in part, "Judeo-Christian values are the foundation of the educational and social environment of the University and shape the character of the institution. Members of the University community focus on intellectual, spiritual, cultural, physical, and social development for the purpose of leading meaningful lives in the world community."

The administration five years earlier had accepted a $100,000 gift from the Anthem Foundation for objectivist Scholarship to establish the Anthem Fellowship for the Study of Objectivism (similar programs were established at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Pittsburgh). The agreement between Ashland and the foundation stipulated that Lewis was to be one of the initial holders of the fellowship. …

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