Iowa Legislator Wants to End Tenure at State Universities

Empty college classroom
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An Iowa state senator has introduced legislation that would eliminate tenure at the state’s public universities. Iowa Sen. Bradley Zaun argues that “I don’t think anyone in our universities should be guaranteed a job.”

Bradley Zaun (R) has proposed “an Act prohibiting tenure systems at public post secondary educational institutions, and including applicability provisions.”

In a recent interview with Iowa radio host Jeff Angelo, Zaun briefly discussed his views on the matter.

“I don’t think anyone in our universities should be guaranteed a job,” said the state senator, who went on to suggest that employees of public universities should be treated the same way employees are treated in the private sector with regards to retaining their jobs.

“What happens in our private sector should be applied to our universities as well,” said Zaun.

The state senator also criticized sabbaticals that take the professor away from the classroom, as well as the usage of teaching assistants to teach their classes for them.

“In a lot of situations, the professor shows up the first day of the class, and says, ‘I’m your professor, but you’ll be taught by one of our student aides the rest of the class during this semester, and if you have any questions, you can email me.’ And that is disingenuous to our students [and] our parents who spend a lot of money in regards to their tuition,” said Zaun.

Zaun also suggested that it is unfair that students are getting into so much debt, while not even being able to attend their classes in person.

“What’s not fair to our students right now is they’re spending 100 percent online doing their learning,” said Zaun.

“We build these Taj Mahals,” he added. “It’s just wrong that these kids are loaded up with this $60,000 worth of debt when they get out of college, and we need to make some changes.”

Zaun’s legislation would prohibit “the establishment or continuation of a tenure system for any employee of the institution,” and it would be applied to any higher education institution “governed by the state board of regents.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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