At its quarterly meeting last week, the APA board of officers approved a statement in response to the new budget recently signed into law by the state of Wisconsin, which includes a provision that threatens academic freedom in the University of Wisconsin System. Under the new law, tenured and probationary faculty members may be terminated or laid off prior to the end of their appointment due to budget constraints and program changes.
The statement reads, in part:
Tenure is the most important safeguard of academic freedom, and academic freedom is a bedrock principle of philosophical inquiry. The Board of Officers of the American Philosophical Association deplores the assault on academic freedom in Wisconsin, whether it affects the flagship University of Wisconsin-Madison or the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee or any other universities in the UW System, and we deplore the precedent it sets. We call on legislators, regents and other campus administrators to work towards restoring recognized standards of tenure in Wisconsin.
The APA has a longstanding commitment to defend the professional rights of philosophers. We encourage all of our members to join us in taking a stand against this and similar threats to academic freedom.