April 1990

On the Meaning of Tenure-Reply

Author Affiliations

Tucson, Ariz

Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(4):915-916. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00390160155042

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In Reply. —We welcome the challenge lodged by the Drs Witte. It is both eloquent and well expressed. The differences between their position and ours may be more apparent than real. We did not mean to convey, nor do we believe, that membership in an educational institution is an exercise in "conformity, mediocrity, and intellectual silence." Surely, the vitality of an institution of learning, to which we make repeated reference, requires the presence of divergent points of view. Both team-players and boat-rockers belong, so long as they offer, and show promise that they can continue to offer, something of substance and value. We agree with the Wittes that tenure is supposed to be a guarantor of "freedom of thought, speech, and action that must be protected from improper administrative and academic retribution." Our opening sentence says as much. What concerns us is not the ideal but the reality. Would they

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