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August 10, 1984

Tenure in Medical Schools

JAMA. 1984;252(6):766-767. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350060018013

To the Editor.—  Tenure is our last refuge against intimidation and serves as a security system to protect universities from disruption associated with administrative changes. Originally designed to protect faculty from outside political influences, tenure's current role is to help faculty combat political problems from within. Tenure is not a stifling exercise for oligarchical control of a university but an effort on the part of faculty to maintain some level of security for productive work.The tenure promotions process is based on merit, with a peer review and appeals system that can bypass the hostilities of superiors. Tenure is often our only hope for faculty integrity in a competitive university society that is increasingly run by an isolated administration with absolute control over space and income.Lack of productivity or loss of teaching skills is usually not the problem of tenured faculty. More often, loss of grant or administrative support