BOR Granted the Appeal for Tenure of Prof. Sarah Raymundo

Posted on May 27, 2010

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From Faculty Regent Judy M. Taguiwalo:

Dear All:

The Board of Regents today, May 27, granted the appeal for tenure of Prof Sarah Raymundo by a vote of 5 in favor, 2 against and 1 abstain. The Chair did not vote.

Below is the motion I made, as Faculty Regent, which was the basis for the decision.

On the appeal for tenure of Prof. Sarah Raymundo
Judy M. Taguiwalo
Faculty Regent
January 29, 2010

As the Faculty Regent my mandate is to represent the faculty, both tenured and untenured, of the University at the Board of Regents.

Prof. Raymundo’s appeal has ramifications vis a vis the parameters of the right of tenured faculty to make judgment on tenure application and the right of untenured faculty members to expect fairness and justice in the tenure process and decisions. In studying the appeal for tenure of Prof. Sarah Raymundo, I am guided by the existing policies approved by the University at various levels and previous decisions made by the Board.

According to the document “Shaping Our Institutional Future: A Statement on Faculty Tenure, Rank and Promotion” (OVPAA, 2004), there are two rights at stake in considering appeals regarding the non-award of tenure, to wit, “the right of tenured colleagues to make a qualitative judgment on the candidate’s performance and record and the right of temporary faculty to expect fairness, both in the process by which the tenure decision is reached and in the substance of that decision. The appeal procedure should take into account both these rights.” The same document states that the consideration of tenure should be made “solely on academic grounds” and that the use of any other criteria may lead to a “violation of academic freedom” (I.F.4.a).

The UP Diliman University Council in December 15, 2008 upheld the right of all untenured faculty to be informed upon employment of the criteria for their evaluation and to be evaluated on the basis of these criteria. The UPD UC also spelled out the elements of transparency in the tenure process.

The primacy of academic standards as basis for the grant of tenure is affirmed by the Board of Regents’ decision on the case of Lorraine Carlos Salazar. In the BOR meeting of January 27, 2005 the Board reviewed the case of Prof. Salazar and decided that:

Taking note of the department’s definition of collegiality as explained by Prof Noel Morada, Department Chair, in his letter to President Nemenzo, the Board asked about the weight given to collegiality vis-à-vis Prof. Salazar’s academic credentials (e.g. PhD, international publications). The Board was not satisfied with the department’s argument that the best, though, implicit, measure of collegiality is the confidence vote of two-thirds of the tenured faculty. Since the basis of the vote is not explained in the letter, the Board could only conclude that collegiality outweighed academic credentials. The Board maintained that academic credentials should not be ignored.

Why should the BOR intervene on this matter?

As a young UP faculty member, Prof. Raymundo has spent the past nine years serving the university well and has worked hard to fulfill all the requirements for tenure . The justification provided by the Department of Sociology in April 2008 recognizes Prof. Raymundo’s academic qualifications and in fact, the Department approved her promotion from Assistant Professor 1 to Assistant Professor 2 in June 2008.

After initially providing strong justification for the recommendation to grant tenure to Prof. Raymundo, the majority of the tenured faculty of the Department of Sociology then decided to deny the grant of tenure without providing any reason. In a past case, the BOR had overruled a similar refusal by the Political Science department to grant tenure because the Board deemed the reason given (in that case “lack of collegiality”) unacceptable as basis for withholding tenure to one who is otherwise duly qualified. If the BOR can pass upon the acceptability of a reason given to withhold tenure, it must pass upon the unacceptability of no reason being given for a similar act. Otherwise, the BOR is telling departments that the way to avoid BOR oversight and intervention is to simply decide without any declared reason. This gives permission for departments to become whimsical and arbitrary in their decisions on the grant of tenure to faculty.

In pursuit of the appeals process, Prof. Raymundo appeals to the University President who denies her appeal by simply asking the department to vote again and to treat the negative vote result as basis for denying the appeal, again without seeking to determine the substantive reasons for the vote. If the appeal process does nothing to determine and weigh the substantive basis for the action being appealed and instead simply repeats the action, for what purpose do we have an appeals process? Is it merely to torture the affected party with the repetition of the act being appealed?

I am thus requesting my colleagues in the Board of Regents to support the following:

• Declare as a matter of policy that the absence of any reason to deny tenure from a temporary faculty who has otherwise met the declared requirements for tenure is not an acceptable exercise of departmental autonomy that should be uncritically respected.

• Given the lack of any substantive reason declared to deny tenure in this case from the original process as well as from the appeals process and given that Prof. Raymundo met the requirements for tenure, grant the appeal for tenure of Prof. Raymundo.

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