If I define a rule that proves particularly useful, I demand the right to name it after myself. So here is Rees’ Rule again: Any professor who thinks tenure should be scrapped must give up theirs first.
Academics typically don’t get tenured until the age of 40. This means that from their years as graduate students and then assistant professors, from age 25 through 38 or 39, they have to toe the line. They have to do things in the accepted way that their elders and superiors require. They can’t be controversial and all the rest. So tenure is, in fact, the enemy of spontaneity, the enemy of intellectual freedom. We’ve seen this again and again. And even people who get tenure really don’t change. They keep on following the disciplinary mode they’ve been trained to follow.
Presumably, someone who made it all the way to Professor Emeritus at Queens College had tenure before he retired. I can just picture him, seething all the way through his long career about how he wanted to strike a blow against this awful tenure system, but he was too busy following his disciplinary mode and just kept it anyway.
This, however, is extremely interesting:
At Harvard and Yale, senior professors get every third year off, not every seventh. This coming year—are you ready for this?—20 of the 48 professors in Harvard’s history department will be on leave.
Silly me, I always thought they called the adjuncts at Harvard assistant professors.