5 Wayne State medical professors may see tenure revoked for 'not doing anything'

Hearings to revoke tenure for the first of five Detroit-based Wayne State University medical school professors commenced Wednesday. Officials said the possible loss of tenure is based on the grounds that the professors are "grossly underperforming" and "not doing anything," according to The Detroit News.

Here are six things to know about the issue.

1. A WSU spokesperson declined to reveal to The Detroit News the identities of the five professors, citing concerns about due process in upcoming hearings, according to the report. Charles Parrish, president of the American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers at WSU, confirmed four of the professors are men and one is a woman. They reportedly belong to various departments, including biochemistry and molecular biology, molecular medicine and genetics, obstetrics and gynecology and pharmacology.

2. WSU President Roy Wilson told The Detroit News the professors represent "blatant examples of taking advantage of a tenure system, which is a privilege. … When it's abused so blatantly, it makes it very difficult for other people who are doing what they are supposed to do to come to work and do their jobs because they see another person getting the same amount of money or more and not coming into work and not being accountable at all. You just can't build a first-class university that way."

3. The hearings for the first professor will be held this week and hearings for two other professors are set to occur in May and June. The hearings for the remaining two have not yet been scheduled. All five individuals are facing hearings because of their "failure to perform in their academic assignments," per the recommendation of Jack Sobel, MD, dean of the School of Medicine at WSU, according to the report.

4. The professors will lose their positions if their tenure is revoked, according to the report. For tenure to be revoked, each professor will go before a seven-member panel, which will then issue a recommendation to Mr. Wilson. If Mr. Wilson recommends the individual lose their tenure, the university's board of governors or a committee appointed by the board will conduct a second hearing. The board will make the final decision on each individual.

5. In August, the university stated 37 medical school faculty members may lose their positions due to retirement or termination. Two dozen faculty members have reportedly left the institution since the announcement, according to the report.

6. Officials said an additional five professors, including some outside of the medical school, may also face termination, according to the report.

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