I never really heard about the idea of tenure until I became a grad student and had discussions with faculty about the process. The AAUP website does a good job breaking down exactly what tenure is: https://www.aaup.org/issues/tenure
According to the AAUP (American Association of University Professors), tenure is defined as an indefinite academic appointment that can only end in extraordinary circumstances. It allows for academic freedom to live on, as professors don’t have to worry about losing their jobs because of what they decide to publish or their research findings.
It is interesting that this article gives a S/O to Dr. Marc Edwards of Virginia Tech. For those who don’t know he did much of the groundwork in discovering that there were high levels of lead in the water in Flint and created a website to share what he found with the public and call on the Government to be accountable to the situation. AAUP argues that if Edwards did not have tenure he would have risked being fired and silenced for having offended a powerful interest.
This is all interesting to read about especially since we talked about taking a stand in higher education last class. Here is one conclusions I had not thought of before: Tenure gives professors the ability to take a stand without fear.