The American Association of University Professors on Wednesday released a letter  it sent to Middle Tennessee State University, objecting to its recent move to stop giving the titles of various ranks of professor to some full-time non-tenure-track faculty members. The university recently sent new contracts to these faculty members, saying that to keep their jobs they would have to accept new titles -- lecturer and senior lecturer. The AAUP letter says that changing terms of employment in this way, and threatening to punish those who don't accept the changes, is a "reprehensible" act.
A spokesman for the university said via e-mail that the title changes were being made at the request of the Tennessee Board of Regents, which in April informed the university that it was using job titles for non-tenure-track faculty members that were "counter" to the board's policy. "We have been working for months on this issue with several of our key faculty groups, including the Faculty Senate, the Council of Chairs and the Dean's Council," the spokesman said.