Nearly 30 librarians at Texas A&M University have lost either tenured or tenure-track status after the administration opted to reorganize the system’s 10 libraries. Administrators had previously asked librarians to move to a new department to keep tenure or relinquish it.
In all, 24 librarians moved to other academic departments, thus maintaining tenure, while 53 converted to staff status. Of those 53 librarians, 19 waived tenure and another nine gave up their tenure-track status, according to The Houston Chronicle.
The Faculty Senate opposed the reorganization of the library, on the grounds that the changes were being pushed through too quickly and the university had yet to explain its rationale for the decision.
Librarians have voiced concern about how the changes may affect recruitment and retention.
The move comes at a time when librarians are increasingly under attack across the U.S., caught in the crossfire of a culture war that has led to increased calls to ban and even burn books in some cases. Censorship efforts are especially strong in Texas, though they have primarily focused on K-12 schools.
Critics note that Texas A&M refused to explain the justification for the changes for months. Now administrators say the reorganization was designed to streamline and simplify library operations and emphasize student needs over librarians’ research, according to The Houston Chronicle.