To the Editor:

Jacob Remes is right to call our attention to the problems that female professors on Yale’s tenure track face (“Current tenure track hurts junior female profs,” 11/28).

But his argument fails to see the forest for the trees.

Remes suggests that Yale stop the tenure clock for a full year for women faculty who have children, giving them time to care for their infants without the pressures of publishing and teaching. The administration currently stops the clock for just six months.

But the proposed additional half-year would do nothing to repair Yale’s entrenched attitude toward professors on the tenure track. Junior faculty here win tenure at an astonishingly low rate, kicked out of their departments after five to 10 years to be replaced either by tenured stars or other similarly doomed young professors.

This system, which affects both men and women, makes the “tenure track” at Yale at best a formality, at worst just a joke. It fractures departments, causes professional and scholarly anxiety, and shortchanges undergraduates and faculty equally.

Perhaps in rethinking its commitment to women faculty, Yale’s administration ought to do a little more than ponder a six-month stay of execution.

Susannah Rutherglen ’03

November 28, 2001