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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Activist professor granted tenure

David Correia recently earned a promotion and tenure, but University administration said his local activism was not a factor in the decision.

Correia, who is now an associate professor in the American Studies Department, has been a prominent figure in campaigns regarding the Albuquerque Police Department.
He was arrested for alleged battery on a security officer two weeks ago during a demonstration in the mayor’s office.In a statement released by the University, the process of determining whether an instructor at the University achieves tenure is unrelated to the employee’s off-campus actions.

“The tenure process is independent of personal political activity,” according to the statement.

Correia will receive a $4,000 increase in compensation, according to another administrative statement.

Correia said most of classes focus on the politics and history around environmental struggles in New Mexico. He started looking at APD after studying police violence in the 1970s, which was a central part of a Chicano movement’s struggle for land, he said.

“What I’ve been trying to do all along, even now, is remind people that there’s a really long history to the story of police violence in Albuquerque, and also in New Mexico,” he said.

Correia has taught at the University for six years, and has been on the tenure track since 2011.

The anticipated period of review before promotion to associate professor is six years, according to the UNM Faculty Handbook. A promotion to the rank of associate professor is usually considered along with granting the assistant professor tenure.

When reviewing a professor for tenure, the department looks at four categories: teaching, scholarly work, service and personal characteristics, according to the handbook.

Despite his involvement in the movement for APD reform, Correia said it’s not his job to encourage students to join the movement. He said students should learn how to think critically and decide for themselves whether to participate.

“If I’m teaching my students about social movement struggles, and we’re engaged in figuring out how those social movements developed, what their arguments are, what their conclusions are, if I’m saying that’s our job, then I would be remiss if I didn’t ask them ‘What’s your personal obligation now?’” he said. “Every person has to decide on their own what they’re going to do about it.”

Following his arrest, UNM released a statement that said the administration would monitor the situation with Correia, and that his views did not represent those of the University.

Chloe Henson is the news editor for the Daily Lobo. Contact her at news@dailylobo.com or by Twitter @ChloeHenson5.