Archive for Tuesday, December 7, 1999


December 7, 1999


A KU journalism professor, denied tenure, takes his views to his Internet home page.

A Kansas University professor is airing his fight with the university on the World Wide Web.

On the Web site, Mike Cuenca, assistant professor of visual communications in the school of journalism, claims a recent decision to deny him tenure is another act of retaliation for a federal civil-rights lawsuit he filed against the university.

University lawyer Rose Marino said KU denies the claims Cuenca makes in his lawsuit.

A member of the tenure committee said regular procedures were followed in making the decision to deny tenure.

Cuenca was denied tenure on Nov. 23 in a vote by the journalism school's promotions and tenure committee.

Cuenca posted word of the decision and a lengthy criticism of the tenure process a week ago.

Colleagues outside the school have offered encouragement to Cuenca.

"I'm getting good, solid feedback," he said.

He has yet to hear exactly why tenure was denied to him, Cuenca said.

"It's an amazing thing about this process," he said. "They work so hard to keep it secret. They will talk very little to the candidate."

In his lawsuit, Cuenca claims he was denied the authority to carry out his job and opportunities for additional positions because of his race. Cuenca is an American descended from a Filipino father. Under federal law, Cuenca's race is classified as Asian/Pacific Islander.

In making its tenure decision, the committee reviewed all of the work done by Cuenca since 1994 when he joined the faculty, said Ted Frederickson, journalism professor and a committee member. Cuenca's work was also evaluated by outside experts and their evaluations were given to the committee.

"That's the way it happens in every case," Frederickson said. "That's the way it happened in this case."

Journalism professor Rick Musser, committee chairman, declined to comment on committee's decision.

The journalism school committee's recommendation now goes to the University Promotions and Tenure Committee. From there, the matter could be considered by KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway.

If the decision is not overturned, Cuenca may continue to teach at the university for three semesters.

Cuenca's Web site is

-- Erwin Seba's phone message number is 832-7145. His e-mail address is

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