Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Tenure' is the crowning laurel of academia. The process of reviewing a candidate for tenure at the university level generally begins with an evaluation and recommendation by a group of the candidate's peers. Candidates who are denied tenure may seek judicial review of the decision and discovery of peer review materials. Not surprisingly, universities encourage courts to defer to tenure decisions and to deny plaintiffs access to confidential peer review documents.Traditionally, in fact, courts have given great deference to university tenure decisions. Judicial deference has pervaded every phase of review from discovery to trial and remedy. As deference to university tenure decisions and the confidentiality of the tenure review process have become increasingly entrenched, another branch of law has developed. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.