I am president of the AAUP and the AAUP Foundation, and I appreciate your interest in and support for the AAUP. As 2021 draws to a close, I hope you will consider the AAUP Foundation in your year-end giving plans.
The AAUP Foundation is the charitable and educational arm of the AAUP, and it funds very important work that we would not be able to do with membership dues alone.
The Foundation’s Academic Freedom Fund supports projects that safeguard academic freedom to create a higher education environment in which teaching, learning, and research can flourish. Through this fund, we support governance investigations and academic freedom investigations, underwrite costs for the AAUP’s Journal of Academic Freedom, and provide grants to individual faculty members whose academic freedom has been violated. This year, a grant from the Academic Freedom Fund paid for our sweeping, omnibus governance investigation and special report, COVID-19 and Academic Governance, which documented what it called “opportunistic exploitations of catastrophic events” at eight institutions and resulted in sanctions for violating principles of academic governance for seven of them. Commitments for next year include funding for the special AAUP committee that will prepare a report on violations of principles of academic governance and persistent structural racism in the University of North Carolina system.
You can support this work by donating to the AAUP Foundation.
This year, our Foundation awarded an Academic Freedom Fund grant to Isaac Kamola, associate professor of political science at Trinity College, for his Faculty First Responders project, which helps faculty members learn how to respond quickly and effectively when they or their colleagues are targeted for truly brutal online harassment when their work, especially on topics related to race, is picked up by groups like Campus Reform whose agenda is to frighten faculty into submission and to stoke conservative outrage against higher education.
Please join us in providing funding for these kinds of essential projects.
The Foundation’s Legal Defense Fund supports litigation that protects academic freedom and professional rights, and it provides funding for the amicus briefs we file in cases with important implications for higher education. This year, the Foundation’s support allowed the AAUP to weigh in on a case about the teaching of ideas about race in Texas, a case involving the distribution of antiunion materials by Oregon State University, and a case concerning firearms at the University of Michigan.
We must continue the important work of the AAUP Foundation and expand its efforts.
Your donation in any amount will help.
Join me in making a difference for 2022 with a year-end gift.
President, AAUP and AAUP Foundation
P.S. If you prefer to donate by mail, please make a check payable to "AAUP Foundation" and send to:
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ATLANTA – Eight Southern state chapters of a national organization of university professors are asking the University System of Georgia to rescind changes in tenure policies they argue would essentially abolish the tenure system.
The system’s Board of Regents voted in October to replace a system that permits professors to be fired only for a specific cause following a peer review with a system that lets professors be dismissed if they fail to take corrective steps following two consecutive subpar reviews.
“The board’s new procedure for post-tenure review exposes faculty to censorship, ideological bias and notoriously fickle criteria like student evaluations and ‘performance,’ ” leaders of the eight state chapters of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Awrote in a letter Wednesday to Teresa MacCartney, the university system’s acting chancellor.
“When implemented, the University System of Georgia will no longer have tenure and, therefore, meaningful academic freedom will cease to exist.”
The letter went on to warn that the new policy will discourage professors from wishing to come to Georgia and motivate those already in the system to leave.
The changes in post-tenure review, which will apply to all 26 of the system’s colleges and universities except Georgia Gwinnett College, emerged from the recommendations of a working group formed in September of last year.
The goal of the changes was to ensure faculty members continue to do their jobs well after they have achieved tenure, the regents wrote in a prepared statement following the October vote.
But about 1,500 professors on university system campuses signed a petition opposing the changes.
The national AAUP is conducting an investigation of the changes that could lead the group to censure the university system. A report is expected before the end of the year.
The chapters signing onto the letter represented the Southern states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Oklahoma.
This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.
As fall terms get underway on campuses, so too do state legislative campaigns seeking to restrict teaching about the history of race and racism in the United States. Three states have already pre-filed bills for the 2022 legislative season, and several more have active legislation that will carry over from the 2021 session.
The bills are a naked attempt to manipulate curricula to advance partisan or ideological aims. Many attack the scholarly field of critical race theory, but their purpose is much broader: to suppress teaching and learning about racism.
We’d like to know if and how these bills, or related attempts to chill the free exchange of facts and ideas about American history, have affected you. Please let us know by taking this brief survey.
The AAUP is working to protect faculty’s ability to teach the truth about American history, and to further racial justice in higher education and in our own organization. Here are some resources and initiatives we’d like members to know about:
Chair, AAUP Racial Justice Committee
As if the Fall 2021 semester couldn’t be more eventful, with many of you teaching and working on campus, fighting to protect your health and those of our students, and the myriad of issues you face every semester, our first big break towards a New Deal, the Build Back Better Act, has begun to move through Congress. We need your help to pass it! The passage of this bill will make President Biden’s American Families Plan law.
Join us for a day of action on Wednesday, September 15th as the Senate comes back into session, urging them to support the Build Back Better Act - as well as to ask for further investments in the academic workforce. (For details on the bill, click here).
As New Deal activists, can you take these actions on Wednesday, September 15?
Please let us know how we can support you locally in this federal campaign!
Jim Bakken, AAUP Deputy Director of Organizing Services
Richelle Fiore, AFT Director of Higher Education Organizing
Labor Day 2021 feels very different from Labor Days past. Even more, Labor Day 2021 feels very different from what many of us started looking forward to last spring, when we were rolling up our sleeves to get vaccinated. COVID-19 still represents a global public health crisis, the Delta variant is more contagious and more virulent, hospitals in many locations are full and turning patients away, more children are at risk of very serious illness or death, and there is no end in sight. It didn’t have to be this way.
The way to end the pandemic is with collective action. In some states, however, we see governors and legislatures doing exactly the opposite of what needs to be done: banning mask mandates indoors—effectively guaranteeing that the virus will continue to spread, will continue to sicken and kill people, and will have ample opportunity to mutate into another more deadly and more contagious variant against which our current vaccines may be less effective.
In far too many of our colleges and universities, instead of dealing with the reality of a more contagious variant and how that will spread through a population that is not fully vaccinated, we see magical thinking and plans being put into place as if the pandemic is effectively over. Colleges and universities are uniquely positioned to be places where the best science and the most effective requirements and guidelines—based on the expertise of public health faculty—should be put into place. Our institutions of higher education should be leading the way out of the pandemic. I am dismayed at the lack of leadership in many of our institutions and in mid-August called for administrations to do everything possible to ensure the highest level of health and safety, and to follow the guidance of public health experts to use every available tool to protect students, faculty, staff, and neighboring communities from further spread of COVID.
In today’s message, I want to go further and encourage AAUP members everywhere to use all legal and appropriate levers of accountability in order to make the workplaces safe. I am heartened by the spirit of solidarity I see nearly every day when faculty refuse to passively accept unsafe working conditions being imposed on a campus, but use their collective voice to object and to demand better. In addition to our call to administrators, we have many resources for faculty to consider as they organize to demand that public health be prioritized over the bottom line and the magical thinking behind a premature “return to the on-campus learning experience.” I hope these resources, which include AAUP’s special report on COVID-19 and Academic Governance, are useful to you as we organize, advocate and work together for a safe present and a strong future for higher education.
Let’s be clear: the fight for a safe working environment as we begin the new academic year is our fight since it is inextricably linked to genuine shared governance and collaborative decision making, and to academic freedom in the classroom and on campus. Faculty are the ones taking all the risks in our classrooms. It is outrageous for a faculty member to find herself in a position where she needs to consider the probability of bringing the virus home where it might be responsible for the death of a vulnerable family member. When the administration isn’t making the best decisions for the institution, it’s the faculty’s responsibility to stand up, speak out and do all they can to ensure that the core academic mission is carried out in the most effective way for the circumstances. As AAUP president, I thank you for your work in this regard. I am privileged to represent members of the AAUP as we work together during these very trying times.
Irene Mulvey, AAUP President
Summer 2021 | Vol. 107, No. 3
The Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors is published annually as the summer issue of Academe. This year's Bulletin features a special report on COVID-19 and academic governance and findings from the 2020–21 Faculty Compensation Survey and the 2021 AAUP Shared Governance Survey.
Download a PDF of the entire issue at https://www.aaup.org/issue/summer-2021-bulletin using your member log-in information.
Summer Institute Online concluded on July 29.
The Summer Institute is the AAUP's premier training program for faculty advocates, and one of the best sources available for learning the practical skills that faculty unionists need to build their organizations and run them successfully. Webinars discussed shared governance in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Deal for Higher Ed, advocacy organizing, and campus policing. Workshops provided training in bargaining, organizing, research, and government relations. Check this page for resources and recordings.
The steady rise of contingent faculty appointments and the growth of administration in higher education present a significant threat to academic freedom and shared governance. That’s the conclusion of studies on contingency and administrative growth in the AAUP’s Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2020–21.
Some key findings on contingency and administrative growth:
The prevalence of contingent faculty appointments also means that shared governance in higher education is increasingly at risk. Without adequate numbers of full-time tenure-line faculty members, many institutions now appoint administrators to committees that govern areas formerly within the sole purview of faculty committees.
This deep imbalance between the rise of contingency and the rise of management, particularly the exorbitant rise in high-level administrative salaries, requires urgent action. Governing boards, legislators, and other policy makers must provide funds for a substantial readjustment of academic salary levels to avoid irreparable harm to the US higher education system. Additionally, the AAUP holds that full and part-time faculty members, regardless of rank, are to be considered eligible for tenure and the protections it affords. Faculty teaching, research, and service must remain the focus of higher education.
You can read the full report and view charts of our findings on contingency and administrative growth here.
Next week, we will discuss the report's findings on rising institutional debt and share resources from our New Deal for Higher Education campaign on this issue.
The AAUP Research Department