AAUP Updates

As part of a coalition of 228 national, state, and local civil rights, consumer advocacy, veterans, disability, and labor organizations, the AAUP has submitted comments supporting student debt cancellation. We encourage the US Department of Education to implement it as swiftly and efficiently as possible and to ensure that it provides the maximum amount of relief to borrowers.

The AAUP and its chapters defend the right to free speech and peaceful protest on university campuses, condemn the militarized response by institutional leaders to these activities, and vehemently oppose the politically motivated assault on higher education.

Faculty at the University of Kansas have voted overwhelmingly for a union, affiliated with the AAUP and AFT. United Academics of the University of Kansas represents more than 1,550 full-time and part-time tenured and nontenure-track faculty; teaching, research, clinical and online professors; lecturers; curators; librarians; grant-funded research scientists, and other academic staff.

The AAUP condemns in the strongest possible terms the crackdown on peaceful dissent occuring this week at Columbia, NYU, and other universities nationwide. The arrests of students and faculty are a disproportionate and wrong-headed response to overwhelmingly peaceful campus events.

Our campuses should be places of learning and education. Our goal should be dialogue and communication in service of understanding. Critically evaluating different points of view and putting up to debate even the most deeply held beliefs are what we should be promoting, modeling and supporting. President Shafik’s silencing of peaceful protesters and having them hauled off to jail does a grave disservice to Columbia’s reputation and will be a permanent stain on her presidential legacy.

AAUP president Irene Mulvey released a statement ahead of an upcoming House Education and Workforce Committee hearing.

AAUP in the News

Fri, 05/10/2024  |  Chronicle of Higher Education

"Our goal on college campuses is free and open inquiry and debate. What we’ve seen is immediate silencing of speech, without any genuine attempt to talk to the students and understand the concerns that led to the protests, to think about and hear their demands. I’ve spent my entire career on college campuses, and this silencing of speech feels like a crisis of repression," said Irene Mulvey, AAUP president.

Wed, 05/01/2024  |  Chronicle of Higher Education

Despite the uphill battles to reach agreements on campuses, open dialogue with student protesters is what the American Association of University Professors has promoted as the best route forward in this heated moment, said Irene Mulvey, president of AAUP.

Instead of responding to multiday demonstrations by issuing suspensions or bringing in the police, Mulvey said, colleges should strive to communicate with students and use the negotiating table as an educational opportunity. “The way forward is through education — to talk to each other, to understand each other, even in disagreement,” she said. “I think [the agreements are] modeling what should be done everywhere.”

Tue, 04/30/2024  |  Inside Higher Ed

It’s one thing to see university presidents fail to defend academic freedom” in front of Congress, and it’s “quite harrowing to see that cowardice followed up by the sanctioning of police violence on campus," said Isaac Kamola, Director of the AAUP'd Center for the Defense of Academic Freedom.

Fri, 04/26/2024  |  The Conversation

Today, university leaders are twisting themselves in knots to appease angry donors and legislators. But when Columbia University President Minouche Shafik called in the NYPD to quell protests, she was met with a firm rebuke from the American Association of University Professors.

Fri, 04/19/2024  |  Diverse Issues in Higher Ed

“Wednesday, before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, President Shafik threw academic freedom and Columbia University faculty under the bus instead of providing what higher education and democracy require: a robust defense of academic freedom and its essential protection of extramural speech,” AAUP President Dr. Irene Mulvey said. “While one can sympathize with the fact that the hearing was a set-up from the get-go and intended to generate sound bites and clickbait to serve a political agenda, any university president worth their salt (and salary) should stand unequivocally for free and open inquiry, especially when topics are controversial and polarizing, and debates are heated and messy.”

Upcoming Events

May 30, 2024

Join us for an online discussion of a new white paper out from the AAUP’s Center for the Defense of Academic Freedom—Manufacturing Backlash: Right-Wing Think Tanks and the Legislative Attack on Higher Education, 2021–2023—which examines the well-funded political operatives and conservative think tanks behind this legislative attack on higher education.

May 31, 2024 to June 1, 2024

A meeting of the AAUP's Committee A for Academic Freedom and Tenure.

June 13, 2024 to June 16, 2024

The 2024 AAUP Conference and Biennial Meeting will take place in the Washington, DC, area, starting on Thursday, June 13.

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