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AAUP Updates

The AAUP has appointed a special committee to look into recent attacks on higher education in the state of Florida.

The AAUP condemns the decision made by the presidents of the Florida College System to re-evaluate course offerings in order to root out any content that promotes "critical race theory or related concepts such as intersectionality." The AAUP is prepared to take necessary action against the FCS, including investigation and censure.

The AAUP has launched an inquiry into the decision of Hamline University administrators not to rehire part-time instructor Erika López Prater after a Muslim student complained about López Prater's showing an Islamic painting of the Prophet Muhammad in an art history class. Since this decision raises central questions of academic freedom, a committee of inquiry will visit Hamline's campus in February to interview the affected parties. The committee will prepare a report of its findings for publication.

The AAUP joined the AFT and AFSCME in filing an amicus brief supporting the Biden administration's efforts toward student debt relief. 

The US Department of Education's proposal includes promising reforms that would help numerous borrowers. The proposal would lift the qualifying discretionary income cap, reduce monthly payments, and decrease time to forgiveness for those with undergraduate loans, providing much-needed relief. There is still work to do to ease the burden for all borrowers, including many graduate student and Parent PLUS loan borrowers.

The AAUP is troubled to learn that an art history instructor at Hamline University suffered repercussions from the university’s administration after showing a slide, in a class on Islamic art, of a fourteenth-century Islamic painting of the Prophet Muhammad. According to news reports, the administration announced that “respect for the observant Muslim students in that classroom should have superseded academic freedom” and declined to renew the adjunct instructor’s appointment, asserting that “because the instructor was an adjunct, her dismissal was not a firing.”

AAUP in the News

Fri, 01/20/2023  |  Tampa Bay Times

In a statement Friday, the American Association of University Professors condemned Florida’s college presidents for committing this week to root out course content promoting “critical race theory or related concepts” by Feb. 1.

“The hypocrisy is glaring, as has been the case so often recently in Florida,” the statement said. “But the danger is very real. Censorship of ideas has absolutely no place in a democracy.”

Tue, 01/17/2023  |  Chicago Sun Times

“The campus is thriving, but many faculty are not,” Nicole Nguyen, a member of the union’s bargaining team and associate professor of criminology, law and justice said. “We have spent the past three years scrambling to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, and our whole community — students and faculty — are exhausted. Management needs to invest in resources that strengthen our entire community.”

Sun, 01/15/2023  |  USA Today

“Tenure is what protects academic freedom for faculty in higher education – it’s necessary so faculty can promote the free and vigorous open exchange of ideas … without fear of being fired,” said Irene Mulvey, president of the AAUP. “Trying to take away tenure from faculty is an age-old strategy from the totalitarian playbook to attack education to stop students from learning ideas the state disagrees with.”

 

Sun, 01/08/2023  |  Associated Press

Traditionally, tenured professors can be terminated only under extreme circumstances, such as professional misconduct or a financial emergency. Advocates for tenure say it is a crucial component of academic freedom — especially as controversy grows over scholarly discussions about history and identity.

Without tenure, faculty are “liable to play it safe when it comes time to have a classroom discussion about a difficult topic,” said Irene Mulvey, president of the AAUP.

Upcoming Events

February 16, 2023

Join us to discuss the AAUP's investigation into the dismissal of Professor Mark McPhail. We'll discuss our findings as well as how the AAUP's investigative process works.

February 24, 2023

Join us for a virtual roundtable featuring contributors to the winter issue of the AAUP magazine, Academe. We'll discuss how achieving racial equity in the tenured faculty ranks will require concrete changes to tenure and promotion policies that too often devalue the work of faculty members of color, how the long-term decline in tenure density threatens the future of higher education in blue and red states alike, and how the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure sought to solve the contingency crisis of the Great Depression.

March 4, 2023 to March 5, 2023

A meeting of the AAUP's governing Council.

March 5, 2023

A meeting of the AAUP Foundation.

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