State Conference Committee A Resources

Here you will find materials to assist chapters and conferences that are advancing the central mission of the Association through a conference or chapter Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure.  A campus or state Committee A provides advice and counsel to faculty members experiencing problems relating to academic freedom, tenure, and due process. A conference or chapter Committee A also educates its own academic community about AAUP principles and recommended policies, and encourages institutions to incorporate AAUP-recommended standards into their faculty handbooks.

Doing Committee A Work

  • "Committee A Matters." (.pdf) This checklist for chapter and conference Committee A workers was originally prepared by Donald Wagner (Georgia Conference) and revised by John Slosar (Missouri Conference).
  • AAUP Observer(.pdf).  This is the AAUP's statement on the role of an official AAUP observer at dismissal proceedings (see Regulation 5 of Recommended Institutional Regulations). These guidelines may also be useful for AAUP observers who might represent the state conference or chapter Committee A rather than the national office.
  • Three-part Webinar Series on Chapter and Conference Committee A Skills: The AAUP Redbook | How to Read a Faculty Handbook | Conference and Chapter Committee A Matters

Getting the Word Out

  • Sample State Committee A report (.pdf) and member contact information from a conference newsletter. One of the first principles of successful conference or chapter Committee A work is to announce the existence of Committee A services by regularly publishing Committee A contact information in the chapter or conference newsletter.  Another effective method of advertising the committee's services is to publish a report of the committee's activities, being careful to protect individuals' privacy, as the sample illustrates.

Sample Letters to Administrations

The following three letters were written by state Committee A volunteers in response to issues at conference institutions. Only one of the letters, however, was sent over the signature of the state Committee A chair. For maximum impact the other two letters were sent over the conference president's signature. All three of these letters were reviewed by national Committee A staff before being sent.

  • Program discontinuation (.pdf). An unsuccessful attempt to pre-empt a decision by the president of a university to eliminate twenty-three academic programs without an appropriate degree of faculty participation. The president ended up eliminating the programs and, with them, fourteen full-time faculty positions, ten of which held tenure.
  • Dismissal of part-time faculty member (.pdf). This letter responds to the dismissal of a part-time professor at a community college after students complained to the administration about comments he had made about the Bible in his section of Western Civilization.
  • Termination hearing (.pdf). This letter was written to a college president after he terminated the appointment of a tenured professor of music after eliminating programs in music and would not afford her a hearing.

Relevant Policy Statements and Reports

The essential resource for state and local Committee A work is of course the AAUP's Policy Documents and Reports , otherwise known as the Redbook, which you can purchase here.

The particular Redbook documents which you will rely upon most frequently are linked below. These and other important Redbook statements and reports are also posted here.

Basic Principles Underlying Committee A Work

A Little History

The First Investigation (.pdf) by Walter Metzger. A lively account of the AAUP's first Committee A investigation, conducted by A. O. Lovejoy at the University of Utah in 1915.

How National Committee A Operates Today

  • "Committee A Procedures," by David Fellman.  Originally published in 1962, this report by the chair of Committee A was reprinted in the March-April 2005 issue of Academe. It describes Committee A procedures leading to investigation and censure, emphasizing the care and deliberation that characterize the process.
  • "Implementing AAUP Standards," (.pdf) by Jordan Kurland. In this 1980 article from Academe, Kurland, who was Committee A staff director from 1971 to 2000, provides a general overview of the work carried out by the national staff in the area of academic freedom and tenure.
  • "Model Case Procedures" (.pdf).  The most thorough and comprehensive account of Committee A procedures. From Academic Freedom and Tenure, edited by Louis Joughin (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1967).
  • "Principles and Cases: The Mediative Work of the AAUP," (.pdf) by Bertram Davis.  An account of eighty-eight Committee A cases successfully resolved by Committee A staff, through mediation, between 1967 and 1969.

Cooperation between National Staff and State/Local Committees A

  • "Cooperation between the National Staff of Committee A and the Assembly of State Conferences" (.pdf). This document dating from 1989 outlines how state conferences and the national office work together to "strengthen conference Committee A programs."
  • College of the Ozarks (.pdf).  What can happen when appropriate coordination between the national office and conference officers breaks down.  In this instance, the conference published a lively newsletter article condemning an administration about to be visited by an ad hoc investigating committee. The administration used the article to discredit the investigation.  Included here are the newsletter article, an exchange of letters between the college president and AAUP associate secretary Robert Kreiser, and a resolution of the college's board of trustees "censuring" the AAUP.
  • "Conference Participation in Committee A Work" (.pdf).  In 1978, national Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure approved this statement defining how state conferences should participate in Committee A work.  It was published in Academe in its report for 1978-79. 

Sample Cases for Discussion

This document, containing three fictional cases, was prepared by national Committee A staff to use in workshops for state and chapter Committee A workers.

  • Case Studies (.pdf). Professor Plum has just been turned down for tenure, Professor Wiggin-Pohl has been accused of sexual harassment, and Professors Silverheels, Thistlewaite, and Luce are concerned that their administration intends to eliminate their programs and, possibly, their positions.