AAUP Presents Examines Racial Equity in Higher Education

By Mariah Quinn

The fall season of the AAUP Presents podcast focused on issues related to racial equity. This five-episode run covered a lot of ground, touching on contingency, women of color and academia, academic motherhood, strikes, wall-to-wall organizing, and what higher education looks like after the Supreme Court’s June 2023 ruling on affirmative action.

In one episode, Rutgers AAUP-AFT president Todd Wolfson discusses his union’s recent strike and the common-good model of organizing that has centered equity as one of the main goals of orga­nizing efforts at Rutgers. “For fifty years, I’d say public universities have been on the defensive,” Wolf­son says. “I think we turned the tables, and we moved the ball perceptibly in the other direction.”

Two episodes look at the implications of the Supreme Court decision about affirmative action, including episode five, which features Michaele Turnage Young, senior counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. In an in-depth discussion of the decision, Turnage Young argues that creating equity requires reimagining and reex­amining how to expand access to higher education.

All episodes can be found at https://www.aaup.org/aaup-presents. As a bonus, in December the show released a new episode on the AAUP’s recently published special report Political Interfer­ence and Academic Freedom in Florida’s Public Higher Education System—it’s a timely discussion for the present political moment. Check it out.