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2021 AAUP In the News

12.03.2021 | AAUP condemns bill to end tenure at South Carolina public colleges

AAUP deemed the bill "misguided" and said it would irreparably damage the educational quality of the University of South Carolina system by undermining academic freedom. It said that "tenure is not a perk for one class of employees" but rather a safeguard against scholars being dismissed for controversial views or research.

12.03.2021 | Professors urge Board of Regents to rescind changes to faulty tenure

Eight Southern state conferences of the AAUP are asking the University System of Georgia to rescind changes in tenure policies that would essentially abolish the tenure system.

12.02.2021 | South Carolina assault on tenure ‘would drive academics away’

The attacks on tenure are part of a broader pattern of actions in Republican-led states that includes the University of Florida trying to forbid its faculty from testifying in court cases against the state government and blocking faculty attempts to include racial equity content in curriculum.

11.22.2021 | UNL removed from AAUP list of censured universities

The AAUP has voted to remove the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from its list of censured administrations. UNL was sanctioned by the national organization in June 2018 after administrators removed a graduate student lecturer from her part-time teaching position without affording her a hearing before an elected faculty committee. This terminal suspension followed a viral video recording of a confrontation between the faculty member and an undergraduate student recruiting on campus for the right-wing organization Turning Point USA.

11.22.2021 | A GOP-backed bill could decimate tenure at SC colleges.

The point of tenure is to prevent political, corporate or other interests from interfering in research or steering the curriculum, said University of South Carolina professor Carol Harrison, who serves as the president for the university’s AAUP chapter. “This is not a tenure reform bill. This is a tenure abolition bill,” Harrison said. “It would transform university education and research in really terrible ways.

11.19.2021 | In a rare move, Rutgers-Camden faculty vote no confidence in its chancellor and provost

“I support the no-confidence measures as a way of sending a message that the relationship between faculty and the administration is damaged and needs to be repaired,” said Jim Brown, associate professor of English and president of the Rutgers-Camden chapter of the AAUP-AFT union.

11.11.2021 | After long fight, Northern Michigan AAUP ratifies five-year contract

After 131 days of negotiations, Northern Michigan University’s-AAUP chapter votes to ratify five-year contract. 

11.03.2021 | UF, seeking status in academia, is blasted by its own faculty leaders

Irene Mulvey, president of the AAUP, said the restrictions placed on the three professors were "completely inappropriate." The organization issued a statement condemning the move "in the strongest possible terms." Public universities exist for the common good and professors should be able to testify on the findings of their scholarship, Mulvey said. 

11.02.2021 | University of Florida professors vow to resist school’s order in voting rights case

The issue at the University of Florida raises further questions about politicizing an institution of higher education. College administrators are supposed to “stand up and push back” against political intervention in academia, but that clearly wasn’t the case at the University of Florida, said Irene Mulvey, AAUP president. 

“They weren’t the firewall,” Mulvey said. “They lit the match.”

10.28.2021 | Frustrated by UMD’s approach to strategic plan, a group of professors is making its own

The University of Maryland’s chapter of the AAUP is creating its own strategic plan in response to an upcoming university-led strategic plan that the group says does not prioritize the right goals. Strategic plans need to "really began with what we consider to be the most important part of the university, which are the people,” said Karin Rosemblatt, the AAUP chapter’s vice president.

10.27.2021 | Georgia's New Tenure Process Draws Backlash And Critiques On Potential Impacts At HBCUs

"Who's to say that this is not going to also allow these faculty members to be removed from these historically Black colleges and universities because of their scholarship, because of their research?", said Glinda Rawls, Chair of the Racial Equity and HBCU committees at the American Association of University Professors.

10.22.2021 | NMU-AAUP votes no confidence in BOT, protest held Friday outside Northern Center

Northern Michigan University’s AAUP chapter continues to work towards a fair contract as days now cross over the 100-day mark of working without a contract.

"The NMU-AAUP has no confidence in the ability of the Board of Trustees of Northern Michigan University to oversee and carry out the general supervision of the institution and the control and direction of all expenditures from the institution’s funds."

10.21.2021 | Critics Say Academic Freedom Will Suffer After Georgia Changed the Rules of Tenure

“Georgia is a canary in the coal mine,” says Matthew Boedy, an associate professor at the University of North Georgia and the president of the American Association of University Professors’ Georgia conference. “This is unique in what has happened in higher education, and it could easily spread to other states.”

10.14.2021 | New AAUP Data on Faculty Governance Highlights Participation Trends

The AAUP's latest report on faculty governance finds over all, faculty representation is up over time, but faculty participation in presidential searches is down, as is full participation of part-time faculty members.

10.14.2021 | Georgia’s University System Takes On Tenure

The Board of Regents has given its universities the power to fire tenured professors without faculty input. “There should now be a new word for it in Georgia, because tenure will not mean tenure there,” said Irene Mulvey, president of the AAUP.

10.14.2021 | Institutions Adjust Faculty Diversity Strategies Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

In the pandemic world of academia, many institutions are struggling to keep enrollment up and costs down, but there is still a distinct awareness that moves must be made to bring faculty diversity closer to student diversity. Data released in fall 2020 by the AAUP show that, while underrepresented minorities comprise 32.6% of the U.S. population, they make up only 12.9% of full-time faculty.

10.13.2021 | Georgia college professors to face new reviews, regents say

Opponents say the plan infringes on tenure, undermines faculty involvement in peer reviews and provides a shortcut for firing professors that could be abused. More than 1,000 faculty members across the system signed a petition against it.

“They have an intent and it is clear as it ever was: give us tenure in name only,” wrote Matthew Boedy, a University of North Georgia professor who is the president of the Georgia Conference of the AAUP.

10.12.2021 | University System of Georgia faculty fighting changes to tenure system

The AAUP has vowed to launch an investigation if the regents adopted the changes.

“At most reputable institutions of higher education, tenured professors can be dismissed only for reasons related to professional fitness and only after a hearing before a faculty body,” wrote AAUP President Irene Mulvey.

10.10.2021 | Deaths, outbreaks and fear. College students and faculty plea for more pandemic protections

"We're just at a level of frustration that I've never seen before," AAUP president Irene Mulvey. "Everyone's fighting the same battle, and that is for common sense rules to end the pandemic and keep people safe." Mulvey said she couldn't think of another unified uprising of professors across the country like this since McCarthyism threatened academic freedom in the 1950s.

10.06.2021 | Women faculty at Syracuse to get $3.7 million from settlement

The university said it has made efforts and will continue to address gender pay equity in the future. The disparity in gender pay gaps for faculty has been well-documented in higher education. An AAUP study showed that full-time female faculty members earn close to 20% less than men.

10.05.2021 | More community colleges are mandating coronavirus vaccination

Harry Zarin, president of the Montgomery College's chapter of the American Association of University Professors, said full-time faculty strongly support the mandate.

"In general, we want to be safe when we come back to campus," Zarin said. "If we pick it up, we're bringing that home to our families, and that's not a good thing," .

10.04.2021 | AAUP launches special committee to address ‘egregious violations,’ ‘structural racism’ at UNC

The AAUP's concerns are similar to those recently made by UNC faculty who called attention to longstanding and widespread frustration over systemic problems across UNC campuses. 

10.04.2021 | Tenure Under Threat in Georgia

“The agenda of USG is clear -- to create a short-cut to firing tenured professors outside of the established and totally adequate processes, which are more deliberative, and in the control of local institutions. USG wants to take power away from its constituent colleges and exercise it themselves.” said Janet Murray, Ivan Allen College Dean’s Professor in literature, media and communication at Georgia Institute of Technology and one of many faculty members opposed to the changes.

09.30.2021 | Rutgers professors say they were shortchanged in salary equity adjustments, especially those who work in Camden

Rutgers’ AAUP-AFT which has been pushing for changes since New Jersey’s pay equity law went into effect in 2018, said the salary adjustments shortchanged professors by at least $750,000, possibly as much as $1 million.

09.29.2021 | After Hannah-Jones Tenure Debacle, AAUP Prepares Report Exploring 'Violations of Academic Governance' at UNC

The mishandling of the tenure case of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah Jones was just one of several issues that has prompted the AAUP to launch a special committee to report on issues of structural racism & violations of shared governance at UNC.

09.24.2021 | Increasingly, professors are choosing between health concerns and work

"During a deadly pandemic, decisions need to be made with compassion and they need to be based on science and not on this magical thinking that we are returning to normal.” -Dr. Irene Mulvey, AAUP president. 

09.24.2021 | Nine AAUP conferences urge Congress to add colleges to Biden's vaccine mandate

Several state conferences of the AAUP, mostly in Southern conservative states, are urging federal lawmakers to help implement stronger coronavirus safety measures on campus including expanding President Biden's recent executive order mandating vaccines for certain employers to include all higher education institutions receiving federal funding.

09.22.2021 | With students back on campus, faculty are worried about covid —and pushing back

Some professors are objecting to the lack of public health protections, with protests, petitions, and resignations.

09.21.2021 | In heated rally, faculty & staff call for increased COVID-19 safety protocols at University of Tennessee, Knoxville

AAUP and UCW rallied Tuesday before the chancellor's flagship address. Over 850 people have signed a petition demanding better campus COVID-19 safety. 

09.20.2021 | ‘A slap in the face’: In surprise vote, IHL board bans COVID-19 vaccine mandates

“The decision by the Mississippi Board of Trustees is a slap in the face to all faculty and students calling for basic public health protections to ensure safe learning environments in their classrooms and on campus.: -AAUP president Irene Mulvey

09.15.2021 | Wayne State, AAUP-AFT agree to 3-year contract

The hard fought contract agreement proposes a lump sum salary increase in the deal's first year and an additional 4.25% increase in base pay over the final two years of the contract.

09.13.2021 | ‘Morale Is in the Ditch’: Distressed by Light Covid Precautions, Georgia Faculty Members Take Action

Some professors feel stripped of their ability to determine what’s best for their students and themselves.

09.10.2021 | 'Mask it or casket:' Georgia college faculty, frustrated by lack of COVID-19 mandates, take a stand

Beginning Monday, Georgia faculty from at least 16 colleges will begin week-long demonstrations in hopes of pressuring administrators to institute mask and/or vaccine mandates.

09.09.2021 | Crazy Catch 22 in Georgia

As the Georgia conference of the AAUP plans a week of protests demanding a mask mandate and more options for teaching students in quarantine, the University System of Georgia considers disciplinary action, up to suspension, for professors who take COVID-19 mitigation into their own hands.

09.07.2021 | The Masked Professor vs. the Unmasked Student

Matthew Boedy, president of AAUP Georgia, said that seeing his mostly unmasked class at the University of North Georgia was “an emotional hellscape.” Some instructors are finding the return to the classroom a nerve-racking experience. A few have quit — one in the middle of class.

09.07.2021 | OU AAUP give university an 'F' on COVID-19 pandemic response report card

"The decision-makers at the University of Oklahoma want to have it both ways. They want to appear to be doing the right thing when it comes to scientifically-backed COVID-19 mitigation strategies. But they also appear to want to please certain donors, politicians, parents and others who want an "in-class experience" without 100% indoor masking and COVID-19 vaccination requirements as is strongly recommended by the CDC."

09.04.2021 | Oakland University reaches agreement with AAUP after 2 day strike

“We would like to thank all our members for the amazing outpouring of solidarity and support."

09.01.2021 | Protest planned at Columbus State after faculty petition for more COVID protocols

Columbus State University's AAUP chapter will hold a demonstration Friday protesting what they call unsafe working and learning conditions after faculty and staff petitioned the University System of Georgia asking for more COVID-19 protocols.

08.31.2021 | AAUP President weighs in on experiences of female faculty during COVID

"Female faculty members are submitting papers at a much lower degree than they did prior to the pandemic, and that's going to make it much more difficult for women to get tenure."

08.25.2021 | Oklahoma University's AAUP chapter demands stronger COVID protocols

"It is a fundamental denial of civil rights at OU to be put at heightened risk of infection due to someone else choosing not to be masked and vaccinated."

08.19.2021 | Wright State AAUP pushes for remote teaching options, social distancing, and vaccinations.

The Wright State AAUP chapter sent a letter to the president asking the university to require all students, faculty and staff be vaccinated as well as increased social distancing and remote teaching options. "If we don't plan for this surge in COVID now, we will find ourselves in a worse position than in Spring 2020."

 

08.18.2021 | “What happened to being essential?” AAUP chapter protests Western Michigan University's Salary Proposal

“It feels especially insulting after we’ve made these sacrifices, and again, made them because we were asked to do so, we were called to service and we stepped up,” said AAUP President Cathryn Bailey

08.13.2021 | Nebraska Regents Shoot Down Anti-Critical Race Theory Proposal

Advocates for academic freedom and frank open inquiry on the issue of race rejoiced Friday after the Board of Regents for the University of Nebraska voted down a resolution opposing the “imposition” of critical race theory on curriculum. The resolution, backed by the state’s Republican governor, Pete Ricketts, was proposed by Regent Jim Pillen, a Republican who is running to succeed term-limited Ricketts as governor.

08.12.2021 | College and University faculty nationwide are sounding the alarm for safe reopenings

College faculty, staff, and students are becoming more willing to confront vaccine hesitancy and hostility and defy the public officials that give cover to them. They’ve reached a tipping point.

08.05.2021 | University of Minnesota AAUP chapter call for vaccine mandate

There is "broad frustration and deep anger among faculty at Twin Cities that has been building over the summer about the unsafe reopening policies put forward by the administration," the University of Minnesota chapter of the AAUP wrote in a statement.

07.23.2021 | AAUP President Irene Mulvey discusses continuing issues of systemic racism in academic tenure

The saga of Nikole Hannah-Jones and Cornel West highlight the importance of tenure in academic freedom and the fight for racial justice and equity in higher education. 

07.19.2021 | Part-time WMU instructors protest for higher pay amid contract negotiations

The AAUP's Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession shows university faculty pay dropped nationwide last year for the first time since the great recession.

“This is more evidence that those without tenure, or at least opportunity for tenure, their livelihood is at risk,” said Glenn Colby, senior researcher with the AAUP.

07.09.2021 | It's not just Nikole Hannah-Jones: Black women are underrepresented among tenured faculty

"Black people make up 13.4% of the US population but accounted for less than 6% of faculty at public and private nonprofit four-year colleges in the USA in 2018, according to federal data analyzed by the AAUP."

06.12.2021 | National University Accreditation at Risk?

The university's work to get accredited "could be undone after a scathing report by the American Association of University Professors, which put NU on its sanctioned list for a “trinity of egregious violations of widely accepted governance standards.” . . . .“These actions should trigger an investigation by WASC,” said Adrianna Kezar, Dean’s Professor of Leadership and director of the Pullias Center for Higher Education. “The Board [of Trustees] needs to take seriously AAUP sanctioning and possible implications for their accreditation.”

06.07.2021 | A year after Floyd, US campuses avoid major police reform

“By whatever measure one chooses,” the American Association of University Professors said in an assessment of the topic earlier this year, “campus police have not made campuses safer”.

05.26.2021 | ‘A Watershed Moment’ for Shared Governance

“There is no question that many colleges and universities are in financial distress, and many more will face daunting challenges in the next decade,” the report says. “The question is whether robust shared governance will survive those challenges. For that to happen, governing boards, administrations and faculties must make a conscious, concerted, and sustained effort to ensure that all parties are conversant with, and cultivate respect for, the norms of shared governance.”

04.30.2021 | Some universities’ response to budget woes: Make faculty teach more courses

“We have a lot more work to do with fewer faculty,” said Evelyn Stiller, a professor of computer science and the president of the AAUP chapter at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire.

04.23.2021 | A Billionaire-Funded Website Is Trying to "Cancel" University Professors

AAUP member Isaac Kamola has tracked more than 1,570 stories posted on Campus Reform since 2020 and surveyed the 338 individuals they targeted, many of whose official profiles and contact details were linked to in stories about them. The survey, the results of which will be published by the AAUP’s Academe magazine, found that at least 40 percent of respondents received “threats of harm” following a Campus Reform article.

04.13.2021 | Faculty Salaries Dip This Year

Average faculty pay fell by 0.4 percent this year, adjusting for inflation, the first such decrease since 2011-12, according to preliminary data from the American Association of University Professors’ annual Faculty Compensation Survey.

This top-line figure doesn’t tell the full story of how academic salaries have fared during COVID-19. Just as the pandemic has had an outsize effect on certain parts of society and the economy, it’s affected faculty compensation at certain kinds of institutions, at certain ranks, more than others.

03.15.2021 | How to Reopen Higher Ed

This is a national imperative, requiring New Deal-level funding and focus, write Irene Mulvey and Randi Weingarten.

03.02.2021 | Questioning the Assumptions Behind Budget Cuts

How does making all workers contingent and expendable drive “systemic change that dismantles the status quo”? Why must so many college and university administrators insist that the only way to be fair is for everyone to expect less?

02.15.2021 | The Great Contraction

AAUP president Irene Mulvey says she gets that administrators want flexibility and nimbleness for hiring, “but it’s tenured faculty with academic freedom that make a great institution.”

02.01.2021 | Top Ten Ways Tenure Benefits Students and All Iowans

On behalf of AAUP chapters in Iowa, where a proposed bill would abolish tenure at public universities, Lois Cox and Katherine Tachau write, "Tenure is indispensable to academic freedom. It allows professors the independence to do the best work they are capable of doing without fear that they will be fired for their opinions or conclusions."

01.27.2021 | Pushed by the pandemic, faculty want a greater voice in decisions at Penn and other campuses

The new AAUP chapter at Penn plans to "fight for more faculty involvement, better working conditions for all employees — including equitable pay for all ranks and a redress of inequities in salary and promotion for women and faculty of color — and “to advocate for the most vulnerable members of our community.”

01.22.2021 | Kansas Regents Make It Easier to Dismiss Tenured Professors

AAUP program officer Mark Criley raised numerous concerns about the new policy, and told the Chronicle that existing financial-exigency procedures are supposed to give faculty members an ample role in determining if that condition exists and whether there are less-drastic means of dealing with it than terminations.

01.13.2021 | Statewide org says UE could be violating governance guidelines, warns of investigation

David Nalbone, president of the Indiana AAUP, argued the school is bound by certain governance guidelines, appearing in the Faculty Manual, which he says the administration appears to be violating in its push for "realignment."

01.06.2021 | Marquette Should Respect Shared Governance

"Shared governance means continuous faculty engagement in academic decision-making. When administration reserves the right to unilaterally cut faculty and entire academic programs, professors are being shut out of our voice in determining short and long-range priorities," says the Marquette University AAUP.