2016 AAUP In the News

12.23.2016 | UW-Madison’s Claire Wendland: Professor ‘Watchlist’ Attempt to Intimidate

Professor Claire Wendland said of signing the AAUP open letter to the creators of the professor watchlist, “I wanted to sign on in active solidarity with the people being put on the list ... I think the watchlist is clearly an attempt to intimidate free speech and open research. It’s important to be able to research and talk about things that are not necessarily pleasing to legislators in power or corporations who control the purse strings.” 

12.21.2016 | Republican Legislators Take Issue With New UW-Madison Race Relations Course

Wisconsin state Sen. Steve Nass spoke out against a university course in an email to his Republican colleagues and encouraged them to consider the course when deciding whether to approve the UW system’s request for more funding in the next state budget. The AAUP's Joerg Tiede said curricular decisions should be made by the faculty, not by state legislators. 

12.19.2016 | A Ph.D. in Organizing

"Newly armed with the right to collective bargaining, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, and research assistants at private universities are organizing to join the ranks of the unionized." That includes those organizing with the AAUP at the University of Chicago and elsewhere. After the election, many prepare for new attacks on collective bargaining, but for now, the window is open. 

12.19.2016 | Trustee Appointment Takes a Political Turn

University of North Carolina faculty members joined others in raising strong objections to Republican legislative efforts to pass legislation stripping the power to appoint some local state university campus trustees from North Carolina’s governor and giving it to the state’s most powerful lawmakers. The AAUP's Joerg Tiede said, “What’s happening right here suggests that the process is being politicized. That’s certainly an unwelcome development.”

12.18.2016 | I'm a Scientist Who Has Gotten Death Threats. I Fear What May Happen under Trump.

Professor Michael E. Mann, who serves on the AAUP's Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, writes, "I’ve faced hostile investigations by politicians, demands for me to be fired from my job, threats against my life and even threats against my family." His opinion piece tells his story of being a climate scientist and highlights present concerns about academic freedom and tenure.

12.12.2016 | Don't Smile (You're on Camera)

The video recording of an Orange Coast College instructor's anti-Trump comments by a student who posted them on Facebook heightens concerns about targeting of faculty for their political views. Placing this incident in the context of the Professor Watchlist, the AAUP's Hans-Joerg Tiede said, "There is reason to be concerned that this kind of activity will be increasing in the current environment."

12.11.2016 | Ohio Colleges Vow to Protect Immigrants

Petitions have been circulating to make several colleges and universities in Ohio sanctuary campuses. Commenting on the AAUP's advocacy for sanctuary campuses, AAUP President and Wright State University professor emeritus Rudy Fichtenbaum said, "We’re not going to sit silently by as people are being scapegoated."

12.10.2016 | UNLV, UNR Students Want Schools’ Help in Sanctuary Campus Issue

Students at the University of Nevadam Las Vegas and the University of Nevada, Reno delivered petitions to their universities' presidents requesting their support for undocumented students at risk of deportation. Commenting on the campus sanctuary movement, Rutgers University AAUP-AFT union chapter president David Hughes said, "We’re not looking for universities to break the law, but to exercise the maximum latitude they can in dragging their feet to complying with the executive branch."

12.09.2016 | Community College of Aurora Under Investigation After Firing Professor

Commenting on the AAUP investigation into the firing of Aurora Community College Professor Nathanial Bork, apparently in retaliation for his criticism of weakened academic standards, the AAUP's Greg Scholtz said "When the person who is most interested in the students’ learning, and who knows most about the subject matter, can’t control the course, then what happens to higher education?”

12.08.2016 | Student Journalists Are Under Threat

Columnist Rebecca Schuman looks at the student media report jointly issued by the AAUP and says, "The last thing we need right now, in the creeping shadow of American authoritarianism, is an entire generation of fledgling journalists who’ve come up thinking censorship is acceptable."

12.07.2016 | What Remains of Tenure

University of Wisconsin Regents are proposing a revision to posttenure review policies to require an "independent review" by a dean, provost, chancellor, or designee. David Vanness of the UW-Madison AAUP warned of “enormous and unchecked power that could easily be applied to pressure faculty into behaving in a matter that is considered politically acceptable. Its use, or even threat of its use, could have a chilling effect on research and teaching activities.”

12.02.2016 | Report Details Dangers to College Media

The news editor of the Miami University of Ohio's student newspaper considers the impact of the AAUP's jointly issued student media report. Commenting on the importance of high-quality training for young journalists, Ohio Newspaper Association executive director Dennis Hetzel said “With what’s just happened in our presidential election, the credibility of the media, the trust in the media has probably never been a bigger concern in American history."

11.29.2016 | 3 SC Professors on Group’s List of ‘Leftist’ Teachers

Clemson University issued a statement defending the free speech of two of its faculty members, who are among three in South Carolina added to Turning Point USA's "Professor Watchlist." Brandon Inabinet, South Carolina AAUP conference president, warned about the list's impact on both faculty and students, commenting "If lists like this are used to find professors that agree with a student’s viewpoints, it really defeats the purpose of what a university is about.” 

11.28.2016 | Professor Watchlist Is Seen as Threat to Academic Freedom

A new website accuses about 200 college professors of advancing “leftist propaganda in the classroom” and discriminating against conservative students. The AAUP's Joerg Tiede said, “There is a continuing cycle of these sorts of things. They serve the same purpose: to intimidate individuals from speaking plainly in their classrooms or in their publications," adding the site could be used to harass professors or sabotage them from gaining jobs or promotions.

11.22.2016 | Being Watched

Conservative organization Turning Point USA is encouraging students to identify faculty who "advance leftist propaganda" by registering them on the "Professor Watchlist" website. AAUP associate secretary Hans-Joerg Tiede said, “The AAUP has spoken out against organizations that conduct these kinds of activities going back to the 1920s, when it was the American Legion, through the 1980s, when it was an organization that called itself Accuracy in Academia.”

11.22.2016 | Saving Academia from Trump's "Post-Truth" Nation

Andre Perry comments on the importance of upholding AAUP standards for postsecondary education and on the threats to academic freedom for teachers at all levels after an election that has devalued truth. "Power is truth’s biggest enemy. Not only must educational institutions defend the practice of tenure, we must vigorously protect (through tenure) educators who expose America’s biggest lie – the idea of white superiority."

11.18.2016 | Vital Faculty Voices Going Unheard in IPFW Debate

Faculty at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) who objected to proposed program and governance changes have garnered support from colleagues at Indiana University-Bloomington and Purdue University at West Lafayette. David Sanders, chair of the Purdue University Senate at West Lafayette expressed concern that "almost all of the actions of the board of trustees, in fact, occur in secret" with "only a facade of open public meetings.” The AAUP sent a letter on behalf of IPFW  faculty to Chancellor Vicky Carwein.

11.18.2016 | An Urgent Request to Trump from Civil Rights Advocates

The AAUP joined over 100 organizations in signing a letter to president-elect Donald Trump calling on him to condemn acts of hate that have increased dramatically since the election. The letter, co-authored by the American Federation of Teachers and the Southern Poverty Law Center, declares, “We ask you to use your position, your considerable platform and even your tweets to send a clear message that hate has no place in our public discourse, in our public policy or in our society.”

11.09.2016 | AAUP Warns of Historic Threat to Academic Freedom Posed by Trump

The AAUP expressed concern over threats to academic freedom, privatization of higher education, and more in the wake of the 2016 election. 

11.07.2016 | Rigor, Faculty Rights, Completion

Instructor says he was fired, shortly after he complained to accreditor, for refusing to water down his curriculum and requirements. Another instructor quit rather than comply. The AAUP is investigating this case.

11.01.2016 | Colorado Department of Higher Ed Joins Probe into CCA After Prof's Firing

A week after the AAUP announced its investigation into the firing of adjunct professor Nathanial Bork at the Community College of Aurora, the Colorado Department of Higher Education is looking into recent curriculum changes at the college.

10.27.2016 | How Trump Is Dividing Jerry Falwell’s University

At Liberty University, Donald Trump's candidacy has spurred debates about free speech and free inquiry on campus. The AAUP's Joerg Tiede points out media policies that prohibit faculty from speaking with the press constitute “an interference in faculty members’ academic freedom,” and are another reason more professors should have tenure. Tiede says, “We certainly define academic freedom [to include] the freedom to speak to the press."

10.26.2016 | Firing of Part-Time Aurora Professor Piques Interest

The AAUP is investigating the firing of Nathanial Bork, an adjunct philosophy professor at Community College of Aurora.

10.25.2016 | Can Your Productivity Be Measured?

A book offers critiques of using big data to measure the output of professors and institutions, arguing that technique is equivalent to “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” David Hughes, Rutgers AAUP-AFT president, asks, “What consequences might flow from such a warped set of metrics?" 

10.24.2016 | Loss of Big 12 Good News for UC

Ohio AAUP leaders John McNay and Ron Jones write, "We support our student athletes and want them to have the opportunity to compete. We do not advocate the elimination of sports, but we do believe that the university must dramatically reduce the subsidy to athletics – and the sooner the better. Athletics should no longer be immune to the starvation budgets too many of our academic departments and colleges are facing."

10.14.2016 | Citizen Impact WSU Budget Issues

Logan Martinez discusses the Wright State University budget crisis, its origins, its effects on faculty, staff, and students, and wider implications of the corporatization of public universities with AAUP members and leaders Adrian Corbett, John McNair, Sirisha Naidu, Tom Rooney, and WSU lecturer Andrea Harris. 

10.11.2016 | As Concerns Grow About Using Data to Measure Faculty, a Company Changes Its Message

Academic Analytics, a company seeking to provide data on faculty productivity, has come under fire for providing inaccurate and insufficient data. Georgetown decided to drop the service. David Hughes, president of Rutgers AAUP-AFT, said, "Our objection, fundamentally, is that these corporate-derived measurement tools, if successful, will narrow scholarly life." 

10.06.2016 | The Reason Behind Colleges' Ballooning Bureaucracies

Universities’ executive, administrative, and managerial offices continued to grow during the recession, even as budgets were cut and tuition increased. Howard Bunsis, chair of the AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress, weighs in.

09.29.2016 | Shared Governance, Not Shared Power

The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) asked university presidents, board members and faculty how well they feel shared governance is functioning on their campuses. The AGB's findings will be presented among many panels at the upcoming AAUP shared governance conference.

09.28.2016 | A Look Inside Fordham's Financials: Bunsis Analysis

Amidst an ongoing dispute between the faculty senate and administration over the legality of the faculty salary imposition, the faculty senate sponsored a comprehensive analysis of Fordham’s financial condition directed by Howard Bunsis, professor of accounting at EMU and chair of the AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress. 

09.27.2016 | Grad Employees Union Seeks Greater Stake in Presidential Search

The Graduate Employees Union at Portland State University is working for a larger voice in their upcoming presidential search.

09.22.2016 | Wright State University’s Budget Crisis Sparks On-Campus Protests

Wright State students held protests on campus calling out the administration for mishandling money and cutting faculty.

09.20.2016 | UI AAUP to Explain National Group's Sanction

Members of the University of Iowa AAUP chapter will hold a community discussion about the association's sanction vote against the university.

09.19.2016 | Walking the Tenure Tightrope

In addition to its central role in protecting academic freedom, this feature looks at the critical role tenure plays in scientific research, breakthroughs and maintaining high quality higher education. It also addresses key myths. AAUP members Rebecca Roesner and Judith Burstyn join the AAUP's Joerg Tiede in weighing in.

09.16.2016 | Kennesaw State Profs Sound an Early Alarm about a Sam Olens Takeover

The Kennesaw State AAUP chapter urged the Board of Regents to endorse a nationwide presidential search engaging a faculty committee, alumni, students and community leaders following of rumors that Attorney General Sam Olens is tapped for the job. 

09.12.2016 | Professor Group Criticizes WSU in Call to Avoid Job Cuts

The Wright State AAUP chapter calls on the school to avoid firing faculty because of "fiscal mismanagement by the central administration." AAUP-WSU president Marty Kich pointed out that  the school "has poured funds into entities and auxiliaries (e.g., Wright State Applied Research Corporation, Intercollegiate Athletics, Double Bowler, ad infinitum) which neither generate enough revenue to pay for themselves nor support the core mission of our university," and said, "These misplaced priorities have continued in the budget cuts (still only vaguely delineated) made this summer, in which acade

09.07.2016 | Guest View: New U of I President Doesn't Get It

University of Iowa professor and AAUP member Loren Glass sheds light on the work of AAUP and the significance of censure or sanction.

09.06.2016 | Profs Seek Audit of Community Colleges, Citing Low Pay, Soaring Revenue

A letter from Caprice Lawless, AAUP vice president and part-time instructor at Front Range Community College, to the Colorado General Assembly's Legislative Audit Committee seeking an audit of the college system is part of an ongoing campaign to bring attention to pay inequities faced by adjunct faculty.

08.31.2016 | Faculty Union Reaches Five-Year Contract Deal with University

Hofstra’s AAUP faculty union reached a tentative contract agreement with the university, just hours before the previous agreement expired and the chapter was set to demonstrate in response. Chapter president Dennis Mazzocco said, “All of Hofstra’s faculty is fortunate that their university respects collective bargaining rights," adding, "The university is in really good shape. This sets the stage to retain and recruit faculty.”

08.31.2016 | US Board Gives Student Assistants Unionization Rights

The NLRB ruled last week that students at private universities and colleges, working as teaching or research assistants, are employees with the right to join unions. Monday, graduate students from ten Yale University departments filed a petition to the NLRB requesting certification of a local union to represent them. "Graduate employees deserve a seat at the table and a voice in higher education. Collective bargaining can provide that," said Howard Bunsis, AAUP-CBC.

08.31.2016 | University of Iowa Struggles with Retaining Faculty

The UI administration aims to keep faculty salaries competitive, while the effects of the AAUP sanction of UI could make it more difficult to recruit new faculty. Professor Katherine Tachau, president of the UI AAUP chapter, said the last two years have seen an increased number of faculty leaving the institution.

08.30.2016 | Yale Graduate Students File Petition to Form Union

After last week's NLRB ruling giving students at private universities the right to organize, Yale graduate students filed a petition Monday to form a union.“This is an extremely important ruling for graduate students at Yale where GESO has been working for many, many years for official recognition as a union,” said Irene Mulvey, treasurer of the Connecticut Conference of the AAUP.

08.25.2016 | Is CSU's Tony Frank Worth $700K?

Colorado State University president and chancellor Tony Frank's salary was padded by a $100,000 bonus earlier this month, though his compensation still trails the head football and basketball coaches. Tim McGettigan, AAUP member and sociology professor, previously took up the topic of administrative bloat at CSU here

08.24.2016 | NLRB: Graduate Students at Private Universities May Unionize

The National Labor Relations Board ruled that graduate research and teaching assistants are entitled to collective bargaining under the National Labor Relations Act. 

08.23.2016 | Michigan's Public Colleges Spend Millions to Subsidize Athletics

Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Central Michigan spent a combined $72.6 million in institutional funds to pay for athletics in 2015. "This is real money we're talking about, money that many of these students are going to pay back, with interest," said Lisa Minnick, president of WMU's AAUP chapter. "It means that students are taking out larger loans, not for educational purposes but to help subsidize the football program."

08.17.2016 | Can Grad Students Unionize? Academia Awaits Major Labor Board Ruling

A major ruling expected soon from the NLRB may recognize graduate students as university employees and entitled to protections under US law, including those related to collective bargaining. Matilda Stubbs, a graduate worker at Northwestern and Eric Powell, member of the University of Chicago's AAUP chapter Graduate Students United, describe what the decision may mean for them.

08.16.2016 | Regents Name Critic of University of Iowa Search to Co-Chair UNI's Search

UNI professor and active AAUP member Daniel J. Power will co-chair the 20-member committee vetting applicants to replace former UNI President Bill Ruud. Regent Katie Mulholland, who will co-chair the committee, stated a commitment to an "open and transparent process, very similar to the last UNI presidential search process, which will bring candidates to campus in November for meetings with constituent groups prior to Board of Regents interviews of the finalists in December." She added, "The AAUP guidelines for university presidential searches provided the backbone for the UNI process."

08.14.2016 | UC Spending on 'Athletic Arms Race' Irresponsible

Ohio AAUP leaders Ron Jones and John McNay point out that as the University of Cincinnati spends less on students and more on athletics, students are also putting in more to the athletic program and the program's debt grows. "When UC doubles and triples down on athletics, it takes money away from students as a whole," they say. This out of control spending "deprives the students, the faculty, the city and the state of Ohio of resources that could truly bolster the academic mission of the university." 

08.12.2016 | UPDATE: UNI Faculty Pay Inequities Righted, Pay Increases Coming to 51

After two years of collaboration between the University of Northern Iowa faculty union and the UNI administration, a major agreement has been reached to rectify faculty salary inequities.

08.12.2016 | UNI Gives Raises to 51 Faculty to Address Pay Inequity

Administrators and AAUP-United Faculty leaders at the University of Northern Iowa agreed to a plan to raise 51 faculty members' salaries this summer to correct for gender, race and other inequities in pay across campus. "Faculty care deeply for our students and for the university and local community and are at the heart of our institution. We are deeply appreciative of the collaboration with United Faculty to investigate and resolve an important issue," UNI interim president Jim Wohlpart said.

08.10.2016 | Biopic of Civil Rights Activist Angela Davis in Development from ‘Dope’ and ‘Fruitvale Station’ Producer

The rights to civil rights activist Angela Davis' autobiography were recently acquired by Codeblack Films and may result in a biopic. The AAUP successfully fought Davis' dismissal from UCLA  by the UC Board of Regents on the grounds of her political affiliations. 

07.29.2016 | From Laid-Off Professor to Provost

After being laid off by the University of Southern Maine in 2014 amidst budget struggles, Professor Jeannine Diddle Uzzi tried to move on to the next step in her career. However, with the hiring of a new president, she was approached to become a part of the University community once again as provost.

07.20.2016 | Hofstra University offers debate spots for WSU students

Wright State President David Hopkins announced the university has withdrawn from hosting the first presidential debate in September. Martin Kich, AAUP-WSU president said, “If the alternative is we would be left with a sizeable financial liability because of this, then I think it’s the smart thing to do."

07.14.2016 | University of Iowa Sees Another Increase in Faculty Resignations

The 100 faculty resignations during the 2016 budget year is up 11 percent from last year and 52 percent from the 2014 budget year, marking the highest number of faculty resignations since at least 1987, according to Board of Regents records. The resignations came during a tumultuous year at the university, including the arrival of Bruce Harreld as president. The selection of former IBM businessman Harreld resulted in votes of no-confidence from faculty and student leaders in the Board of Regents and a sanction by the AAUP.

07.14.2016 | When a 40% Raise Is Just Getting Started

The University of Memphis has proposed an increase in minimum adjunct pay from $1,500 to $2,100 per three-credit-hour course. Though it marks the first pay raise for adjuncts at the university in three decades, some adjuncts at other universities are winning contracts with minimums more than three times higher. Under the new minimum, adjuncts at the University of Memphis who teach a full load of three courses for two semesters could still fall near the poverty threshold and below a full-time minimum wage employee.

07.13.2016 | Iowa Board of Regents Executive Director Made More Than Double His Capped Salary

Deferred compensation and bonuses increased Robert Donley's pay to $338,466. John Barnshaw, AAUP senior higher education researcher, said while deferred compensation plans are not uncommon in higher education, salary caps are generally made to be honored.

07.01.2016 | At UK, Presidential Pay Growing Much Faster Than Faculty Pay

After the University of Kentucky lost significant state funding, announced layoffs and a 5 percent tuition increase, many were shocked to hear UK President Eli Capilouto would get a 48 percent increase in his base pay, bringing it to $790,000. John Barnshaw, AAUP senior higher education researcher, explains the ways in which university boards tend to underestimate the value of faculty, who help students stay in school. 

06.30.2016 | Not Too Late for Grove City’s ‘Sorry’ to Professor

More than fifty years after a Cold War–era firing, the Pennsylvania school Grove City College is in good standing again. “We’re immensely pleased that they took steps to apologize. No institution has ever done that before,” said Gregory Sholtz, the director of the AAUP’s academic freedom and tenure program.

06.29.2016 | AAUP Honors Stephen Finner

Stephen L. Finner of Barre City was honored at the AAUP annual meeting for his 50 years of activism and dedicated support of AAUP principles and standards in higher education. As the director of collective bargaining services from 1979 to 2003, he visited more than 300 colleges and universities organizing faculty and AAUP chapters. One of the units Finner helped organize was United Academics, the faculty union at the University of Vermont, which he now works for part time as the senior consultant for higher education.

06.28.2016 | The No-Jobs Myth

Carolyn Betensky, associate professor of English at the University of Rhode Island, speaks out against the two tiered system in academe and urges tenured professors to keep the pressure on to improve working conditions for all in the profession. 

06.24.2016 | National Association of College Professors Lifts Decades-Long Censure of Metropolitan Community College

AAUP membership voted to lift the censure imposed in 1984 on Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City.

06.24.2016 | Union County College Slammed With Sanction by AAUP

Union County College (NJ) was placed on AAUP's sanction list for violating widely accepted principles of academic government. Derek McConnell, president of the UCC AAUP chapter, and William Lipkin, secretary treasurer of United Adjunct Faculty of New Jersey, speak about conditions at UCC and next steps.

06.20.2016 | Censures for Mizzou, Saint Rose

This article describes a number of describing decisions made at last Saturday's annual meeting, including censure and sanctions and the removal of institutions from the censure and sanction list. 

06.20.2016 | Racial Literacy as a Professor's Responsibility

Shaun Harper, author of Race Matters in College, discussed faculty members' role and responsibilities in classroom conversations about race.

06.19.2016 | Melissa Click Firing Lands University of Missouri on Association Censure List for Third Time

The AAUP voted unanimously at its annual meeting Saturday to place the University of Missouri on its censure list for the third time, this time for violations in academic due process in firing Melissa Click. Nicole Monnier, associate teaching professor at MU, explains the curators’ investigation of Click was irregular and could be a precedent for unilateral action against any faculty member in the future.

06.19.2016 | Professors Group Adds Saint Rose to Censure List

The College of Saint Rose was placed on the censure list Saturday for violating principles of academic freedom and tenure.

06.18.2016 | University of Iowa Sanctioned for Presidential Search

Harreld’s selection prompted votes of no-confidence from the UI Faculty Senate and UI student government for its disregard for shared university governance. UI history professor Katherine Tachau and UI biology professor John Logsdon weigh in.

06.17.2016 | Overcoming a Racist Legacy

Faculty and staff from the University of Mississippi discuss how university with a reputation for historically being inhospitable to black students overcome that part of its heritage at the AAUP's higher ed conference.

06.17.2016 | What Are College Governing Boards Getting From Their Search Firms?

James H. Finkelstein, a professor of public policy at George Mason University, presents a new study on the role of executive search firms in the process at public colleges and whether taxpayers are getting their money’s worth. He says by hiring a search firm, "governing boards are outsourcing their most important responsibilities."

06.14.2016 | Faculty Unionize at Northern Illinois U

The Illinois Labor Relations Board certified a new faculty union at Northern Illinois University.

06.14.2016 | EMU Move to Privatize Food Services Draws Flack

A move to privatize food service operations across Eastern Michigan University is drawing criticism from some faculty and students, who are upset with how the university is describing the move and the impact the switch could have on students. AAUP members and leaders get involved.

06.09.2016 | Table Trouble

Kean University is taking heat for the quarter-million-dollar conference table it bought in 2014. Howard Bunsis, chairman of the AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress points out that Kean is spending less money on instructional priorities and more on administrative costs, adding, "The money needs to be spent on the students. ... We need to be sure that the students can get through. All the focus needs to be is, how can we help these students and their families succeed? What kind of resources can we give them?" 

06.09.2016 | Academics in Sexual Minorities Can Feel a Need to Stay Closeted

A Q&A with Sean Robinson, who will present findings and speak on this topic at the AAUP annual conference in DC. Robinson conducted a study and found that although society is becoming more tolerant of members of sexual-minority groups, many academics feel pressure to remain closeted to safeguard their careers. 

06.09.2016 | Cuts Questioned at U of Chicago

Faculty members and students worry they're paying the price for construction projects amid a focus on cutting administrative costs.

06.08.2016 | UI Offers More Protections for Lecturer Faculty

The University of Iowa approved a new policy aiming to improve working conditions for about 280 lecturers.The new policy grants non-tenured faculty members representation on the Faculty Senate, grievance rights, more transparent workload expectations, and stated pathways to promotion.

06.04.2016 | Five Reasons Why Student Debt Is Skyrocketing

A look at college costs growing faster than inflation, states slashing funding for higher education, universities spending more on administrative salaries and campus amenities, students not always understanding how loans work, and Americans not seeing a raise in years. AAUP president Rudy Fichtenbaum says, "What is driving costs is the metastasizing army of administrators with bloated salaries, and our university presidents who are now paid as though they were CEOs running a business -- and not a very successful one at that."

06.03.2016 | When Universities Try to Behave Like Businesses, Education Suffers

In his column, Michael Hiltzik says, "What’s really at stake in the corporatization of academia is the traditional role the university as a repository of culture and training ground for open inquiry." Hank Reichman, AAUP first vice president, weighs in.

06.02.2016 | Concerns Surface Over WSU Budget and Debate Costs

As Wright State University faces major budget challenges and plans to cut millions of dollars from the budget, raise tuition and cut staff, it also looks to host a presidential debate in September which would cost eight million dollars. Rudy Fichtenbaum, AAUP president and professor of economics at Wright State University, is not confident that the university will raise that money and feels it's a bad expenditure. 

06.02.2016 | Portland State Graduate Employees' Union Approved

This week, Oregon's Employment Relations Board certified PSU's Graduate Employees Union, confirming the AAUP/AFT-affiliated union for 800 administrative, teaching and research assistants.

05.29.2016 | Editorial: Excellence in Higher Education Starts With Better Pay for Instructors

The Post-Dispatch editorial board writes, "The demands placed on adjuncts are enormous, and they have well-founded reasons for asserting that their employment rights are being abused in the name of cost-cutting." With AAUP data, they paint a bleak picture of more and more part-time teachers paired with less and less money spent on instruction in every sector in higher education. They point out specific challenges that part-time faculty face and express support for the organizing efforts of instructors in higher ed. 

05.28.2016 | Why Do So Few Tenured Professors Get Fired? Because It Is Really Hard to Get Tenure.

Alan Talaga explains, "Tenure ends up being a job for life for many professors because they’ve dedicated their lives" to the job.

05.24.2016 | UI's Presidential Search Looms Over UNI

The AAUP's governance committee convenes Wednesday to decide whether to call for sanctions over the controversial process that led to last year’s hiring of the University of Iowa president. Also Wednesday, the president of the Iowa Board of Regents is to be deposed as part of a lawsuit claiming the UI search process violated Iowa's open government laws. "The regents do now have an opportunity to improve upon their process for the hiring of the University of Northern Iowa,” said Hans-Joerg Tiede, the associate secretary for AAUP’s department of academic freedom, tenure and governance.

05.19.2016 | University of Northern Iowa president: 'They recruited me'

University of Northern Iowa President Bill Ruud said Thursday he was “recruited hard” by Marietta College in Ohio and became convinced the move was a “great next stop” for him. Joe Gorton, president of UNI’s United Faculty union and AAUP chapter, said he believes Ruud was driven out and if, so, sees it as a great disappointment. In a letter to colleagues, Gordon expressed shock over President Rudd's departure and said, “It was his ability to work with us in good faith that led (United Faculty) to withdraw our request for an AAUP censure of UNI.”

05.19.2016 | Report: University of Missouri Curators Bowed to Political Pressure in Melissa Click Firing

Melissa Click’s firing undermined University of Missouri administrators’ authority and was more likely a result of political pressure for her removal than her actual offenses, a report from the AAUP concludes. Because the Board of Curators voted to fire Click without engaging in the normal process for disciplining faculty, in an atmosphere of political pressure and administrative turmoil, “academic freedom and shared governance at MU are endangered,” the investigators wrote.

05.18.2016 | David J. Vanness: The quality, value and prestige of a UW degree are at risk

UW-Madison AAUP chapter president David Vanness points out that the statewide votes of no confidence in University of Wisconsin System leadership are not solely about the weakened tenure policies; in fact, educational quality concerns remain paramount.

05.16.2016 | A Year Later, Temple Professor Haunted by Spying Allegations

A year after federal prosecutors accused renowned Temple University physicist Professor Xiaoxing Xi of selling secrets to China and long after charges were dropped, Xi is searching for peace of mind, concerned about the future and implications for academic freedom.

05.12.2016 | Review of Hans-Joerg Tiede's "University Reform: The Founding of the American Association of University Professors"

Luther Spoehr, a Brown University lecturer, reviews associate secretary Hans-Joerg Tiede's book on AAUP founding history.

05.10.2016 | Tenured Faculty: Still a Man's World at IU, Other Big Ten Schools

The number of male tenure and tenure track faculty members is almost double the number for women at Indiana University’s Bloomington campus, according to a report from the Bloomington Faculty Council. Anne Sisson Runyan, chairwoman of the AAUP's committee on women in the academic profession points out while more women may be qualified for tenure track positions, unless there is a sudden and dramatic increase in the number of those positions, it will take a long time to erase the discrepancy. 

05.09.2016 | U Illinois Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Union Ratifies Contract

The non-tenure-track faculty union at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaignm, an AFT and AAUP-affiliated union, ratified its first contract late last week, after two strikes since April over stalled negotiations. Standardization of multiyear contracts for eligible instructors was one key issue of concern. Union president and English lecturer Shawn Gilmore said the contract will “stabilize the working lives of non-tenure-track faculty” and ensure the “long-term support they deserve.” 

05.09.2016 | UW President Ray Cross: Tenure Debate Exposed 'Real Value' of Removing It from State Law

Before the University of Wisconsin system board of regents voted on the controversial new tenure policy, system President Ray Cross wrote to board of regents vice president that the debate “has exposed the real value of removing tenure related policies from statutory language.” David Vanness, UW-Madison AAUP president said, “Under the new UW tenure policy, a high quality academic program (say, climate science) can be shut down and its faculty laid off so that other programs (say, petroleum engineering) deemed to be of higher priority can expand. Should we shut down African studies to fund a

05.04.2016 | Shedding Faculty at Saint Rose

The AAUP condemns College of Saint Rose for shedding more than 20 tenure-line faculty jobs with insufficient faculty input.

05.04.2016 | Tenure Is Crucial to Academic Freedom

Professor Daryl P. Domning explains the value of tenure in a letter. He says, "Eviscerating unions harmed our economy and society; abolishing tenure would do the same to our universities."

05.04.2016 | AAUP Releases Report on Controversial College of Saint Rose Cuts

The AAUP issued a report on controversial cuts made to programs and faculty positions at the College of Saint Rose and the college responds.

05.02.2016 | U. of Wisconsin at Madison Faculty Votes No Confidence in System’s President and Regents

The Faculty Senate announced that professors at the University of Wisconsin at Madison voted no confidence in the university system’s president, Raymond W. Cross, and its Board of Regents.

05.01.2016 | UI Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Vote Unanimously to Call off Strike

Non tenure-track faculty at the UIUC reached a tentative contract agreement contract with the University of Illinois and voted to call off their 2-day-old strike.

04.25.2016 | Faculty and Students Call for Eastern Michigan to Drop Division 1 Football

Faculty and students at Eastern Michigan released a report calling for the university to drop Division 1 football after years of struggle and large costs to both the university and students.

04.25.2016 | UW-Madison Faculty to Take ‘No-Confidence’ Vote on Board of Regents, Ray Cross

University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty prepare for a “no-confidence” vote on the UW system Board of Regents and president Ray Cross after their handling of changes to tenure policy.
 

04.21.2016 | AAUP: Problems the Non Tenure Faculty Coalition Is Fighting Are Similar to Problems in Higher Ed across Nation

The Daily Illini connects the Non Tenure Faculty Coalition strike this week to employment trends in colleges and universities nationwide.

04.21.2016 | It's Not Money. Here Are the Sticking Points in UI Contract Talks

Non tenure-track faculty at the University of Illinois returned to work after a two-day strike, but they have further actions in mind for the future. They are most concerned with achieving guarantees of shared governance and academic freedom and multi-year contracts.

04.20.2016 | Illinois Adjunct Strike Continues Today

Non-tenure-track professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign conducted a two-day strike Tuesday and Wednesday over stalled negotiations for their first union contract. NTFC Local 6546 is an AFT/IFT/AAUP local.

04.20.2016 | Faculty at Plymouth State University Vote to Form Union

This week, faculty at Plymouth State University voted to form a union with the AAUP. Professor of biology Chris Chabot says this will give faculty at PSU a unified voice. 

04.19.2016 | College Costs Arms Race

Howard Bunsis, chair of the AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress, and David Hughes, president of the Rutgers AAUP-AFT, discuss college sports spending and priorities.

04.15.2016 | Professors' Association Moves to Help Fired LSU Instructor

The AAUP, concerned about violations to academic freedom and shared governance, provided a grant to from its Academic Freedom Fund to assist LSU associate professor Buchanan with litigation costs related to her firing.

04.12.2016 | How to Deal with a Glut of Part-Time Academics? Make Them Full-Time

The Chicago Reader looks at the AAUP Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession and recommendation for colleges and universities to adopt plans for converting part-time jobs to full-time jobs, and contingent faculty to tenured.

04.12.2016 | Latest critics of trigger warnings and microaggression: University professors

AAUP general counsel Risa Lieberwitz sheds light on the new report “The History, Uses and Abuses of Title IX,” which expresses concern over the conflation of sexual misconduct and protected speech on college campuses.

04.11.2016 | Financial Analysis of SF State Reveals No Structural Deficit

Eastern Michigan University accounting professor and AAUP leader Howard Bunsis visited SF State April 7 to examine the University’s financial situation, with special attention given to Ethnic Studies funding. Bunsis announced that SF State was not operating at a structural deficit like administration officials claimed, and that money should not be cut from any of the colleges. “SF State is in solid financial condition; they have sufficient reserves,” Bunsis said. Since the analysis, the CFA and CSU struck a tentative agreement postponing a strike.

04.11.2016 | Professor Pay Up 3.4%

For full-time, continuing faculty, salaries increased by 3.4 percent over the past year, 2.7 percent when adjusted for inflation, according to the new AAUP Report on the Economic Status of the Profession for 2015-16.

04.07.2016 | Are Grad Students Employees? Labor Board to Weigh in Again

Graduate students at private universities are pushing to be acknowledged as employees with the same rights as other American workers, including organizing unions. Aaron Nisenson, AAUP senior counsel, explains that unions in higher education are increasingly important.

04.04.2016 | Editorial: Defending Free Speech on College Campuses

The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board says free expression is not faring well on American campuses, drawing heavily on the AAUP's recent Title IX report.

03.27.2016 | Free Speech on Campus: Report Says Professors Are Threatened

AAUP general counsel Risa Lieberwitz explains a new report and describes a pattern of Title IX being applied in an overly broad way on university and college campuses, leaving faculty vulnerable to complaints about classroom material.

03.24.2016 | Professors’ Group Says Efforts to Halt Sexual Harassment Have Stifled Speech

A new report by the AAUP examines a growing federal emphasis on fighting sexual harassment on campus, combined with universities’ broadening definitions of inappropriate sexual behavior and the chilling effect on academic freedom and speech. 

03.23.2016 | AAUP Investigating Professor Melissa Click's Termination

KMIZ reports on the investigation into the firing of Melissa Click at the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO this week. They also look at prior AAUP censures of MU. Bill Wickersham, an MU assistant professor at the time of the last censure in the 1970s said, "Whether you're right or wrong you have to have due process. AAUP always insists that there's faculty input and you don't just go to the president, or the chancellor, or the board of curators."

03.15.2016 | As Protests Increase, Student Demands Get More Ambitious

Hank Reichman, AAUP first vice president and chair of Committee A, offers his perspective on the increasing numbers of demands lists coming from black students at campuses across the country. 

03.14.2016 | DSU Cuts More than a Quarter of Its Majors

Delaware State University cut 23 low-enrollment academic programs, more than a quarter of its offerings, to invest in higher-growth areas expected to bring in more students and revenue. The AAUP's John Barnshaw says in the article, low enrollment does not always give a complete picture of the program's longer term viability. He advises universities to consider curtailing costs in non-academic areas like athletics and administration before cutting scholarship.

03.11.2016 | 'Fake' Tenure?

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved new tenure policies, rejecting proposals that would have maintained tenure protections.

03.10.2016 | U of Wisconsin Regents Consider New Tenure Policies

The board of regents for the University of Wisconsin System votes today on new tenure and faculty layoff policies. David Vanness, president of the AAUP UW-Madison chapter, points out a major problem with the proposed policy on is that it permits the administration “to discontinue programs (and lay off faculty) because other programs may be considered higher priority.” 

03.10.2016 | AAUP Says Censure over Salaita Case Could Be Removed in Spring

Censure imposed on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign over the Steven Salaita case may lift this spring. UI settled with Salaita in November and is working with the AAUP on remaining conditions, including commitments from the Board of Trustees to endorsing AAUP policies on due process and academic freedom.

03.08.2016 | Melissa Click Firing to Be Investigated by National Professors Group

The AAUP announced Monday it will investigate the firing of an assistant professor at MU. Professor Melissa Click formally appealed her dismissal last week.

03.07.2016 | Universities Run into Problems When They Hire Presidents from the Business World

University presidents, like Simon Newman of Mount Saint Mary's University, increasingly come from fields outside of academia, and their approach to business frequently comes up against the principles of shared governance in US higher education. The article references AAUP data on university presidents salaries, noting an increase from 2003 to 2012 of $100,000 on average.

03.04.2016 | Search for Truth in Peril on UW System Campuses

AAUP members Chad Alan Goldberg and Elena Levy-Navarro defend the principles of tenure, shared governance and academic freedom for the UW System in this op-ed. Next week, new recommended policies with implications for tenure and shared governance will come before the UW Board of Regents for a full board vote.

03.04.2016 | AAUP Threatens Investigation into Melissa Click's Firing, Foley Responds

The AAUP expresses concern over the circumstances of Melissa Click's firing and plans to meet as to whether to launch an investigation. 

03.01.2016 | Mount St. Mary's University President Simon Newman Resigns

After much controversy, the president of Mount Saint Mary's University resigned. Although two dismissed faculty members were reinstated, as the AAUP had urged, the situation created an atmosphere of distrust at the university with large concerns about academic freedom and institutional governance.

02.26.2016 | National Professors' Group Urges MU to Rehire Click

In a letter to the MU chancellor, the AAUP says MU did not follow its own rules in firing Click and insists that Click deserved “a hearing before an elected faculty body."

02.25.2016 | Mount Saint Mary's Case Raises Questions about Firing Professors

Mount Saint Mary's University's firing two professors for disloyalty made national news, as did the University of Missouri's suspension and subsequent firing of Professor Melissa Click. The AAUP's associate secretary Hans-Joerg Tiede discusses a growing trend of willingness among administrators to dismiss faculty for statements seen as damaging the public image of the school. Tiede points out faculty have a right to defend themselves in front of their peers, a right denied to Mount St. Mary’s professors and Click.

02.24.2016 | UConn Teachers Union Rally: Claim They’re Left Out of “University” Definition

UConn faculty, students and community members will attend a rally to build support for AAUP faculty working for a fair contract. After the administration’s chief negotiator said, "the university (is defined as) the Board of Trustees, the President, the Provost and the Deans,” without mention of students or the faculty, students and faculty are reasserting their voice in and role on campus.

02.24.2016 | Don't 'Go There'

Opponents of Texas's new campus concealed carry law, including faculty, argue it will chill academic freedom and free speech. Some recommendations from the University of Houston’s Faculty Senate on how to teach under campus carry amplifies concerns of its effects on academic freedom. Henry Reichman, chair of the American Association of University Professors’ Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, called a controversial presentation slide “ominous” on AAUP's “Academe” blog and told Inside Higher Ed that under such guidelines, “it's possible to teach but not well and not freely.” 

02.23.2016 | Stakes Are High in Graduate Assistant Organizing, Stakeholders on Both Sides Say

For graduate assistants hoping for a voice at work through collective bargaining, a lot rides on cases before the NLRB. Risa Lieberwitz, AAUP general counsel, says, "The universities are taking the position that they should be in the position of unilateral control."

02.21.2016 | Big money: CSU Leadership Raises Outpace Whole

The Coloradoan reports that salaries of administrators closest to the CSU President increased by an about 3.38 percent in 2015, significantly more than the average raise received by the rest of the university’s staff. This follows a trend of colleges and universities granting significantly higher raises to top administrators than to professors and other university staff. AAUP's Senior Higher Education Researcher John Barnshaw said, “Over the past five years, it’s become increasingly common."

02.19.2016 | UConn Professors, Adjunct Faculty Call for Unity at AAUP Panel Thursday

Rebecca Rumbo, an English professor teaching at UConn since 1997 but still considered a temporary employee, said at the panel,“Despite two-thirds of the classes being taught by adjuncts, they have no share in governance, this affects quality." With concerns over the current administration, the panel repeatedly stressed unity between all types of faculty as well as with the student population.

02.18.2016 | The New College Activists: Local Professors Join Forces

A new AAUP alliance of faculty from six northeast Pennsylvania institutions are uniting to take on the corporatization of higher education and overuse of adjunct staff. A conference for the caucus of the Pennsylvania Division of the AAUP on February 27 will focus on “best practices” for colleges and universities. Focusing on collaborative relationship between faculty and administrators, Mark Painter, President of Misericordia's AAUP chapter, said, "We feel we are all in this together.”

02.14.2016 | Supreme Court's Scalia Brought Conservative Outlook to Education Cases

One case related to education and public employee unions could have a very different outcome as a result of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's death. His death makes the likelihood of a deadlock in the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association more likely, though it remains uncertain.

02.12.2016 | As Mount St. Mary’s Offers to Reinstate 2 Professors, Faculty Demands President Quit

Two faculty members fired for disloyalty were reinstated at Mount St. Mary's University. The faculty voted overwhelmingly to ask the university’s president to resign while philosophy professor Thane Naberhaus said he would not immediately accept the college’s reinstatement proposal.

02.10.2016 | Newspaper Adviser Is Fired After Students’ Scoop Roils Maryland Campus

On Monday, the president of Mount St. Mary's University in Maryland fired two faculty members without notice or faculty review.

02.03.2016 | Faculty Groups Remain Worried As Wisconsin Moves Closer To 'Fake Tenure'

Scott Walker moved to eliminate tenure from state law. Many remain concerned about the future of tenure in Wisconsin.

02.02.2016 | University Professors' Organization Calls for Melissa Click's Reinstatement

Hans-Joerg Tiede, associate secretary of the AAUP, sent a letter to University of Missouri Interim Chancellor Hank Foley Tuesday calling for Melissa Click to be reinstated to her normal faculty duties. By not affording Click a hearing prior to suspending her, it appears that she has been denied academic due process under widely accepted AAUP standards and principles.

01.30.2016 | AAUP Chairman Laments Administration Firing of LSU Professor

The AAUP investigated the dismissal of professor Teresa Buchanan from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, which has been on the AAUP’s list of censured administrations since 2012. Henry Reichman, chair of the AAUP's Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure says in this article that the lawsuit filed on Jan. 22 against LSU administrators is not the first of it's kind, and calls it "another case in which administrators have abused harassment rules and run roughshod over students and instructors."

01.30.2016 | Critics Say UW Tenure Policy up for Adoption Won't Protect Academic Freedom

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents soon meets about contentious proposals on tenure policy. UW faculty members express concerns that permitting layoffs to accommodate program changes short of discontinuation increases the risk that faculty could be targeted for controversial research or unpopular speech.

01.27.2016 | Fact Checker: Jeb Bush’s Claims about Too Few Friday College Classes and Workload of Tenured Professors

The Washington Post looks at campaign trail claims used by Jeb Bush to argue for higher education reforms. The AAUP's John Barnshaw provides context and responds to Bush's plea that tenured professors teach few classes and that universities do not have incentive to graduate students within four years affordably. Barnshaw points out that tenured professors at elite schools, doctoral research institutions and flagship public institutions, constituting several hundred schools, are more likely to teach fewer classes per semester but have the highest retention and completion rates.

01.24.2016 | Tenured Faculty Approves New Contract

Tenured and tenure-track faculty members of Kent State’s AAUP chapter (AAUP-KSU) voted overwhelmingly to approve a new collective bargaining agreement. 

01.21.2016 | Who Wants to Teach at Wheaton College?

Wheaton College professor Larycia Hawkins faces termination after stating Muslims and Christians "worship the same God." The AAUP's Hans-Joerg Tiede said, "the AAUP would prefer that institutions in general don't place these kinds of restrictions on academic freedom, but we have historically recognized the right of religious institutions to do so." Given that, the main question becomes "are faculty members aware, before they begin to work there, that Wheaton is an institution that restricts academic freedom?"

01.19.2016 | Higher Ed Teaching Force Continues to Shift Away from Tenure: Union Organizing Could Usher in a New Era in the History of Tenure, Which Has Seen Both Rises and Falls

While tenure promotes academic freedom in teaching and research, the percentage of faculty that is tenure-track has shifted dramatically over time. Author Tara Garcia Mathewson argues that a rise in successful adjunct union organizing could open the field to more tenure-track positions, and that successful organizing could bring in a new, post-tenure era of negotiated working conditions.

01.14.2016 | Faith and Freedom

Wheaton College, an evangelical, Protestant college in Illinois, seeks to fire a professor for violating its statement of faith. This high-profile conflict reopens debate on how statements of faith can be consistent with academic freedom. The AAUP does not object to statements of faith for faculty at religious colleges, but the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure states that limitations of academic freedom because of “religious or other aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of the appointment.”

01.06.2016 | Is Tenure Essential?

The Council of Independent Colleges Presidents gathered at an open forum and drafted a list of characteristics that a panel of presidents identified as "essential" for their institutions, and another list they identified as "negotiable." Tenure did not make it to the "essential" list. Rudy Fichtenbaum, AAUP president, was dismayed that college presidents did not see tenure as essential. He pointed out that tenure is the basis of academic freedom, and that the track record of colleges without tenure isn't one of preserving faculty rights.

01.05.2016 | More than 100 lawmakers demand that professor who ordered journalists away from Mizzou protesters get fired

Rudy Fichtenbaum called the lawmakers' demands a real overreach and said Click deserves due process from the university should they be concerned enough to consider termination. He said, “One of the reasons why universities have tenure is to protect academic freedom — that is to protect against what these legislators are calling for — outside interference with the running of the university. I think it would just really be the wrong thing to do to just kind of cave to that sort of political  pressure.”