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2019 AAUP In the News

12.17.2019 | Virginia Democrats Want More Transparency In University Donations

Bethany Letiecq, a professor of family science and president of the Mason AAUP chapter said faculty and students had worked with the university to craft new policies that would create a public record of gift agreements going forward. However, she said older agreements were still shrouded in secrecy.

12.06.2019 | Wisconsin’s Search for a New President Has Just Begun. Faculty Already Fear the Worst.

Nicholas Fleisher, president of AAUP's Wisconsin state conference, noted "It’s hard for anyone to think of positive change when we have a feeling of deep distrust," voicing concern that the board has cut the faculty out of the process of the searching for the UW system's next president.

11.22.2019 | Our Professor's Views Are Vile, University Says. But We Can't Fire Him

AAUP general counsel Risa Lieberwitz tells the New York Times that Indiana University's administration is right to be careful about punishing professor Rasmusen for views he expresses outside of his job.

11.19.2019 | Diversity Statements as 'Litmus Tests'

The AAUP has weighed in on the question of diversity, generally, in recent admissions-related lawsuits, taking the position that "a diverse student body is essential to the educational objectives of colleges and universities." And so his organization has recognized diversity as connected to education, said Hans-Joerg Tiede, senior program officer and researcher at the AAUP.

11.06.2019 | Regents Criticized For Not Including Faculty, Staff, Students On UW President Search Committee

Nick Fleisher, president of the AAUP Wisconsin Conference, said the exclusion of faculty, students and staff follows years of policy changes within the UW System aimed at diluting the power of shared governance groups. "Whether it’s intentionally sending a message or not it means that they simply do not value the input from those groups, and they are not willing to make people from those groups full voting members of the search committee," he said.

10.30.2019 | U.S. Naval Academy professor criticizes NU's finalist for presidency

A professor at the U.S. Naval Academy who says he was unfairly fired has had his position on the faculty restored by an administrative judge’s ruling.The AAUP had objected to the way the Naval Academy fired tenured faculty member Bruce Fleming last year. 

10.16.2019 | Colleges Are Spreading Trump’s Disingenuous Notion of ‘Free Speech’

“The mission of the university is a public mission, and part of that mission is to protect free speech and the right of students and faculty to engage in vigorous and heated debate. That might be very loud, and some might view it as disruptive, but just because of that, doesn’t mean the student should be silenced," said Risa Lieberwitz, general counsel at the AAUP. 

10.14.2019 | University of New Mexico Faculty to Vote on Unionization

Years of labor organizing at the University of New Mexico culminates this week as faculty members vote on unionization to join the United Academics of UNM, which is jointly affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and the AAUP.

10.09.2019 | University of Akron to search for provost, do away with split academic affairs roles

The University of Akron will open a national search for an executive vice president and provost, doing away with the approach of splitting the duties of the Office of Academic Affairs. Returning to the provost structure was one of the changes the University of Akron chapter of the AAUP said it wanted to see when it released the results of a member survey back in August.

10.01.2019 | UNL faculty OK changes to disciplinary procedures resulting from lecturer's dismissal

The proposed changes, if approved by regents, would go a long way to removing UNL from the AAUP’s Censure List, said Julia Schleck, an associate professor of English and member of the Nebraska chapter of the AAUP.

09.25.2019 | Middle East Studies Program Comes Under Federal Scrutiny

Henry Reichman, the chair of AAUP's Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, described the department’s inquiry into the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies’ use of federal Title VI funds as “a chillingly inappropriate political intrusion into curricular decisions best made by faculty.”

09.20.2019 | Grad student unions dealt blow as proposed new rule says students aren’t ‘employees’

"This current NLRB has a strong majority of very conservative board members; … [it’s] shown itself to be extremely political and quite focused on overruling precedent that had expanded employee rights to unionize,” noted Risa Lieberwitz, AAUP's general counsel. 

09.16.2019 | Academic group challenges Kirkwood over ousted professor

If Kirkwood Community College rebuffs demands from the AAUP, over the termination of faculty member for his Facebook posts, the college could face censure. “I can’t rule it out,” Gregory Scholtz, director of the AAUP’s Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance, told The Gazette in an email.

09.12.2019 | These States Are Pushing Laws to Restrict Protests on College Campuses

“The legislation is part of a concerted effort by right-wing groups to portray higher education as hostile to conservatives, when there is very little evidence that this is actually the case,” said Gwendolyn Bradley, the senior program officer for the AAUP. 

09.06.2019 | Emory Wants to Fire Law Professor Who Said N-Word Twice

Emory University is seeking to terminate a tenured faculty for his use of the n-word in his classroom. The AAUP sent a letter to the university, writing that his words are protected under academic freedom, "notwithstanding any repercussions of that speech."

09.02.2019 | Nurses at University of Cincinnati Medical Center to set up picket to protest job actions

The Registered Nurses Association, representing 1,700 nurses at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, says the hospital is stalling a grievance on the actions against nurses. In response, the union has called for an informational picket line Sept. 10. The Ohio Conference of the AAUP wrote a July 11 letter on the nurses’ behalf to the chairwoman of the board of directors for UC Health, the nonprofit that operates the hospital.

08.18.2019 | Tenure and Other Variations

AAUP's Greg Scholtz, director of the department of academic freedom, tenure, and governance tells the Chronicle that while multiyear contracts provide more stability than the one-year contracts that many adjuncts contend with, they still deny professors a "presupposition of competence." "The problem with any kind of term appointment is that you’re always on probation."

08.16.2019 | Colleges and universities can do more to protect students and faculty against hate crimes. Here are some ideas.

Unfortunately many university policies leave faculty who are targeted by strategic lawsuits against public participation to fend for themselves. However there are concrete steps institutions could take to protect faculty, including some recommendations from the AAUP.

08.06.2019 | University of Akron faculty union survey shows concerns about administration, policies

The AAUP chapter at the University of Akron is raising concerns after a survey of members showed a lack of confidence in administrative leaders and policy initiatives.

07.22.2019 | ‘A Sweet Racket’? Yeah, Right

Inside Higher Ed fact checks a misleading op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on faculty work and pay.

07.10.2019 | Budget veto could put University of Alaska at risk of losing accreditation, agency warns

The agency that accredits universities in Alaska is warning legislators that a 41 percent cut in state funding for the University of Alaska could lead to the loss of accreditation.

07.01.2019 | Chinese company out as buyer of Westminster Choir College. Rider U. plans to hold on to the institution.

Rider University announced it will not sell Westminster Choir College. Rider’s AAUP chapter was the main opponent of the plan, and took the university to federal court last year seeking an injunction to the sale. 

06.18.2019 | AAUP lifts sanctions against ISU

Idaho State University proudly touts to media the institution's removal from AAUP's sanctioned list. 

06.17.2019 | Punishing Alleged Violations of Tenure, Academic Freedom and Governance

Vermont Law School, St. Edwards University, and Nunez Community College are asked for comment on their placement on the AAUP's sanction/censure lists as is Idaho State University, which was just removed from the sanction list.

05.28.2019 | 'Because we know that strikes work': College unions leverage publicity in tough contract battles

A recurring scene played out at local college campuses this year: picket lines. One explanation for the surge in campus labor activity is that unions have grown on college campuses since the 1970s, according to a position paper from the AAUP.

05.17.2019 | GMU to make all future gift agreements public

All future private gift agreements signed by George Mason University officials will now be treated as public records subject to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. GMU’s AAUP chapter was part of a six-person gift acceptance policy implementation task force that provided guidance to administrators as they revised the policy that outlines the university’s processes regarding private philanthropy.

05.16.2019 | Ole Miss professor slammed over political tweet gets tenure

A tenure-track faculty member from the University of Mississippi tweeted about national politics. His tenure suddenly seemed at risk. AAUP reminded the school's governing board that denying tenure for political speech violates academic freedom. He was granted tenure. 

05.08.2019 | A Violation of Shared Governance

AAUP investigation finds Vermont Law School violated shared governance norms when it suddenly stripped tenure from most of its faculty.

05.02.2019 | Wright State faculty union ratifies contract after strike

The Wright State Chapter of the AAUP has ratified a contract agreement reached earlier this year with the school’s administration. The agreement came after a 20-day strike by members of the union ended in early February when a tentative deal was reached.

04.23.2019 | University of Illinois at Chicago avoids 2nd strike as faculty reach tentative contract deal

The University of Illinois at Chicago administration has announced a tentative contract agreement with UIC United Faculty, which represents about 1,200 teachers at the Near West Side campus. Faculty union members have been working without a contract since August and have been in negotiations with the administration since last summer.

04.18.2019 | Rutgers professors celebrate contract deal while adjuncts wait

A strike has been averted at New Jersey’s largest public university after Rutgers AAUP-AFT faculty union, which had been working without a contract for nearly a year. The proposed four-year contract includes pay hikes for faculty members, pay equity measures for female and minority instructors, and better job security for some non-tenured professors.

04.15.2019 | About 100 Rutgers faculty, graduates trained to lead picket lines if union opts to strike

If the Rutgers University faculty union AAUP-AFT decides to call a strike after marathon bargaining sessions with the university for a new contract, union members are ready: Official picket signs have been printed, picket line captains trained, and students prepared to provide support.

04.10.2019 | 3 Things a Faculty-Pay Survey Shows About Academic Jobs

Our annual faculty-compensation survey provides a snapshot of the earning power of full-time and part-time faculty members. The long and short of it: Pay raises were modest, faculty buying power has eroded, and many different factors are rolled into faculty pay. But the data, from nearly 1,000 two- and four-year colleges, also tell us three things about the academic workplace.

03.27.2019 | Kim Reynolds signs bill requiring Iowa universities to respect 'free speech' on campus

A new "free speech" law in Iowa will require public universities and community colleges to uphold the "fullest degree of intellectual freedom and free expression." Katherine Tachau, Iowa AAUP president, said freedom of expression is at the heart of universities. It's not clear how the law will change their campus, but her organization worries about "undesirable unintended consequences."

03.21.2019 | Trump targets ‘far-left’ universities with free-speech order

In a joint statement, higher education groups including the AAUP and the Association of American Colleges & Universities called the order “a dangerous solution to a largely nonexistent problem” that is “more likely to stifle than encourage free expression and diversity of opinion.”

03.19.2019 | Rutgers faculty members authorize union to call a strike

Rutgers AAUP-AFT, the bargaining unit representing full-time faculty and graduate employees at Rutgers University has its members’ blessing to call a strike if contract negotiations aren’t successful. Eighty-eight percent of its members voted to authorize union leaders to call a strike.

03.05.2019 | Opposition to Trump's Executive Order Plan

Many organizations, including the AAUP, are opposing President Trump's plan to issue an executive order to cut off federal research dollars to institutions determined not to be supporting free speech.

02.27.2019 | Purdue Global Nixes Student Arbitration Agreement

Purdue University Global confirmed it has eliminated forced arbitration agreements for students, scoring a major win for the Indiana chapters of the AAUP, which advocated against clauses. 

02.15.2019 | ‘It keeps you nice and disposable’: The plight of adjunct professors

Collective bargaining has emerged as a path to improving working conditions for adjunct faculty. Higher ed administrators shouldn't look at this as a threat to their industry--the real threat is a workforce that is seen as "disposable." 

02.12.2019 | 22 Years, 1 Phone Call

AAUP report says Nunez Community College fired a longtime professor of English when he asked too many questions about how it would meet reaccreditation requirements on assessment.

02.01.2019 | Too Taboo for Class?

AAUP sent a letter to Augsburg University after it suspended professor Phillip Adamo because he quoted a passage by James Baldwin which contained the N-word.

01.27.2019 | State board rules Wright State faculty strike can continue

Wright State University administration filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the State Employment Relations Board, asking it to declare the faculty strike unauthorized. But the SERB ruled against university’s complaint, allowing the faculty strike to continue.

01.25.2019 | Sen. Brown says he's "proud" of WSU faculty and students as strike continues

On the fourth day of a faculty strike at Wright State University, Ohio U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown released a statement in support of striking faculty. "I'm proud of the faculty and students demanding better benefits for those who've helped make it [Wright State] the premier institution it is today," said Brown. Brown went on to say he supports the rights of workers to band together and "fight for better working conditions."

01.22.2019 | ‘Talking Is Over’: Hundreds of Professors Strike at Wright State U

Great coverage of AAUP-WSU strike. Explains: "Years of overspending, combined with declining donations and enrollment, caused Wright State’s financial problems to snowball." It shouldn't be on faculty to pay for mistakes.

01.02.2019 | Collegiality Concerns

After controversies involving two professors, Fresno State University is considering creating a set of principles that “exemplify what we can and should be.” But Henry Reichman, chair of the committee on academic freedom and tenure, said that documents such as Fresno State’s are at best "anodyne" and quickly forgotten but at worst “used to justify censorship and conformity.”