2016 AAUP In the News

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.”

12.28.2015 | Faculty at Iowa Universities Condemn 'Unpresidential' Remark

Faculty groups at Iowa public universities condemned controversial University of Iowa president Bruce Harreld's comment that unprepared teachers “should be shot” and called on the Board of Regents to “revisit” its decision to hire him.