Foundation Grants for Faculty Under Attack

In keeping with its mission to support principles of academic freedom and the quality of higher education in a free and democratic society, the AAUP Foundation welcomes grant applications from faculty impacted by the Trump Administration’s travel ban or by other threats to academic freedom. The Foundation accepts grant applications on a quarterly basis. The 2017 deadlines for each quarter are March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31. 

As the AAUP emphasized in a recent statement about the travel ban, the free movement of people and ideas is an important element of academic freedom. Stories of faculty from Muslim-dominant countries stranded abroad or detained inappropriately at US airports contribute to an increasing climate of Islamophobia. The polarization of civic dialogue since the 2016 election has a chilling effect on academic freedom, as faculty are increasingly vulnerable to efforts by state legislators and groups such as Turning Point USA, funders of the Professor Watchlist, to target faculty whose ideas and curricula they oppose. AAUP Foundation grants may be able to provide financial assistance to faculty under attack, whether they are pursuing litigation or require immediate aid in a crisis.

Legal Defense Fund grant recipient Robin MeadeThe vulnerability of faculty, especially those in contingent positions, predates the election and coincides with a decades-long trend toward the corporatization of higher education and the diminishing role of faculty in shared governance at many institutions. The AAUP Foundation supports and complements the work of the AAUP to hold colleges and universities to professional standards concerning academic freedom, tenure, and shared governance. Grant recipient Robin Meade, a contingent faculty member and union leader dismissed by Moraine Valley Community College after criticizing the administration, said, "The AAUP Foundation has my eternal gratitude for providing me with support through a Legal Defense Fund grant in a case that affirmed the free speech rights of contingent faculty involved in collective bargaining leadership. I hope my legal victory will give other adjuncts courage to stand up for their rights, knowing they can depend on the AAUP to stand with them."

Learn more about applying for grants here. AAUP Foundation grant funds include the Legal Defense Fund—which defrays legal expenses for faculty involved in legal cases of national significance in higher education—and the Academic Freedom Fund—which assists individual faculty members when their academic freedom has been threatened and supports AAUP investigations, publications, and events that advance the cause of academic freedom and shared governance. The Foundation also supports faculty engagement in shared governance, academic conferences, and other professional opportunities through its travel funds. 

Please visit the AAUP Foundation website for more information about its grant programs.

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, March 21, 2017