Special Report: COVID-19 and Academic Governance

Today, we are releasing the report of an investigation into the crisis in academic governance that has occurred in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many institutions faced dire challenges in the 2020–21 academic year; for some, the pandemic exacerbated long-festering conditions. We found that, at other institutions, governing boards and administrations opportunistically exploited the pandemic, using it as an excuse to put aside established academic governance processes and unilaterally close programs and lay off faculty members. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented the most serious challenges to academic governance in the last fifty years.

The Special Report: COVID-19 and Academic Governance focuses on eight institutions: Canisius College (NY), Illinois Wesleyan University, Keuka College (NY), Marian University (WI), Medaille College (NY), National University (CA), University of Akron, and Wittenberg University (OH). But the crisis in academic governance is widespread. As soon as news of this investigation was released, faculty members from a wide range of institutions contacted the AAUP’s staff with accounts of similar developments on their campuses, and news reports continued to pour in about the financial effects of the pandemic on other institutions.

Read the full investigative report here.

Below is a Facebook live discussion of the report with Michael DeCesare, chair of the AAUP’s Committee on College and University Governance.

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, May 26, 2021