Fellows and Administration

The AAUP's Center for the Defense of Academic Freedom is bringing together higher education and academic freedom experts over two years (2024–25) to develop a comprehensive understanding of the scope and nature of political interference in higher education and develop means of countering this assault.

Director: Isaac Kamola, associate professor of political science at Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut, and author of a white paper, Manufacturing Backlash, detailing the legislative attacks on academic freedom during the 2021, 2022, and 2023 legislative cycles. 

Program Coordinator: Allison Puglia. Allison has extensive experience working for nonprofit organizations. She also teaches the nonprofit stewardship course at SUNY Old Westbury. 

Center for the Defense of Academic Freedom Fellows


Tim Cain is a professor in the University of Georgia’s Louise McBee Institute of Higher Education, where he teaches classes on the US system of higher education, the professoriate, and the history of higher education. Much of his research explores historic and modern issues involving academic freedom, student activism, campus unionization, and learning outcomes assessment. It includes Establishing Academic Freedom (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), Campus Unions (Jossey-Bass, 2017), and, with colleagues at the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education (Jossey-Bass, 2015). He currently serves as an associate editor for the Review of Higher Education and previously served in the same role at the History of Education Quarterly.

Sumi Cho came out of retirement to serve as the director of strategic initiatives at the African American Policy Forum to fight the war against "wokeness," critical race theory, and DEI. Prior to joining AAPF, she served as a law professor teaching courses on critical race theory; intersectionality; and race, racism, and US law along with other traditional law courses. In 2017, she was awarded her university’s highest excellence in teaching award. She was also the inaugural recipient of the Derrick A. Bell Distinguished Service Award from the Association of American Law Schools’ Minority Section. She holds a PhD in ethnic studies as well as a JD from the University of California, Berkeley.
Eve Darian-Smith is professor and chair of the Department of Global Studies and International Studies at the University of California, Irvine. She is an interdisciplinary scholar trained in law, history, and anthropology. She has published widely, and is an award-winning author and teacher. Her latest book Global Burning: Rising Antidemocracy and the Climate Crisis (2022) won the Betty & Alfred McClung Lee Book Award and silver medal in the Independent Publishers Award's environment section. Her forthcoming book is Policing the Mind: The Antidemocratic Attack on Scholars and Why It Matters (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2025). Link to full online bio: https://faculty.sites.uci.edu/edarian/
Mary Anne Franks is the Eugene L. and Barbara A. Bernard Professor in Intellectual Property, Technology, and Civil Rights Law at George Washington Law School and the president and legislative and technology policy director of the nonprofit organization Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. Her areas of expertise include First and Second Amendment law, criminal law, family law, and the intersection of civil rights and technology. She is the author of the award-winning book The Cult of the Constitution: Our Deadly Devotion to Guns and Free Speech (Stanford Press, 2019). Her second book, Fearless Speech (Bold Type Books), will be published in October 2024.
Sandy Grande is professor of political science and Native American and Indigenous studies at the University of Connecticut with affiliations in American studies, philosophy, and women, gender, and sexuality studies. Across her work, she aims to produce more nuanced analyses of the colonial present. She was recently awarded a fellowship through the UConn Humanities Institute for a project on Indigenous elders and aging. She was also a recipient of the Ford Foundation senior fellowship. Her book Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought was published in a tenth anniversary edition and a Portuguese translation is anticipated to be published in Brazil in 2024. In addition to her academic and organizing work, she has provided elder care for her parents for over ten years and remains the primary caregiver for her ninety-six-year-old father.
Nancy MacLean is the William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University and a past president of the Labor and Working-Class History Association. A historian of the modern US, she is the author of several award-winning books, most recently Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America. MacLean’s scholarship has received more than a dozen major prizes and awards and has been supported by fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowships Foundation.
Eli Meyerhoff is a visiting scholar and program coordinator in the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University. His research and organizing focuses on abolitionist, decolonial approaches to education institutions and alternative modes of studying. He wrote a book, Beyond Education: Radical Studying for Another World (University of Minnesota Press, 2019). He co-wrote “Abolitionist University Studies: An Invitation,” and has published in peer-reviewed journals including Social Text, Cultural Politics, Polygraph, ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy, the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, and the Journal of Environmental Education.
Liz Montegary is associate professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Stony Brook University. She is the author of Familiar Perversions: The Racial, Sexual, and Economic Politics of LGBT Families (Rutgers, 2018) and coeditor of the collection Mobile Desires: The Politics and Erotics of Mobility Justice (Palgrave, 2015). Most recently, she has published essays on the institutionalization of gender and sexuality studies on her campus and recent right wing “anti-gender” attacks on the field across the United States in the Scholar and Feminist Online, the Abusable Past, and Feminist Formations.
Demetri L. Morgan, PhD (he/him), plans to join the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan in fall 2024. His research and teaching focus on the role of higher education in a diverse democracy. Dr. Morgan has published in leading academic journals, coedited a book on student activism, and secured over $5 million in external grants for his projects. Additionally, he's collaboratively authored book chapters, technical papers, and op-eds on topics like institutional governance challenges, campus climate, and race in higher education.
Donald Moynihan is the inaugural McCourt Chair at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. His research seeks to improve how government works. He studies the administrative burdens people encounter in their interactions with government, with the goal of making those interactions simple, accessible, and respectful. At the McCourt School, he codirects the Better Government Lab. He is the current president of the Association of Public Policy and Management.
Naomi Oreskes is the Henry Charles Lea Professor of the History of Science and affiliated professor of earth and planetary sciences at Harvard University. An internationally renowned scientist, historian, and public intellectual, she is a leading voice on the reality on anthropogenic climate change and the history of antiscientific disinformation. Oreskes is the author or coauthor of nine books, including The Rejection of Continental Drift: Theory and Method in American Earth Science (1999). Her best-selling 2010 book with Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt, has been translated into nine languages, sold over 100,000 copies, and was made into a documentary film. In 2024, she was awarded the title of “master of our time” by the Nonino Foundation (Italy). Her new book with Erik Conway is The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loathe Government and Love the Free Market (Bloomsbury Press, 2023).
Vineeta Singh teaches in the interdisciplinary studies program at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she is part of the sixty-two percent of instructional employees who are non-tenure-track faculty hired on yearly contracts. Her teaching and research are grounded in critical and abolitionist university studies, historicizing contemporary conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher ed by placing today’s controversies and confrontations in the context of four hundred years of US racial democracy.
Barrett Taylor is professor and coordinator of the higher education program at the University of North Texas. His research focuses on the relationship between universities and their environments, with particular attention to state politics and policy, the organization of academic work, and institutional inequality.
John Warner is a writer, editor, speaker, researcher, and author of eight books, including Why They Can’t Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Necessities (Johns Hopkins University Press). His book, Sustainable. Resilient. Free.: The Future of Public Higher Education (Belt) grapples with the disconnect between the higher education mission (teaching/learning/research) and the necessity of operations (realizing revenue), and how this disconnect leads to dysfunction and conflict. John has been blogging about higher education at Inside Higher Ed for over a decade, and writes weekly about books and reading culture at the Chicago Tribune and his associated newsletter, the Biblioracle Recommends. John lives in the Charleston, South Carolina, area and is affiliate faculty at the College of Charleston.
Joy Ann Williamson-Lott is dean of the graduate school and professor in social and cultural foundations in the College of Education at the University of Washington. Trained as a historian of education, her scholarly work focuses on Black educational history and higher educational history. In addition to several articles and book chapters on topics ranging from the Black Panther Party’s educational programs to the deliberate misrepresentation of the Brown v. Board of Education decision in high school history textbooks, she has written three books on college and university student activism in the middle twentieth century. Her most recently published book, Jim Crow Campus: Higher Education and the Struggle for a New Southern Social Order (Teachers College Press, 2018), examines threats to academic freedom and First Amendment protections in Black and white, public and private institutions across the South against the backdrop of the Black freedom struggle and anti-Vietnam War movement.