AAUP Policies & Reports

Academic Freedom and Tenure Investigative Reports

2023 | Academic Freedom and Tenure: Hamline University (Minnesota)

This report concerns the nonrenewal of the part-time appointment of Professor Erika López Prater at Hamline University after a student complained of having been offended by Professor López Prater's presentation of two images of the Prophet Muhammad during an online session of her art history class, as well as two related cases at Hamline and a controversy over an art exhibit at nearby Macalester College. The committee found that Professor López Prater's decision to show the images was protected by her academic freedom, and her nonrenewal lacked a rationale that would be supported by AAUP standards. The committee recommends that "the AAUP closely monitor developments at Hamline University" and hopes for a renewed offer of teaching to Professor López Prater.

2023 | Academic Freedom and Tenure: Emporia State University (Kansas)

This report concerns the action taken on September 15, 2022, by the administration of Emporia State University to terminate the appointments of thirty tenured and tenure-track faculty members under a temporary "COVID-related workforce management policy" adopted by the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) in January 2021. The investigating committee concluded that the mass dismissal "is a signal event in American higher education" and in violation of several AAUP-recommended standards concerning academic freedom and tenure, such as the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure and Regulation 4 of the derivative Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure. Additionally, the report concludes that the Kansas Board of Regents actively enabled the administration of Emporia State University in these violations, and "initiated the process that assaulted tenure and imperiled academic freedom at Emporia State University."

College and University Governance Reports

2023 | College and University Governance: Spartanburg Community College (South Carolina)

This is the report of an investigating committee concerning the dissolution of the faculty senate at Spartanburg Community College in South Carolina. In April 2023, the SCC administration unilaterally abolished the faculty senate, an action it admitted taking to prevent the senate from voting that day to oppose the administration’s imposition of a policy requiring faculty members to be present on campus for almost forty hours each week.

2021 | Special Report: COVID-19 and Academic Governance

This report details an investigation of the crisis in academic governance that has occurred in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus 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). AAUP governance investigations are conducted under the aegis of the Association’s standing Committee on College and University Governance by AAUP members who have had no previous involvement in the cases under investigation.

Committee Reports

2024 | Statement on Political Interference in Higher Education

This statement from the Committee on College and University Governance outlines the recent swath of political interference in higher education across the country, beginning with the Trump administration's executive order on divisive concepts. The statement includes steps faculty can take to combat interference and protect academic freedom and university governance and a sample resolution that faculty bodies can adopt to express opposition to restrictive legislation.

2024 | Statement on Online Education

This statement sets forth applicable principles and procedural standards for online education, addressing concerns related to academic freedom and shared governance, learning management systems and virtual classrooms, and intellectual property.

Research Reports

2022 | The 2022 AAUP Survey of Tenure Practices

The 2022 AAUP Survey of Tenure Practices, the first survey of its kind since 2004, offers a snapshot of prevailing tenure practices and policies at four-year institutions with tenure systems. Among the findings, the survey found that tenure is highly prevalent throughout US higher education, with 87 percent of four-year institutions that have a Carnegie Classification of bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral institution reporting having a tenure system.

2021 | The 2021 AAUP Shared Governance Survey: Findings on Faculty Roles by Decision-Making Areas

The 2021 AAUP Shared Governance Survey, the first such survey in two decades and the subject of this report, included questions about the level of faculty authority in twenty-nine areas. The survey provides a new snapshot comparing findings from previous years and gauging the impact of developments that have occurred in the intervening years. To achieve the latter objective, this year’s survey includes such topics as policies on intellectual property rights and modes of course delivery.

Audit Reports

2020 | AAUP Audit Reports

Audited reports of the AAUP's financial statements from the past three years.