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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.

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.

On Eliminating Discrimination and Achieving Equality in Higher Education

This statement reasserts the AAUP’s fundamental and enduring commitment to eliminating discrimination and addressing the persistent inequalities created by both past and present discriminatory practices in higher education. 

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.

Report of a Special Committee: Political Interference and Academic Freedom in Florida’s Public Higher Education System

This report details the findings of the special committee appointed by the AAUP to investigate the state of academic freedom and political interference in Florida, focusing on the threats to higher education and the foundational principles of shared governance that have intensified under the DeSantis regime. Following a preliminary report released in May 2023, this final report reaffirms the "chilling effect on academic freedom" outlined in the preliminary report and expands on how AAUP-supported principles and standards are implicated.

Academic Freedom and Outside Speakers

This statement concerns academic freedom and outside speakers at colleges and universities. Respecting faculty and student choices of invited outside speakers is part of academic freedom and is a best practice that restrains the hands of politically zealous or overly cautious college and university administrators. At the same time, we note that this is only one aspect of the “right to hear” within the broader meaning of academic freedom, where “the protection of faculty rights based on disciplinary competence” remains essential to the furtherance of critical thinking and scientific inquiry.

The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2022-23

This year’s Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession examines the economic conditions of the academy in a year that has seen both the World Health Organization and the US government declare an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report documents the economic status of both full- and part-time faculty members in a year when the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 6.5 percent from December 2021 to December 2022, following a 7.0 percent increase the previous year, which was the largest percentage increase since 1981. Furthermore, this report revisits the findings of the 2020–21 annual report, which documented institutional responses to COVID-19 during the first year of the pandemic, including salary freezes or reductions, elimination or reduction of fringe benefits, and terminations or nonrenewals of faculty appointments.

Preliminary Report of the Special Committee on Academic Freedom and Florida

Earlier this year, the AAUP established a special committee to review the apparent pattern of politically, racially, and ideologically motivated attacks on public higher education in Florida. In May 2023, the committee released this preliminary report concluding that academic freedom, tenure, and shared governance in Florida’s public colleges and universities currently face a politically and ideologically driven assault unparalleled in US history. If sustained, this onslaught threatens the very survival of meaningful higher education in the state, with dire implications for the entire country.

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.

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."

Academic Freedom and Tenure: Collin College (Texas)

This report concerns actions taken by the administration of Collin College to terminate the services of Professors Lora Burnett, Suzanne Jones, and Michael Phillips. The investigating committee found that the administration’s actions involved “egregious violations” of all three faculty members’ academic freedom to speak as citizens and to criticize institutional policies, and, in the case of Phillips, of academic freedom in teaching. The committee determined that the administration dismissed Jones and Phillips from their appointments without a pretermination hearing before an elected faculty body in which the burden of demonstrating adequate cause for dismissal rests with the administration. The committee also found that the administration failed to afford Burnett the opportunity to petition an elected faculty committee to review her allegation that the nonrenewal decision violated her academic freedom. The report concludes that the conditions for shared governance and academic freedom at Collin College are “grossly inadequate.”

Academic Freedom and Tenure: Indiana University Northwest

This report addresses the actions taken in September 2021 by the administration of Indiana University Northwest that led to the dismissal and revocation of tenure of Dr. Mark McPhail. The investigating committee found that IUN violated several AAUP-recommended standards of academic due process and the protection of intramural speech in the dismissal of Dr. McPhail, without any appropriate proceeding or disciplinary process. Furthermore, the report concludes that the behavioral complaints brought against Dr. McPhail that resulted in his termination relied on “racist tropes of incompetent, angry, and physically violent Black men” without any credible basis in truth, and that the general "conditions for academic governance at Indiana University Northwest can therefore only be described as unsound."

The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2021-22

This year’s Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession documents the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in a year when the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 7.0 percent, the largest December-to-December percentage increase since 1981. The report documents the economic status for not only full-time faculty members but also part-time adjunct faculty members paid on a per-course-section basis—and faculty members on contingent appointments in general. It also includes special sections on the academic labor force and key gender equity indicators, with an eye toward documenting changes that have occurred since the 2019–20 academic year, when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

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.

Governance, Academic Freedom, and Institutional Racism in the University of North Carolina System

This report details an investigation of governance, academic free­dom, and institutional racism in the University of North Carolina system. The report considers the influence of the gerrymandered North Carolina state legislature on the systemwide board of governors and campus boards of trustees and how political pressure has obstructed meaningful faculty participation in the governance of the UNC system. It also assesses how the environment for academic freedom in the UNC system has been weakened by the politiciza­tion and increased centralization of system governance and by mounting political interference in university policy. Finally, the report focuses on key issues of institutional racism within UNC: the racial climate, institutional inequities, and retention of faculty of color. It demonstrates how the areas of governance, institutional racism, and academic freedom overlap significantly.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: Linfield University (Oregon)

The report of the investigating committee concerns the dismissal of a tenured professor and endowed chair at Linfield University in Oregon. The report finds that Linfield’s administration violated the 1940 Statement and the institution’s own regulations when it dismissed the professor, Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, without demonstrating adequate cause for its action before an elected faculty hearing body. The investigating committee also found that the administration violated Pollack-Pelzner’s academic freedom to participate in institutional governance without retaliation. General conditions for academic freedom and shared governance at Linfield University, the report states, are “deplorable.”

Legislative Threats to Academic Freedom: Redefinitions of Antisemitism and Racism

This statement by the AAUP's Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure addresses recent partisan efforts in state legislatures to restrict teaching that critically examines the history and policies of the state of Israel and the United States. The statement notes that conservative politicians have justified restrictive legislation on these two topics under the guise of protecting students from harm and urges the defeat of these legislative initiatives and others of their kind in order to protect the academic freedom that is vital to the preservation of democracy. 


Academic Freedom and Tenure: University System of Georgia

This report, prepared by the Association’s staff, concerns the action taken on October 13, 2021, by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia to remove the procedural protections of tenure from the system’s post-tenure review policy.

On Academic Freedom and Transphobia

The statement that follows was prepared in 2018 and approved in 2019 by the Association’s Committee on Gender and Sexuality in the Academic Profession (formerly the Committee on Women in the Academic Profession) and approved by Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure in 2021. It was adopted by the Association’s Council in 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.