Thursday, August 17, 2017

AAUP Statement Regarding Charlottesville

AAUP National
August 14, 2017

The following statement was issued by the American Association of University Professors president Rudy Fichtenbaum and AAUP first vice president Henry Reichman following the events in Charlottesville, Vrginia over the weekend.

"Our hearts broke this weekend as we watched the expressions of racism, anti-Semitism, and hatred on the University of Virginia campus result in violence.  We are especially saddened by the death of one activist and the wounding of others.  Expression of racism and hatred paired with violent actions are not new in our country.  Our history shows that marchers armed with guns and sticks, carrying shields and torches, and chanting Nazi slogans have but one purpose: to strike fear and terror in the hearts of people of color, immigrants, Jews, Muslims, and all who believe in a more inclusive America.

Read the full statement at the AAUP website here.

Monday, August 14, 2017

White Nationalists Rally at University of Virginia

Inside Higher Ed
By Scott Jaschik
August 14, 2017

Hundreds of white nationalists marched and rallied at the University of Virginia Friday night.  They carried torches and chanted, "You will not replace us and "Jews will not replace us."  They also chanted "blood and soil," a Nazi slogan.

A major rally by various white nationalist groups -- under the name "Unite the Right" -- had been planned for Charlottesville Saturday.  The city is progressive and not at all a center of white nationalism.  But various groups have made Charlottesville a target because the city plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from a local park.  The Klu Klux Klan and supporters rallied in the city in July, causing concern at the university, but Friday night's march was on campus and ended at the Rotunda, a hollowed space at the university.

Read the full article at the Inside Higher Ed website here.

UVA Responds to Mayhem at White Nationalists' Rally

Academe Blog
Posted by Martin Kich
August 12, 2017

The following are four statements issued by the University of Virginia and President Theresa A. Sullivan over the last 36 hours.  They are presented from the most recent to the least recent, and they are followed by news updates.

President Sullivan Condemns Demonstration Violence

As events have unfolded on Grounds and in Charlottesville during this weekend's alt-right rally, the University and President Theresa A. Sullivan have distributed a number of messages.  Please find them below.

Read the full post at the Academe Blog here.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

AAUP Responds to DOJ Affirmative Action Initiative

AAUP National
August 2, 2017

The following statement was issued by Hank Reichman, first vice president of the American Association of University Professors, in response to news that the Justice Department will redirect resources to investigating and possibly litigating affirmative action cases in college admissions.

"The American Association of University Professors is deeply troubled by yesterday's announcement that the US Department of Justice will redirect resources toward investigating and potentially filing suit against colleges and universities deemed to discriminate against white applicants.  While the department does not explicitly mention affirmative action, it is clear that the effort-to be directed, it appears, by political appointees rather than career attorneys in the Office of Educational Opportunity- will target programs that offer opportunities to members of historically disadvantaged groups.  That such programs remain necessary is demonstrated by Department of Education data showing the gap in college enrollment between blacks and whites did not change measurably between 2003 and 2013.

Read the full article at the national AAUP website here.

Guidance on Border Searchers

AAUP National
August 1, 2017

The AAUP released a new document with responses to frquently asked questions about inspections of electronic devices by US border patrol officers.  Faculty members who travel internationally should be aware of their rights and obligations, whether they are citizens or noncitizens.  Due to the "border search exception" to the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, your rights with respect to searches and seizures by the government are different at borders than they are elsewhere.  You can find the FAQs here.

Read the full article at the national AAUP website here.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Racist Who Pioneered Right-to-Work Laws

Labor Notes
By Michael Pierce
August 3, 2017

As right-to-work laws proliferate, it's worth remembering that they originated as a means to maintain Jim Crow labor relations in the South and to beat back what was seen as a Jewish conspiracy.

No one was more important in placing right-to-work on the conservative political agenda than Vance Muse of the Christian American Association, a larger-than-life Texan whose own grandson described him as "a white supremacist, an anti-Semite, and a Communist-baiter, a man who beat on labor unions not on behalf of working people, as he said, but because he was paid to do so."

Read the full article at the Labor Notes website here.

Nissan dispute could go down as most vicious anti-union crusade in decades

The Guardian
By Bernie Sanders
August 3, 2017

A few months before the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Dr Martin Luther King Jr wrote in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail: "We know from painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."

This week, thousands of courageous workers at a Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi, are doing just that.  They are voting for the right to join a union, the right to make a living wage and the right to job security and pensions.  And they are doing so by connecting workers' rights with civil rights, as the plant's workforce is over 80% African American.

Read the full article at The Guardian's website here.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Is Academic Freedom's Watchdog Losing Its Bite?

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Peter Schmidt
July 27, 2017

At least once a year, Frank Phillips College, in Borger, Tex., gets a letter inviting its administration to work with the American Association of University Professors to get off of the AAUP's censure list.  Like many institutions that annually receive such letters, the small community college rebuffs the offer.

The routine has been the same since 1969.  That's the year after the AAUP censured the college's administration after concluding that it had fired Aileene Ledford Gauntt, an instructor who had worked there for 10 years, without due process or severance pay.

Read the full article at The Chronicle of Higher Education's website here.

Coping With a Blockade

Inside Higher Ed
By IHE Staff
July 31, 2017

For two decades Qatar has been building its Education City, which is now home to six prominent American universities.  The Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development has financed the project for the small, wealthy nation, which is located on the Arabian Peninsula.

Last month, however, five Arab nations began a blockade and severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, raising worries about the possible impact on Education City and its U.S. partners -- Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Georgetown, Northwestern, Texas A&M and Virginia Commonwealth Universities.

Read the full article at the Inside Higher Ed website here.

Friday, July 28, 2017

What's in a Grade? It depends on Whom You Ask

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Beckie Supiano

How precisely can professors evaluate students' work?  That question was at the heart if a recent debate over whether to change the grading system at Eastern Washington University.

Eastern Washington had long awarded course grades on a 4.0 system, in which grades are given to the tenths decimal place, offering many more options for professors than the more conventional letter system.  Instead of awarding an A or an A-minus, for instance, professors might give a 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, or 4.0.

Read the full article at The Chronicle of Higher Education website here.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Interviews on Women and Harassment in Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Academe Blog
By Irene Ngun
July 21, 2017

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is conducting a study of the impacts of gender-related experiences on women in science, engineering, and medical fields, and they have contracted with RTI International to gather information for the study.  RTI International plans to conduct one-hour, in-depth telephone interviews with approximately 40 women faculty members in science, engineering, and medical fields at research institutions who have been personally impacted by any of the following behaviors in a professional setting within the past 5 years:

  • Someone making repeated, unwanted sexual advances to you
  • Someone using pressure or manipulation to get you to agree to sexual contact
  • Inappropriate or sexual remarks, sexual oriented jokes, or comments about cognitive or intellectual sex differences
If you meet these criteria and are interested in being considered for the study, please complete a brief screening form here.

Thanks for your support!

Uncertainty on Trump's Transgender Order

Inside Higher Ed
By Nick Roll
July 27, 2017

On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump announced via Twitter that his administration would roll back previous guidelines that allowed transgender individuals to openly serve in the military.
"[P]lease be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military," Trump announced in a tweet.  "Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender [sic] in the military would entail"

It is unclear what impact this policy could have on U.S. service academies and other military programs, several of which either have or formerly had transgender students enrolled.

Read the full article at the Inside Higher Ed website here.

Professor Plans to Sue Evergreen State for $3.85M

Inside Higher Ed
By Scott Jaschik
July 27, 2017

Bret Weinstein, the Evergreen State College professor who became the target of student protests at Evergreen State College in May, is planning to sue the college for $3.85 million, The Olympian reported.  Weinstein faced threats such that, for a brief period, campus police suggested he remain off campus.  Weinstein angered some students by refusing to participate in a day in which white people were asked to stay off campus.  His filing about a suit states that the college "permitted, cultivated, and perpetuated a racially hostile and retaliatory work environment...

Read the full article at the Inside Higher Ed website here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Great Conference Con?

Inside Higher Ed
By Colleen Flaherty
July 25, 2017

Scholars -- particularly those working off the tenure track, with little to no access to institutional funds -- have long criticized the costs associated with attending academic conferences.  But a recent round of criticism comes from tenure-track and tenured professors, as well, with some proposing alternative means of meeting in response to logistical, political and . of course, financial concerns.

"Yes, being an academic is a privilege, Yes, we are lucky to get to see the insides of conference centers the world over.  And yes, we need to have a discussion abut the costs we're required to pay to keep this privilege," Pamela L. Gay, an assistant research professor of astronomy at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, wrote in a Medium blog post called "The Unacknowledged Costs of Academic Travel."

Read the full article at the Inside Higher Ed website here.

Purge of Turkish Academics is "Staggering"

Academe Blog
By Hank Reichman
July 21, 2017

In the year since the attempted coup in Turkey, a "staggering" number of academics have faced criminal investigations, detentions, prosecutions, mass dismissal, expulsion and restrictions on travel, according to an open letter to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey, signed by Quinn, executive director of Scholars at Risk (SAR), the New York University-based scholar network, and reported in University World News.

Shortly after hundreds of thousands of people joined a mass rally in Istanbul on July 16 against the Erdoğan regime, the government announced that it had arrested almost 900 people over the previous week, including 72 university staff.  On July 13, the state announced that some 302 scholars had been dismissed from their jobs for their alleged links to the Gülen movement, which is blamed for the failed military coup.

Read the full article at the Academe Blog website here.