Friday, December 15, 2017

'A Complete Culture of Sexualization': 1,600 Stories of Harassment in Higher Ed

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Nell Gluckman
December 12, 2017

Karen L. Kelsky founded The Professor Is In, a consultancy that gives academics career advice.  In 2014 she created an online survey about graduate-student debt that received hundreds of responses, with some students reporting that they owed in the range of $200,000 to $300,000.  Respondents found sharing the information therapeutic, and, as Ms. Kelsky says, it changed the conversation around graduate school.

Now, as news breaks daily about sexual harassment in seemingly every industry, including higher education, Ms. Kelsky decided to apply the approach again.  She created a survey in which academics and former academics can submit their stories about sexual misconduct, and their responses will be shared anonymously online.

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

House Republicans Press for Higher-Ed Overhaul in 2018

The Chronicle for Higher Education
By Adam Harris and Eric Kelderman
December 12, 2017

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives began in earnest on Tuesday to finalize an ambitious bill to reauthorize the main federal law governing higher education.

The House's Committee on Education and the Workforce, led by Rep. Virginia Foxx, Republican of North Carolina, kicked off a marathon session lasting nearly 14 hours - until just before the stroke of midnight - to consider amendments and other changes in a draft of the Higher Education Act Legislation that she introduced this month.

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

What's a Fair Wage for Adjuncts?

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Audrey Williams June
December 7, 2017

The impending negotiations between the City University of New York's faculty union and administration may come down to a fundamental question: How much is adjunct labor worth?

The union's answer is $7,000.  That's the minimum pay per three-credit course that it's seeking for the roughly 14,000 adjuncts it represents - about double the minimum that adjuncts there now earn per course.

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

Monday, December 11, 2017

Reversal on Graduate Lending

Inside Higher Ed
By Andrew Kreighbaum
December 11, 2017

The GOP's proposed update to the law governing higher education would force a U-turn for long-standing federal policies on graduate student lending.

Students who pursue graduate degrees have been allowed to take out an unlimited amount in federal student loans since Congress authorized the Grad Plus program in 2005.  But the legislation proposed last week by Representative Virginia Foxx, the North Carolina Republican who chairs the House education committee, would cap annual borrowing amounts for grad students at $28,500 annually.  The bill also would change benefits for borrowers by altering income-driven repayment options and eliminating Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

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

Friday, December 8, 2017

National Security, Assault on Science, and Academic Freedom

December 7, 2017

Assault on science and academic freedom threatens the public good and international stature or US.

Washington, DC- A new report, National Security, the assault on Science, and Academic Freedom, released by the AAUP details troubling threats to academic freedom in the physical and natural sciences that have been exacerbated by the Trump administration's hostility to science.

Read the full post at the AAUP website here.

Letter Regarding Summary Dismissal of Nebraska Lecturer

November 28, 2017

"A suspension which is not followed by either reinstatement or the opportunity for a hearing is in effect a summary dismissal in violation of academic due process." - 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure with Interpretive Comments

The AAUP sent a letter to University of Nebraska-Lincoln administrators today regarding the dismissal of a sixth-year doctoral student with a part-time appointment as a lecturer in the English department.  She had been suspended in September for protesting the presence on campus of a recruitment table for Turning Point USA, a right-wing organization that maintains the Professor Watchlist website.

Read the full post ans a copy of the letter at the AAUP website here.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

8 Grad Students Are Arrested Protesting the GOP Tax Bill on Capital Hill

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Adam Harris
December 5, 2017

Ben Groebe was frightened when he read that a tax plan recently passed by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives included a provision that would effectively tax as income the tuition waivers graduate students receive to help pay for their studies.

So Mr. Groebe, a graduate student in astrophysics at Washington University in St. Louis, traveled here on Tuesday, along with dozens of graduate students and supporters from across the country, to protest outside of the office of the House speaker, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

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

Friday, December 1, 2017

What You Need to Know About the GOP Bill to Bring Sweeping Changes to Higher Ed

Chronicle of Higher Education
By Adam Harris
December 1, 2017

After a flurry of movement this week on the reauthorization of the federal law governing higher education, which is overdue for an update, the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday introduced its bill to overhaul the Higher Education Act of 1965.

Summary details of the legislation, including plans to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, cap the amount that graduate students may borrow, and end the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, were reported on Wednesday.  But the release of the full text fleshes out the details of those proposals.

Read the full article at the Chronicle for Higher Ed website here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Congress Has Put Grad Students in Jeopardy

November 22, 2017

The AAUP and a large coalition of other higher education groups have issued an open letter calling on legislatures to protect the graduate student tuition waiver and the students it benefits.

As the letter outlines, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) passed by the House Representatives would repeal a key provision that, if signed into law, will have consequences for graduate students across the nation.  In classifying graduate school tuition waivers as taxable income, Congress has placed graduate students in financial jeopardy, threatening long-term negative effects on our country's higher education system.  About 145,000 graduate students receive this tax waiver annually, and many serve as teachers or researchers.

Read the full statement and the open letter to elected officials at the national AAUP website here.

Campus Carry Violates Academic Freedom

November 20, 2017

The AAUP filed an amicus brief last night supporting a challenge to a statute and policy in Texas that compel faculty to permit concealed handguns in college classrooms.  We argue that the policy violates faculty members' academic freedom.

Texas passed a "campus carry law" that expressly permits concealed handguns on university campuses, and in 2016 the University of Texas at Austin issued a policy mandating that faculty permit concealed handguns in their classrooms.  Several faculty sued, challenging the policy and the law.  The lower court dismissed the case, holding that the faculty had not proven that they been harmed by the law or university policy.  The faculty appealed and the case is now before the Fifth Circuit federal appeals court.

Read the full statement at the national AAUP website here.

2018 ASC Executive Committee Elections


The AAUP's Assembly of State Conferences (ASC) is seeking nominations for the following positions on the ASC Executive Committee: Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary.

For the positions of Vice Chair and Secretary, the Nominating Committee shall consider nominations from any member resident in a state with an active state conference.  For all positions, including Chair, any eligible candidate whose name is recommended to the ASC Nominating Committee by members from three or more state conferences shall be included among the nominees.

Read the full announcement at the national AAUP website here.

Monday, November 20, 2017

AAUP Committee Commends AGB Statement on Governance

November 17, 2017

Last month, the Board of Directors of Universities and Colleges (AGB) issued a statement on shared governance.  The statement delineates four principles "to help guide boards and those who work with them to achieve and support healthy and high-functioning shared governance".
  1. Boards should commit to ensuring a broad understanding of shared governance and the value it offers an institution or system.
  2. For shared governance to work, it must be based on a culture of meaningful engagement.
  3. Shared governance requires a consistent commitment by institutional and board leaders.
  4. Institutional policies that define shared governance should be reviewed periodically to ensure their currency and applicability.
Read the full article at the AAUP website here.

Tax Proposal Hurts Higher Ed

November 13, 2017

The AAUP, along with other higher education groups, strongly opposes proposed changes included in tax legislation being voted on by congress this week.  The AAUP particularly opposes the repeal of provisions exempting from taxation tuition waivers for campus employees and graduate students, which would cause a devastating tax increase for thousands of graduate students, and the repeal of the current Student Loan Interest Deduction, which would result in an increased cost of roughly $24 billion to student borrowers over the next decade.

Read the original post and the AAUP joint letter at the AAUP website here.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Monthlong Faculty Strike Continues in Ontario

Inside Higher Ed
By Elizabeth Redden
November 17, 2017

A more than monthlong strike of faculty at Ontario's 24 public two-year colleges will continue after 86 percent of union members voted to reject the College Employer Council's contract offer.  The Ontario Public Service Employees Union reported Thursday that 95 percent of the 12,841 members on its voter list cast a ballot.

The union's bargaining team had called on members to reject the offer, having objected to various provisions including those relating to faculty workload and academic freedom.  The college's offer included a 1.75 percent wage increase in the first year of the contract, followed by 2 percent increases for each of the next three years.

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

House Passes GOP Tax Plan

Inside Higher Ed
Andrew Kreighbaum
November 17, 2017

House Republicans on Thursday pushed through tax reform legislation widely opposed by higher education leaders who say many of its provisions will make a college degree less attainable and hurt the financial strength of institutions.

The bill passed by a 277 to 205 vote with 13 Republicans voting against the plan; it did not receive support from any Democrats.

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