Monday, November 17, 2014

One Faculty, Organizing for a Stronger Voice

November 2014

Fall Semester, 2014: Faculty voices on our campuses are publicly and vigorously under attack. Among other aggressive new strategies, administrators across the country have introduced policies intended to limit freedom of speech on campus in the name of “civility.” These policies are intended to threaten faculty and students, directly and indirectly. They are aimed at those who express views that are politically charged, or that are contrary to the opinions of legislators or powerful private funders, people whose influence on our campuses has once again begun to dominate.
At the same time, faculty governance rights as traditionally understood, whether as meaningful participation in decision making through faculty senates or an academic department’s primary responsibility for filling faculty positions—are under fire. The faculty is declining in influence and administrators now seem more likely to turn to funders than to faculty when decisions must be made.
None of this is new. It is simply made more powerful daily as we continue to deal with the impact of shrinking public resources, administrators’ random introduction of “creative disruption” agendas, the increasing possibility that state legislators will push for more right-to-work legislation, and all of the other pernicious practices that have been referred to in these pages and elsewhere as the corporatization of higher education.

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