Monday, December 18, 2017

Broward College Adjuncts Form Union

Inside Higher Ed
By Colleen Flaherty
December 18, 2017

Adjunct faculty members at Broward College in Florida voted to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union, they announced Friday.  The new unit has approximately 1,700 eligible members, and some 92 percent of those who voted approved of the union bid, according to SEIU.

Read the original post at the Inside Higher Ed website here.

NLRB Ruling May Block 'Micro-Unit' TA Unions

Inside Higher Ed
By Scott Jaschik
December 18, 2017

A ruling Friday by the National Labor Relations Board may make it more difficult for unions seeking to organize teaching assistants at private universities to do so on a department-by-department basis, as recently happened at Yale University.  Some refer to such unions as "micro-units."  The ruling was on a case related to a healthcare business, and generally made it more difficult to unionize subgroups of employees rather than all employees in similar positions.

Read the original post at the Inside Higher Ed website here.

Petition to Overturn Net Neutrality Repeal

AAUP
December 18, 2017

The AAUP shared an online petition declaring its support for net neutrality and asking Congress to act to protect it.  The decision by the FCC to dismantle net neutrality is a giveaway to telecom companies and large corporations that, if allowed to proceed, is likely to have detrimental effects on higher education.  Net neutrality is rooted in the principles of fairness, and preserving it is essential for ensuring equitable access to online information, resources, and services.  Without net neutrality, internet service providers will be free to slow down or block websites that do not serve their commercial interests.  This could make it more difficult for faculty, students, and the public to access educational resources.

Read the full post at sign the petition at the AAUP website here.

With an Employee Facing Deportation, Wesleyan's President Speaks Out

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Vimal Patel and Brock Read
December 15, 2017

Among campus presidents, Wesleyan University's Michael S. Roth is an uncommonly active blogger.  He typically uses his corner of the university's website to offer holiday tidings, celebrate sporting successes, and salute professors' accomplishments.

But occasionally Mr. Roth adopts a sharper tone.  On Friday he did so in a brief message.  Its headline: "Stop the Deportation of Francisco Acosta!"

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

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

AAUP
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

AAUP
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

AAUP
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

AAUP
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

AAUP

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

AAUP
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

AAUP
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.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Finger-Pointing at the Finance Firm TIAA

The New York Times
By Gretchen Morgenson
October 21, 2017

In the treacherous world of finance, where investors confront biased advice, hidden costs and onerous fees, one investment giant seems to stand apart - the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association, also known as TIAA.  Calling itself a "mission-based organization" with a "nonprofit heritage."  TIAA has enjoyed a reputation as a selfless steward of its clients' assets for almost a century.

"Our values make us a different kind of financial service organization, known for our integrity," Roger W. Ferguson Jr., TIAA's president and chief executive, says on the company's website.

TIAA's clients - educators, researchers and public service workers, many inexperienced with finance - consider the company a trusted partner without whom they could not hope to retire comfortably.  That many customers revere it is not an overstatement.

Read the full article at the New York Times website here.

Fordham Non-Tenure-Track Professors and Postdocs Vote to Form Union

Inside Higher Ed
By Colleen Flaherty
November 15, 2017

Non-tenure-track faculty members - adjuncts, full-timers and potdoctoral fellows - at Fordham University voted 16-to-1 to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union, they announced Tuesday.  The news comes weeks after administrators and faculty organizers signed a neutrality agreement allowing for a free and fair election at the Roman Catholic campus.  Fordham in a statement called the election process "full and fair" and said it's looking forward to "working with SEIU on behalf of our employees."

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Strike Authorization Procedure at Wright State

AAUP
November 9, 2017

The Wright State University AAUP chapter, the faculty union representing full-time faculty at WSU, has adopted an amendment to its chapter constitution and bylaws by creating a procedure for authorizing and calling a strike.  Chapter president Martin Kich said that the move was necessary to protect the core missions of teaching and research at the university.

"We never had a procedure for calling a strike because in the past we always had a cordial relationship with the administration," he says in a statement.  "It is well known that an incompetent administration paired with a negligent Board of Trustees permitted flagrant misspending for several consecutive years that resulted in fiscal crisis at WSU.  But even though most misspending occurred in areas relevant to the University's academic core missions - teaching students and undertaking research-the administration's budget cuts have actually targeted the academic core!  In fact, Wright State students have already lost seventy-one faculty members due to the administration's budget cuts.  That means students have fewer course offerings, higher student-faculty ratios, and other significant diminutions of the conditions under which they learn and complete degrees.  Indeed, any erosion of faculty working conditions is an erosion of student learning conditions!"

To read the full statement, visit the national AAUP website here.

Will Grad Student Unionization Lose Steam Under Trump

Inside Higher Ed
By Nick Roll
November 9, 2017

Advocates for graduate student unionization at private colleges, underway for decades, were hopeful in the early years of the Obama administration that they would reach a breakthrough with a Democratic-appointed National Labor Relations Board.

Despite some setbacks, they eventually made progress with the NLRB - but it wasn't long before Donald Trump's 2016 presidential win added to organizers' problems.  In September, the U.S. Senate confirmed his second nomination to the NLRB, pushing the five-member board into a Republican majority.

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

Monday, November 6, 2017

Republican Tax Proposal Gets Failing Grade From Higher-Ed Groups

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Eric Kelderman
November 2, 2017

Republicans in Congress released their proposed overhaul of the nation's tax laws on Thursday, including several measures that would place new tax burdens on colleges and students - and, critics say, could undermine charitable giving to higher education.

The bull was met with immediate opposition from a number of higher-education groups, which argued that the measure would rob institutions of vital dollars and increase the price of college for debt-laden students and already-strapped families.

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

Off the Pedastal

Inside Higher Ed
By Rick Seltzer
November 6, 2017

Colleges and higher ed lobbyists are refining their attacks against House Republicans' proposed tax overhaul, taking aim at provisions that would significantly affect institutional operations as the tax plan goes under the microscope.

Several proposals to raise taxes on wealthy colleges and universities came under fire, including a 1.4 percent excise tax on private university endowments valued at $100,000 or more per full-time student and a 20 percent excise tax on employee compensation above $1 million at all nonprofit entities.  So did another proposal that would raise the cost of construction for private colleges, rich and poor, by eliminating tax-exempt private-activity bonds.

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

Friday, November 3, 2017

It's a Tough Job, but somebody's Got to Do It

Inside Higher Ed
By Colleen Flaherty
November 3, 2017

Shared governance is an issue that generally attracts attention when faculties and asministrations are at odds.  But a sense of mutual trust and responsibility between professors, administrators and trustees can make a big difference in meeting institutional goals and carrying out campus missions at points of calm and at points of tension.

Knowing that, two institutions with rocky pasts in terms of shared governance - Pennsylvania State University and the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University - are working toward structural reforms in that area.

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

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The (Possible) Postdoc Union Boom

Inside Higher Ed
By Colleen Flaherty
October 31, 2017

The past few years have brought unprecedented attention to the working conditions of academics off the tenure track.  With that attention has come increased unionization efforts among adjuncts and graduate students on private campuses, following a major decision from the National Labor Relations Board saying they're employees entitled to collective bargaining.

Could postdoctoral unions grow in number for the same reasons?  Some experts think so.

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

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

After a Year of Tumult, Evergreen State Revises a Policy on the Use of Campus Space

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Chris Quintana
October 24, 2017

As public colleges become the staging grounds of a national battle over speech and security, campus leaders have searched for ways to keep their institutions out of the fray.  One popular strategy: taking a long hard look at the policies that dictate who can use their facilities.

After a tumultuous year of protest, Evergreen State College, the small public liberal-arts college in Olympia, Wash., has joined the ranks of institutions to do so.  Ans in doing so, it has made a point not to provide space to "organizations which do not assure the college that they do not discriminate."

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

AGB Urges Trustees to Back Shared Governance

Inside Higher Ed
By Colleen Flaherty
October 25, 2017

The Board of Directors of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges released a statement reminding trustees of the importance of shared governance.  "In higher education's volatile environment, shared governance is essential," the statement says.  "It adds substantial value to institutional progress and innovation.  In fact, responsibility and accountability for addressing colleges' and universities' thorniest challenges often rest with multiple parties.  Effective shared governance is about more than who is responsible for what.  At its best, shared governance is about how key constituents in institutional communities -- traditionally faculty, administrators and board members -- engage in achieving a commonly supported mission.

The statement is based on a 2016 AGB study of shared governance and includes four principles for trustees concerning shared governance: board should not only understand but champion value; it must be based on a culture of meaningful engagement; it requires a constant commitment by campus and board leaders; and policies related to shared governance should be reviewed periodically to ensure their effectiveness.

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

Monday, October 23, 2017

AAUP and AFT-Wisconsin Condemn Attacks on Public Higher Education

AAUP
October 23, 2017

A series of recent actions taken by Governor Scott Walker, the Wisconsin state legislature, and the University of Wisconsin system board of regents represents a concerted attack on the university as a public good and on the university's role in fostering democratic participation.  The stewards of the university system appear determined to destroy it.

In 2011, Governor Walker proposed, and the legislature passed, Act 10, curtailing the system faculty's rights to negotiate collectively.  In 2015, the legislature severely weakened tenure, shared governance, and due process-and, by extension, academic freedom.  The board launched its own salvo earlier this month, approving an anti-free-speech proposal allowing for the expulsion of students for "disrupting the free speech of others," announcing a plan to merge the system's two- and four-year institutions, and changing the procedures governing searches for chancellors and presidents-all without meaningful faculty input.  Troublingly, the new search procedures put virtually the entire process of hiring new 'campus CEOs' in the hands of the very regents who seek to undermine the public obligation of the university, with limited roles for other campus constituencies.  At the time of this writing, there is also a bill before the state legislature that would abolish a partnership that allowed university employees to work and train students at Planned Parenthood.

Read the full statement at the national AAUP website here.

University of Chicago Graduate Workers Affirm Union

AAUP
October 19, 2017

University of Chicago graduate employees voted decisively and overwhelmingly for union recognition in a history-making vote tallied today.  Founded in 2007, Graduate Students United (GSU) has worked together to enhance conditions on their campus.  GSU will now be formally affiliated with the American Association of University Professors, the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers.

AAUP President Rudy Fichtenbaum said: "Chicago graduate workers have already set standards and accomplished much for their campus by standing together.  GSU's strength and tenacity in the face of relentless challenges by the administration is an inspiration to colleagues across the country, colleagues who recognize their campus contributions as significant.  The work they do is critical to the university's teaching and research mission and the university works because they do.  We look forward to supporting GSU every step of the way to maintain a meaningful voice on campus and quality in higher education."

Read the full article at the national AAUP website here.

DeVos rescinds 72 documents regarding rights for disabled students

OregonLive
By The Washington Post
October 21, 2017

WASHINGTON -- The Education Department has rescinded 72 policy documents that outline the rights of students with disabilities as part of the Trump administration's effort to eliminate regulations it deems superflous.

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services wrote in a newsletter Friday that it had "a total of 72 guidance documents that have been rescinded due to being outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective -- 63 from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and 9 from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA)."  The documents, which fleshed out students' rights under the individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act, were rescinded Oct. 2.

Read the full article at the OregonLive website here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

AAUP and AFT Oppose Punitive Protest Policy

(Reposted from National AAUP)

For Immediate Release
October 12, 2017 Contact:
Laura Markwardt
(202) 594-3635
lmarkwardt@aaup.org

MADISON, WISCONSIN--Last week, the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents approved a policy to suspend and expel students who protest speeches on University of Wisconsin campuses. Sixteen of the board's 18 members are appointees of Republican Governor Scott Walker.

Read the full press release at the national AAUP website here.

Ciccariello-Maher Suspension Is Problematic

AAUP National
October, 12, 2017

The Drexel University administration's unilateral suspension of George Ciccariello-Maher, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and Global Studies, raises concerns about the academic freedom and is at odds with normative academic procedures.  The AAUP today wrote to Drexel University administrators to express our concern that bysuspending Ciccariello-Maher against his will, they have bowed to pressure from those that are threatening him and reinforced the belief that, as Ciccariello-Maher put it, "you can control a university's curriculum with annonymous threats of violence."  A suspension is a severly adverse personnel action, and imposing one on Ciccariello-Maher without consulting an appropriate faculty body raises concerns for his academic freedom and tenured status.  It is especially concerning that the suspension is indefinite.

Read the full article at the national AAUP website here.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Campus Equity Week Highlights Contingent Faculty Working Conditions

AAUP
October 10, 2017

Get ready for Campus Equity Week!  During this week, which occurs every other year during the last week of October, groups plan local actions to draw attention to working conditions of faculty in contingent or adjunct positions.  Such faculty, who constitute three fourths of the teaching faculty in higher education, typically work without job security, for low wages, and without access to the professional working conditions that support student learning.

Campus Equity Week (known as Fair Employment Week in some states and in Canada) is supported by a large coalition of faculty activists and organizations of all sizes.  Local actions can be of any size and shape, ranging from those conducted by a handful of people with a minimal budget to chapters with more significant resources.

Read the full article at the national AAUP website here.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Trump Administration Says Colleges Are Suppressing Free Speech. How Should They Respond?

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Sarah Brown
October 2, 2017

When officials at the University of Utah learned in late August that a student group had invited Ben Shapiro, a fiery conservative commentator, to speak on campus, they had to grapple with an increasingly thorny questions: how to ensure that everyone's free speech rights - both Mr. Shapiro's and those of the student protesters - would be protected.

The university's administration from the public safety, communications, and student affairs units started meeting a month in advance.  They even sent a team to the University of California at Berkeley, so officials could see how that institution handled the controversial speakers who were invited to campus this spring.  When Mr. Shapiro spoke last week, hundreds of students protested, two people were arrested, and several others were briefly detained.  The university spent about $25,000 on security costs.

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

Supreme Court justices clash over whether workers can join together to fight a company policy

Los Angeles Times
By David G. Savage
October 2, 2017

The Supreme Court justices returned to the bench Monday ready to argue - and disagree sharply along usual ideological lines - on a basic questions of workers' rights in the 21st century.

Can employees join together to argue their company is violating law by denying them overtime pay or minimum wages or by discriminating against women or minorities?

To the court's four liberal justices, this looked like a case of back to the future.  Early in the 20th century, companies often required workers to waive their rights to join a union or take collective action.  Those agreements were referred to as "yellow dog contracts," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted.  In 1935, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Congress adopted the National Labor Relations Act, which guaranteed workers a right to join a union and to take "other concerted activities" to protect their interests.  The yellow dog contract became a thing of the past.

Read the full article at the Los Angeles Times website here.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Canada's wake-up call to the US on NAFTA

CNN
By Elizabeth Warren
October 1, 2017

(CNN) - President Donald Trump, a loud and persistent critic of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), recently began renegotiating this trade deal with Canada and Mexico.  The President promised to secure a fair deal for American Workers.  That sounds great.  After all, we don't think Americans should be forced to compete with poorly paid workers from Mexico or elsewhere, and we can demand that companies that want to trade with us lift wages, benefits, and health and safety standards for their foreign workers.

So it probably came as a shock that one of Canada's main goals in this renegotiation is to get the United States to treat our own workers better.  Canada doesn't want its workers competing with poorly-treated laborers -- including workers in the United States.  And they have a specific target in mind.

Read the full opinion piece on the CNN website here.

Sens. Warren, Brown, Gillibrand, Rep. Sherman Introduce Legislation to Protect Workers Ahead of Upcoming NAFTA Renegotiations

Senator Elizabeth Warren- Press Release
September 20, 2017

Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) today introduced the Protecting Workers and Improving Labor Standards Act, to prohibit states from introducing laws that it harder for workers to form unions and fight for higher wages and better working conditions.  The legislation introduced today would repeal section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act, which currently gives states the ability to ban union security agreements - so-called "right-to-work" laws.  The introduction comes days before the third round of renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are set to take place in Ottawa.  An evaluation of state "right-to-work" laws is part of the renegotiation of NAFTA given their impact on worker rights and workplace protections.

Additional Senate cosponsors include Senators Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).  Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) today announced that he will introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives, along with 5 of his colleagues.

Read the full press release at the Senator Elizabeth Warren website here.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Making Diversity Happen

Inside Higher Ed
By Colleen Flaherty
September 28, 2017

It's easy to understand why so many colleges want to increase their share of faulty members who are underrepresented minorities: research suggests that cultural diversity means diversity of thought and experience -- boons to any intellectual enterprise -- and both minority and white students benefit from learning from professors who look like them, and those who don't.

But actually diversifying faculty ranks is hard.  Implicit biases persist in hiring, some academics resist explicit faculty diversity initiatives and data still demonstrate some "pipeline," or supply, issues, especially in the natural sciences.

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

Supreme Court to Hear Anti-Union Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 Case

AAUP
September 28, 2017

On September 28, the US Supreme Court announced that it will hear a case, called Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, which anti-union forces have pushed in an attempt to have fair-share fees ruled unconstitutional for public sector employees.

Currently, unions can charge fair share fees (also called "agency fees") to non-union members for the cost of the union negotiating and enforcing a collective bargaining agreement covering those individuals.  Fair share fees have been deemed constitutional since the Supreme Court's 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.  Over the last forty years, the courts have repeatedly found that the fair share fee system adequately balances the interests of the employees and the state in an efficient labor relations system and the First Amendment interests of union members and nonmembers.  However, in a 2014 decision, Harris v. Quinn, Justice Samuel Alito questioned whether Abood was good law and virtually invited challenges to the constitutionality of fair share fees.  In this opinion, Alito claimed that all fair share fee agreements in the public sector could violate the First Amendment as they compel nonmembers to pay for activities that may address matters of public concern and are therefore "political."  Anti-union groups took up Justice Alito's invitation and have pushed a number of cases through the courts.

Read the full article at the AAUP website here.

Emerson College FT, NTT Faculty Vote to Join Existing CB Chapter

AAUP
September 28, 2017

By a vote of 35-0, full-time, non-tenure track faculty at Emerson College's Boston campus voted to join the existing collective bargaining chapter at Emerson College, ECCAAUP, which represents tenured and tenure-track faculty.  The Emerson College administration has committed to voluntarily recognize a unified collective bargaining chapter if the full-time, non-tenure-track faculty won the election.  The election was held at Emerson College on September 26 and 27.

Following the successful election, the chapter will receive national support to organize a membership drive for tenured, tenure-seeking, and full-time, non-tenure-track faculty.  In addition, the new chapter will receive training to facilitate negotiations to revise the collective bargaining agreement in such a context and give faculty handbook revision advice.  The new ECCAAUP will need to revise its bylaws and constitution to account for its membership base and will consider altering its dues structure.

Read the full article at the AAUP website here.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Court Finds Due Process Denied in Sex Assault Case

Inside Higher Ed
By Jeremy Bauer-Wolf
September 26, 2017

A federal appeals court has agreed to block the University of Cincinnati's suspension of a student, saying the institution violated his rights bu not allowing him to question the female student who accused him of sexually assaulting her. 

The decision bu the U.S. Court of Appeals fir the Sixth Circuit follows the announcement Friday from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that she would pull guidance on Title IX investigations and adjudication the Obama administration released in 2011. 

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

Friday, September 22, 2017

Education Dept. Replaces Obama-Era Title IX Directives With New Interim Guidance

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Fenanda Zamudio-Suarez
September 22, 2017

The U.S. Department of Education has rescinded two pieces of Obama-era guidance that told colleges how they should handle issues related to campus sexual assault, and has replaced them with new interim guidance, the department announced on Friday.

In a speech this month, the education secretary, Betsy DeVos, announced that the department would begin a process for replacing the Obama-era guidance.  The department's action on Friday withdrew two key documents: a 2011 "Dear Colleague" letter, which kicked off a new era of enforcement under the gender-equity law known as Title IX, and a 2014 questions-and-answers document, which offered colleges additional guidance on how they should respond to reported sexual violence.

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

310,567 Signatures Block 'Right to Work' in Missouri

Labor Notes
By Judy Ancel
September 18, 2017

The results astounded everyone who thought they knew the Missouri labor movement: more than 300,000 signatures to repeal "right to work."

Thousands of union members and allies marched through the streets of the state capital August 18 to deliver 163 boxes of petitions signed by 310,567 Missourians.  The signers called for referendum to repeal the right-to-work law passed by the legislature earlier this year.

Read the full article at the Labor Notes website here.

Legal Brief Against Trump's Travel Ban

AAUP
September 22, 2017

Yesterday the AAUP joined with the American Council on Education and other higher education groups in an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court opposing Trump's travel ban.  The brief argues that people from the six countries identified in the ban should not be barred or deterred from entering the United States and contributing to our colleges and universities.

As the brief notes, the ban has caused specific harm to higher education.  From the moment the executive order containing the ban was signed, recruits were deterred from accepting faculty position in the United States.  Some scholars have pulled out of academic conferences here, either because they were directly affected by the ban or because they were concerned about its impact.  In the brief, we emphasize the international exchange of scholarly work, and explain how the ban "jeopardizes the vital contributions made by foreign students, scholars, and faculty by telling the world in the starkest terms that American colleges and universities are no longer receptive to them."

Read the full article at the AAUP website here.

Win for Climate Science and the AAUP

AAUP
September 15, 2017

Today the Arizona Court of Appeals rejected attempts to by a "free market" legal foundation to use public records requests to compel faculty members to release emails related to their climate research.

In an amicus brief in support of the scientists, the AAUP had urged that Arizona statute creates an exemption to public release of records for academic research records, and that a general statutory exemption protecting records when in the best interests of the state, in particular the state's interest in academic freedom, should have been considered.  The appeals court agreed.

Read the full article at the AAUP website here.

AAUP Joins ACE Letter Urging Congress to Pass DACA Legislation

AAUP
September 14, 2017


The AAUP signed on to a September 12 letter to congressional leaders urging them to pass legislation that would offer permanent protection to individuals currently participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  Over seventy-five associations joined the community letter, initiated by the American Council on Education following the Trump administration's decision to rescind the policy that enabled nearly 800,000 individuals to receive temporary protection through the DACA program.

The AAUP issued a statement on September 5 denouncing the administration's decision to end the DACA program, which provides renewable, two-year work permits to immigrants brought to this country as children.  A large number of individuals granted DACA are enrolled in colleges or universities.  As ACE president Ted Mitchell wrote in the community letter, "Colleges and universities have seen these remarkable people up close, in our classrooms and as our colleagues and friends.  Despite the challenges they face, they have made an incredible mark on our country and economy.  They should continue to be able to do so.  If we are unable to protect these Dreamer, we will be shutting the door to an entire generation of individuals who only seek to contribute their best to America."

Read the full article at the national AAUP website here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

DACA Student Says She Was Harassed by Classmate Over Immigration Status

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Samuel Hoisington
September 13, 2013

Updated (9/13/2017, 4:40 p.m.) with the news that the accused student is no longer enrolled.

A student at Transylvania University, in Kentucky, has accused the university of failing to act after what she alleges was a stream of online harassment brought on by a classmate posting about her immigration status.

In a video on the website of the Lexington Herald- Leader, Paola Garcia says a classmate posted identifying information about her on a "racial hatred page" that said, "Everyone go report this illegal at my school, bragging about breaking the law."

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

Tensions Grow at Rochester on Harassment Allegations

Inside Higher Ed
By Scott Jaschik
September 13, 2017

Tensions are growing at the University of Rochester over allegations of harassment by a prominent professor.

After the allegations surfaced in an article in Mother Jones that appeared Friday, the university strongly defended its handling of the case and said that there was no evidence to back up the allegations.

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

Monday, September 11, 2017

Taking a Stand Against Harassment, Part of the Broader Threat to Higher Education

AAUP National
September 7, 2017

In s statement issued today, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) denounce vicious threats of violence and even death directed against faculty members, their families, or their institutions following remarks they have made, or area alleges to have made, in public speeches, on social media, or in the classroom.  The threats are often accompanied by calls for college and university administrators to summarily dismiss or otherwise discipline the offending faculty member.  A large number of those threatened have been African American or are involved in race and gender studies.

Prominent cases from last week include Mark Bray, a lecturer at Dartmouth, and Kenneth Storey at the University of Tampa.  Other recent high-profile cases involved Johnny Williams (Trinity College), Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor (Princeton University), Lisa Durden (Essex County College), Dana Cloud (Syracuse University), Sarah E. Bond (University of Iowa), Tommy Curry (Texas A&M University), and George Ciccariello-Maher (Drexel University).

Read the full statement at the AAUP website here.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

AAUP Denounces Decision to End DACA Program

AAUP
September 5, 2017

In response to President Donald Trump's decision to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) president Rudy Fichtenbaum issued the following statement.

The American Association of University Professors denounces in the strongest possible terms the decision by the Trump administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).  This decision marks a continuation of the anti-immigrant racist policies that the administration had supported from the start.

Read the full statement at the AAUP website here.

Trump Ends DACA

Inside Higher Ed
By Elizabeth Redden
September 6, 2017

The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, through which about 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children have gained the right to work and temporary protection against the risk of deportation.  The administration said it will phase out the program, which was established by President Obama in 2012, after a six-month period to give Congress a chance to act on legislation that could restore the program.

In a Tweet on Tuesday evening, Trump said, "Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do.)  If they can't I will revisit the issue!"

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

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Antifa Academic

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Nell Gluckman
August 24, 2017

Since the 2016 election, the rise of the so-called alt-right has drawn another fringe groups onto the college campus and into the public consciousness: antifa, a contraction of the word "anti-facist."

Antifa members violently protested Milo Yiannopoulos's speeches, prompting the University of California at Berkeley to cancel an event scheduled on that campus in February.  They were at a white-supremacist rally that began on August 11 at the University of Virginia and that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Va., the following day.

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

Texas Colleges Brave Harvey

Inside Higher Ed
By Nick Roll
August 28, 2017

Tropical Storm Harvey continued to pummel southeast Texas on Sunday after downgrading from hurricane status, as flooding progressed, the death toll rose to five in Houston and calls were put out by authorities to coordinate with boat-owning citizens for rescue operations.

For colleges in the area, from Corpus Christi to Beaumont, the storm caused delays and evacuations, although they seemed to largely escape any serious damage.  Photos posted to social media by those on the ground showed flooding at the University of Houston, as some parts of the city and surrounding area saw residents taking to their roofs to stay out of the water.

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

Friday, August 25, 2017

A Contract, 13 Years After Forming Faculty Union

Inside Higher Ed
By Colleen Flaherty
August 25, 2017

Thirteen years after voting to form a union, about 140 full-time faculty members at Point Park University have reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement with their administration, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported.  Neither Communications Workers of America, which represents the faculty members, nor the administration has released details of the contract, which will be voted on Friday.  But it represents more than a decade's worth of back-and-forth between professors and the university, which argued full-time faculty members at private institutions are managers and therefore not entitled to collective bargaining by legal precedent.

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

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.

Organizing, Organization, and the AAUP

Academe Blog
By Hank Reichman
July 20, 2017

If there's an organized outrage machine, we need an organized response".  Those words from Tessie McMillan Cottom, assistant professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University, author of the excellent Lower Ed, prolific blogger, and frequent (and often witty) presence on Twitter, headline a story in this morning's Chronicle of Higher Education on the growing epidemic of online (and also direct) harassment of the left-leaning, very minority, faculty members to which the AAUP has been calling attention for some time (see also our successful fight to defend the academic freedom of Trinity College professor Johnny Williams).  The Chronicle report summarizes a useful essay Cottom posted to her blog tat provides concrete advice for dealing with "orchestrated outrage and social media attacks on academic legitimacy."  As Drexel professor George Cicciarello-Maher, a target of such harassment earlier this year, told the Chronicle, "Some faculty think this is about a handful of individuals when in reality, it's about all of us."

Read the full article at the Academe Blog here.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

'If There's an Organized Outrage Machine, We Need an Organized Response'

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Chris Quintana
July 18, 2017

Anticipating the possibility of an internet mob harassing a professor because of something he or she said can seem a bit like prepping for a lightening bolt.  Yes, people get stuck by lightening, but more often than not it feels like a freak occurrence.  It's easily avoided, some might say, by not flying a kite in a thunderstorm.

But these strikes appear to have grown more common in recent months.  Sure a professor who calls for the hanging of President Trump should expect blowback, but it's hard to argue the same for, say, a professor who writes a lengthy essay on classical statues and how they have been co-opted by the modern white-nationalist movement.  These attacks also come at a time when a majority of Republican or right-leaning Americans harbor a negative view of the nation's higher education institutions.

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

Read the Academe Blog's response to this article titled, Organizing, Organization, and the AAUP, here.

Former Top Official in Obama's Education Dept. Is Named President of ACE

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Goldie Blumenstyk
July 20, 2017

Ted Mitchell, a top U.S. Department of Education official during the Obama administration and an architect of several of the college and student-loan accountability regulations the Trump administration is now trying to dismantle, was named on Thursday as the new president of the American Council on Education.

Mr. Mitchell said countering the "narrative that college doesn't matter anymore for individuals in society" would be among his highest priorities for the organization, which represents about 1,800 college presidents on national policy issues.

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Victory for Academic Freedom at CSU Fullerton

Academe Blog
By Hank Reichman
July 18, 2017

In a victory for academic freedom and faculty rights, a California State University, Fullerton part-time anthropology lecturer facing dismissal after a fracas at a campus demonstration in February has been reinstated by order of an arbitrator.  The university's College Republicans had accused Eric Canin of striking one of them at the demonstration.  Canin denied hitting anyone, although he acknowledged that the confrontation got heated.

The incident took place February 8 as pro-Palestine students and counter-protesters marched through campus. Canin reportedly approached the counter-protesters and tried to rip a sign out of a student's hand.  He was accused of then striking another student who tried to step between them.  The Young Republicans' president, Chris Boyle, said he saw the hit and proceeded to restrain Canin until police arrived.  An internal investigation by the university determined that Canin did strike a protester.  As a result the university issued a letter of termination.

Read the full article at the Academe Blog here.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Worse Than It Seems

Inside Higher Ed
Colleen Flaherty
July 18, 2017

Like many debates about higher education, those about sexual harassment are often based on anecdotes and opinion.  To some, male professors in particular are victims in waiting of the PC police anxious to punish a stray comment.  To others, faculty harassers are finally being held accountable for sexually predatory behavior toward vulnerable students.

"A Systematic Look at a Serial Problem: Sexual Harassment of Students by University Faculty" seeks to cut through the noise with data analyzing nearly 300 faculty-student harassment cases for commonalities.  The study, which focused on complaints by graduate students, led to two major findings: most faculty harassers are accused of physical, not verbal, harassment, and more than half of cases -- 53 percent -- involved alleged serial harassers.

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

Monday, July 17, 2017

Brief Supports Climate Researchers in Public Records Request Case

AAUP National
July 17, 2017

On July 12, the AAUP yesterday submitted an amicus brief in support of the faculty members who have been subjected to intrusive public records requests for emails related to their climate-science research.  The AAUP brief, filed with the Arizona Court of Appeals in the case Energy & Environment Legal Institute v. Arizona Board of Regents, argues that the academic freedom to conduct research is essential to a vital university system and to the common good, and that this warrants protecting certain research records from disclosure.

Read the full article at the AAUP website here.

Academic Freedom Prevails at Trinity College

AAUP National
July 14, 2017

In a victory for academic freedom, the administration of Trinity College in Connecticut acknowledged today that Professor Johnny Williams's social media posts "were protected by academic freedom and did not violate Trinity College policies."

The administration's statement observed that "Our understanding of academic freedom in America today is rooted largely in a joint statement from 1940 by the American Association of University Professors and the Association of American Colleges that asserted the fundamental importance of academic freedom for the common good and the advancement of truth."

Read the full article at the AAUP website here.

Law School Accreditation Should Not Be Weakened

AAUP National
July 12, 2017

The AAUP this week submitted comments to the American Bar Association opposing proposed revisions to the ABA's accreditation standards that would eliminate a requirement that full-time faculty "teach more than one-half of the total credit hours offered by the law school in a year or more than two-thirds of student contact hours generated in that year."

Read the full article at the AAUP website here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Long-Term Contracts for 1,500 Adjuncts

Inside Higher Ed
By Colleen Flaherty
July 10, 2017

City of New York's 30,000-member faculty union fought for six years for a contract that ensured a handful of must-haves.  Among them was more job security for adjuncts, who previously taught on semester-to-semester appointments.

Now that provision--secured in a contract inked last summer -- is starting to materialize: some 1,500 long-serving adjuncts have been awarded three-year appointments, to begin this fall.

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

One Activist Has Hundreds of Colleges Under the Gun to Fix Their Websites

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Peter Schmidt
July 6, 2017

After the 2016 presidential election, Marcie Lipsitt looked up the alma maters of Donald J. Trump's chief advisers and persuaded the Education Department to investigate them for illegally having websites inaccessible to people with disabilities.  At the height of this year's NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, she similarly triggered federal scrutiny of the colleges represented in the "sweet sixteen" regional semifinals.  Morgan State University became one of her targets because she had met one of its blind students in Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Ms. Lipsitt, a veteran disability-rights activist from Franklin, Mich., says she regards virtually any college as an easy target, because nearly all have web pages inaccessible to people who are blind or deaf, or who have motor or cognitive disabilities.

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

Most Republicans Think Colleges Are Bad for the Country. Why?

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Clara Turnage
July 10, 2017

A majority of Republicans and right-leaning independents think higher education has a negative effect on the country, according to a new study released bu the Pew Research Center on Monday.  The same study has found a consistent increase in distrust of colleges ans universities since 2010, when negative perceptions among Republicans was measured at 32 percent.  That number now stands at 58 percent.

By comparison, 72 percent of Democrats or left-leaning Independents in the study said colleges ans universities have a positive impact on the United States.

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


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Letter Issued in Trinity Prof Suspension Case

AAUP National
June 27, 2017

The AAUP today issued a letter to Joanne Berger-Sweeney, president of the Trinity College, urging her to immediately reinstate professor Johnny Eric Williams to is normal faculty duties.  Professor Williams, an associate professor of sociology with twenty-one years of service at Trinity College, was placed on leave Monday evening after being targeted with a flood of threats following reports about his social media postings by the right-wing media outlet Campus Reform. (More background information here.)

The AAUP has long held that academic freedom includes the freedom to address the larger community with regard to any matter of social, political, economic, or other interest without institutional discipline or restraint, save in response to fundamental violations of professional ethics or statements that suggest disciplinary incompetence.

Read the full posting at the national AAUP website here.

Read the full letter here.

Sign a statement against targeted harassment of faculty.

Travel Ban Case to be Heard, Threats to Academic Freedom Remain High

AAUP National
June 26, 2017

This morning the Supreme Court announced that it will hear a legal challenge to Trump's exclusionary travel ban.  The case will be heard in the upcoming term that starts in October.

In the meantime, the ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority countries has been allowed to go into effect, with exemptions for foreign nationals "who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."

We believe that the exclusion is at odds with the fundamental AAUP principles and our nation's historic commitment to the free exchange of ideas.

Read the full posting at the national AAUP website here.

Stand Against Targeted Threats and Harassment

AAUP National
June 22, 2017

We are dismayed that another faculty member, Johnny Eric Williams of Trinity College, has become the target of a flood of threats following reports about his social media postings by the right-wing media outlet Campus Reform.  In this case, the college was shut down for a day so that law enforcement officials could investigate threats to the college and to the faculty member.  This is the second time this month that an institution of higher education has had to close down in response to threats, disrupting education and creating an environment of fear on campus.

Read the full posting at the national AAUP website here.

SEC settles fraud case against for-profit college ITT

OregonLive
July 3, 2017
By The Washington Post

WASHINGTON-- The Securities and Exchange Commission has settled its fraud case against ITT Educational Services, but it continues to pursue top executives from the defunct for-profit college firm for deceiving investors about high rates of late payments and defaults on student loans backed by the firm.

A final judgement order filed Friday resolves civil fraud charges brought against the company two years ago for false and misleading statements about the failure of two in-house student-loan programs.  There is no monetary penalty, and the company did not admit any wrongdoing.

Read the full article at the OregonLive website here.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Proposed Israeli "Code of Ethics" Violates Academic Freedom

AAUP- National
June 19, 2017

The following is a statement of the AAUP and the American Federation of Teachers.

The code of ethics' that the government of Israel is considering for the country's academic institutions is a threat not only to academic freedom in Israel, but to Israel's standing as a democracy.  We join with colleagues in Israel's Association of University Heads, and with the National Union of Israel Students, in condemning it.

Read the full statement at the national AAUP website here.

Monday, June 19, 2017

AAUP Removes Two from Academic Freedom Censure List, Adds Two

June 17, 2017

U of Illinois and Phillips Community College Removed from Censure List; Spalding U and Community College of Aurora Added

Washington, D.C. - Delegates to the 103rd annual meeting of the American Association of University Professors voted today to remove the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign and Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas from the AAUP's list of administrations censured for violating principles and standards of academic freedom.  The vote recognized that both institutions had successfully amended problematic policies and addressed the conditions that had brought about the original censure.  Delegates also voted to impose censure on Spalding University (Kentucky) and the Community College of Aurora (Colorado), based on investigations conducted this year that revealed serious departures from principles and standards of academic freedom at those institutions.

Read the full article at the National AAUP website here.

Committee A 2017 Censure Recommendations

AAUP National
June 15, 2017

Committee A submitted the following resolutions regarding censure and censure removal for the annual delegation.

See the files and download them at the National AAUP website here.

Border Patrol Searches of Electronic Devices

AAUP National
June 13, 2017

In conjunction with the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, the AAUP is seeking information from any faculty members who have had their cell phones or other electronic devices searched by US border patrol officers at the nation's borders while travelling internationally.  The Knight First Amendment Institute is a recently created non-profit organization that works to defend an strengthen freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age through litigation, research, and education.

The AAUP is concerned with the chilling effect such searches may have on academic freedom and the invasion into the privacy of academic work.  We are looking into legal issues related to a US regulation that authorizes border patrol officers to search a traveler's cell phones and other electronic devices at the borders without any basis for suspecting that the person has done anything wrong.  The government enforces this policy against both American citizens as well as noncitizens, and there has been a sharp uptick in these types of searches over the past year.

Read the full article at the National AAUP website here.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Race, Ethnicity, and Gender of Full-Time Faculty at More Than 3,700 Institutions

The Chronicle of Higher Education
June 12, 2017

The sortable table below shows the percentages of full-time faculty members who were members of specific racial and ethnic groups at degree-granting colleges and universities in November 2015.

View the interactive table at The Chronicle of Higher Education website here.



Scholars See Bad Omens in Pulled Sponsorship of 'Julius Caesar'

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Fernando Zamudio-Suaréz
June 12, 2017

After Delta Air Lines and Bank of America pulled their sponsorship from the New York Public Theater's production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, scholars were quick to lampoon the decision.

This year's free Public Theater performance sets Shakespeare's drama in modern dress, and presents Julius Caesar as a figure resembling President Trump - complete with blond hair, blue suit, and gold bathtub, according to a review in The New York Times.

Verena Dobnik, AP Images
Read the full article at The Chronicle for Higher Education's website here.


Another Appeals Court Rejects Trump's Travel Ban

Inside Higher Ed
By Elizabeth Redden
June 13, 2017

A second federal appeals court ruled Monday against President Trump's travel ban, upholding an injunction imposed by a lower court.  The Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court to rule on the president's executive order banning entry into the U.S. for nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, which Trump argues is necessary to prevent the entry of terrorists.  Critics of the ban see it as a pretext for banning the entry of Muslims, a step Trump called for in his campaign.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which is based in Virginia, had already ruled against the Trump administration, finding that the travel ban amounted to religious discrimination.  In its ruling Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which is based in California, found that the president had exceeded his authority in issuing the order, which also suspended and capped the refugee admissions program.

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

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Jordan Schnitzer gives PSU $5 million for art museum in downtown Portland

OregonLive
By Andrew Theen
June 8, 2017

Jordan Schnitzer, the Portland real estate developer and philanthropist, will give $5 million to Portland State University to open an art museum in the heart of campus.

The school and the Portland native announced the gift during a Thursday morning news conference.  The 7,500-square-foot art museum will bear Schnitzer's name and occupy parts of two floors of Neuberger Hall.

A rendering of the proposed Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.
(Courtesy of PSU)
Read the full article at the OregonLive website here.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

GOP Skeptical on Trump Budget

Inside Higher Ed
By Andrew Kreighbaum
June 7, 2017

Washington -- When Education Secretary Betsy DeVos makes an appearance before lawmakers on Capitol Hill, one would expect a hostile reception from Democrats who have opposed her since she was nominated for the job.  Less expected is open skepticism from Republicans.

That's exactly what DeVos got Tuesday, however, at a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing on the proposed White House budget for 2018 which includes deep cuts to education programs as well as other nondefense spending.

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


Monday, June 5, 2017

As New Threat Closes Evergreen State, Students Rip Legislation That Would Cut Its Funding

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Chris Quintana
June 5, 2017

A student-government organization in Washington State on Monday condemned proposed legislation that would strip funding from Evergreen State College, an institution embroiled in student protests and allegations of racism.

The statement was issued by the Washington Student Association, which represents college students statewide, on the same day that classes at Evergreen were canceled for a third weekday in a row so local law-enforcement officials could "review new external threat information received over the weekend."

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