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

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

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

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

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

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

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.