In this issue:
Exploited Work Forces in Higher Education P. 1
2006 Annual Meeting to be held at Hamline University P. 2
NYU Graduate Union on Strike P. 3
AAUP Summer Institute Report P. 4
MNAAUP Launches Shared Governance Initiative P. 5
How to Apply to the State Legal Defense Fund P. 5
MN Committee A Report P. 6
How to Contact Minnesota Committee A P. 7
How to Contact the National Office P. 7
How to Contact the Minnesota AAUP P. 8
Exploited work forces in higher education
CLAIRE A. KIRCHHOFF
The American Association of University Professors addresses, along with academic freedom, workplace fairness issues for academics. Numerous articles and statistics presented in Academe, demonstrate the Association’s awareness of the plight of contingent faculty members. The AAUP’s Summer Institute also addressed this growing concern in academia with a session on organizing contingent faculty. According to the AAUP website, “non-tenure-track positions of all types account for 65 percent of all faculty appointments in American higher education. Both part- and full-time non-tenure-track appointments are continuing to increase….” (http://www.aaup.org/Issues/part-time/index.htm)
Graduate students are another exploited work force within higher education, one more frequently overlooked by the Association than contingent faculty. Recognizing that graduate students are the future of academia, the Association has recently taken steps to help professionalize and welcome graduate student colleagues, including the institution of a Graduate Committee, and granting voting rights to graduate students at the national level of the organization. The Minnesota state chapter has been instrumental in this endeavor, with our own Michael Livingston chairing the Graduate Committee, and Jeremy Nienow (an actual graduate student!) also serving on the committee and running for National Council.
Much work lies ahead. While the contingent faculty session at the Summer Institute was well attended, a similar session on graduate students was much more sparsely attended, and included primarily members of the Graduate Committee (most of whom are graduate students). Graduate students should be more aware of how membership in the Association stands to benefit their future and present careers in academia; and Association members should recognize that organizing without graduate students and contingent faculty puts higher education at risk. Protection of academic freedom and basic workplace rights should not be restricted to tenure-track positions. A great deal of higher education, namely, the instruction of undergraduates, happens because of graduate students and contingent faculty. Academic freedom cannot exist if it does not extend to all higher education workers. The Association is wise to extend membership to all types of faculty: tenured, tenure track, non-tenured, contingent, and future. Now we must all stand together.
Hamline University, 1536 Hewitt Ave. St. Paul, MN
Law/Grad Conference Center, Room 106
Tuesday, February 7, 2006
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
4:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. Reception and Informal Conversation
Beverages and Light Snacks
4:45 p.m. – Welcome and Presentation of Awards
5:15 p.m. – Keynote Address by Senator Sandy Pappas,
2005 Recipient of the Minnesota AAUP Friend to Higher Education Award
RSVP to: Professor Karen Vogel, Director, Minnesota AAUP;
Hamline Chapter AAUP Executive Committee Member
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (651) 523-2973.
Participation at the Annual Conference is free for AAUP Members.
Directions/Address: The Hamline Law/Grad Conference Center is located on the Hamline University Campus, between Hewitt and Englewood, off of Snelling Ave. in St. Paul. Parking can be in the visitors’ lot next to the Conference Center, or on Simpson Street, near the Drew Residence Hall. Visitors may park on other side streets as well.
CLAIRE A. KIRCHHOFF
Graduate students at New York University have been on strike since 9 November. The strike continues despite threats made by NYU’s administration to withhold the future funding of students on strike after 5 December.
Why should you care about graduate students in general and those at NYU in particular? What does this have to do with academic freedom?
A change in national labor law made it possible for a private school like NYU to cease its recognition of a contract the graduate student union (affiliated with United Auto Workers) had previously negotiated with the University’s administration and which had not yet expired. This should be a matter of concern to anyone with a contract or any kind of employment agreement with a private institute of public education. NYU is essentially taking the stance that it will choose to honor contracts only at its own convenience. In an age where a great deal of undergraduate education is undertaken by graduate students and contingent faculty members, a violation of the rights of these individuals as employees should be of tremendous concern to everyone in higher education who cares about undergraduates (and the employees who teach them!). Without basic work place rights, instructors cannot be expected to educate college students well. In addition, the academic freedom of instructors whose status at a university is contingent on the current will of its administration cannot be guaranteed. This is a serious threat to academic freedom in the classroom and the quality of undergraduate education. The American Association of University Professors recognizes graduate students’ rights as employees and as scholars, including the right to elect union representation and collectively bargain with employers.
What can you do to help defend academic freedom, workplace rights in higher education, and support striking graduate students at NYU? Here is a list of suggestions:
- Graduate assistants on strike are not being paid. Contribute to the strike fund, and encourage your chapter to do the same. Checks can be made out to: "UAW Local 2110 Strike Fund."
UAW Local 2110
113 University Place, 5th floor
New York, NY 10003.
-Write letters to NYU President John Sexton and tell him to negotiate with the union and rescind his threat of a blacklist for striking TAs. You can write Sexton at email@example.com. Be sure to mention that your outrage stems from being an AAUP member, and mention AAUP policy on graduate student’s right to unionize and be represented by an collective bargaining agreement. If you are an NYU alum, be sure to express special outrage that your Alma matter has not chosen to bargain in good faith with graduate students.
-Write to other NYU
administrators: Martin Lipton, the chair of NYU's Board of Trustees, MLipton@wlrk.com; provost David McLaughlin
Also cc firstname.lastname@example.org, so the messages also get to the strikers.
-Sign the petition against the actions taken by the NYU administration: http://new.petitiononline.com/tosexton/petition.html
-Learn more about President Sexton’s threat to striking graduate students:
see www.nyu.edu - click on "A Letter to NYU Graduate Assistants from John Sexton." The threats are laid out towards the end following the sentence "Lastly, I wish to talk about the strike."
-Visit UAW Local 2110's website and learn more: http://www.2110uaw.org/
AAUP Summer Institute Report:
Graduate Students and the Legislative Seminar
JEREMY L. NIENOW
This past July I had the pleasure of attending the AAUP Summer Institute (SI) held at the University of New Hampshire. As a graduate student just getting my feet wet in the AAUP, the SI was the perfect opportunity to gain perspective on the AAUP organizational structure. I had a great chance to meet officers and staff at the national level and was exposed to new ideas on becoming a stronger, more active, member. During the course of the SI, the newly formed Graduate and Professional Student Committee met as a group for the first time. This event solidified in my mind all the collective efforts of the AAUP to recognize the value of graduate students. Overall, graduate students were well represented at the SI, but what struck me was the sheer number of first time attendees, regardless of educational position within the AAUP. As a graduate student I was warmly welcomed by more experienced members of the association. That said, it is apparent that graduate students have a long road ahead in terms of bringing their goals, concerns, and abilities to the general AAUP membership. Each seminar that I attended was more than willing to discuss the role of graduate students within its respective topic, but our presence was not considered in the design of the majority of presentations (with the exception of Livingston’s graduate student seminar), and often presenters were at a loss to incorporate us into the seminar’s big picture. This will undoubtedly improve as graduate students become more involved with the AAUP, give seminars themselves, and gain a larger voice within the association as a whole.
One seminar of particular interest was Winning the Legislative Fight: Taking Political Action lead by AAUP Director of Government Relations Mark Smith, and Dana Waller of Front Range Community College. This seminar discussed ways to get to know your state and federal legislators, lobbying tactics, and ways to get legislators involved in AAUP issues, ideals, and activities. In Minnesota, we need to continue courting our legislator’s especially with the likelihood of continued Academic Bill of Rights (ABoR) introductions to our house and senate. Individual members of the AAUP need to make themselves aware of who their representatives are, what committee’s they serve on, and what their positions are on issues of higher education. If you are unsure, you can go to www.leg.mn and click on the “Who Represents Me” link to determine your legislative representatives. If you are willing to take a more active interest in working against the ABoR, let those on the State Conference know and when this issue comes up in committee you can speak against it. Together, we can defeat these attempts and strengthen our collective legislative ties in the process.
CECILIA KONCHAR FARR
If the two pillars of AAUP’s work for faculty are academic freedom and shared governance, then the Minnesota State Conference has decided to take on the less celebrated of the two in our work this year. Since it’s earliest days, the association has emphasized “the importance of faculty involvement in personnel decisions, selection of administrators, preparation of the budget, and determination of educational policies.”
This fall, we embarked on a shared governance survey to explore both faculty and institutional commitment to shared governance in our state. The survey, prepared by the national office, will give us “a pretty fair picture of where governance needs shoring up,” when it is completed by knowledgeable faculty and administrators associated with the conference. This next spring we hope to offer an overview that can be used to educate faculty and their institutions about our national standards for governance and why a commitment to those standards is central to faculty work.
If you would like to fill out the survey yourself, to see how your institution stacks up, go to aaup.org, click on “governance” in the menu bar across the top, then scroll down to “resources.” On your way, you will find not only the survey, but also key statements about the AAUP’s commitment to shared governance going back as far as 1916.
If you would like to be part of this project, or to submit your survey results to our findings, please contact email@example.com.
How to Apply to the State AAUP Legal Defense Fund
The State conference legal defense fund has three thousand dollars available to members or chapters needing legal counsel. The maximum grant is $1,500 per chapter and $1,000 per individual. To apply for a grant from the legal defense fund, simply contact the conference president Cecilia Konchar Farr at firstname.lastname@example.org. The fund recently awarded a grant of $750 to the St. Olaf AAUP chapter so that they could hire legal counsel to examine their faculty handbook.
--Visit the state conference web site at www.mnaaup.org for contact information, useful links to other sites, and information on membership and events!—
COMMITTEE A ON ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND TENURE
2004-2005 REPORT ON ACTIVITIES
December 9, 2005
WAYNE C. WOLSEY
Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure has completed its third full year of service to the Minnesota State Conference of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). Committee members are Professors George Chu (Music, Hamline University), Paul Schons (Modern and Classical Languages, University of St. Thomas), and serving as Chair, Wayne Wolsey (Chemistry, Macalester College).
We received relatively few inquiries for assistance from Faculty at Minnesota institutions of higher education in 2004-2005. Some cases were discussed informally with a member of the national AAUP Committee A or the AAUP office in Washington, DC. We try to work with the local AAUP Chapter if possible. Referral to an attorney with experience in higher education was made as appropriate.
The cases with which we were involved include the following. Details are sketchy because of personnel and confidentially issues.
I. A Faculty member in a neighboring state made an inquiry regarding his status. He apparently was becoming “isolated” within a department and was transferred to a different building which allegedly did not have adequate research facilities. Contact was made with the top Administrators at his institution. Our conclusion was that there was no academic freedom violation.
II. A tenure case came to our attention from one of the Minnesota State Universities. A Faculty member alleged inadequate consideration of his file in the situation of a negative tenure decision, and the inability to make an effective appeal. As we usually do, a letter was sent to the President of the institution. A reply was received from one of the Administrators in the central office of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU). Effectively we were informed that because of the collective bargaining agreement with the InterFaculty Organization, AAUP had no standing and no dialogue was possible.
III. An inquiry was made on behalf of a graduate student at the University of
Minnesota. The individual alleged that a unique concept made in a class setting was used by the Professor of the course in a professional setting without giving the student any sort of coauthorship or acknowledgement.
The student was advised that this was not a Committee A matter and that the appropriate appeals on intellectual property ownership and/or grievance procedures at the University should be pursued.
Three requests were made of the Minnesota State AAUP Conference, which were referred to Committee A.
I. Mentioned in the 2003-2004 Committee A report was a request from a writer from the Minnesota Family Council newsletter to the Committee Chair for an AAUP response to the “Academic Bill of Rights.” The article appeared in the October, 2004 on-line newsletter—see www.mfc.org.
II. The Committee Chair represented the Minnesota AAUP Conference on April 29 at the University of Minnesota. A group of unionized technical personnel invited three panelists to discuss the “Academic Bill of Rights.”
III. Committee A was asked to draft a resolution in support of Professor Ward
Churchill at the University of Colorado in connection with his extracurricular statements. The revised resolution was forwarded to administrators in Colorado.
Wayne C. Wolsey, Chair Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure
You may wish to contact the Minnesota Conference Committee A on academic freedom by getting in touch with the chair of the committee, Dr. Wayne Wolsey:
Dr. Wayne C. Wolsey
1600 Grand Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105
The conference website (www.mnaaup.org) contains more information about Committee A.
Use the National AAUP website for information on national events, publications, services, and membership: http://www.aaup.org. You may also call the national office at 202-737-5900 or toll free at 800-424-2973.
Visit us at our website <http://www.mnaaup.org or contact one of the state executive committee members listed here.
email@example.com or phone 651-690-6559
firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 651-696-6111
Past President: Michael Livingston, St. John’s University
email@example.com or phone 320-363-3369
Treasurer: Dave Emery, St. Olaf College
firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 507-646-3139