José Padín, President, PSU-AAUP
University unions, and specifically, the unions of faculty and academic professionals, are an essential piece of a high-quality university, for many reasons. Dr. Rhamat Shoureshi, the new president of Portland State University, agrees with us on this. PSU-AAUP held a warm welcome reception for President Shoureshi on October 3, to a full house.
In the last week we also met with two new Deans, the Dean of the Graduate School of Education, Marvin Lynn, and the Dean of the College of the Arts, Leroy Bynum; we introduced them to PSU-AAUP and welcomed them to PSU. Dean Lynn is a consummate educator, Dean Bynum is a distinguished singer, and we appreciate the understanding and respect both shared about the crucial role of PSU-AAUP as the union and association of faculty and academic professionals.
Leadership transitions offer fresh opportunities, and we look forward to constructive relationships with President Shoureshi, Deans Lynn and Bynum, and the Board of Trustees, under the leadership of its new chair, Rick Miller.
Portland State University prides itself in being on the cutting edge of environmental sustainability. For a few years, this mission was well served by a benefit that allows fare-free travel on the Portland Streetcar for PSU faculty and staff. Unfortunately, PSU is rescinding this benefit to the campus community. Fortunately, PSU-AAUP was able to spot that policy change in time to preserve it, and we are working to maintain that benefit for our members through the end of the current contract, 2019.
PSU-AAUP has set a high bar for the 2017-18 academic year, with the fullest calendar in memory, and considerable ratcheting up of our activism by over 100 member volunteers!
We welcome Jana Rygas, our new full-time staff supporting membership organizing. Jana worked with our colleagues at the University of Oregon supporting the work that led to the formation of United Academics-UO. She is the real deal!
Finally, we are excited about a high level of creativity within our new caucus structure. In addition to our caucus of Unit Reps, five new caucuses have set out with thoughtful, energetic, and high-minded agendas that promise to widen the scope of our union’s advocacy for educational justice. These are the Women’s Caucus, Members of Color Caucus, LGBTQ Caucus, Members with Disabilities Caucus, and a Parents and Caregivers Caucus. On October 6, representatives of all the caucuses met in an Inter-Caucus meeting to identify “intersectional” action items they will propose to have included in the work of our union. On October 19, PSU-AAUP is hosting a mixer organized by the Faculty/APs of Color Caucus, the first of its kind, for all the multicultural organizations, and student government, to learn more of ways we might support our students.