by José Padín, President, AAUP-OR
To my mind, ongoing news reports bear two clear conclusions:
- Where faculty lack collective bargaining rights, their tenure and academic due process rights are also weak — troublingly so. Owing to a fateful 1980 Supreme Court decision, faculty (other than adjunct faculty) at private colleges and universities lack collective bargaining rights. (See the news from Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, below).
- Where collective bargaining rights are attacked, attacks on tenure, shared governance, and academic due process soon follow (See Wisconsin, below)
Here is a recent sampling of the news. In each of these recent violations, our national AAUP stood up for our colleagues.
Maryland — University “Loyalty” Pledges?
A tenured faculty member who served as student group advisor was fired for “disloyalty” to the university, ostensibly, for not censoring an article in the student newspaper critical of the president.
Colorado —First Amendment Rights
A university administration tramples the First Amendment rights of an academic in response to articles critical of administration-faculty pay disparities and critical of the treatment of faculty on adjunct contracts.
Missouri — Suspension without Academic Due Process
Faculty member Melissa Click was suspended, without academic due process, without evidence, pending investigation into allegations about comments she made about student journalists. AAUP norms (adopted by academic regulations and collective bargaining agreements at many universities, including this one) allow suspensions “only if immediate harm to the faculty member or others is threatened by continuance.”
Illinois — Academic Freedom Trumped
At the Christian Wheaton College, an Associate Professor was forced to resign for expressing agreement with the view that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
Wisconsin — First they came for the workers, then for academics…
In the Badger State, the administration of Gov. Walker first went after collective bargaining rights, and has followed up with policies to gut tenure, academic due process, and shared governance.
With great foresight, in the 1960s, fifty years after its founding, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) identified faculty unionization as a critically effective tool for the protection of academic freedom, academic due process, and shared governance.
It is of utmost importance that we — professors and academic professionals —remain aware of how the fates of our universities, our professions, of academic quality, academic freedom, academic due process, and collective bargaining are closely connected, aware of our civic role to remain active in their defense.