The locus of sane policy-making for education is decisively moving to the states. A good case for this can be made at a time when national government seems in disarray.
Here in Oregon, AAUP-Oregon is incredibly active in the legislative session in Salem, looking after the interests of college students, faculty, the academic class, public higher education more generally. In just over a month, we’ve reviewed over 1,500 bills, identified over 100 that impact us, and offered legislative testimony on a few. The issues we’ve acted on, or are under review, are quite varied; from PERS reform, to cultural competency requirements, to student loan insurance.
Our members have also been active visiting legislators in two lobby days sponsored by the Oregon Student Association, and the A Better Oregon coalition, and attending Ways and Means Committee “roadshow” events.
I must make special mention of a few key, untiring, dedicated colleagues who’ve made our legislative action wheels turn this year. Erna Gelles, AAUP-Oregon Vice President for Political Action, and College of Urban and Public Affais faculty at PSU; Joe Lowndes, chair of the legislative committee of United Academics at the University of Oregon, and political science faculty; and Ramin Farahmandpur, chair of the legislative committee at PSU-AAUP, and professor in the Graduate School of education.
At a national level, our parent organization, the American Association of University Professors, remains a vital advocate and defender of higher education, joining the March for Science planned for April, speaking out against the targeted online harassment of faculty, taking a stand against the Muslim ban, and publishing vitally important reports and publications.
Our 100 year-old organization continues a proud tradition that resonates strongly with the popular call of the day, Resist!