President’s Column: Spring Renewal!

Posted by  Margaret Butler   in       Apr 11, 2017     1563 Views     Comments Off on President’s Column: Spring Renewal!  

by José Padín, President, AAUP-Oregon

It has been a honor to serve our academic class as president of our AAUP-Oregon, the state “conference” for AAUP in Oregon. I am delighted to see the maturation of our AAUP state federation and the new crop of member-leaders taking office on April 29th are cause for excitement and optimism.


Mary King (PSU-Economics), my predecessor as AAUP-Oregon, and PSU-AAUP president, was one of the key leaders that founded AAUP-Oregon 5 years ago.


Michael Dreiling (UO-Sociology), the first and current president of United Academics at University of Oregon, was another one of our founders. It is our great fortune that Michael has been elected as our new president. Under Michael’s leadership, AAUP-Oregon will only become a stronger advocate for our academic class: supporting campus chapters — both those that are unions, and those that are advocacy associations; representing our interests within our national organization (AAUP); and advocating for Oregon faculty, academic professionals, and students before the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC), and our elected officials in Salem.


We have accomplished much in the last three years, and this monthly newsletter has documented our work. But before highlighting any of that, I want to express deep gratitude on behalf of our more than 3,400 members in Oregon to the lynchpin of our machinery.


Margaret Butler, our Executive Director for the past 3 years, has been the indispensable piece: administrator, chief of staff, budget coordinator, sage, inspiration and model of activism, careful steward of relationships, between our leaders, and with our allies across the state, personal trainer to the members of our Executive Committee (all of whom are volunteer member-leaders with impossible schedules), and on and on. Margaret runs our state office; facilitates collective bargaining conference calls with colleagues from UO, PSU, Eastern, Southern, Western; maintains our website and communications; personally visits all of our chapters across the state; coordinates solidarity actions; and represents us with the Higher Education Coalition in Salem.


Margaret, a long-time activist in our state with an impressive labor and community organizing career, is retiring from paid work in the next few weeks. Margaret, on behalf of all the members of the AAUP in Oregon, thank you and we look forward to seeing a lot of you in the streets!


Later this month, we welcome a new Executive Director, Ashley Bromley. Ashley currently works in Corvallis, for the Coalition of Graduate Employees (AFT) at Oregon State, has a sterling reputation in state higher education circles, and brings the vision and skills that AAUP-Oregon needs to write its next chapter. Welcome aboard, Ashley!


A new crop of talented and fantastic member-leaders from our AAUP chapters joins our new president, Michael Dreiling and the Executive Committee:

  • Pedro García-Caro, Secretary-elect
  • Leanne Serbulo, VP-elect for Membership and Organizing
  • Ramin Farahmandpur, VP-elect for Political Action and Legislation
  • Robert Liebman, VP-elect for Academic Freedom and Governance
  • Karen Kennedy, Advocate for Academic Professionals (re-elected).


Healthy organizations constantly renew their leadership. AAUP-Oregon, on this score, I am proud to say, is very healthy!


Finally, on behalf of over 3,400 members, a heartfelt thanks to the following colleagues, outgoing members of the Executive Committee, for their service and dedication to our state, our students, and our professions:

  • Jacqueline Arante, Vice President for Membership and Organizing
  • Greg Monahan, At Large Member Representative
  • Tony Vogt, Advocacy Chapter Representative
  • Amy Orr, Secretary
  • Gina Psaki, Advocate for Tenure
  • Erna Gelles, Vice President for Political Action
  • Debra Merskin, Vice President for Academic Freedom and Governance