Arctic weather visited a foot of snow and ice upon us and the start of classes at PSU has been interrupted for the best part of a week. Happy New Year and best of luck to all of us now scrambling to fit a short ten-week quarter into nine!
Some highlights for PSU-AAUP, as we start the year:
As we enter a new Oregon legislative session, PSU-AAUP (via our participation in AAUP-Oregon) has joined University Presidents, and a higher education coalition of unions, in a united request for a fair and necessary legislative budget of at least $100 million above the Governor’s Budget, which was set at the same level as the last biennium.
Other member-leaders and I (through our work with AAUP-Oregon) had a great dialogue with the Oregon Student Association, in relation to a legislative concept for a bill on cultural competency they are sponsoring this legislative session. We worked collaboratively to make sure we have a right balance that simultaneously protects a variety of values we all cherish: inclusive campus climate, academic freedom, student voices, campus autonomy, and faculty shared governance. I am also working with a group of colleagues assembled by PSU Provost Sona Andrews on a series of campus conversations on post-election politics and the university.
This term, PSU-AAUP continues with the new “Faculty & Academic Professionals Matters” Conversations series. The goal is to turn our union into a vehicle for equity, beyond economics , for members who belong to groups that don’t have an equal footing in the academy. Last term we had vibrant member meetings on Women in the Academy and Faculty/AP of Color in the Academy.
Our PSU-AAUP collective bargaining team continues its hard work in an Equity and Compensation Task Force, to arrive at comparator universities and at a formula for equity salary increases (this comes out of the new collective bargaining agreement).
Standing up for Civil Society
As a new President of the United States is about to be sworn in, the politics that propelled him into office are of concern to many. We are witnessing civil society demonstrations across the country in the wake of the inauguration, and they will surely continue. These are civil society demonstrations of resolve; resolve to protect a right to affordable public higher education, a right to public education, a right to health, the right to collective bargaining, and civil rights and freedom from bigotry. PSU-AAUP will join students, other colleagues, university administrations, and civil society organizations in Portland, Oregon, and the country, to protect these rights, and the American social compact in general.