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American Association of University Professors Kick Off ‘Campus Equity Week’


Campus Equity Week highlights the disparity between full-time, tenured professors and part-time and non-tenure-track faculty

Today kicks off Campus Equity Week, when faculty, students, and communities on campuses across the country shine a light on the increasingly precarious nature of academic work and the effects of precarity on our higher education system. Contingent appointments now account for over 70 percent of all instructional staff appointments in American higher education. The term “contingent faculty” encompasses part- and full-time non-tenure-track faculty, including graduate employees. The growth in faculty contingency comes alongside the corporatization of higher education and its negative implications for students and higher education.

  •         A large number of faculty in so-called “part-time” positions actually teach the equivalent of a full-time course load, often commuting between institutions and preparing courses on a grueling timetable, making enormous sacrifices to maintain interaction with their students.
  •         Since faculty classified as part-time are typically paid by the course, without benefits, access for many college teachers to affordable healthcare and retirement security is withheld.
  •         Academic freedom is in serious jeopardy when a majority of faculty lack basic due process protections.

All faculty should have access to the protections of academic freedom and tenure, a fair return on their work, due process protections, and inclusion in institutional governance. Throughout this Halloween week, faculty, students and local communities from Connecticut to Colorado, will continue to call attention to the truly frightening implications of precarity and disinvestment in higher education and will inspire change through actions, brown bag discussions, art installations, and other methods.

Caprice Lawless, AAUP second vice president and instructor at Front Range Community College, said, “In these times, especially, we need to stay connected, to share facts and to validate our experiences. Academic labor activists make good use of social media, year-round. We can do that in between the mountains of grading, and it helps keep us sane. Campus Equity Week allows us to get dressed up, to be with colleagues face-to-face, and to make some noise. We are wired to feel the camaraderie and solidarity that comes from creating and attending these events.

“CEW has become our Olympics. This week, we will see examples of everywhere of all the energy we’ve collected in two years of connections, discussions, and frustrations. Here in Colorado, for example, we will be un-celebrating how, in its latest promotion, Colorado’s Community College System administrators boast that our low-wage work is valued at more than $6 billion. Our 13-college system has spent nearly $400 million of building projects, has more than 48 vice presidents, scores of deans and directors, has raised tuition 149% since 1996, and transformed our once-friendly campuses into corporate-sponsored, cold and uninviting enterprise zones. There is a growing questioning of such designs here and elsewhere.

“Academic workers will continue to organize until we see significant change. It is reassuring to know we are not alone, that our movement is growing, and that this week we will get to meet friends old and new at Campus Equity Week events.”

Faculty and students can find #2017CEW resources here.

A Dartmouth Professor Gets Unfairly Chastised By College For Comments About ANTIFA

Since the events in Charlottesville there has been a growing discussion about “ANTIFA,” the nearly 100 year old organization thats sole purpose to stop the threat of fascism worldwide.

ANTIFA, short for Anti-Fascism, is made up of thousands of dedicated members who are willing to stand up and if necessary fight back against the militant rise of fascism.  As white supremacists in Charlottesville began attacking non-violent counter protestors, ANTIFA members defended them.  Dr. Cornel West said “that he felt that the antifa saved his life” as he stood with faith leaders singing “this little light of mine.”

Dr. Mark Bray, a lecturer at Dartmouth University has quickly emerged as the expert on ANTIFA and has recently spoken on a number of cable news outlets and Sunday talk shows.

Bray who authored the book, “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook” has come under fire for his comments on Meet the Press this week.  As the Union Leader reports, “Bray argued that ‘when pushed, self-defense is a legitimate response to white supremacist and neo-Nazi violence.’”

Dr Bray’s comments were then twisted by a right-wing news agency called “Campus Reform.”

“Following an article on the website Campus Reform that accused Bray of ‘endors[ing] Antifa violence,’ he has been subject of death threats and targeted online harassment,” wrote the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) that represents educators at Dartmouth. “We have recently seen a surge in politically motivated, targeted harassment against academics, especially those in ethnic and gender studies.”

Dartmouth President Phillip Hanlon quickly chastised Bray’s comments in a statement:

“Recent statements made by Lecturer in History Mark Bray supporting violent protest do not represent the views of Dartmouth. As an institution, we condemn anything but civil discourse in the exchange of opinions and ideas. Dartmouth embraces free speech and open inquiry in all matters, and all on our campus enjoy the freedom to speak, write, listen and debate in pursuit of better learning and understanding; however, the endorsement of violence in any form is contrary to Dartmouth values.”

Since Hanlon made his statement over 100 faculty members at Dartmouth have called for him to retract the statement.

“We continue to call on college and university leaders to denounce the targeted online harassment of their faculty members and to more forthrightly defend academic freedom, including the freedom of faculty members to speak as private citizens, even when their comments may provoke controversy or outrage,” said Henry Reichman, first vice president of the AAUP and chair of Committee A on academic freedom.

Reichman is right, Dr. Bray has done nothing wrong.  He spoke as a private citizen about a book that he wrote.  He never called for violence against white supremacists but stated that “self-defense is a legitimate response to white supremacist and neo-Nazi violence.”

I want to be clear, I do not condone violence but there is a significant difference between self defense and starting a fight.  Some people are ready, willing and able to stand up against these fascist white supremacists and defend those people who cannot.


Below is an interview from Democracy Now that recaps Dr West’s experience in Charlottesville before Dr Bray explains what Antifa is.

(Video should begin at 1:35 mark.)

Faculty Votes for Union at Plymouth State University

AAUP 100 Years Logo 2Plymouth, NH– In an election held this week, a majority of the one hundred seventy-four tenured and tenure-track faculty members at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire voted to form a union for collective bargaining with the American Association of University Professors. Plymouth State University is one of the four public universities that make up the University System of New Hampshire.

“My colleagues and I look forward to working with the university to establish agreements and processes for faculty that guarantee workload equity, transparency in governance, and academic freedom. Assured academic freedom for faculty creates the best environment for student learning,” said Rebecca Noel, associate professor of history at Plymouth State University.

“I am happy that we faculty at Plymouth State University have chosen to join together as the newest members of the AAUP to improve clarity and workload issues, and I look forward to working with the administration to making PSU an even stronger institution,” said Chris Chabot, Plymouth State University professor of biology.

“This is great news. Plymouth State University faculty, working together in a union, will have a positive impact on the faculty working conditions, student leaning conditions, and the university as a whole,” said Howard Bunsis, chair of the AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress.

In voting to join together to bargain collectively as an AAUP chapter, faculty members at Plymouth State join many of their colleagues at the University of New Hampshire and across the country.

Graduate Workers Must Have Collective Bargaining Rights

AAUP Files Amicus Brief in Columbia University NLRB Case

AAUP 100 Years Logo 2Washington, DC— Today, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) filed an amicus brief arguing that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) should overturn its 2004 Brown University decision, because graduate assistants are employees who should have collective bargaining rights and collective bargaining rights, in fact, promote academic freedom. 

The AAUP amicus brief comes in response to the invitation of the NLRB to file amicus briefs and in keeping with its long history of support for the unionization of graduate assistants who make significant contributions to the teaching and research missions of colleges and universities. The brief addresses two main points from the Brown decision. It argues that graduate assistants in private universities, including those working on federal grant funded research, are employees with the right to unionize under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and it refutes the Brown decision’s speculative claims that collective bargaining would compromise academic freedom and cooperative relationships between faculty mentors and their graduate student mentees.

The brief explains that since graduate assistants perform work in exchange for compensation, they are employees. In fact, when graduate students work as teaching and research assistants, their work is indistinguishable from that performed by university faculty. Graduate students at public universities like the University of Rhode Island and Rutgers are considered employees with collective bargaining rights under state law. The AAUP maintains that all graduate workers should be afforded those rights. The work of graduate assistants is just that, work, and should be subject to the protections of the National Labor Relations Act.

“It is not fair that, currently, only some graduate workers have the basic protections and rights that other American workers have. At a time when higher education is becoming more corporatized, it is critically important that graduate workers have these basic protections and the opportunity for a voice in workplace conditions. We look forward to seeing collective bargaining rights extended to graduate workers at Columbia University and other private universities,” said Dilara Demir, member of Rutgers AAUP-AFT TA/GA steering committee and vice president of the Rutgers Graduate Students’ Association.

Risa Lieberwitz, AAUP General Counsel, said, “Graduate assistants, like other employees, should have rights to unionize under the National Labor Relations Act. Collective bargaining can build positive relationships in universities through negotiations for fair wages and conditions of work, including protections of academic freedom.”

“Graduate workers have organized an important movement across the country, fighting for recognition despite some challenges. Graduate assistants are workers and their contributions to the public good are valuable. We stand with graduate workers nationwide who are organizing for a seat at the table and a voice in the process,” said Howard Bunsis, chair of the American Association of University Professors Collective Bargaining Congress. 

More information is available here: http://bit.ly/1T0TNRC. 


The mission of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is to advance academic freedom and shared governance; to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education; to promote the economic security of faculty, academic professionals, graduate students, post‐doctoral fellows, and all those engaged in teaching and research in higher education; to help the higher education community organize to make our goals a reality; and to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good. Founded in 1915, the AAUP has helped to shape American higher education by developing the standards and procedures that maintain quality in education and academic freedom in this country’s colleges and universities.

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