This year’s Annual Conference on the State of Higher Education conference marks fifty years since the AAUP and four other groups issued a Joint Statement on Rights and Freedoms of Students. Many issues covered in the statement are as pertinent now as they were in 1967, and a series of sessions at this year’s conference will take a closer look at topics ranging from student activism in the 1960s to free speech issues on campus today.
Thanks to support from the AAUP Foundation, we will offer a screening of A Time to Stir, a documentary about the 1968 student protests at Columbia University. Film excerpts will be followed by a panel discussion with filmmaker Paul Cronin, historian Ellen Schrecker, journalist Juan González, and AAUP first vice president Henry Reichman.
You won’t want to miss Ibram X. Kendi’s plenary address; Kendi, assistant professor of African American history at the University of Florida and winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction, will discuss his book Stamped from the Beginning: A Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.
At our Saturday luncheon, we will honor Harry Keyishian in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 US Supreme Court case Keyishian v. Board of Regents. In this landmark case, the Court ruled against New York’s loyalty oath for public employees and established academic freedom as a “special concern” of the First Amendment.
As always, the conference encompasses important Association business meetings and events. At Capitol Hill Day on Thursday, AAUP members will form state delegations and visit their elected representatives to lobby on issues of importance to higher education. As part of Capitol Hill Day, AAUP members will deliver a letter of support for the College for All Act, which would make four-year public college free for families making less than $125,000 and community college free for all.
Saturday will be the AAUP’s Annual Meeting, a gathering at which delegates carry out responsibilities specified in the AAUP Constitution. One of the most important of those responsibilities is the imposition and removal of censure. Censure results from the Association’s findings that conditions for academic freedom and tenure are unsatisfactory at a college or university and its removal is a sign of an institution’s academic health and of the continuing vitality of the principles and standards to which it has committed itself.
I hope to see you in June!
Director of External Relations