The AAUP Committee on College and University Governance has released a new statement affirming the principles of academic governance in the face of growing concern over unilateral actions taken by governing boards and administrations during the pandemic. “During this challenging time,” the statement reads, “the committee calls upon administrations and governing boards, in demonstrated commitment to principles of shared governance, to maintain transparency, engage in ‘joint effort,’ and honor the faculty’s decision-making responsibility for academic and faculty personnel matters as the most effective means of weathering the current crisis.”
For more context on the statement, join Michael DeCesare, chair of the AAUP’s Committee on College and University Governance and professor of sociology at Merrimack College, for a brief Facebook livestream tomorrow, June 30th.
The stream will go live on our Facebook page (accessed through this link) at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. It will also be posted on our website with the statement after it concludes.
The statement stresses that the fundamental principles and standards of academic governance set forth in the AAUP’s Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities remain applicable even in the current crisis. It reinforces the key principle articulated in the Statement on Government, that the faculty has “primary responsibility” for decisions related to academic matters, including “curriculum, subject matter and methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and those aspects of student life which relate to the educational process.” It further notes that, “even in areas in which the faculty does not exercise primary authority—such as whether and how to reopen campus, budgetary matters, and long-range planning—the faculty still has the right, under widely observed principles of academic governance, to participate meaningfully. No important institutional decision should be made unilaterally by administrations or governing boards.” The statement also observes that administrations or governing boards should not “suspend provisions of faculty handbooks or collective bargaining agreements in reaction to the COVID-19 crisis by invoking ‘force majeure,’ ‘act of God,’ ‘extraordinary circumstances,’ or the like.”
To read the full statement, visit our website.