As the fall term gets under way, protecting the health and safety of faculty, students, staff, and all members of our communities is a top priority for AAUP chapters and state conferences around the country. I couldn’t be prouder of the strong work being done by our members around this issue.
Under the leadership of the Georgia AAUP Conference, faculty at at least sixteen colleges spanning nineteen campuses in that state are taking part in week-long demonstrations and calling on administrators to follow the science and institute mask and/or vaccine mandates. The actions of Georgia’s faculty have garnered nationwide coverage and have inspired several other state conferences in the South to begin planning similar events to ensure health and safety on their campuses. Read more.
Here are a few other recent news clips highlighting how chapters are pushing administrations to provide a safe environment for teaching and learning:
- At Northern Illinois University, the faculty union negotiated a mask mandate, a student vaccination requirement, regular testing, and a specific COVID-19 positivity rate that will trigger a switch to remote teaching.
- After the University of Minnesota AAUP chapter created nationwide publicity for its call for a vaccine mandate, the university instituted one.
- Chapters at Penn State, Oklahoma University, and Wright State, along with the South Carolina state AAUP, have been speaking out about inadequate pandemic response and unsafe working conditions.
AAUP president Irene Mulvey continues to highlight this issue, most recently in a statement urging administrations to prioritize health and safety as campuses reopen and in an Academe magazine column on leadership during a crisis. As she points out, “We are here as a result of an extraordinary failure of leadership. We know how to keep people safe and end the pandemic: by vaccinating as many people as possible and following science-based community guidelines on masking and physical distancing. Leaders at all levels of elected government and leaders of our institutions should be amplifying and sending this unequivocal message to all.”
Finally, I want to remind you that the AAUP has a COVID-19 Response Fund to help support our chapters as they respond to the impact of the pandemic on their campuses.
Our complete list of COVID-19 resources is here.
Julie Schmid, AAUP Executive Director