AAUP@FHSU


A Reckoning and A New Deal for Higher Education

It’s time for a reckoning. So said Representative Ayanna Pressley at the campaign launch of the New Deal for Higher Education yesterday.Zoom call graphic

In a rousing kickoff, Pressley, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and other panelists talked about dreams achieved through higher education, but also the darker side of dreams deferred and a system of entrenched inequality. Jennifer Mittlestadt from Scholars for a New Deal for Higher Education described how the COVID-19 pandemic turbocharged existing inequities, deepening the austerity model that has gutted public higher education and hurt so many faculty and students through cutbacks, underfunding, and crushing student debt.

But with challenge comes opportunity. The answer proposed by all the speakers at the launch was clear: create a just, bold New Deal that returns colleges and universities to a gold standard of serving the common good.

Check out the resources on our New Deal for Higher Education site. While you’re there, take action. Add your name to a letter calling on Congress to pass the American Rescue Plan.

Higher education can and should be an engine of social mobility and a profession worth joining, as AAUP president Irene Mulvey said at the launch event. As part of this campaign, the AAUP is partnering with the American Federation of Teachers, the Roosevelt Institute, and Scholars for a New Deal for Higher Education to call on Congress to act now.

Here’s what we believe a New Deal for Higher Education can do: it can reauthorize the Higher Education Act and create other federal policies that establish dedicated public funding streams and hold administrations accountable for how those monies are spent. This campaign will advocate for:

  • prioritizing teaching, research, and supporting student success;
  • allowing all students to access higher education regardless of their ability to pay;
  • ensuring job security, equitable pay, professional voice, and sustainable careers for all faculty and staff;
  • creating academic environments free from racism, sexism, and other bigotries that prevent learning, degrade research, and perpetuate inequality; and
  • canceling student debt for borrowers who have unjustly shouldered the burden of financing higher education over the last forty years.

The reckoning is underway. You can access a campus toolkit, read some excellent articles, and join the fight here. Check it out.

In solidarity,
Julie Schmid
Executive Director, AAUP


President Trump Must Be Removed

The AAUP’s leadership issued the following statement yesterday.

Three days ago, while white supremacist, Trump-supporting insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol, we wrote that we were appalled by the assault and noted that the current administration’s actions—over the long term but especially since the election of Joe Biden in November—are directly responsible for the attack on our democracy, for the lawlessness and violence, and for the deaths. Today we reflect on how we got here and how, from our perspective as higher education leaders, we move forward.

Donald Trump lost the election to Joe Biden, but Trump has not been willing to accept that fact. With the help of a toxic brew of right-wing “news” outlets, self-serving allies and enablers, and unregulated social media, lies and misinformation have been repeated and amplified to the point that facts and the truth are barely recognizable. It is neither honest nor truthful to promise a “peaceful transition of power,” as Trump did yesterday, while purposefully failing to acknowledge that Joe Biden won the election.

President Donald Trump incited an attack on the seat of our democracy while our elected representatives were inside conducting the people’s business. As we write, the inauguration of Joe Biden is eleven days away. The president does not accept reality, has been (temporarily) suspended from social media, and yet retains access to the nuclear codes. He presents a clear and present danger.

We call for the immediate removal of President Trump from office and fully support all legal efforts to remove him.

An educated citizenry is essential for a well-functioning democracy. The AAUP promotes higher education as a common good precisely because of its power to transform lives and improve society. The misinformation and conspiracy theories that fueled the attack on our Capitol must be met with truth, education, and critical thinking. In this era of social media, it is imperative that we as educators provide students and society with the tools needed to distinguish truth from falsehood. The AAUP will continue to fight against the decades-long disinvestment from public higher education that weakens our democracy.

We would be remiss not to underscore the structural racism so clearly evident in the events surrounding the siege on our Capitol. The comparison between the law enforcement response to peaceful Black Lives Matters protesters in Lafayette Park and to insurrectionists, some armed, who breached police lines and stormed the US Capitol, is not surprising to our colleagues of color and is now unmistakable to everyone except those who willfully refuse to see what’s right in front of them. We join so many others in calling out the obvious racism and in asking the harder question: how are we going to dismantle this system on which our country was built in order to work toward a shared national vision of a more perfect union? At the AAUP, our work on antiracism has just begun.

In the meantime, we call on our elected leaders to take the following steps.

  • Remove President Trump from office immediately, before more damage can be done.
  • Continue to look into the enormous failure of law enforcement to protect our Capitol, and the disparate police actions towards this week’s insurrectionists and last year’s mostly peaceful racial justice protests.
  • Hold to account those responsible for these failures, and enact legislation that reforms law enforcement in this country.
  • Hold to account those who enabled, assisted, or supported the president in the ludicrous claims of election fraud which provoked the attack on Congress.

We take comfort in the fact that our institutions of government were strong enough to withstand this attack and that the work of our Congress was delayed only for a few hours. We also note that the strength of our institutions of government depends on the strength of our system of education. With our members and chapters, we will continue to promote higher education as a common good in order to keep our democracy strong. We look forward to working with the new administration on policies that will provide affordable or free access to higher education to anyone willing to do the work to get a degree. Education as a common good, accessible to all, is the tool this nation needs to fight the rise of propaganda and conspiracy theories, and to address systematic inequalities.

Irene Mulvey, AAUP President
Paul Davis, AAUP Vice President
Christopher Sinclair, AAUP Secretary-Treasurer


Update on Antidiscrimination Laws and Copyright Exemptions

This week, the AAUP legal team took action on two matters related to faculty rights, filing an amicus brief to support the right of faculty at religious institutions to be protected by antidiscrimination law, and, separately, a comment seeking a copyright exemption for researchers who work on motion pictures and literary works.

The AAUP authored and filed yesterday an amicus brief in support of a lower court decision holding that Margaret DeWeese-Boyd, a professor at a Christian college, is not a “minister” and thus was protected by Massachusetts antidiscrimination laws. DeWeese-Boyd had sued her employer, Gordon College, alleging that it violated Massachusetts discrimination law when it denied her a promotion because of her activity on LGBTQ issues. Gordon College argued that, as a religiously affiliated institution, it was exempt from employment discrimination law because it claimed DeWeese-Boyd was a “minister” within the First Amendment “ministerial exception.” The amicus brief used the AAUP’s well-established principles and standards to provide guidance to the Massachusetts Supreme Court in applying the “ministerial exception” in the context of higher education institutions. You can read a summary of the amicus brief and download a PDF of the brief here.

Also yesterday, we contributed to a long-form comment seeking an exemption from a prohibition on circumventing technological protection measures for text and data mining of lawfully accessed motion pictures and lawfully accessed literary works distributed electronically. The comment was submitted yesterday to the US Copyright Office with Authors Alliance and the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (the Berkeley Clinic). The AAUP supports the exemption because faculty and academic researchers are and will continue to be adversely affected in their ability to make fair use of motion pictures and literary works if they are prohibited from accessing certain classes of works. Read more and download the comment here.

Read more about the AAUP legal department’s work here.

Sincerely,

Risa Lieberwitz, General Counsel
Aaron Nisenson, Senior Counsel
Nancy Long, Associate Counsel


New data on full-time women faculty and faculty of color

Today we’re releasing an in-depth look at the makeup and salaries of full-time faculty members in US higher education. Using data collected by the US Department of Education, this snapshot provides an updated demographic profile of full-time faculty by academic rank and institution type, highlighting disparities among women and people of color.

Graphic of data from snapshot

Click here or on the image above to share the graphic on Facebook.

Key findings are:

  • Women make up 46.7 percent of full-time faculty members, 53.8 percent of part-time faculty members, and 50.0 percent of faculty members overall.
  • Among women faculty members, 49.6 percent are employed part time, whereas only 42.5 percent of men faculty members are employed part time.
  • Women make up 42.5 percent of full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty members and 53.9 percent of full-time contingent (non-tenure-track) faculty members.
  • Salaries for full-time women faculty members are approximately 81.2 percent of men’s. Among tenured or tenure-track faculty members, women earn 82.4 percent of what men earn.
  • Among tenure-line faculty members, women make up 50.0 percent of assistant professors but only 45.0 percent of associate professors and 32.5 percent of full professors.
  • Among full professors, women’s salaries are approximately 85.1 percent of men’s. Among associate professors and assistant professors, women earn approximately 92.7 percent and 90.7 percent, respectively, of what men earn.
  • The percentage of full-time women faculty members varies by institutional category, ranging from 54.7 percent among associate’s (two-year) institutions to 42.3 percent among doctoral institutions. For full-time tenure-line faculty members, the percentage ranges from 54.4 percent among associate’s institutions to 36.3 percent among doctoral institutions.
  • Underrepresented minority faculty members make up only 12.9 percent of full-time faculty members across the country, despite making up 32.6 percent of the US population.
  • Only 5.2 percent of full-time faculty members self-identify as Hispanic or Latino, whereas 17.5 percent of the US population self-identifies as Hispanic or Latino.
  • Only 6.0 percent of full-time faculty members self-identify as Black or African American, whereas 12.7 percent of the US population self-identifies as Black or African American.

The AAUP’s analysis confirms that women faculty members continue to face unique challenges in academia with respect to employment, advancement, salary, and job security, and that higher education is by no means immune from systemic racism. The pay and opportunity gaps identified in this data snapshot are the result of many factors beyond gender, race, and ethnicity, and closing them will require innovative and sustained efforts.

This data snapshot draws upon data from the provisional release of the Fall 2018 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Human Resources survey component. Throughout the report, we have followed the terminology used by IPEDS for ease of data comparison.

Visit the AAUP website to download the complete data snapshot.

Glenn Colby, AAUP Senior Researcher
Chelsea Fowler, AAUP Research Assistant


Going Forward from the Election

The voters have spoken. Unprecedented voter turnout has affirmed the strength of our democracy. Like others who value education and truth, science and facts, Black lives and human rights, we breathed a collective sigh of relief on Saturday.

We celebrate the return of a competent and ethical president to the White House and the historic election of the first woman, first Black woman, first woman of South Asian descent, and first daughter of immigrants for the vice presidency of this country. We look forward to working with an administration that cares about education, believes in science, and will work for justice and opportunity for all.

Let’s all take a moment to stop and appreciate the amazing voter engagement and organizing work that went into this election. The future looks brighter to me today. I can see a future in which higher education is accessible and affordable, Black lives matter, health care is a human right, everyone is paid a fair wage and treated with dignity in the workplace, and public policy is formulated based on expertise and science. We can make that future a reality.

Our good work will continue. The opportunity is now to work with our allies to build a stronger and more equitable America.

Enjoy a well-deserved celebration, and then let’s get back to our work!

Sincerely,

Irene Mulvey, AAUP President