AAUP@FHSU


Working With the Faculty Senate to Fight Educational Gag Orders

State legislatures across the nation have passed legislation barring the teaching of “divisive concepts.” In some states, this legislation excludes teaching about race and gender at the university level. Faculty senates at Michigan State, Portland State, DePaul University, Molloy College, and the Universities of Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Minnesota, and Oregon have all passed resolutions defending academic freedom and rejecting such educational gag orders.

We’re pleased to offer a webinar on faculty senate resolutions on behalf of our coalition partners at the African American Policy Forum. Please join in a discussion on Thursday, February 17, at 1 p.m. ET, about the importance of these resolutions to the preservation of education and why institutions of higher education need to commit to ideologically free classrooms.

Two members of the African American Policy Forum, DePaul University professor Valerie Johnson and Portland State professor Jennifer Ruth (who also serves on the AAUP’s Committee A), will lead the webinar and answer questions about how to use shared governance to fight back against this assault on academic freedom. Resources to pursue the resolution campaign on your campus will be provided.

Register at https://www.aaup.org/event/webinar-using-faculty-senate-fight-educational-gag-orders.

Best wishes,
Gwendolyn Bradley, AAUP Senior Program Officer

Coming to a classroom near you? GETTY


Educational Gag Orders – January Update

We’re a month into state legislative sessions, and there’s a lot happening around educational gag orders. Here are some of the highlights.

Seventy-one educational gag orders have now been introduced in twenty-three states. Thirty of those bills specifically target higher education, with nearly half including punitive measures of some kind—allowing faculty members to be fired, reducing or eliminating funding either for “prohibited” programs or for the entire institution, or allowing monetary damages to be awarded to claimants who file successful lawsuits against an institution or faculty member. AAUP’s EGO Dashboard provides an overview of state legislation, including a list of upcoming hearings. The dashboard updates in real-time, so bookmark it in your browser and check it often!

Some AAUP state conferences and chapters are already taking action against these censorship bills. The Kentucky conference has joined a broader coalition that held a rally on January 12 to protest the bills that have been introduced there. The event received significant press coverage. And in Missouri and Alabama, we’re exploring opportunities to work with coalitions that are very active in fighting back.

At the national level, the AAUP is part of a working group that aims to develop state-level coalitions so that our organizations can fight back together. Other members of the working group include the National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, American Civil Liberties Union, African American Policy Forum, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the National Center for Youth Law.

In addition to our defensive efforts, we’re going on offense where possible. We’ve drafted a legislative resolution in support of academic freedom and accurate teaching on race and racism, and are talking with conference leaders in several states where there’s a strong possibility of getting it introduced.

We’ll send another update at the end of February, so be sure to check your inboxes!

If you have questions about anything, would like more information, or would like help in your state, please contact me at slamore@aaup.org.

In Solidarity,

Stephanie Lamore, AAUP Government Relations


Teaching the truth about race

As fall terms get underway on campuses, so too do state legislative campaigns seeking to restrict teaching about the history of race and racism in the United States. Three states have already pre-filed bills for the 2022 legislative season, and several more have active legislation that will carry over from the 2021 session.

The bills are a naked attempt to manipulate curricula to advance partisan or ideological aims. Many attack the scholarly field of critical race theory, but their purpose is much broader: to suppress teaching and learning about racism.

We’d like to know if and how these bills, or related attempts to chill the free exchange of facts and ideas about American history, have affected you. Please let us know by taking this brief survey.

The AAUP is working to protect faculty’s ability to teach the truth about American history, and to further racial justice in higher education and in our own organization. Here are some resources and initiatives we’d like members to know about:

More information about the wave of legislation seeking to suppress teaching about race is here. Other resources about racial justice are here.

In solidarity,

Glinda Rawls

Chair, AAUP Racial Justice Committee