AAUP@FHSU


May 14 COVID-19 Update

As summer approaches, we continue to develop guidance and plan webinars to help us organize and respond to the challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guidance on Reopening Campuses

The decision to reopen a campus raises not only logistical and health and safety concerns but also concerns about how best to achieve the academic mission both during the COVID-19 pandemic and in its aftermath. The AAUP has developed guidance on reopening campuses for our chapters, faculty governing bodies, and administrations. As with all the AAUP’s resources related to COVID-19, we will continue to update this guidance as new information becomes available.

Financial Crisis FAQs

Colleges and universities are facing challenging financial situations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis. In some cases, particularly those in which ongoing financial problems have threatened institutions’ survival, the challenges are extraordinary. To assist members of the academy in addressing the challenges faced in times of financial stress, the AAUP has updated our web page with FAQs on financial crisis in order to help our chapters, our members, and the profession as a whole navigate this crisis.

International Student Visas

The AAUP has signed on to a letter sent by the American Council of Education and sixty-two other associations to the Department of Labor, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of State in regard to international students. The letter from the associations outlines the role international students play in the US economy and their contributions to education and research, as well as some of the issues these students and colleges and universities will likely be facing in the fall. The groups urged the Secretary of State to prioritize applications for student visas once the consulates reopen. They also requested that the State Department and DHS extend regulatory flexibility for international students to begin their studies online if campuses are unable to open in the fall or student visas are delayed.

Rescind Proposed Rules for Distance Education

The AAUP and the American Federation of Teachers have submitted joint comments urging the Department of Education to rescind proposed rules for distance education. The comments emphasize that the rules would weaken the interaction between students and faculty members—the key relationship in higher education—and would allow increased outsourcing of core educational responsibilities. Read more here.

Support Faculty at Rutgers University Biomedical and Health Sciences

Clinical faculty in the AAUP-BHSNJ chapter need your support for their petition to win a fair contract after two years of bargaining. These members’ work on the frontlines of the COVID crisis, including work on developing a COVID-19 saliva test, is a real-life example of higher education for the common good. While Rutgers University’s president praises them as “heroes,” his negotiators take a hard line in bargaining by looking at layoffs and ways to de-tenure faculty. AAUP-BHSNJ hopes to revamp health and safety measures, clarify the role of family leave, and reduce gender pay inequity. Add your name.

Send a Letter to Your Member of Congress

Many of our states and communities face serious financial shortfalls as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ability of states to provide adequate funding for higher education and other public goods will be dependent upon the inclusion of relief for state and local governments in the next federal stimulus package. On Tuesday, we sent a message from AAUP president Rudy FIchtenbaum asking you to write to your US congressional representative and your senators and urge them to include relief for state and local governments in the next stimulus package. Here’s the link to send a letter now.

We’ll be in touch with more updates in two weeks.

In solidarity,
Julie Schmid
Executive Director, AAUP


COVID-19 and AAUP Office Operating Status

On Friday, March 13, the federal government declared a national state of emergency in response to increasing concerns about COVID-19. Jurisdictions in the Washington, DC, area also made announcements about states of emergency and closed local schools. COVID19_graphic_310

Because of recommendations about social distancing and the need to “flatten the curve” of virus transmission, AAUP leadership made a decision to have all AAUP staff transition to telework as of the end of the business day on Monday, March 16, 2020, until at least Tuesday, March 31. The best way to reach staff members is to write to the appropriate email address for the staff member or department you need to contact. Please consult the AAUP staff page for a list of individual and departmental email addresses.

We appreciate your patience as we manage this abrupt transition. We will provide updates about the AAUP’s operating status here and will continue to update our web page with COVID-19 resources for higher education. Please note that we are monitoring the situation and will make a decision in the coming weeks about the status of the biennial meeting. In the meantime, we are extending the early-bird registration deadline for the June 18–21 AAUP Conference and Biennial Meeting until May 7.

Please see the AFT and AAUP Principles for Higher Education Response to COVID-19, which we developed with our organizing partner, the American Federation of Teachers. This is a challenging time for higher education, and we share the concerns of many faculty members about the short- and long-term impact of institutional responses to COVID-19 and of transitions to online education at colleges and universities around the country.

Although we will communicate with members by email about any important developments relating to the AAUP’s operating status, subscribing to our Academe Blog and following us on Facebook and Twitter are good ways to see content related to COVID-19 and higher education that we are sharing on a regular basis.

Julie Schmid
Executive Director


Oregon leads the way in organizing

We have great news to report! Yesterday, faculty at both the Oregon Institute of Technology and Oregon State University moved to form unions affiliated with the AAUP. With this, faculty at all public universities in the state have joined together in unions in an effort to protect quality higher education and strengthen teaching, learning, and research. It’s a powerful movement and an important counter to widespread attacks on academics, education, and public institutions.

Faculty unions, nonunionized AAUP chapters, and faculty senates are crucial vehicles for democracy in the academic workplace. They champion academic freedom, advance shared governance, and promote economic security for all who teach and conduct research in higher education.

That’s why we help organize and protect the faculty voice, and why we’re proud to see our ranks growing in Oregon. The new AAUP union chapter at Oregon Tech will represent 180 full-time faculty members, on and off the tenure track. The faculty aims to strengthen shared governance and to establish a legally enforceable contract with respect to working conditions, pay, and benefits.

United Academics of Oregon State University will be comprised of more than 2,400 members. As a faculty union jointly affiliated with the AAUP and the American Federation of Teachers, United Academics seeks to strengthen shared governance, improve working conditions, and create the best possible environment for teaching, learning, research, and outreach.

We warmly welcome these new members to the AAUP! If you’re active on social media, you can help us welcome them by sharing the news on Facebook or Twitter.

The AAUP


They’re Privatizing Purdue

In five days the Higher Learning Commission, Purdue’s regional accrediting body, will vote on the final step toward privatization. If the HLC votes in favor, online courses at public land-grant Purdue University will be produced and run by for-profit higher ed corporation Kaplan.

The Indiana conference of the AAUP, along with the Purdue Social Justice Coalition, Hoosiers for Action, UnKoch My Campus, In the Public Interest, American Federation of Teachers, and elected officials across the state of Indiana have mounted a bold coalition-based resistance to this privatization deal. But we need your help.

Stand with us in urging the Higher Learning Commission to vote against accrediting Kaplan’s online program at Purdue until issues of transparency, student welfare, and academic quality are resolved. Sign our #KeepPurduePublic petition.

Additionally, if you’re a community leader, serving as a local elected official or at the helm of an organization, sign our Leader Sign-on Letter.

Kaplan is notorious. And the lack of transparency with which the Purdue-Kaplan deal has been advanced is troubling — even more so when considering Kaplan’s record of unaccountability to their students.

As Senators Dick Durbin and Sherrod Brown point out in their September 2017 letter cautioning Purdue University President Mitch Daniels: “Like nearly every major for-profit college, Kaplan has been the subject of numerous state and federal investigations and lawsuits. In 2014, the company reached a settlement with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to settle allegations that it made misleading marketing claims to Florida students. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey reached a settlement with Kaplan in 2015 related to inflated job placement numbers and unfair recruiting practices. Also in 2015, the company agreed to pay the U.S. Department of Justice more than $1 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit.”

Tell the Higher Learning Commission to #KeepPurduePublic and say #NoKaplan.

Or if you’re a community leader, sign here.

This is just one piece of a bold coalition-based movement we’re building to keep privatization out of public higher education. We hope you’ll join us.

In Solidarity,
David P. Nalbone, PhD
Purdue University Northwest
Vice President, Indiana Conference of the AAUP


P.S. Here’s even more background information on the Purdue-Kaplan deal to share with friends and colleagues: