AAUP on Capitol Hill

Higher education is dangerous because it raises expectations.

That was the argument Professor Gordon Lafer of the Labor Education and Research Center at the University of Oregon made in a speech to AAUP members.  What’s more, he said, academics are those who are best positioned to lead the fight to protect higher education in a positive, active way. His talk came on the heels of a busy day of lobbying and meetings on Capitol Hill, where AAUP members from across the country were doing exactly as he advised.

As part of the AAUP Annual Conference, faculty visited the offices of members of Congress from Ohio to Connecticut to Texas and beyond. Their message was clear: make college accessible and affordable and block harmful Trump budget cuts to student aid and federal research and humanities programs.

The work of the AAUP members on Capitol Hill was reinforced by thousands of you–11,000, to be precise. That’s the number of people who signed petitions in support of the College for Act and against the harmful cuts to higher education proposed by the Trump budget. Those petitions were delivered directly to  Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington, who serves as the vice ranking member of the House Budget Committee. She plans to have the signatures and comments against the cuts to higher education introduced into the official record of the Budget Committee. Copies of the petition were also delivered Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and to education staffers at the offices of Bernie Sanders (the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee), Elizabeth Warren, and Chuck Schumer.

Check out the Facebook photos here.

Sign to Support College For All Act

Access to free public higher education and strong protections for faculty? That’s a bill we can get behind.

Last month the AAUP endorsed the College for All Act, introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, which would make four-year public college free for families making less than $125,000 and community college free for all. Former students would be able to refinance their student loans with lower interest rates, easing the burden for those who may be struggling. The funding would come from a Wall Street speculation tax. The bill also includes provisions to increase the percentage of faculty jobs that are full-time and on the tenure track, compensate faculty on part-time appointments for work done outside the classroom, and support faculty access to professional development and shared governance.

Next month (June, 2017),  AAUP members will meet with members of Congress as part of Capitol Hill Day during our Annual Conference. We’ll be delivering a letter of support for the College for All Act to members of Congress.

Add your name to the letter now.

The College for All Act reaffirms a commitment to quality, public higher education as a right for all Americans. It will help current and former students tackle crippling debt by refinancing loans. Crucially for faculty, it would cut down on the abuse of adjunct labor and strengthen academic freedom protections by increasing the percentage of faculty positions that are on the tenure track.

The AAUP is proud to endorse the bill. Join us and add your name.

Best regards,
Rudy Fichtenbaum
President, AAUP