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


AAUP Amicus Brief Fights Corporate Model at Universities

Universities have become increasingly corporatized, and the significant expansion of university administration has seriously eroded faculty authority to control or make effective recommendations about university policy.
That is one of the central arguments in an amicus brief submitted by the AAUP urging the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit to uphold the National Labor Relation Board’s determination that non-tenure-track faculty at the University of Southern California are not managerial employees and are therefore eligible to unionize under the National Labor Relations Act.
This case arose when Service Employees International Union filed a petition to represent non-tenure-track full-time and part-time faculty in the USC Roski School of Art and Design.
The administration objected to the petition, arguing that the faculty were managers according to the precedent of the US Supreme Court’s 1980 ruling in NLRB v. Yeshiva University. But the labor relations board concluded that USC had not proven that the non-tenure-track faculty actually exercise control or make effective recommendations about policies that affect the university as a whole. After the faculty voted for the union, the NLRB ordered USC to collectively bargain. USC appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.
Institutional changes over the past few decades have led to increased top-down management of the university by the growing ranks of administrators, as well as the rapid expansion of non-tenure track faculty positions. The result has been a system wherein rather than relying on faculty expertise, growing ranks of administrators increasingly make unilateral decisions on university policies and programs, often influenced by considerations of external market forces and revenue generation.
Some stunning stats from the brief:
  • Between 1976 and 2015, the number of full-time executives and managers in higher education grew by 140 percent.
  • Conversely, the number of full-time and tenure-track positions has plummeted, with lower-wage non-tenure track faculty making up 70 percent of all faculty positions. This is nearly the reverse of the proportions in 1969, when 78 percent of faculty positions were tenured and tenure-track.
  • From 1976 to 2011, the number of full-time non-faculty professional positions increased by 366 percent overall, with growth of 558 percent in that category at private institutions.
In supporting the collective bargaining rights of non-tenure-track faculty at USC, the AAUP brief challenges the “paper authority” that universities attribute to faculty without granting them actual authority in university policy-making. You can read the full brief here.
The AAUP