AAUP@FHSU


AAUP Opposes DHS Ban on International Students

Last week, the higher education community reeled from the shock of a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ruling that bars international students from being in the United States if they are enrolled in institutions that will only offer online instruction this fall. This news came at a time when many colleges and universities had already made announcements about the new academic year, which meant that plans for remote learning made with public health in mind would have the unintended effect of excluding international students.

Yesterday, the AAUP released a statement about the ruling. It begins,

The Department of Homeland Security’s July 6 ruling regarding international students and the upcoming 2020–21 academic year is but the latest example of the Trump administration’s callous cruelty, especially toward immigrants and those it deems “other.” The American Association of University Professors thus joins many other higher education organizations and colleagues in the labor movement in calling on the administration to allow all international students to obtain or retain visas to continue their education at US institutions, regardless of whether they participate remotely, in person, or through a hybrid model and regardless of whether they are studying inside or outside the United States, during this unprecedented global health crisis.

Read the full statement.

The AAUP also joined over seventy other higher education organizations yesterday in submitting an amicus brief, prepared by the American Council on Education (ACE), in support of a legal challenge filed by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology against the DHS in the US District Court in Massachusetts. The challenge seeks to prevent the DHS directive from taking effect so that thousands of international students can continue to participate in educational opportunities in the United States, even if their course of study is online. The amicus brief notes that “with the stroke of a pen, the global standing of our nation and its preeminent higher educational system will needlessly suffer again from exclusionary policies that—contrary to long-held national values of openness and interconnection—single out international students and arbitrarily threaten their eligibility to collaborate, learn, and share their many talents at American colleges and universities.” You can find the amicus brief and a summary here.
On Friday the AAUP, along with dozens of other higher education organizations, signed on to a letter from ACE president Ted Mitchell to Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. The letter states, “We urge the administration to rethink its position and offer international students and institutions the flexibility necessary to safely navigate resuming their educational activities in the midst of this crisis in ways that take into account the health and safety of our students and staff in the upcoming academic year.” Read the full letter.

The national AAUP will continue to work with other higher education organizations, our organizing partner AFT, and our chapters and state conferences to ensure that campuses can move forward in the fall with reopening plans that are safe for and inclusive of all members of the higher education community.

In solidarity,
Julie Schmid
Executive Director

P.S. On Friday we also released early an article from the upcoming Journal of Academic Freedom with a pertinent analysis of how US immigration laws influence campus and impose enforcement roles on colleges and universities. Read Abigail Boggs’s “On Borders and Academic Freedom: Noncitizen Students and the Limits of Rights.”


Significant Supreme Court Decisions

We want to highlight two significant and startlingly positive Supreme Court decisions that came out this week with important implications for many faculty and students—and for higher education in general. In both cases the AAUP joined an amicus brief for the prevailing side.

In Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, et al., the Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gay and transgender workers due to its prohibition of discrimination based on sex. The ruling allows employees discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or transgender status to sue. While questions remain about the rights of religious employers and practical details such as bathrooms and locker rooms, the court emphatically states that “employers are prohibited from firing employees on the basis of homosexuality or transgender status.” Read a summary of the decision and amicus brief.

In Department of Homeland Security et al. v. Regents of the University of California et al., the Supreme Court blocked the current administration’s attempts to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The DACA program allows undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to remain in the country legally and expands access to higher education by providing eligibility for in-state tuition and state-funded grants and loans to participants. However, the ruling leaves open the possibility that this administration may try again to eliminate DACA. As the court states, “The dispute before the Court is not whether DHS may rescind DACA. All parties agree that it may. The dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so.” Read a summary of the decision and amicus brief.

The AAUP applauds these rulings and believes they provide critical support for members of the AAUP community and the students it serves. We emphatically support protections against discrimination, and our legal work reflects our commitment to promoting diversity, tolerance, and openness on university campuses.

The AAUP


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