AAUP@FHSU


The People Behind the Professor Watchlist

The funders behind the Professor Watchlist aren’t too keen on transparency. Many of the donors who support the $8 million budget of Turning Point USA  prefer to remain anonymous. That’s not surprising given that Turning Point’s work has sparked vicious campaigns of online harassment against faculty members, and, according to published reports, may also have violated federal rules prohibiting 501(c)(3) charities from engaging in political activity.

This week we’re drawing back the curtain on the right-wing organization whose Professor Watchlist purports “to expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”

In reality, faculty are listed for a wide variety of reasons that have included criticizing capitalism or making feminist comments on Twitter, publishing a study finding that economics textbooks heavily feature male economists and suggesting that this may be a deterrence to women pursuing economics, and criticizing conservative politicians on social media. Being listed has resulted in campaigns of harassment that have included death threats and threats against professors’ children.

We’ve created three fact sheets to help prepare you in the event that you come into contact with Turning Point. On Friday, we’ll be discussing Turning Point, the Professor Watchlist, and mobilizing to protect academic freedom during a Facebook Live.

Visit our One Faculty, One Resistance site to read and share the fact sheets.

This Friday, March 16, we’ll host a Facebook Live with Monica Owens, AAUP political organizer, and Hans-Joerg Tiede, a senior program officer in the AAUP’s Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance. They’ll discuss Turning Point and academic freedom in the age of Trump and talk through some organizing tips for faculty dealing with these issues.

RSVP to the Facebook Live here.

Gwendolyn Bradley
Director of External Relations, AAUP


In Depth: Academe Tackles Targeted Harassment

The latest issue of Academe magazine comes at a timely moment, as it takes an in-depth look at the right-wing assault on academia. The issue includes a series of articles that specifically examine the targeted harassment of faculty.

A profile of the AAUP chapter at Trinity College in Connecticut offers insight into how the newly formed chapter mobilized over the summer on behalf of Professor Johnny Williams after he was attacked on social media and subsequently suspended by the school’s administration. A group of sixty colleagues demanded that the administration rescind its decision, and the chapter’s executive committee issued a statement of support for Williams, citing concerns about academic freedom, due process, and the stifling of “critical engagement with issues of race.” Read more here.

A feature article by Joshua A. Cuevas of the University of North Georgia documents how he was targeted by white supremacists waging a cultural war on what they perceive as the left-wing, intellectual elite. He details the waves of attacks he personally endured as a victim of targeted harassment and argues, “Academia has been too timid in countering such movements. We should not have to speak in hushed tones when we condemn hate groups. We should not have to be apprehensive when we promote democratic ideals and equality.” Read the full piece here.

If you’re interested in Friday’s Facebook Live conversation with Joan Wallach Scott and Hank Reichman, check out an interview Scott gave to Bill Moyers this past fall. Scott says that while attacks on academics are not new, the Trump election empowered a number of different groups whose aim is to stop the teaching of critical thinking. Check out the interview here.

In a final article of interest, Anita Levy, a senior program officer in the AAUP’s Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance, provides summaries of several reports of harassment that the AAUP received after asking faculty last year to share their experiences. She notes that in many cases, the triggering event that led to the harassment occurred in the course of faculty members’ normal academic duties as teachers, researchers, or concerned citizen-scholars addressing the public. Read more here.

We’d still like to hear from you—share your stories or thoughts on targeted harassment using the hashtag #FacultyUnderAttack and we’ll post selections on our social media feeds. And remember to join us on Friday for the Facebook Live conversation on targeted harassment. To read all these articles and to see all our resources for the week, check out our page on One Faculty, One Resistance.

The AAUP


One Faculty, One Resistance

After last November’s election, we expressed our concern about unique threats posed by the new administration to core institutions of our democracy and to academic freedom. In the months since, we have seen these threats begin to unfold.

Faculty members are being targeted and harassed, the freedom to join together on the job is in jeopardy, and producers of independent thought and knowledge, including faculty, scientists, and journalists, are threatened. The academic year has begun with a spate of racist incidents on campus, another travel ban aimed primarily at Muslims, the decision to end the DACA program that grants residency to many of our students, and, just last Thursday, a decision by the Supreme Court to take up a case that could strip workers in unions of rights.

We believe that democracy thrives on dissent, critical inquiry, free speech, and free research. And that means that we must do more than witness these events; we must resist them.

That’s why we invite you to check out our One Faculty, One Resistance campaign.

The AAUP is the voice of the profession. As such, we’ve been speaking up for academic freedom for more than 100 years. And in these troubled times, we’re doing it with renewed urgency and vigor.

We’ve created a central space for our campaigns and materials related to these threats– materials to help you fight against targeted harassment of faculty and for the right to teach and conduct research freely, and to resist political interference and litmus tests in higher education.

Take a look around and share news of the campaign! A powerful resistance requires collective action and voice. Click here to share.

Graphic of the website

We’ll be in touch soon.

Rudy Fichtenbaum
President, AAUP