AAUP@FHSU


President Trump Must Be Removed

The AAUP’s leadership issued the following statement yesterday.

Three days ago, while white supremacist, Trump-supporting insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol, we wrote that we were appalled by the assault and noted that the current administration’s actions—over the long term but especially since the election of Joe Biden in November—are directly responsible for the attack on our democracy, for the lawlessness and violence, and for the deaths. Today we reflect on how we got here and how, from our perspective as higher education leaders, we move forward.

Donald Trump lost the election to Joe Biden, but Trump has not been willing to accept that fact. With the help of a toxic brew of right-wing “news” outlets, self-serving allies and enablers, and unregulated social media, lies and misinformation have been repeated and amplified to the point that facts and the truth are barely recognizable. It is neither honest nor truthful to promise a “peaceful transition of power,” as Trump did yesterday, while purposefully failing to acknowledge that Joe Biden won the election.

President Donald Trump incited an attack on the seat of our democracy while our elected representatives were inside conducting the people’s business. As we write, the inauguration of Joe Biden is eleven days away. The president does not accept reality, has been (temporarily) suspended from social media, and yet retains access to the nuclear codes. He presents a clear and present danger.

We call for the immediate removal of President Trump from office and fully support all legal efforts to remove him.

An educated citizenry is essential for a well-functioning democracy. The AAUP promotes higher education as a common good precisely because of its power to transform lives and improve society. The misinformation and conspiracy theories that fueled the attack on our Capitol must be met with truth, education, and critical thinking. In this era of social media, it is imperative that we as educators provide students and society with the tools needed to distinguish truth from falsehood. The AAUP will continue to fight against the decades-long disinvestment from public higher education that weakens our democracy.

We would be remiss not to underscore the structural racism so clearly evident in the events surrounding the siege on our Capitol. The comparison between the law enforcement response to peaceful Black Lives Matters protesters in Lafayette Park and to insurrectionists, some armed, who breached police lines and stormed the US Capitol, is not surprising to our colleagues of color and is now unmistakable to everyone except those who willfully refuse to see what’s right in front of them. We join so many others in calling out the obvious racism and in asking the harder question: how are we going to dismantle this system on which our country was built in order to work toward a shared national vision of a more perfect union? At the AAUP, our work on antiracism has just begun.

In the meantime, we call on our elected leaders to take the following steps.

  • Remove President Trump from office immediately, before more damage can be done.
  • Continue to look into the enormous failure of law enforcement to protect our Capitol, and the disparate police actions towards this week’s insurrectionists and last year’s mostly peaceful racial justice protests.
  • Hold to account those responsible for these failures, and enact legislation that reforms law enforcement in this country.
  • Hold to account those who enabled, assisted, or supported the president in the ludicrous claims of election fraud which provoked the attack on Congress.

We take comfort in the fact that our institutions of government were strong enough to withstand this attack and that the work of our Congress was delayed only for a few hours. We also note that the strength of our institutions of government depends on the strength of our system of education. With our members and chapters, we will continue to promote higher education as a common good in order to keep our democracy strong. We look forward to working with the new administration on policies that will provide affordable or free access to higher education to anyone willing to do the work to get a degree. Education as a common good, accessible to all, is the tool this nation needs to fight the rise of propaganda and conspiracy theories, and to address systematic inequalities.

Irene Mulvey, AAUP President
Paul Davis, AAUP Vice President
Christopher Sinclair, AAUP Secretary-Treasurer


National Security, the Assault on Science, and Academic Freedom

A new AAUP report out today details troubling threats to academic freedom in the physical and natural sciences that have been exacerbated by the Trump administration’s hostility to science. One focus of the report is international scientific exchange and, especially, the repeated charging of innocent Chinese or Chinese American scientists with espionage in the name of national security. Another is climate science, which has been subject to vicious attacks that have intensified significantly under the current administration.  

The report’s survey of recent criminal cases involving international scientific exchange suggests that the government’s invocation of national security claims related to espionage has not been justified and is negatively affecting the ability of the United States to participate in global science.

President Trump’s executive orders restricting entry to the United States for residents of certain Muslim-majority countries and efforts to limit H-1B visas to foreign scientists pose additional, disturbing threats to scientific exchange.

The report explores how the politicization of science, rooted in anti-intellectualism and propelled by anti-elitist mantras, is constraining the free pursuit of knowledge and scientific inquiry and limiting the ability of science to serve the public good.

Learn more or read the full report here.

Best wishes,
Gwendolyn Bradley, AAUP


Action against the “travel ban” and a win for science

One of the things your membership supports is our work in the courts to protect academic freedom. I’m writing today to update you on recent legal developments.

Last night the AAUP joined with the American Council on Education and other higher education groups in an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court opposing the Trump administration’s travel ban. We argue that people from the six countries identified in the ban should not be barred or deterred from entering the United States and contributing to our colleges and universities.

As the brief notes, the ban has caused specific harm to higher education. From the moment the executive order containing the ban was signed, recruits were deterred from accepting faculty positions in the United States. Some scholars have pulled out of academic conferences here, either because they were directly affected by the ban or because they were concerned about its impact.

In the brief, we emphasize the international exchange of scholarly work, and explain how the ban “jeopardizes the vital contributions made by foreign students, scholars, and faculty by telling the world in the starkest terms that American colleges and universities are no longer receptive to them.”

The amicus brief is part of the AAUP’s continued work to combat the chilling effects that the administration’s border policies are having on faculty and higher education. We are also looking into legal issues related to a regulation that authorizes border patrol officers to search a traveler’s electronic devices at the borders without any basis for suspicion. In conjunction with the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, we are seeking information from affected faculty members; if you have had an experience of this kind, please read more and submit information here.

Another facet of our legal work involves defending scientists against a campaign of harassment being carried out by a group that opposes climate science and has stated that it intends to “keep peppering universities around the country” with requests for climate science research records. On Friday, we got some good news as the Arizona Court of Appeals rejected attempts by this group to use public records requests to compel two University of Arizona faculty members to release emails related to their research.

In an amicus brief in support of the scientists, the AAUP had argued that state statute creates an exemption to public release of records for academic research records, and that a general statutory exemption protecting records when in the best interests of the state, in particular, the state’s interest in academic freedom, should have been considered. The appeals court agreed. Read more here.

Lastly, I’d like to take a minute to thank you for standing with the AAUP.  In busy times like this, it is important to remember that members like you make this work and our victories possible.

Regards,
Aaron Nisenson
AAUP Senior Counsel

P.S. Please consider supporting the legal defense of higher education through a donation to the AAUP’s Foundation’s Legal Defense Fund.


Trump Is Wrong to Eliminate DACA

The AAUP denounces in the strongest possible terms the decision by the Trump administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). This decision marks a continuation of the anti-immigrant racist policies that the administration has supported from the start.

Many of our members come from families that immigrated to the US. Their forebears came to the US for the same reason that today’s immigrants do, for a better life for their families, especially their children. But the Trump administration, feeding off the fears and insecurity of many Americans, has used the issue of undocumented workers, along with racism and anti-Semitism, to divide people and disguise the real causes of the declining standards of working people, including working people of color.

DACA, which provides renewable two-year work permits for immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children, was created by President Obama after the Republican-led House of Representatives refused to act on immigration. About 1.9 million undocumented young people are eligible to apply for the DACA program. Nearly 800,000 had their request for DACA status granted in 2016. Of those who have DACA status, about 576,000 are enrolled in college. In other words, an overwhelming majority of those granted DACA status are our students.

One of the major factors that makes American higher education a world class system is the diversity of our faculty and students. We owe it to these students and their families, as well as to other undocumented young people, to speak out against this action in the strongest manner possible. We call on our members to urge Congress to act immediately to undo President Trump’s action and allow these young people to remain in our classrooms.

We also urge Congress to enact a comprehensive immigration reform policy that will welcome immigrants to our shores–those fleeing political persecution and violence as well as those who simply seek a better life, regardless of their race, religion, or national origin.

Rudy Fichtenbaum
AAUP President