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AAUP Foundation Moving Forward

Welcome to the first issue of AAUP Foundation News and Notes. We hope this new newsletter for our donors, AAUP members, and other interested individuals will keep you informed about our activities and encourage support for our work.

The AAUP Foundation was born on January 1, 2013, when the former AAUP restructured into three interlinked entities. This year the Foundation has conducted a thorough assessment of its goals and activities. We hired the firm of James Mueller and Associates to conduct a review and analysis of our activities and prospects. That review concluded that "the AAUP Foundation is a very viable grant and gift recipient" and recommended several concrete steps to advance the Foundation's goals. The Foundation board has initiated plans to take these steps; publication of AAUP Foundation News and Notes represents one initial effort. In this newsletter we hope to communicate some of our excitement about the Foundation's work and its future potential.

We live in a time of crisis and change in higher education. The values of academic freedom, shared governance, and affordable access to liberal education are under assault on multiple levels. The AAUP Foundation and, through the Foundation, the AAUP itself, are in a position to provide a time-tested perspective and offer vital support to faculty members and others that no other organization can provide.

In this light, the AAUP Foundation seeks to advance the goals of the AAUP in general and specifically to promote academic freedom, shared governance, and public awareness of higher education as a common good. The Foundation seeks to fund research and policy development, educational opportunities for AAUP members, legal defense and other support for individual faculty members (and groups of faculty members) engaged in the defense of academic freedom and shared governance, as well as advocacy to the general public.

The Foundation's activities may be usefully divided into those that provide direct support for the AAUP's own work and those that support individuals or groups/entities that are not part of the AAUP but whose efforts are consistent with the AAUP Foundation's mission. For the next several years the greatest share of the Foundation's resources will be directed to supporting the AAUP's own activities in research, policy development, advocacy, and education that further the Foundation’s mission.

These include:

Support for AAUP publications including the Journal of Academic Freedom, Academe, and other publications directed toward both members and a broader public, and for specific research projects that the Association may wish to undertake; Support for the work of Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure and other committees through funding of investigations, committee meetings, and policy development;

Support for conferences and meetings, including the AAUP Annual Conference and Summer Institute, directly and/or by offering support to individuals who wish to attend such meetings, as well as support for attendance at non-AAUP events by AAUP members and leaders;

Support for education of members and others via webinars, training sessions, and workshops;

Support for the AAUP's amicus program and its legal education activities for members and the profession more broadly.

In addition to supporting the AAUP's activities, the Foundation will continue to support individuals seeking assistance from the Legal Defense Fund and Academic Freedom Fund. The Foundation will also encourage applications for support by individuals or groups engaged in independent projects consistent with the AAUP Foundation's mission and areas of interest.

"I really thought I was all by myself": Robin Meade Wins!

On September 17, the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board (IELRB) made its final ruling in favor of adjunct instructor Robin Meade in her case against Moraine Valley Community College (MVCC).

The AAUP Foundation's Legal Defense Fund provided support for Meade's legal battle with a grant of $10,000.

"Thank you and everyone at the AAUP for all of your support, both emotional and financial," Meade said. "Until you came along I really thought I was all by myself."

It all started in August 2013, when Meade, president of the adjunct bargaining unit, was fired for writing a letter decrying MVCC’s treatment of adjuncts. Her termination letter charged that the “letter goes far beyond what could be considered responsible advocacy,” meaning Meade was fired for her activities as union president. This led to two legal efforts; one with the labor board (IELRB) and one in federal court defending her freedom of speech.

The federal case was initially dismissed but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed that ruling.

According to the IELRB ruling, MVCC must offer Meade full and unconditional reinstatement of her position without prejudice, pay her with interest wages lost, wipe away any reference of the termination from her record and post the IELRB notice prominently on employee boards all over campus for 60 days.

For Meade's own account of her victory go to http://academeblog.org/2015/10/11/i-won/.

AAUP Foundation Supports Journal of Academic Freedom

The Foundation's Academic Freedom Fund awarded the AAUP a grant of $5,000 per year for five years to support publication of the Journal of Academic Freedom.

The Journal publishes scholarship on academic freedom and on its relation to shared governance, tenure, and collective bargaining. The open-access Journal is published annually in an electronic format and is the only academic journal that focuses exclusively on the global analysis of academic freedom and related issues. To read the latest issue of the Journal go to http://aaup.org/reports-publications/journal-academic-freedom/volume-6.

Academic Freedom Fund Supports Professor Teresa Buchanan

The Academic Freedom Fund has approved a $6,000 request for funds for legal defense and for temporary financial assistance for Professor Teresa Buchanan.

Buchanan, a specialist in early childhood education with an unblemished 18-year performance record, was being evaluated for promotion to full professorship when a district school superintendent and an LSU student filed complaints against her, alleging sexual harassment. Her dean immediately suspended her from teaching, and eventually, despite a faculty hearing committee’s unanimous recommendation against dismissal, the LSU board of supervisors accepted the recommendation that she be dismissed.

Buchanan was a highly productive scholar and teacher. She had a strong publication record and an excellent record of participation in university service. Buchanan was supported in her bid for full professor by outside reviewers, the promotion and tenure committee, and the deans of her college and the graduate school.

The AAUP's letter to LSU noted "how distant the LSU administration has placed itself from the mainstream of our secular research universities by dismissing a professor for misconduct simply for having used language that is not only run-of-the-mill these days for much of the academic community but is also protected conduct under principles of academic freedom."

LSU Baton Rouge has been on the AAUP’s list of censured institutions since 2011. On September 2, the Association released a rare “supplementary report” on the Buchanan case. On October 6, by an overwhelming 39-5 vote, the LSU Faculty Senate voted to censure three top administrators for their roles in Buchanan's dismissal.

To learn more about Buchanan's case go to http://www.aaup.org/report/academic-freedom-and-tenure-louisiana-state-university-baton-rouge-supplementary-report.

AAUP Foundation Helps Fund Agents of Change film

A highlight of the 2015 AAUP/AAUP-CBC Summer Institute in Denver was a screening of a rough cut of a new documentary film, Agents of Change, about student rebellions and the creation of ethnic studies programs in the late 1960s at Cornell and San Francisco State Universities. Some 150 Institute attendees viewed the film and participated in a discussion with filmmakers Abby Ginzberg and Frank Dawson.

Given the film's enthusiastic reception and the expressed interest of multiple AAUP chapters and conferences in arranging public screenings on campuses, the Foundation board voted to provide the filmmakers with a grant of $5,000 to help them complete the film, hopefully by early next year.

For more information on Agents of Change go to http://www.agentsofchangefilm.com/.

Centennial Contest Winners

The AAUP Foundation has announced the winners of its student Centennial Contest, celebrating 100 years of the AAUP's fight for academic freedom. The contest theme was “Academic Freedom: Its Concept, Its History, Its Successes, and Its Failures,” and the following winning submissions, announced at the AAUP Annual Meeting in June embody that theme.

Undergraduate Essay: Marcus Wendel, Michigan State University

“Concerning the Necessary: Academic Freedom" made original use of Spinoza as a figure who speaks to contemporary struggles in realizing freedom of expression and thought; and utilized a blend of sources used to connect the issues to contemporary contexts.

Graduate Essay: Benji Cohen, University of Virginia

“Neoliberalism and Academic Freedom" astutely places into perspective how various neoliberal forces inhibit faculty autonomy and the consequences this has for academic freedom; it synthesizes a range of sources and takes on the ways a recent trend towards data-driven decision making contributes to loss of control in the professional lives of faculty.

Undergraduate Art: Zsolt Portik, UCLA

A video that provided an interesting montage of "ordinary" campus scenes enhanced by dramatic color and editing effects, setting a mood that suggests something of expressive possibilities and transformation of perspective--sensory and otherwise--enabled by experiences of academic freedom.

Graduate Art: Shane Lancer, Cornell University, New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations

“Precarious Pedagogy" makes bold use of primary colors to convey how academic freedom becomes threatened when external forces impinge on the intellectual space of the classroom.

The centennial contest was open to all students enrolled at accredited institutions of higher education in the United States. The winners received prizes of $1,000 each.

Foundation Supports AAUP Investigations

This year the AAUP's Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure conducted four investigations leading to the placement of four institutions on its censure list, an unusually high number. These were: Felician College, New Jersey; MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dallas, Texas; the University of Southern Maine; and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. To support the travel costs for members of these investigating committees the AAUP Foundation provided a grant of up to $10,000.

Sweet Briar, Wisconsin Colleagues Attend Summer Institute

AAUP members at Sweet Briar College in Virginia played an important part earlier this year in saving that liberal arts college for women from extinction. Meanwhile, faculty members in Wisconsin flocked to the AAUP for assistance in their battle against Governor Scott Walker's efforts to erode tenure and shared governance. To assist these colleagues the AAUP Foundation provided financial support to cover registration fees and travel expenses for AAUP members at Sweet Briar and Wisconsin to attend the AAUP/AAUP-CBC Summer Institute in Denver.

To learn about AAUP at Sweet Briar go to http://academeblog.org/2015/07/02/interview-with-sweet-briar-faculty/. To learn about the AAUP's work in Wisconsin go to http://academeblog.org/2015/09/17/statement-to-the-university-of-wisconsin-system-tenure-policy-task-force/.

Additional Grants

Over the past year the Foundation has also awarded the following grants:

An Academic Freedom Fund award of $5,000 to Professor Steven Salaita, who was without salary while contesting his dismissal from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

An award from the Contingent Faculty Fund to Joe Berry, UIUC, and Don Eron, University of Colorado at Boulder, to attend a meeting of the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor.

A grant from the Glick, Rappaport, Tristman Memorial Fund of $2,000 to the AAUP's 2015 Annual Conference to support the 2015 Neil Rappaport Lecture on shared governance, delivered by Professor Larry Gerber.

Five travel grants from the Konheim and Hopper Travel Funds to individuals to support their attendance at the 101st AAUP Annual Meeting.