A common vision gathers us from across ranks, institutions, and organizations. This vision does not direct but rather reflects the struggles waged by our members. It is constantly adapting to the state of affairs, and, like the future, it is always under construction. At the moment, this identity in practice can be expressed in three principles:
Radically Shared Governance
Politics of Solidarity
Higher Education for the Common Good
Each principle is articulated as a set of strategies adapted for different ranks and types of higher education institutions.
Radically Shared Governance
Transparency in Governance
This means, among other things, that key decision-making bodies must include faculty and students, meet publicly, and respond to queries from all unviersity constituents including the public; records of meetings must be kept and made publicly available beyond what is required by state or federal law for public and private non-profit institutions; all reports, produced by administration, faculty, staff or external consultants, must be circulated for public review.
This means, among other things, that the university's financial records must be open to scrutiny beyond what is required by state or federal law for public and private non-profit institutions; administrators must share the financial data informing their proposals, as well as their methods for generating predictions and estimates; all financial decisions should be overseen by a board of trustees or regents composed of equal parts non-managerial workers (including faculty), students, and alumni and any managerial staff (except those elected to the board) should serve only in a technical capacity with no decision making power.
Politics of Solidarity
Every worker at the university—faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, non-managerial support staff, and all other employees including subcontracted ones—is an integral part of the university community. Cross-rank solidarity means, among other things, that all workers should seek representation by a wall-to-wall union, by unions working in solidarity with one another, or through another self-governing body all of which serve to equally advance all worker interests. The university community should strive to equalize total compensation (pay, benefits, protections) across all employees, from student workers and dining staff to tenured faculty and the administration.
Competition among universities impoverishes workers and students by co-opting free thinking (in research and in teaching-learning) to a zero-sum logic. Cross-institution solidarity means, among other things, that universities should pool research funds across broad research consortia led by research faculty, staff, and students. Universities should pool teaching resources through regional consortia. All institutions of higher learning should boycott rankings that only serve to facilitate competition regardless of whether they are promulgated by the news media or government.
Across Systems of Oppression
A politics of solidarity also means that our universities must be actively anti-racist, anti-misogynist, anti-classist, anti-sectarian, anti-trans- and homophobic, anti-ableist, and anti-agist. They must be committed to equity and justice. And they must fight harassment and discrimination in all forms.
higher Education for the Common Good
The Common Good
All forms of higher education share a responsibility to turn their primary functions of research and teaching toward the common good— and not just the public good, where the public is understood as an extension of the state. The common good means the satisfaction of the most need (material and immaterial) of all constituents (human and non-human) of our societies.
Research for the Common Good
Knowledge is a commons, not anyone's property. This means, among other things, that all publicly and privately funded research performed in conjunction with university researchers must be open access; all proceeds from intellectual property owned by the university should pass into a public trust; university libraries should be open to all; university presses should pass to non-commercial CreativeCommons licensing.
Teaching for the Common Good
Higher education is a right not a privilege. This means, among other things, making public higher education tuition free; abolishing for-profit higher education; boycotting private universities that fail to serve the common good; reforming public universities that do not live up to their missions to serve their public constituencies or whose public constituencies do not advocate the common good.
The University Outside Itself
Higher education for the common good engages the university community in dismantling interlocking systems of oppression not only as they manifest themselves intramurally but also extramurally. This means among other things, seeking to reduce the college income premium by advocating for a national living wage or universal basic income; advocating for the abolition of student debt and for free higher education for all.