A message from the AAUP President:
Today, a narrow majority of Supreme Court justices sided with extremely wealthy interests in the long-awaited decision in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31. Although this decision was not unexpected, we are disappointed by the opinion of the majority. At issue was whether non-union members, who share in the wages, benefits, and protections that have been negotiated into a collectively bargained contract, may be required to pay their fair share for the cost. The court ruled that they may not.
You can find out about the background of this case at https://www.aaupcbc.org/together .
On the surface, this case may seem like a technical one that doesn’t affect many faculty. But Janus and similar court cases and legislative initiatives are part of a broad assault on public institutions and the common good. They seek to roll back protections for working people, lessen public support for civic building blocks such as education, and diminish the ability of unions to have a positive impact.
AAUP members and chapters on campuses across the country advocate for academic freedom, professional values and standards, and the faculty voice in higher education. They help ensure that our students have challenging learning environments and strengthen our institutions of higher education. Those AAUP chapters that have been formally recognized as unions take this advocacy a step farther, by negotiating legally enforceable contracts that incorporate AAUP principles. This ruling makes their job more difficult.
But make no mistake, our fight as AAUP members to have a positive impact on our colleges and universities, to strengthen public higher education, and to protect academic freedom is not over. Together, we will continue to fight for our students, our campuses, and our communities. We will continue to say, loudly and clearly, that strong universities and well-educated citizens are essential to our survival as a democracy. That’s why our work as educators, union members, and advocates has never been more important than it is now.
UPDATE: Status Report on the Proposed Dissolution of Anthropology at Drexel, June 22, 2018
The Drexel University Department of Anthropology is undergoing an administrative process likely to result in its dissolution. If and when the department and program is eliminated, seven tenured faculty and two teaching faculty will be transferred to other units and provisions made for current Anthropology majors to complete their degrees.
This process seems to have been initiated by the Dean of Arts and Sciences and the Provost at the beginning of the Spring quarter (AY 2017-18). Since that time, the Anthropology faculty met with the Dean as well as the president of the Faculty Senate to discuss procedures and outcomes and to insure compliance with AAUP protocols governing the elimination of programs. It should be noted that Drexel University policy specifically states that termination of academic programs is to be done in full compliance with AAUP protocols.
AAUP protocols require that three things happen prior to approval of the elimination of the department by the Faculty Senate: 1) all tenured faculty must be transferred to other units appropriate for their teaching; 2) current student Anthropology majors must be guaranteed all necessary course offerings to finish their degrees in their major; and, perhaps most importantly, 3) the Anthropology faculty must agree to the dissolution process. Without such agreement there can be no elimination of program and department.
The Position of the Anthropology Faculty
The anthropology faculty voted unanimously that they will not agree to dissolve the program and department until such time as each individual faculty member is provided with a proposed appointment letter spelling out the conditions of their future placement. The anthropology faculty further agreed that only when all colleagues, tenured and non-tenure track, are individually satisfied with their proposed placements, will the group give their consent to the dissolve the program and department. This “all for one and one for all” approach protects the faculty as a group and ensures that whatever happens is carried out in a way that is both transparent and in the spirit of faculty governance.
Why is this happening?
You are likely asking yourself why the Anthropology faculty would even consider agreeing to the elimination of their Department. The fact is no one is happy with this prospect. However, it is the unanimous conclusion of the Anthropology Department faculty that they are left with no realistic alternative.
To understand the present situation a little history is order.
Four years ago, Anthropology, Communication, Criminal Justice Studies and Sociology became independent, single discipline departments upon the dissolution of the multidisciplinary Department of Culture and Communication. However, following this dissolution, the Department of Anthropology did not receive the investment necessary to successfully launch a new department. Rather, from the very beginning the fledgling Anthropology department was subjected to budgetary austerity in the extreme with effectively no budget beyond faculty salaries. There was no funding for a department head search because the faculty tenure line left open by the retirement of a senior colleague was “eliminated”. There was no budget for a department office or even a single full time staff person. When the copying machine broke, it was carted off without replacement. Thus, despite the very best efforts of its faculty over the past very difficult four years, it is now the consensus of this faculty that Anthropology as a unit is no longer viable.
The Drexel AAUP advocacy chapter is working to assure that whatever happens it will be both transparent to the university community and follow the AAUP prescribed protocols. The AAUP will support the Anthropology faculty as they work out their solution with the administration. Our members among the Anthropology faculty have been involved in this process from the beginning and will see it through to the end. Drexel AAUP will do all it can to maximize the democratic power of faculty shared governance in this difficult situation and will keep you updated as new developments occur.
David Kutzik, Professor
Department of Anthropology
Vice President, Drexel AAUP Advocacy Chapter
An Update from the Organizing Committee
We've had a great run of Drexel-AAUP open houses and happy hours this spring. Thanks to all who have made it out. Due to end of quarter scheduling conflicts however we will need to postpone our last scheduled open house, which was previously set for Tuesday June 12.
In the summer and fall terms, members and others interested in learning more about AAUP will have more opportunities to gather, including over other happy hours, and -- building on the conversations and feedback received over the last few months -- at open houses that will focus on specific issues. Individual sessions will be devoted to the role of faculty governance, the working conditions of teaching and clinical faculty, and issues affecting graduate students, adjunct faculty, and more. Please stay tuned!
The Drexel-AAUP Organizing Committee
PS: Our survey outreach continues to gather responses across different colleges and schools of the university. If you haven't yet taken the Drexel Academic Employee survey, or if you are able to share it with a few colleagues who haven't yet done so, please use this link: https://goo.gl/okR54x. Thank you!
In the Fall quarter, we will be hosting Hans-Joerg Tiede from AAUP National for a public talk and discussion on academic freedom in higher ed today. This will take place probably in late October, date & location TBD.
PLEASE INVITE FACULTY, LIBRARIANS, GRADUATE STUDENTS and OTHER ACADEMIC EMPLOYEES WHO MAY BE INTERESTED!
A REMINDER: Our survey outreach continues to gather responses across different colleges and schools of the university. If you haven't yet taken the Drexel Academic Employee survey, or shared it with colleagues, here is the link: https://goo.gl/okR54x
Thank you for helping us spread the word about Drexel-AAUP. Hope to see you at one of our gatherings!
Drexel-AAUP Organizing Committee