Monday, September 13, 2010

AAUP Endorses October 7th Action

Time for more of us to consider doing the same. The mission statement shows that the movement is also supports workplace equity, fair practices for faculty and staff. Topping th list:

1) Full/adequate funding for high quality, equal-access education -- In K-12, which is already free, the focus is on equal access and quality. In higher ed, it's some version of affordable or free. But the basic idea all around is better funding and stop making poor people pay more.
2) Anti-privatization -- This includes being anti-charter in k-12, it includes opposition to raising student tuition and fees to compensate for state cutbacks in higher ed, and it can include being against other privatization schemes, outsourcing, union-busting etc.
3) Worker Rights in Education -- Opposition to layoffs, pay cuts, furloughs, speedups, and all the other tactics that have been used in all sectors to squeeze more work out of educators for less money.

October 7, 2010, has been designated a national day of action to defend public education and to protest its privatization.  The AAUP supports these efforts.

Privatization in higher education in recent decades has brought disproportionate increases in:

  • non-educational, administrative expenditures;
  • tuition/fees, with related proportional declines in state support;
  • contingent faculty who are hired and fired at whim, with limited if any protections for being academically demanding (a few unhappy student "customers" can equal complaints and non-renewal), or for addressing controversial topics in their teaching and research (often on key public policy issues) in the full range of fields in academe, including science and engineering; &
  • many costly ventures that too often fail for they are undertaken with too little consultation with the professionals who do the academy's work.

Such patterns have compromised the provision of affordable, quality higher education for all who are qualified, the independent pursuit of knowledge in the public interest, the vitality of the academic profession as a national resource, and the ability and freedom of academics to fully engage students and to pursue knowledge.

We encourage our members and chapters to organize and participate in activities on October 7, 2010, that call attention to the extraordinary costs of the current policy path.  In many ways, in many cases, and for many years privatization in higher education has largely failed, with the costs being passed on to students.  We must defend and invest in not-for-profit higher education to provide access and success for new generations of students to quality higher education at a reasonable cost, and to advance knowledge in the service of the common good.

The strength of our nation's higher education system is a function of the strength and academic freedom of its academics and professionals, and of their ability to exercise an independent voice in shared governance in shaping the path of the academy.  Both conditions are grounded in the broad provision of academic due process and peer review exemplified in the tenure system. 

 The founders of the AAUP understood and articulated that in their original declaration of principles.  We reaffirm that message today.  And we call on our members to exercise their collective voice on October 7, 2010, in defense of not-for-profit higher education.

Gary Rhoades, General Secretary, AAUP

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