Monday, October 18, 2010

Adjunct academic freedom and AAUP

AAUP has a policy that any aggrieved faculty can go to it for help with an academic freedom case. Consideration is not to concern nationality (relevant here), nor membership in AAUP. The substantive issue is supposed to be the key.

Now, the case at SUNY at Buffalo:

1. The aggrieved from Poland asked for AAUP's help. His union chapter at SUNY at Buffalo unanimously passed a resolution asking AAUP to investigate the adjunct's case of violation of his academic freedom and his subsequent firing when he protested.

2. This case is, in my judgment, as good a case regarding academic freedom an organization defending faculty is likely ever get, given a) the substantive nature of the violation, and that b) the adjunct has four teaching awards under his belt including a Fulbright to the University of Washington.

3. AAUP has not even answered the adjunct nor his campus union chapter requests.

4. For AAUP to decide about the strength of a case, it must have investigated. It has not investigated this adjunct's case.

In short, AAUP is in complete dereliction of duty regarding its premier agenda item - academic freedom.

On October 16, I wrote this adjunct faculty member (I am his grievance officer):
    AAUP policy is supposed to help any faculty member with an academic freedom issue, regardless of whether the faculty member is a member of AAUP and regardless of the nationality of the faculty member who has suffered an academic freedom injury. It is disgrace that AAUP has not given you the slightest attention. It belies the single most important agenda item that AAUP has claimed for itself, an organization nearly one hundred years old.
Further, I wrote him that
    In February, UUP will vote on whether to severe its own connection with AAUP. In the past, I had supported the connection. But without a significant change in AAUP practice before then, I will argue and vote to severe the connection, a disaffiliation which would imply a serious loss of reputation and of dues to AAUP.
I copied the responsible person at AAUP, Secretary General Gary Rhoades. I also copied Phil Smith, President of UUP, responsible for killing a separate union grievance simply because the faculty member was on contingent appointment.

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