Monday, November 8, 2010

Communication to AAUP Committee A members

[Update: November 18, 2010

Committee A, Academic Freedom, met November 5 and 6, 2010. I have learned that the committee showed no interest in this Polish faculty member fired for protesting violation of his academic freedom.

I am sorry to have to say that I can only interpret this to mean that AAUP is no longer interested in defending academic freedom. It did not even send a letter of inquiry to any administrative person.

To clarify point 3 below, the union UUP President did not take the case to Step 2 of the contractual grievance process. He simply claimed that SUNY is able to non-renew an adjunct for any reason. In other words, he considers the contract article protecting academic freedom to be irrelevant for contingent faculty.

In sum, neither AAUP nor his union does anything for this faculty member.]

November 1, 2010

Dear AAUP Committee A members:

I understand that the AAUP NYS Conference voted about a week ago to ask you to take up the case of Professor xxx, who was fired from his one-year adjunct appointment at SUNY at Buffalo after he protested violation of his academic freedom in teaching.

I attach the notes used in preparing for his grievance. This is not, by any means, the full file, but merely an aid in helping you understand what happened to Professor xxx. I feel that this case is about as strong a case of an academic freedom violation that AAUP is likely to get, in this case an action against an adjunct from a foreign country. We build for other contingent faculty when we work from strong cases.

1. xxx has had FOUR international teaching awards to come to various U.S. universities, one of which was a Fulbright-Hayes to University of Washington. This is unquestionable prima facie evidence of teaching competence. Period. To FIRE him midway thru his appointment at UB is absolutely unconscionable (absent his doing something really BAD - which he didn't). I think almost everyone who hears this agrees.

2. Then, we have what actually happening to him, all of which transpired before his end of semester student evaluations were obtained - which were in fact 'good'. I don't need to get into the case very much because that is what an AAUP investigation should to be doing. Nevertheless, the hearing notes are offered to aid your consideration. Note that the basic agreement among SUNY at Buffalo, the Kosciuszko Foundation and xxx was for ONE full academic year, but had to be broken into two, shortly before his arrival, only for visa reasons (later, used by the university's for its advantage).

3. Regardless of what union UUP eventually did, this case cries for AAUP investigation. (In my view, President Phil Smith of UUP should have asked for AAUP's help while filing Step 2.)

4. AAUP investigating this case has the unanimous support of the UUP center chapter board at SUNY at Buffalo.

Thank you for your consideration and I would pleased to answer any questions or be of any help that AAUP may request.

Paul Zarembka 716-645-8686
Professor of Economics, and
Grievance Officer for Academics, UUP center chapter
SUNY at Buffalo

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