In the face of unprecedented threats to academic freedom at public colleges and universities, the AAUP has launched an awareness and action campaign called "Speak Up, Speak Out: Protect the Faculty Voice on Campus."
The foundation of the project is a comprehensive report by an AAUP subcommittee that examines the 2006 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos that determined government can restrict the speech of public employees when they comment on issues related to their "official duties."
Although the decision specifically set aside academic speech, recognizing that additional constitutional interests were at stake, several lower courts have ruled recently that faculty members who speak out on matters affecting their institutions are not protected under the First Amendment.
In addition to analysis of Garcetti and the ensuing lower court decisions, the AAUP report recommends a number of action steps, including adoption of specific policy language designed to ensure the continued protection of academic freedom and shared governance.
Everyone has an important voice in protecting academic freedom on campus. Find out whether your college or university has written policies that protect the full range of academic freedom. If not, urge your senate and administration to work together to develop them. And if it does, use the AAUP materials to reinforce policy strength; collaborate with other groups on and off campus for governance workshops, to monitor emerging cases and publicize successful actions; and support faculty around the country in protecting academic freedom and shared governance.
Active AAUP chapters serve the profession on more than 450 campuses by supporting principles and programs that vitally affect the quality of higher education and professional life. Find out how you can start a chapter at your college or university.
Access to Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Contingent Faculty offers advice for individual contingent faculty members as well as a discussion of strategies for changing policies regarding access to unemployment benefits. The guidebook can be purchased for $6 in the AAUP Store.
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By joining the AAUP, you help shape the future of our profession. In addition, there are practical benefits such as discounts, insurance programs, and a subscription to Academe, including the annual report on faculty compensation. Click here to read more about the benefits of an AAUP membership.