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Academic Freedom and Tenure: Felician College

This report concerns the cases of seven full- time faculty members at Felician College, most of them long-serving, who were notified in late January (along with nine colleagues who did not contact the AAUP) that their services were being terminated in June. The administration initially attributed its actions to a decline in enrollment that it claimed had resulted in financial exigency. The report also discusses the deplorable conditions for academic freedom and faculty governance in the absence of a tenure system.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: University of Southern Maine

This report addresses the actions taken by administrators at the University of Southern Maine to discontinue, reduce, and consolidate numerous academic departments and to reduce the size of the faculty by fifty positions at the end of the fall 2014 semester. The investigating committee sought to determine whether the program closures and retrenchments were conducted in accordance with AAUP-supported principles and due-process standards. The committee concludes that the USM administration violated the Association’s standards on financial exigency and program discontinuance, as well as those on academic governance.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

This report finds that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) administration and the board of trustees of the University of Illinois violated principles of academic freedom when they withdrew a tenured faculty appointment that had been offered to Professor Steven Salaita. The job offer was withdrawn after Professor Salaita made a series of impassioned Twitter posts expressing outrage about the war in Gaza.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

This report finds that University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center's administration violated commonly accepted academic standards when it terminated the appointments of two professors. One professor had twelve years of service and the other had thirty. Both had been recommended for “renewal of tenure” by the faculty personnel committee.

Busting the Myths: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2014-15

Last year, the American Association of University Professors launched the One Faculty campaign to improve the job security and working conditions of contingent faculty. Writing about the campaign in the November–December 2014 issue of Academe, Jamie Owen Daniel, the AAUP’s director of organizing, asserted that “shrinking public resources, administrators’ random introduction of ‘creative disruption’ agendas, and the increasing possibility that state legislators will push for more right-to-work legislation” can be resisted only by “reclaiming the narrative” through “aggressive and unified faculties organized to speak together.”

On Trigger Warnings

A current threat to academic freedom in the classroom comes from a demand that teachers provide warnings in advance if assigned material contains anything that might trigger difficult emotional responses for students.

Report of Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, 2013–14

The 2013–14 Committee A report includes both judicial and legislative activities. The judicial work of Committee A involves the imposition and removal of censure. In 2013–14, one administration was censured, and Committee A was delegated the authority to remove another from the censure list once continuing positive developments were validated. Committee A also closed its investigation of another institution because of favorable administrative progress.

Report of the Annual Meeting, 2014

From June 11 to 15, 2014, the AAUP hosted its One Hundredth Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Concurrent with the annual meeting was the AAUP Conference on the State of Higher Education, which included plenary addresses and presentations on current issues confronting the academic community. The AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress also held its annual business meeting in conjunction with the AAUP annual meeting.

Report of the Annual Conference, 2011

The AAUP’s Annual Conference on the State of Higher Education, held June 8–11, 2011, in Washington, DC, featured four days of presentations on pressing issues in higher education, along with expert-led workshops, keynote addresses, and AAUP annual meeting business sessions.

Report of the Annual Conference, 2010

The AAUP’s Annual Conference on the State of Higher Education, held June 9–12, 2010, in Washington, D.C., featured four days of presentations on pivotal questions in higher education, in addition to keynote addresses and AAUP annual meeting business sessions.

On Partnerships with Foreign Governments: The Case of Confucius Institutes

Allowing any third-party control of academic matters is inconsistent with principles of academic freedom, shared governance, and the institutional autonomy of colleges and universities. Confucius Institutes function as an arm of the Chinese state and are allowed to ignore these principles.

Defending the Freedom to Innovate: Faculty Intellectual Property Rights after Stanford v. Roche

Tensions over control of the fruits of faculty scholarship have been slowly building since the 1980s and have intensified over the last three years. There have long been differences of opinion over ownership of patentable inventions, but recently a number of universities have categorically asserted that they own the products of faculty research. And there is increasing institutional interest in declaring ownership of faculty intellectual property subject to copyright—most notably evident in demands that faculty members cede ownership of online courses and other instructional materials to their universities, a trend that began escalating in the 2012–13 academic year.

Statement on Intellectual Property

The management of inventions, patents, and other forms of intellectual property in a university setting warrants special guidance because it bears on so many aspects of the university’s core missions, values, and functions, including academic freedom, scholarship, research, shared governance, and the transmission and use of academic knowledge by the broader society.

Statement on Intellectual Property

Providing guidance, this statement deals with the management of inventions, patents, and other forms of intellectual property in a university setting.

Academic Freedom and Electronic Communications

This revised report brings up to date and expands upon the Association’s 2004 report on the same topic, while affirming the earlier report’s basic principles. Academic freedom, free inquiry, and freedom of expression within the academic community may be limited to no greater extent in electronic format than they are in print, save for the most unusual situation where the very nature of the medium itself might warrant unusual restrictions,

Controversy in the Classroom

The AAUP clarifies that the group "Students for Academic Freedom," which purports to rely on AAUP principles concerning controversial subject matter, in fact goes well beyond the AAUP's statements and is inimical to academic freedom and the very idea of liberal education. 

Academic Freedom and Electronic Communications

This draft report, prepared by a subcommittee of the Association’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, was approved by Committee A and the AAUP’s national Council in November 2013 for publication for comment. We welcome your comments on the draft report; please send them to Jennifer Nichols (jnichols@aaup.org) by January 10.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: Northeastern Illinois University

The administration of Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago violated principles of academic freedom when it denied tenure to a candidate who had opposed its wishes in a dispute between linguistics faculty and teachers of English as a second language (TESL), concludes an AAUP investigating committee in this new report.

Incentives to Forgo Tenure

Tenure is "indispensable to the success of an institution in fulfilling its obligations to its students and to society." So declares the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure. The academic community, however, has never lacked for proposals that would undermine tenure and thus its role in serving students and society. Among such current proposals, one in particular requires comment because it has surfaced in recent cases considered by Committee A.1  It proposes that prospective faculty members accept renewable term appointments and forgo consideration for tenure and/or that current faculty members renounce tenure in return for some advantage, such as a higher salary, accelerated leave, or other pecuniary consideration. Proponents of these agreements argue that they embody a free exchange of mutual benefit to the parties. If academic tenure withers in consequence, they claim, that only demonstrates that, in a free market, faculty will have demonstrated their unwillingness to support tenure.

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