AAUP Welcomes Christopher Newfield in Lafayette and Baton Rouge

For much of the twentieth century in the United States a college education provided a path to middle-class status, and formed productive citizens. Can it still? What can we do to help ensure access to colleges and universities? Also, what do colleges and universities do for people who are not students? How can our increasingly privatized institutions continue to serve the public at large?
Dr. Christopher Newfield, Professor of English at the University of California-Santa Barbara and author of The great mistake: how we wrecked public universities, and how to fix them (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016) will speak at UL Lafayette Thursday, October 25 on “Fixing the great mistake: American universities in 2050.” The lecture, free and open to everyone, is at 5:30 PM in 112 Olivier Hall. The funding crisis and the role of the university in society are key topics. Students, parents, administrators, staff, faculty in all fields, and anyone concerned about rising tuition, debt, and the public role of universities are warmly invited.

Dr. Newfield will also speak at LSU, Baton Rouge, Friday, October 26, at the Paul M. Hébert Law Center, 3:30 to 5:30 PM, Room 110. The lecture, free and open to everyone. Both events are sponsored by the Louisiana Conference of the American Association of University Professors.

Newfield’s earlier books include The Emerson effect: individualism and submission in America (Chicago, 1996), Ivy and industry: business and the making of the American university, 1880-1980 (Duke, 2003), and Unmaking the public university: the forty year assault on the middle class (Harvard, 2008). His writing engages American political psychology, race relations, and the power of humanities-based research. In addition to more traditional material in English, his teaching includes courses on innovation studies, global California, the future of higher education, and English majoring after college. He blogs on higher education funding and policy at Remaking the University, the Huffington Post, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. His current book project is Lowered education: what to do about our downsized future. The lecture at UL Lafayette is based on research for this book.

Dr. Newfield’s The great mistake was published in 2016 and has just come out in paperback. The book addresses the crisis in U.S. higher education, as college becomes more and more of a necessity while tuition rises, and students and families suffer from unprecedented debt. How did this happen, and what can we do about it? What impacts does this situation have on society at large? Newfield combines firsthand experience with expert analysis to show how business-minded practices have increased costs and reduced the university’s value to society. He argues that higher education is a public good and must be treated as such.

[notes prepared by Leslie Bary, Department of Modern Languages, Vice-President, UL Lafayette Chapter, AAUP and President, Louisiana Conference, AAUP]

AAUP LA State Conference Newsletter – September 10, 2018

AAUP LA State Conference Newsletter – September 10, 2018

Louisiana members in national leadership Brooks Ellwood, Robey Clark Professor in Geology at LSU-Baton Rouge and incoming Chair of the Department of Geology and Geophysics, has been elected First Vice-President of AAUP at the national level. Linda Carroll, Professor Emerita of Italian at Tulane University, has elected to an at-large seat on National Council. Leslie Bary, Assistant Professor of Spanish at UL Lafayette, continues as District V Representative on National Council. Her article on organizing for AAUP is in the September/October issue of Academe.

Louisiana chapters and membership Congratulations are extended to the AAUP members at Southern University in Baton Rouge, who organized as a chapter this spring. Statewide membership in AAUP at about 160. There are active chapters at LSU-BR, UL Lafayette, SU-BR, and SU-Shreveport, and reorganizing chapters at Tulane and Loyola-NO. We seek members at every institution, whether or not it has a chapter of its own, and we invite participation at the state conference level from everyone. LSU-Alexandria members plan to organize as a chapter in Spring, 2019.

State conference leadership Elections for the 2018-2020 term were held at the April, 2018 meeting in Alexandria, and committee chairs were chosen. The current Executive Committee of the Conference is:

Leslie Bary, President (UL Lafayette), lbary@louisiana.edu
Hugh F. Wilson, Vice President (Grambling), wilsonh@gram.edu
Sudhir Trivedi, Secretary and Chair, Committee A (Southern), sudhir_trivedi@subr.edu
Michael Homan, Treasurer (Xavier), mhoman@xula.edu
Kevin Cope, At-Large (LSU-BR), encope@lsu.edu
Ravi Rau, Past President (LSU-BR), arau@physics.lsu.edu
Brian Salvatore, Chapter Services (LSU-S), brian.salvatore@lsus.edu
Dayne Sherman, Chair, Outreach and Communication (SELU), daynesherman@yahoo.com

State conference activities In February Howard Bunsis, Professor of Accounting at Eastern Michigan University, and a member of AAUP national leadership, visited LSU and UL Lafayette and presented analyses of our financial situations. A visit to Southern University in Baton Rouge is projected. Bunsis’ analyses are rich and multifaceted, and we have yet to fully process their implications. Chapters are encouraged to take this up, as the independent analysis of finances is a tool for organizing.

At the April meeting we decided to move into a clearer and more collaborative relationship with the ALFS (Association of Louisiana Faculty Senates) network, again for purposes of organizing.  There are now AAUP presentations at every ALFS meeting, the first having been a roundtable on AAUP history and the benefits of membership at the September 8, 2018 ALFS meeting with Brooks Ellwood, Brian Salvatore and Leslie Bary. Also in spring generous donation was made to the Conference by Baton Rouge supporters. We decided to fund a series of speakers over the next two years. This is to draw attention to national issues, energize our chapters and attract new members.

In the summer Brian Salvatore attended the national AAUP Institute at the University of New Hampshire, funded by the national organization and the state conference. This event provides training in AAUP issues as well as organizing and networking. We hope to receive national funding for a representative next year; the state conference will cover transportation costs for that representative and may be able to do so for an additional delegate. Brooks Ellwood attended the retreat of the national Executive Committee, and Leslie Bary attended the National Council meeting and the AAUP annual conference. Everyone is encouraged to participate in this conference, which has high quality panels on research and professional issues.

Organizing activities and issues Members of the state Executive Committee and State Conference met August 27, 2018 in Lafayette and September 8, 2018 in Alexandria to discuss planning for this year. We aim to increase membership in all chapters as well as at institutions without formal chapters, and LSU-Alexandria members plan to organize as a chapter.

Upcoming activities Professor Christopher Newfield (University of California, Santa Barbara) will visit Louisiana in October. His recent book The Great Mistake (Johns Hopkins) makes the case for public reinvestment in higher education. He will be at UL Lafayette and LSU-Baton Rouge campuses October 25 and 26, and the general public is invited to his presentations. There will also be an informal meeting and social event in Acadiana October 27 to which all state conference members and friends are invited. Contact people are Leslie Bary (UL Lafayette) and Olivier Moreteau (LSU).We will be in touch soon with details.

Leslie Bary
2018-2020 President
Louisiana Conference AAUP

AAUP LA State Conference Newsletter – November 1, 2017

Southeast Regional Meeting    Hugh Wilson, Vice President, and Ravi Rau, President, attended a one-day meeting on Saturday, October 28, of the Southeast Regional Meeting of State Conference leaders, held at Clayton State University in Atlanta. Organized by Robert Scott, Anne Richards, and Joe Carrado of the Georgia State Conference, guests from AAUP headquarters were Julian Madison, AAUP national chair of the committee on historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), and Brian Turner, President of AAUP’s Association of State Conferences.

Both spoke and led discussions on a variety of topics of concern to most faculty, especially in our region. The Southeast region is defined loosely, stretching from Texas to Florida and north to Virginia and Maryland, including Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee. In opening the meeting, Robert Scott pointed to the common problems our universities face, that we may well be the canary on threats to public education. Our region also houses many HBCUs who have got short shrift as state government funds have shrunk for all.

Dr. Madison spoke about the current atmosphere with the White House promoting division rather than unity, and corporations trying to take over K-12 education and lowering the worth of a college degree. They are also funding scholarships to groom narrowly as future employees of their companies, some even wanting to give out degrees themselves. Among their aims is to destroy unions and clean air and water laws. Some Republican congressmen are looking to pass a national Right to Work law to add to one already existing in all our states and many besides.

With men such as Metzenbaum and Stokes no longer in Congress, we do not have champions for our interests and Dr. Madison has been making contacts with the Congressional Black Caucus. This may be something for others in our region also to consider, perhaps inviting some from that group to events hosted by AAUP chapters and conferences on our campuses. He said that “we have to fight back” as corporations try to squeeze the middle class and have profits flow to the top, while organizations such as ALEC become a (regressive)bill-writing industry in our legislatures that they increasingly control. He pointed to students as an asset that HBCUs and community colleges have, that we need to mobilize them and their energy, Rutgers being an example of recent success. He also pointed to the importance of the 2018 election.

Dr. Scott noted that there are few AAUP members at HBCUs. It was striking that a meeting held in Atlanta did not attract any faculty from Morehouse, Spellman, or Clark-Atlanta, all campuses in the vicinity, nor from the flagship ones of Georgia State, Georgia Tech or U of Georgia which do not seem to have active chapters. We need to recruit more AAUP members, including from graduate students, adjunct and contingent faculty, who face especially adverse conditions. To do so, we need to present what AAUP has to offer them and chapters can look to issues to promote that will be seen as helping their well-being.

Dr. Turner spoke about the impending Janus decision from The Supreme Court that is likely to go against the current practice (upheld 4-4 in a previous decision) that requires non-union members in collective bargaining groups to pay some fee since they benefit from that bargaining.  See:  https://www.aaupcbc.org/together

AAUP currently has some 11,500 such in its total membership of 52,000 and if these fee-payers drop out, will see a net loss of $1 million in its annual $8 million revenue.

He spoke of the importance of every chapter having a Committee A that helps individuals under attack on their academic freedom or tenure (Gerry Sherayko of the Virginia Conference also spoke up: “Committee A is absolutely invaluable”), that the Summer Institutes that AAUP runs have people who provide training sessions on such work. The summer 2018 venue is likely to be Vermont and information can be accessed on AAUP’s website: aaup.org  He also spoke on the importance of recruiting more members in our advocacy chapters (all in our region).

Among other topics discussed: The importance of Newsletters both by chapters and state conferences. Some of these and those from the national office can be accessed on websites or are sent by Listserv but it may also be worth exploring wider dissemination to non-members of AAUP on our campuses. HBCU faculty are systematically underpaid and treatment of contingency faculty is shameful, with some having to teach 5-5 courses in the academic year at $1800 or 2000 per course. Our chapters should consider a target reduction of such practice in place of adding regular faculty and work towards that on their campuses. See also: Eva Swidler’s “The pernicious silencing of the adjunct faculty” (CHE, 30 October 2017)”

All campuses should pay attention to having a Faculty Handbook, what is on it, and that it is up-to-date.  The AAUP Redbook is a valuable aid, copies available for $50 (30% reduction for members) through the website.

Colleges and universities are under a campaign to “defund, delegitimize, and destroy” them and we have to fight back for the values and principles long enunciated and defended by AAUP. See

One Faculty, One Resistance website: https://onefacultyoneresistance.org/

Chapter Development Grants: Chapters are encouraged to apply to national AAUP for grants to support items such as recruiting and establishing new chapters (takes a minimum of 7) or distributing AAUP’s Redbook to campus administrative leaders. Following a success some years ago at LSU-Shreveport, a spectacular new one is the chapter at SU-BR with over a dozen new members. Applications, and more information, can be found here. Completed applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 17, 2017. Please note that applications must include an itemized budget for the project, along with the most recent annual financial report.

Articles on Issues    AAUP’s journal Academe and the Journal of Academic Freedom encourage submission of articles:  https://www.aaup.org/JAF8.

Summer Institutes    The Summer Institutes run by AAUP are useful and enjoyable as all who have attended testify. Members and chapter officers should consider attending one. See the aaup.org website for details. Some scholarships are available to defray costs of attending.

Webinars    AAUP also offers webinars for members who can access through their membership login. Among recent topics are (again, all accessible through the website aaup.org )

November 1, 2017

A. Ravi P. Rau,    President

Newsletter: President’s Report October 22, 2017

Under the joint auspices of the Louisiana Conference and the LSU-Baton Rouge chapter of AAUP, a meeting was held on the LSU campus on the morning of Saturday, October 21. Twenty AAUP members from the LSU and SU (Southern University) campuses in Baton Rouge and a couple from the UL (University of Louisiana) campus in Lafayette attended, to hear a presentation by Dr. Brian Turner (Randolph-Macon College, Virginia), President of the Association of State Conferences. Discussion continued over box lunches. Some notable items:

Among the principal roles of state conferences is to provide campus chapters: Solidarity (a sense of “you are not alone”), Collective Advocacy (for all faculty, across varied campuses and faculty ranks, tenure or non-tenure, contingent or permanent), government and relations to Boards (of Supervisors and Regents), media strategies (national AAUP is developing some for social media), and mobilization on behalf of beleaguered colleagues.

Faculty cannot rely on campus administrators but should build relations themselves with the Legislature, Commissioners of Education, and Board of Regents, as well as with others such as the Teachers Retirement System and individual Boards of Supervisors.

Both the State Conference and campus chapters should have a Committee A that handles questions of academic freedom and tenure (the LA Conf and several of our chapters do), giving advice and providing faculty advisors to accompany individual faculty for meetings with upper administrators, and referring cases to the national office’s Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance (DAFTG); a Committee on Governance to handle complaints of violations of shared governance, helping to focus on AAUP principles, and documenting in writing such violations; and a Committee on Chapter Development, focusing on recruitment and membership.

Sources of funding for State Conferences include the automatic revenue sharing from the national AAUP based on membership numbers and dues (for LA this is currently about $1100 annually) and Conference Development Grants awarded by competition and application to the national office (this year’s deadline is November 17; an example would be to apply to bring in someone from the national office to help set up a social media outreach). Because of shortage of funds, the ASC Conference Grants will be drastically slashed this year.

Currently, Louisiana has 155 members (a reduction of about ten in the last two years) and 7 campus chapters. It takes only 7 members to form a chapter and it will be nice if a couple of our chapters that have recently dropped below that threshold can build back up. We welcome a major new chapter that has just been formed at the SU-BR campus. Across the state, we should build our membership including among adjunct and contingent faculty and graduate students who are also eligible to be AAUP members.

In a right to work state such as ours, AAUP chapters are “advocacy,” and not “collective bargaining” as in some other states. Currently, total membership is about 9500 and 32000, respectively, in these two groups. The national office is very cognizant of AAUP covering both roles and to encourage and support advocacy chapters that speak mainly to improving campus culture on faculty rights and well-being, and advocating for core principles of academic freedom for all faculty in our institutions of higher education.

In other news, our Treasurer’s report shows a healthy conference budget. A prominent case of a tenured professor at the LSU, Baton Rouge, campus who was fired is proceeding in the Courts. The last hearing was on September 25 and the judge’s ruling on the next step is expected soon. The State Conference provided some support and also raised funds from members’ voluntary contributions to help defray some of the legal costs of the faculty member. The conference website has been refurbished, brought up to date, and is also healthy. AAUP Summer Institutes are a great resource and members are encouraged to attend. The 2018 venue will be announced soon; see https://www.aaup.org/our-programs/education-training/aaupaaup-cbc-summer-institute.

Elections of new officers will take place in the Spring at a meeting in April 2018 to be held in Lafayette.

October 22, 2017

A. Ravi P. Rau, President