President’s Newsletter and report on Zoom meeting June 20, 2020

June 23, 2020
Louisiana Conference, AAUP
President’s Newsletter and report on Zoom meeting June 20, 2020

Executive Committee: Sudhir Trivedi (Vice-President), Tom Miller (Secretary), Kevin Cope (Treasurer), Dave Reid (At-Large), Ravi Rau (Past President), Dayne Sherman (Communication and Outreach), Brian Salvatore (Chapter Services), Vipin Menon (Media Manager)

Action Items (ideally before next meeting August 8 – Executive Committee to meet earlier by Zoom / similar)

Executive Committee

  • Consider issuing COVID-19 statement, and/or signing onto and helping to disseminate the one from the Midwestern AAUP chapters
  • Consider imlementation of survey of COVID-19 responses, perhaps together with ALFS
  • Vote on the proposal to subsidize memberships for 10 African-American faculty, and discuss implementation
  • Consider issuing a statement on diversity/George Floyd protests
  • Consider forming a committee to follow up on Hugh Wilson’s proposal, on advocating for LA institutions to join SROP or create something like it here
  • Consider signing onto the New Deal for Higher Education and organizing around its principles

Chapter Leaders

  • Get an AAUP spot at Fall orientation, both for faculty and for graduate students
  • Get AAUP brochures into orientation packets for new faculty
  • Discuss statements referred to in this document on COVID-10 and racial justice with membership
  • Consider signing onto these statements and/or issuing your own, disseminating these statements and organizing around the issues they raise
  • Consider participating in voting registration / GOTV drive – while wearing AAUP paraphernalia, to raise our profile
    Consider signing onto the New Deal for Higher Education and organizing around its principles

Members

  • Attend at least part of Summer Institute
  • Ask colleagues to join AAUP
  • Ask the AAUP national office for brochures and other recruiting materials
  • Participate in chapter and conference activities, speak up, volunteer for chapter and state conference committees
  • Run for Senate, get on Senate policy committees, work on faculty rights / faculty handbook

Dear Colleagues,

We had a lively Zoom meeting with 14 participants. Central topics were COVID-19 response, member support, and membership recruitment, and we have action items related to these as well as to the George Floyd protests. Shared governance, academic freedom, and labor rights as well as student safety are key issues here. We need to be visible and also supportive of related organizations. As District V Representative to the National Council, Leslie Bary had been in conference with leadership earlier in the week and the message from the Washington office was that to save higher education in the United States we should all be out registering voters and making sure to get out and vote in November.

TREASURER’S REPORT

We have $23,678 in the bank, and we are receiving about $1,200 per annum in dues rebates from the national organization. Although expenditures have been minimal in 2020 due to the COVID situation, we normally have some travel expenses, covering delegates sent to national meetings. There are minor costs related to website maintenance, and we sometimes host speakers from out of state and contribute financially to legal expenses of our colleagues (members and not). This means we are spending on average slightly more than we bring in. There are solutions for this:

1/ Increase membership! We receive a portion of dues for each member.

2/ Apply for grants for specific purposes from AAUP. Leslie Bary got one, and it covered the cost of the visit of Chris Newfield to LSU-BR and UL Lafayette. There are several, including chapter development grants.

3/ Fundraise. Part of why we are doing as well as we are currently has to do with a donation of $10,000 we received in 2018.

COMMITTEE A ON ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND TENURE

Chair is Kevin Cope (LSU-BR) and current members are Dean Sinclair (Northwestern), Sudhir Trivedi (SU-BR), and Hugh Wilson (Grambling). Committee A seeks additional members, particularly from institutions without chapters and chapters without active Committees A. Interested people should contact Leslie Bary (empowered as President to expand the Committee) and/or Kevin Cope (chair and convener).

The committee has received a number of inquiries on academic freedom issues from around the state, as well as some from people denied tenure. It has noted what appears to be a pattern of systemic gender discrimination across institutions and is keeping watch on this.

The state conference has traditionally used some of our funds to help colleagues with legal costs, especially when they had cases with broad implications for everyone. We decided to allocate Committee A a budget of up to $1,000 per year for this purpose. We may vote to supplement this budget at crucial times and we will, as we have always done, continue to support colleagues with our own funds. Following AAUP principles the Committee will use all funds to support principles, not individuals, and we support all faculty, not only AAUP members. We support rank-and-file, not only high profile faculty, and we support contingent faculty as well as tenure-track and tenured faculty. Please note that from an AAUP perspective all faculty are tenure-track or tenured, whether institutions recognize this or not, and all deserve equal support from AAUP.

SUMMER INSTITUTE

You will have received mail from AAUP on the Summer Institute. Programs are virtual and no-cost this year, and they are very highly recommended. The program is at https://www.aaup.org/event/2020-summer-institute-online and while there is no cost, space is limited so registration should be done now. You don’t have to register for at all, and can attend for as short a time as 90 minutes. Once again, the sessions are VERY valuable and those of us who have attended in the past could not recommend the Institute more highly.

COVID-19

  1. Issues include safety, pedagogy, intellectual property, workload, research feasibility, tenure, and possible program and staffing reductions, as well as shared governance. We should insist that all faculty be involved in decision making. At several campuses only hand-picked faculty and departments head/s chairs are involved.
  1. We may very want to issue a statement on COVID-19, or at the very least sign onto the one the Midwestern chapters have written. Xavier sent a statement of support, and I would like the State Conference to consider signing. The document is here, e-mail aaup-midwest-coalition@googlegroups.com to sign. I would like the executive committee (Sudhir, Tom, Kevin, Dave, Ravi, Dayne, Brian, Vipin) to vote on signing, taking into consideration that several members have spoken very positively of this letter. We should then publicize the letter, and also any statement we may compose.
  2. We want to do a survey of COVID plans at Louisiana universities. Some, for instance, have extended the tenure clock by one year, in some cases with the possibility of opting out. What else is being done? If we are actually doing this, we need to compose a committee to create this survey and find a way to conduct it; we might want to work in tandem with ALFS here.

RACIAL JUSTICE

In the context of the George Floyd protests, many state conferences have issued statements on racial justice. With historic protests taking place in Lafayette, UL Lafayette’s Faculty Senate issued a letter on diversity in hiring, curriculum and admissions. The UL Lafayette AAUP chapter signed with them. Other chapters may want to emit such statements, and the State Conference may want to as well.

MEMBER RECRUITMENT + RACIAL JUSTICE

There had been a suggestion that we subsidize new memberships, perhaps targeting campuses that do not have chapters and need them. In light of the need to support racial justice and to diversity membership in the AAUP, this was modified to a proposal to subsidize, at 50%, for three years, ten new memberships for African-American faculty members, of any rank and at any institution.

(Another suggestion was a competition: we could offer a monetary prize to the chapter or chapters that can sign up the most African-American members in the coming year.)

The executive committee needs to vote on the subsidy proposal, which was discussed with strong interest, and create an implementation plan.

FUNDING FOR HIGHER EDUCATION + COVID-19 + RACIAL JUSTICE

The state conference, chapters, and allied organizations may want to sign onto the AAUP proposal for a New Deal for Higher Education and use its points as talking points with administrations, legislators, civic groups, and the media.

The executive committee should discuss this.

NEXT ZOOM MEETING

Saturday, August 8, 2020, 10 AM. Leslie will in the meantime communicate with the Executive Committee and with you, to coordinate action on plans discussed today.

Present at this meeting:

From the Executive Committee:

Leslie Bary (UL Lafayette)
Sudhir Trivedi (Southern)
Kevin Cope (LSU-BR)
Dave Reid (UL Lafayette)
Vipin Menon (McNeese)

From the Membership:

Matthew Ware (Grambling)
Judith Miranti (Xavier)
Jana Lipman (Past President, Tulane)
Katheryn Laborde (Xavier)
Constance Balides (Tulane)
Christof Stumpf (LSU-Alexandria)
Carola Wenk (President, Tulane)
Brooks Ellwood (LSU-BR)
Biljana Obradovic (President, Xavier)

 

In Solidarity,

LESLIE

Leslie Bary
2020-2022
President
Louisiana Conference AAUP

AAUP Louisiana Conference, 25 April 2020

Leslie Bary, President
Sudhir Trivedi, Secretary
Louisiana Conference, AAUP

Annual Meeting April 25, 2020

The meeting was held by Zoom, due to the coronavirus lockdown. Including officers there were 29 members present, from 13 Louisiana institutions: Centenary College of Louisiana, Grambling State University, LSU-Alexandria, LSU-Baton Rouge, McNeese State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, SU-Baton Rouge, Tulane University of Louisiana, University of Holy Cross, UL Lafayette, UL Monroe, and Xavier University of Louisiana.

Discussion was wide-ranging but these are highlights.

1. Election of officers for 2018-2020.

The Nominating Committee consisting of Christof Stumpf (Chair), Jana Lipman, and Carrie Chrisco presented a slate: Leslie Bary (President), Sudhir Trivedi (Vice President), Thomas Miller (Secretary), Kevin Cope (Treasurer), and David Reid (At-Large).

Steven Rushing moved to approve the slate and was seconded by Nigel Gwee. The motion passed unanimously, and there were no nominations from the floor. The election will be run by SurveyMonkey before the end of the Spring Semester, and all members will have the chance to vote.

2. Committees.

Current committee heads include Vipin Menon, Media Manager/Webmaster, appointed at the January 25 meeting in Baton Rouge. Committee heads serve on the Executive Committee.

Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure needs additional members and seeks volunteers, from all institutions but in particular from those without their own chapters or their own Committees A. Dean Sinclair joined at this meeting, and we encourage others to do so. Resources for Committee A are on the AAUP website, here: https://www.aaup.org/about/state-conferences/state-conference-committee-resources.

3. Meetings.

Considering the coronavirus situation, we decided we should meet bimonthly. Some meetings will still be in person and there is an in-person meeting, with a speaker, lunch, and a recreational excursion to Festivals Acadiens et Créoles tentatively scheduled for Saturday, October 10 at UL Lafayette. However, the next meeting will be Saturday, June 20, at 10 AM on Zoom. Leslie will have just attended the June National Council meeting, also on Zoom, by then, and we will be able to continue the discussion begun Saturday, April 25.

4. Board of Regents.

We had a discussion about becoming a regular presence at the monthly Board of Regents meetings. We decided to offer a year’s AAUP membership to Jim Robinson of LSU-E, who does attend meetings regularly as a member of the Association of Louisiana Faculty Senates. We are hoping a larger group can have a sustained presence.

5. Legal Support.

We discussed offering legal support for faculty grievances, and Vipin Menon is drafting a proposal for this. (Note from Leslie: the Conference has traditionally provided financial support to key cases.)

6. News from National AAUP.

Due to the coronavirus, the 2020 summer Institute and summer meeting are both canceled. Elections (with delegates functioning as electors, per the new Constitution) will take place by paper mail. We, the Louisiana Conference, expect to help support some of our members to attend the Institute and the meeting the next time these are held, as they (and particularly the Institute) are very interesting and the Institute, in addition to being pleasant, offers excellent training for AAUP activists.

7. Current issues.

We are concerned about the impact of the coronavirus on our campuses and on faculty and student rights, including increased privatization and loss of faculty input on decision making as well as other faculty and student rights, intellectual property rights, and possible “reorganization” of institutions. We will be watching developments on our campuses, for discussion at the June 20th meeting.

Discussion at the meeting and in the accompanying Zoom chat thread was very rich, and the chat thread has been archived for future reference.

President’s Newsletter, January 25, 2020

Louisiana Conference AAUP
President’s Newsletter

January 25, 2020

Today we met at the LSU Law Center. 18 members attended, representing Tulane University of Louisiana, University of Holy Cross, LSU-Baton Rouge, Southern University-Baton Rouge, LSU-Alexandria, McNeese State University, and UL Lafayette. McNeese now has 7 members and will be formalizing a chapter this semester. With them, and the recent reactivation of the chapter at Centenary College, we will have chapters at 10 Louisiana institutions. I am grateful for the participation of members from institutions without chapters and I urge every chapter to work to increase membership this year. Materials and training are available, and AAUP presence strengthens faculty and campuses.

Monica Owens, political organizer from AAUP-national, gave a workshop on organizing strategies that was very useful. We worked with materials in the AAUP’s anti-privatization toolkit as examples of steps in an organization strategy, and we decided we need to hone our resolution to a more specific purpose before using it as part of an organizing campaign. Monica is available to consult with individual chapters by Zoom and can be contacted at mowens@aaup.org.

We formed a nominations committee for Spring elections. Chairing is Christof Stumpf (LSU-A), cstumpf@lsua.edu. Members are Jana Lipman (Tulane), jlipman@tulane.edu and Carrie Chrisco (McNeese), cchrisco@mcneese.edu. The committee is soliciting nominations for all offices, as well as to the state conference Committee A on academic freedom and tenure, which needs expansion. Members from institutions without chapters are particularly welcome on the state Committee A, since this connection can help support their faculty. We appointed Vipin Menon (McNeese) to the state conference executive committee as Media Manager.

The Spring meeting will be Saturday, April 25, 2020, 10AM-12N at UL Lafayette. I have requested a room in the Student Union. This is next to Cypress Lake with its graceful birds and charming alligators and turtles. Festival International de Louisiane, a major music, food, arts and crafts festival, will be in full swing from 12N to 11PM and later, so it will be worth staying the afternoon or longer.

We discussed a number of practical matters relating to governance and training. We may need minor constitutional revisions to enable maximum representation at the national level, and the Executive Committee will look into this. Chapters may wish to credential delegates to vote at the national meeting in June, and/or band together to form a “section” and credential a single delegate to deliver our votes. We will be communicating about this and also about the summer Institute, to be held in July either at San Diego State U or U of Nevada, Reno. The Institute is very much worthwhile, and there are some scholarships for first-time attendees.

We look forward to seeing you April 25, and to hearing from you before then.

In solidarity,

LESLIE

Leslie Bary
2018-2020 President
Louisiana Conference AAUP

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