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

President’s Newsletter, November 17, 2019

Louisiana Conference AAUP
President’s Newsletter, November 17, 2019

Dear Colleagues,

I hope this finds everyone well. In my role as District V Representative to the National Council of AAUP, I will meet with the Council in Washington November 22-24, and return to Louisiana with the latest national news. As you know, the changes to AAUP structure at the national level mean we must be active and support each other. I am interested in bringing as much national support to Louisiana as I can, and in placing as many of us as possible in direct contact with national leadership and leadership elsewhere in our region.

In news of the state conference, a new chapter has formed at LSU-Alexandria. With the recent addition of a chapter at Xavier, we are eight: SU-BR and SU-Shreveport, LSU-BR and LSU-A, UL Lafayette and SELU, XULA and Tulane. That is two private institutions, two in the University of Louisiana System, two LSU and two Southern campuses. I would very much like to see LSU-S grow a chapter, to give better coverage in the northern part of the state. I would also be delighted to see growth at UNO and Delgado, as well as Loyola which has a commitment to social justice and has had an active chapter in the past.

State conference leaders and members met September 28 in Alexandria, but did not hold our planned formal meeting. We decided that although it is good to have an AAUP presentation at ALFS, it is most practical to hold our business meetings separately. Accordingly, the Louisiana Conference of the AAUP will meet January 25, 2020, 10AM-12N at the Paul Hébert Law Center, LSU-Baton Rouge. We will provide lunch at noon, and we request attendees RSVP by January 10 so orders can be made.

 A draft agenda is below. Please let me know if you have additional items, they can be fit in.

I. Welcome and introductions. (5m)

IIA. Discussion of ongoing project: our resolution on restoration of state funding as organizing tool. It has been endorsed by ALFS, the LA AAUP Executive Council, the Faculty Senate at LSU-A, and the LSU-A Chapter of AAUP. (10m)

IIB. AAUP anti-privatization initiative (an important issue and organizing tool), and possible visit of Monica Owens (AAUP political organizer, with interests in both the restoration of state funding and the anti-privatization initiative. (10m)

III. Treasurer’s report. (5m)

IV. Reports from chapter presidents. (30m) [1 hour mark]

V. Discussion of networking among chapters, organizing statewide. (15m)

VI. Committee A issues: mission, training opportunities, liaisons on campuses without chapters (5m)

VII. Grant and other funding opportunities through the conference, for chapters and individuals (10m)

VIII. 2020 Summer Institute scholarships (5m)

IX. Process for credentialing one or more representatives to the summer meeting (10m)

X. Formation of nominations committee for Spring 2020 state conference elections. (10m)
 
XI. Establishment of date for April, 2020 (election) meeting. (5m) [2 hour mark]

In solidarity,

Leslie Bary
2018-2020 President
Louisiana Conference AAUP

Letter from Louisiana: Advocacy Organizing in Red America

BY LINDA CARROLL

For red state advocacy members, it is heartening that the national leadership and staff of the AAUP are planning a renewed emphasis on organizing in advocacy situations, as announced at this year’s June meeting.

Advocacy organizing in red states has a number of distinctive features, as I learned from decades of work in a state located in a large and contiguous region that itself has become increasingly red (a condition common to many red states).

In red states, institutions are often widely scattered over a large territory, which isolates them from one another. And at red state institutions, the proportion of faculty members willing to publicly identify with the AAUP is often small. While becoming an AAUP activist gains the respect of many colleagues, it often also puts a target on one’s back that will be aimed at not only by the administration but by faculty members who have decided to cooperate with or pacify the administration and/or the state legislature. At large institutions, the AAUP chapter is visible to disapproving members of the legislature—frequently the majority—which can intimidate faculty who have not committed to becoming activists themselves. At smaller institutions, public and especially private, it can be difficult to arrive at the minimum number of seven to form a chapter.

In the spirit of assisting the new national campaign to achieve the highest level of success, I offer a few suggestions for our leaders and staff.

Local Leadership in Decision-Making
Advocacy people want to choose their goals on the basis of their institution’s situation (e.g., revisions to the faculty handbook that improve provisions for faculty governance and professional functioning, tenure, and academic freedom). They also want to choose the best means by which to pursue them because they know the limits of tolerance of their colleagues and their administrations. Once that has been done, support by the national AAUP in the form of advice, research, finances, speakers, and other resources is most helpful.

Terminology
Because of the extreme hostility to labor unions in many red states, a hostility that legislatures may be more than willing to turn into the withholding of funds or attacks on the faculty, an emphasis on the AAUP as a professional association rather than as a labor union is the more functional approach in attracting members.

Conferences and Regional Groupings
In red states, state conferences are of particular importance. The conference can counteract the isolation otherwise felt by chapters, by providing shared experience, support, and clout. Conferences also provide a home for AAUP members who do not have an institutional chapter or who have chosen to remain anonymous even to their campus AAUP leadership, a common red state situation. Also very helpful are the kind of inter-conference regional groupings that AAUP activists have already been forming and that provide additional opportunities to gather with like-minded colleagues to find solutions to common problems.

Election Methods and Regional Delegates to National Council
The move at the 2019 national meeting to elect national leadership through delegates to the national meeting, as well as the change in voting procedure from nomination and election of regional delegates by regional members to their nomination and election by the entire delegate body, set several obstacles in the path of attracting and retaining advocacy members. The first is that electing by secret ballot and sending a delegate to national meetings will require chapters and “sections” to divert funds from membership-building activities; in many cases the cost involved in conducting an election meeting Department of Labor standards and the air fare, hotel bill, and conference registration for the delegate will be a significant portion of their budget. The second is that red-state advocacy members operate in an environment of self-motivation and self-determination and their regional representative on Council is their only voice at the national level. The third is that legal advice will likely be required for the chapters and sections to determine what procedures are legally available to them to elect their delegate. There are sure to be questions, and the generic answer “it’s complicated” won’t help. How great these obstacles will be is an open question. Many red state leaders hope that the national organization will quickly remove them by restoring individual-member voting and the nomination and election of regional delegates to national Council by regional members.

Pathway to the Future.
Change always brings challenges, many of which only become visible as one walks down that pathway. But there is no reason for pessimism and, ironically, the current hostility to faculty and to substantive education provides many reasons for optimism as it has awakened many faculty colleagues to the imperative to form a united front. Faculty members, particularly AAUP members, are used to analyzing challenges, considering alternatives, and then working together to overcome them. We can, and will, do that again. But the point is that this process does not occur on its own. Like so many other activities, the solution is to organize—at the chapter, conference, regional, and national levels. Benjamin Franklin’s advice about hanging together so as not to hang separately was never more appropriate.

Guest blogger Linda Carroll is an at-large member of the AAUP national Council, a former president of the Tulane University AAUP chapter, and a former secretary of the Louisiana state AAUP conference.

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