Greetings from Atlanta where I attended the 2019 meeting of the Assembly of State Conferences, conjoined with the Spring meeting of the Georgia Conference. It was a worthwhile event and I thank the Conference for covering my flight. Following are some highlights.
Response to Projected Dissolution of ASC
Brian Turner, President of the ASC, presented the projected changes to the structure of the national organization. ASC will no longer exist and the national meeting will be biannual: how, then, should state conferences coordinate? After some discussion, it was decided that at the national meeting this June, where Georgia Conference President Robert “Scotty” Scott will be along with Brooks Ellwood (LSU), Linda Carroll (Tulane), myself and some others, we should continue conversation on creating an assembly of state conferences for our Southeastern region, which will have only one delegate on National Council from 2020 forward. We need to work together and support each other, and this initiative will be important.
The formulation of this plan made my trip worth it, as Southeastern solidarity and cooperation are really needed. The Georgia membership is well organized and we should work with them and other neighbors. People across our region have been having the same conversation we have been having in Louisiana about the changes to the national organization. It appears to us that the restructuring of AAUP at the national level will effectively throw organizational attention to the Northeast and Midwest, and marginalize the South and West. Importantly, the plan for delegate voting means that our representatives will be elected by all voters, not just voters from our regions, so the one Southern and one Western representative will be effectively elected by members from the Northeast and Midwest. In this scenario we are largely on our own, and must hang together.
State Conference Organization
- The Georgia Conference is slightly larger than the Louisiana one but has a similar-sized bank account and income.
- It has a paid Executive Director / Legislative Liaison (Steve Anthony, J.D.) who for $3200.00 per annum does a great deal of efficient lobbying.
- It obtained a conference development grant to buy and supply copies of the Redbook to chapters and other key individuals. This is a simple thing we could do that would have an impact.
- Every year it determines a number of people (2-6) to send to the national conference and the summer institute, and funds each one at $500. This helps them to go (other funding is from chapters, from the scholarships to the institute from ASC, and from self-funding), but being a flat subsidy does not require receipts and thus saves on paperwork/accounting.
- It has a Committee A delegate on each campus, whether or not the campus has a chapter, to work as liaison to the state conference Committee A. This is exactly our plan and they have already come up with it and implemented it, and it is working for them.
- It is initiating a salary study for gender equity, designed to work toward greater gender equity but also simply to raise their profile – an organizing strategy parallel to our planned resolution on funding, which is designed to work toward increased state funding but also to raise our profile and raise consciousness. (Most Americans do not realize how much state funding for education has been lost over the past decade.)