Louisiana Conference of the AAUP
Committee A Charge and Suggested Procedures
Leslie Bary / Kevin Cope
July 15, 2020
- Committee A is a Standing Committee of the Conference.
- AAUP State Conference Resources can be found here: https://www.aaup.org/about/state-conferences/state-conference-committee-resources
- The primary charge of the State Conference Committee A is educational; it works with institutions to integrate AAUP principles and standards on academic freedom and tenure into institutional policies and regulations. See information on the relation of State and National Committees A here:
- The State Committee A also assists Committees A of chapters, and members or other faculty members at institutions without chapters, in resolving disputes, particularly regarding issues of academic freedom. It can help querents clarify issues and identify goals, and advise on the formulation of effective grievances and appeals.
- There are important guidelines for dispute resolution here, that everyone should read and follow:
- While the State Committee’s role in disputes is primarily advisory, with investigations and letters being organized and sent primarily by the national AAUP, it may provide AAUP observers to accompany querents to meetings with administrators. Rules and information for observers can be found here: https://www.aaup.org/NR/rdonlyres/17C6C6B4-94D9-40B9-98A6-06BBEE020E61/0/InformationforAAUPObservers.pdf).
- The State Committee A may, in particular situations, contact administrations directly and write letters. Should this happen, the entire committee should be consulted on the text. Also, letters from the State Committee A will ideally be vetted by the national AAUP before they are sent. This way, we can be sure any letter we write will be aligned to national policy and with any document they may subsequently write on the case. See sample letter:
- The entire committee will consult together on some of its business, and committee members will keep the committee chair and the conference president informed of work undertaken with faculty.
- Membership on the committee, however, is NOT a right to be deeply involved in every case, because (i) some division of labor is needed; (ii) querents must be free to choose with whom they work; (iii) we may need consultation and support from outside the committee; (iv) the academic calendar moves on. If a committee member is on sabbatical or otherwise unavailable, querents will not be in a position to wait for them to come back; (v) querents, especially with complex cases, will be best served working with a small group, with pertinent expertise.
- Therefore querents, especially those with cases involving academic freedom and/or tenure, or that go beyond violation of procedure, may have case committees composed of, for instance, a senior person in the same or a related discipline, a senior person with expertise in policy and procedure in the relevant system, and a person with strong expertise in Committee A matters. These committees will be composed in consultation with the Committee A chair and the querents themselves, and members of such committees may or may not be current members of the standing Committee A (although they will report to it).
- The committee should issue a periodic report, documenting its work. Below is a link to sample reports. We may or may not want to give as much detail: these reports are useful because they show the committee’s work, but we may anonymize the querents more fully.
- Committee A, however, does not have the resources to resolve every dispute, or solve every problem. It focuses most closely on academic freedom, shared governance and the tenure rights that support these for all.