President’s Newsletter August 9, 2020

The following was sent to all members, except for two administrators (associate members; can see the mailing here), and one member who does not wish to receive mail (but can also read here).

Dear colleagues,

The August 8 Zoom meeting had 23 participants at its highest point, but usually 22. Secretary Thomas Miller is preparing formal minutes and will have them to you soon. The next general meeting, originally planned for October 10 in Lafayette, will be virtual as well. Christof Stumpf (Prof. Biology, LSU-A) will serve as parliamentarian and timekeeper.

We adopted as a conference the two resolutions already endorsed and recommended by the executive committee: “Protecting lives, promoting education,” on COVID-19 and reopening, and the open letter on higher education funding. We urge you to consider their principles and to keep them in mind, in whole or in part, in your own organizing.

We also adopted the resolution by an ad hoc committee (K. Cope, J. Miranti, D. Sherman, M. Massé) asking the Governor for faculty representation on higher education boards in Louisiana. For reference I have archived the text here: https://aaupla.org/resolution-august-8-2020/. A task remaining for our next meeting, for Outreach and Communication or for the Executive Committee, is the delivery of the resolution and its possible use as an organizing tool.

We discussed implementation of the dues subsidy program, adding to the list of possible applicant categories members who have lost or reduced employment in the COVID-19 situation, but who are still active in AAUP or becoming yet more active. People who have nominees or wish to self-nominate should contact secretary Thomas Miller (Thomas_Miller@subr.edu) by October 10 if possible, although we will still consider applications later; the purpose of the program is to facilitate entry for newer / younger / lower-paid / underrepresented / contingent / faculty for whom dues are a barrier this year. We’ll subsidize 10 memberships at 100% for dues up to $100, and 50% for higher dues rates. If there are more than 10 nominees we will establish a protocol for ranking applications. We hope to encourage membership growth at institutions forming new chapters, and to support members interested in active participation on committees or other AAUP projects.

Other agenda items were deferred to the October 10 meeting. We will take new agenda items ahead of the meeting, and we will take new business, but we must cover all still-pertinent planned items, without disruption, this time. These are as follows, and some are routine:

– Implementation/use of resolution on HE boards (executive committee could also take this up in the meantime / appoint a committee to take up) 5 minutes
– Report on applications for dues subsidy program (Tom Miller) 5 minutes
– Report from COVID-19 committee (Tom Miller, Christof Stumpf, Sudhir Trivedi, Leslie ex officio); consider any new COVID-19 news; note Tulane survey and results here 10 minutes
Brief report from Summer Institute (Dave Reid, Leslie, perhaps others; all webinars and supplemental materials are available here (current members only – you must log in) 5 minutes
– Creation of network on the status of women (Judith Miranti, Leslie, [Jana Giles]) 10 minutes
– Brief reminder on fall/spring organizing drives, tools and materials for (Leslie) 5 minutes
– Brief report from Committee A (Kevin Cope, Leslie) 5 minutes
– Possible reports from chapters (Tulane, Southern have interesting activities, and others may) 10 minutes
*** BREATHE FOR 5 MINUTES, WE’LL BE COMING UP ON 11 AM ***
– Discussion: the idea of union (Steve Rushing, Kevin Cope) – what are the obstacles to organizing for HE advocacy in Louisiana, and how can they be overcome? 5-10 minutes presentation, 10-15 minutes discussion.
– 11:25 AM: Other agenda items / questions / new business, planning for JANUARY (not December) meeting; in the meantime executive committee, other committees, chapters can meet. 10 minutes
NOTE:
new agenda items already include report from Outreach/Communication committee and proposal to create Zoom issues workshops (Kevin Cope, Leslie Bary)
– 11:30 adjournment; if people still want to hang out, converse more informally, socialize, complain, plot revolution, I will hang out until 12 sharp, taking notes and moderating so that no one person dominates the floor.

Many thanks to everyone for your attention and your work.

In solidarity,

LESLIE
Leslie Bary
2020-2022 President
Louisiana Conference AAUP

Draft Resolution

SECOND DRAFT RESOLUTION FOR AUGUST 8TH AAUP MEETING: IMPROVING MANAGEMENT BOARDS, CONNECTING MANAGEMENT BOARD WITH FACULTY

Whereas the citizens of Louisiana have established universities as repositories of expertise—as resources for the teaching of our people, for the betterment of our life, for the advancement of our economy, and for the discovery of truth and knowledge;

Whereas Louisiana universities, per their mission statements, jointly cover a very wide range of disciplines and professional pursuits, from health care delivery to music history to astrophysics, and more;

Whereas the leadership of institutions that are dedicated to the cultivation of expertise requires familiarity with the culture and expertise of those whose profession is the production and dissemination of knowledge;

Whereas the management Boards of public institutions—the Boards of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System; the LSU System; the Southern University System; and the Louisiana Community and Technical Colleges System along with the State Board of Regents—are the appointed deputies of the Governor of Louisiana, regulating higher education on behalf of the State executive branch;

Whereas the membership of these five Boards is overwhelmingly comprised of persons drawn from a very small range of professions and vocations, most notably business, finance, and law, and whereas those few—no more than half-dozen—Board members with experience in education are former administrators rather than rank-and-file faculty members who belong to only two of the five Boards, those of Southern University and the LCTCS;

Whereas a much greater level of vocational, ideological, and socioeconomic diversity characterizes the governing Boards of Louisiana’s independent and religion-affiliated colleges and universities, which include in their membership architects, activists and social reformers, restaurateurs, artists, priests, and medical personnel, to name but a few of the participating professions;

Whereas a greater level of vocational diversity is also found among the management Boards of those prestigious institutions that routinely outrank Louisiana universities according to assorted metrics and rating services;1

Whereas, although the contributions of all Board members are highly valued, a Board that is dominated by one profession or cluster of professions lacks the breadth of expertise needed to served the expansive interests of higher education—a problem noted by prominent commentators writing for accoladed publications who have drawn attention to the potential conflict of interest between business-dominated Boards and the university mandate to probe, critique, and transform the status quo;

Whereas the thousands of faculty members of Louisiana colleges and universities possess an enormous but largely untapped treasury of disciplinary and educational knowledge as well as front-line experience in Louisiana higher education;

Whereas faculty members have made repeated attempts to establish channels of communication with both the management Boards and the executive branch of Louisiana government, whether through two meetings with the Governor’s Chief of Staff or whether through forums conducted under the aegis of ALFS (the Association of Louisiana Faculty Senates) or whether through testimony before legislative committees or whether through an assortment of personal contacts;

Whereas Louisiana’s higher education management Boards enfranchise student members but not faculty members;

Whereas the neglect of faculty advice and the unfamiliarity of management Boards with academic standards and practices have led Louisiana into the ignominious position of leading the nation both in total number of AAUP censures and the rate at which AAUP censures are imposed;

Therefore be it resolved that the Louisiana Conference of the American Association of University Professors [in partnership with the Association of Louisiana Faculty Senates] asks Governor John Bel Edwards to conduct a review of the qualifications required for appointment to any of Louisiana’s higher education;

Therefore be it resolved that the Louisiana AAUP [and ALFS] encourage[s] Governor Edwards to include experiential, vocational, and educational diversity as a criterion for appointment to management Boards;

Therefore be it further resolved that the Louisiana AAUP [and ALFS] ask[s] Governor Edwards to create formal channels for regular input to state higher education officials from Louisiana college and university faculty members;

Therefore be it further resolved that the Louisiana AAUP [and ALFS] ask[s] Governor Edwards to take the necessary steps, including legislative action if required, to include Louisiana faculty members on Louisiana higher education management Boards.

And therefore be it further resolved that the Louisiana State Conference of the AAUP will appoint a committee to introduce this resolution to Governor Edwards, either by preparing a suitable cover letter or arranging for direct delivery.

Agenda for Zoom meeting on August 8, 2020

For voting, followed by brief planning for implementation:

– Endorsing/using statements from AAUP on COVID-19 and on HE funding post-COVID (already endorsed by the Executive Committee)
– Adopting the resolution by Kevin Cope, Michelle Massé, Judith Miranti and Christof Stumpf, to ask the Governor for faculty representation on HE boards in Louisiana (this is a resolution we would also use for recruitment; a draft was distributed by e-mail

Reports and announcements:

– Formalization and process for dues subsidy program (Leslie + Executive Committee)
– Report from COVID-19 committee (Tom Miller, Christof Stumpf, Sudhir Trivedi, Leslie ex officio); note Tulane survey and results here
– Report on media consultant and outreach (Dayne Sherman, Kevin Cope, Judith Miranti)
– Brief report from Summer Institute (Dave Reid, Leslie, perhaps others; all webinars and supplemental materials are available here (current members only – you must log in)
– Creation of network on the status of women (Judith Miranti, Leslie, [Jana Giles])
– Brief reminder on fall/spring organizing drives, tools and materials for (Leslie)
– Brief report from Committee A (Kevin Cope, Leslie)
– Possible reports from chapters (Tulane, Southern have interesting activities, and others may)

Discussion:

– the idea of union (Steve Rushing, Kevin Cope) – what are the obstacles to organizing for HE advocacy in Louisiana, and how can they be overcome?

Leslie Bary
2020-2022 President