Fall Meeting: Building Strong State Conferences

Brian Turner, Chair of the Association of State Conferences, AAUP, will conduct a workshop for all Louisiana AAUP members on the building of state conferences Saturday, October 21, 2017 in the Capitol Chamber of the LSU Student Union in Baton Rouge. The workshop is 10AM-12N, after which lunch will be provided by the AAUP and informal discussion will continue. Please plan to come as we begin our statewide organizing drive.

AAUP LA State Conference Newsletter

Newsletter from AAUP LA State Conference, Feb 17, 2017

Dr. Howard Bunsis (Eastern Michigan) from the national AAUP visited our campuses in Baton Rouge, Alexandria, and Lafayette Feb 9-11. In presenting the bleak prospects we face in the State and the nation, he had a wealth of information to share. A brief summary is given here. The full set of his Powerpoint slides may be found through the LSU Faculty Senate website: http://www.lsu.edu/senate/media%20archive.html.  He exhorted us to grow our chapters of AAUP, that body standing ready to help us as it has for a hundred years.

Revenues and State support of higher education

  • All but 7 US states showed gains in the total higher education appropriation between 2012 and 2017, but LA’s loss was the second worst at -11%. Already, the 2012 number was 30% below 2009.
  • The change per capita was +7% for the national average, LA’s -25% being the second from the bottom.
  • For the year 2016-7, while most showed an increase, LA is one of three with a further drop of over 5%.
  • State support as percent of total revenues are 38, 24, 20 for the years 2008, 2012, and 2016, respectively. Concomitantly, tuition, again as percent, shows the flipped numbers 17, 25, and 31. Breakdowns of these numbers by LA institution are available (the third of these numbers, for 2016, for the main LSU campus are 14 and 33).
  • For the ten-year 2007-2017, change in Public 4-yr tuition was 43% for the US average, LA’s 100%.
  • State appropriation per student, adjusted for inflation, was $10,000 for years 2008-9, $8000 for 2010-11, and $6000 for 2012-15, with a further drop for 2016.
  • 2016 total state revenue ($24 billion) is 44% from the federal government; income and sales tax (highest in the nation) provide 14% each. Oil and gas pays <10%.
  • In 2015, LA gave away $1.18 in sales tax break for each $1 collected. It gave away $2.72 in corporate income tax break for $1 collected.
  • LA’s 10% is highest sales tax rate (AL is 9, MS 7) in US. Blue Ribbon Panel has recommended eliminating 1% while reducing breaks.
  • LA has the 2nd highest poverty rate, 6th lowest per capita income.
  • In “Educational attainment,” as measured by percent of adults 25-34 with associate degree or higher, even among southern states, LA is second lowest at 32 (MS and AL are a shade higher)

Political profile

  • Dramatic flip from blue (Dem) to red (Rep) between 2009 and 2016, LA House from 23-16 to 14-25, Senate from 52-50 to 42-60. Also true in other southern states and US as a whole.
  • Workers in labor unions: 7.3% of 113M in private, and 37.9% of 21M in public sector in 2016 for overall rate of 10.7% (20 in 1983). For LA, this last number is 4.2 against 6.4 for 16-southern-state average.

Further attacks coming on unions and tenure

Faculty salaries and benefits

  • They are low, also not the majority portion of the budget. Instruction + Research salaries+benefits are 35% of Total Expenses (LSU main campus), and 56% of Total salaries+benefits; results available for all campuses.

AAUP Membership

  • Of 7600 total faculty in LA, only 153 are members of AAUP. Main campus of LSU: 35, Tulane: 35, ULL 12, SELU and SU-Shreveport: 11.
  • AAUP membership fees are based on salary: $100 for $40-50K salary, $200 for $70-80K, $240 for $100-120K.

Summary Conclusion: With threats ahead to tenure, academic freedom, and higher education as we have known it, it is imperative that all our campus chapters grow their numbers substantially (establishing a new chapter takes only 7 members) to stand together in a progressive movement for higher education as a common good. National AAUP stands ready to help.

The State Conference’s website is being upgraded, as also the LSU main campus chapter’s site. Campus chapters are also encouraged to have an active online presence and tie their websites to the state conference’s.

There are also sources of support from the national office that we can benefit from. ASC Grants of $1,000 or 2,000 have minimal requirements of a functioning executive committee, a newsletter, and committees maintained for legislative monitoring, academic freedom, and chapter development. Applications are due Dec 15. Conference Development grants for one time significant projects are entertained each Apr 1 and Oct 15. Our State Conference encourages and will support any campus chapter willing to team with us and apply for these.

Ravi Rau

President, LA State Conf