AAUP Meeting Unanimously Backs Melissa Click—But Why?

Since its founding by progressive academics 101 years ago, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has had little affection for the governing authorities of colleges and universities.  Of course, when college presidents, trustees, and boards of regents bow in submission to its edicts, the AAUP will spare a few words of non-condemnation for the … Continue reading AAUP Meeting Unanimously Backs Melissa Click—But Why?

The AAUP Takes a Sharp Left Turn

Along with many others, I received an email last week from Rudy Fichtenbaum, president of the American Association of University Professors. Because the AAUP is best known for defending academic freedom, valued by both liberals and conservatives, and because it represents the academic profession as a whole, it has cultivated a reputation for nonpartisanship. Fichtenbaum … Continue reading The AAUP Takes a Sharp Left Turn

The AAUP’s Ludicrous Declaration

“This isn’t another message about higher education in crisis.This is a message about what higher education should be.” So reads the urgent email that faculty across the country received recently from the American Association of University Professors. A hundred years after the organization’s founding, the AAUP’s leaders are worried that people don’t understand what higher … Continue reading The AAUP’s Ludicrous Declaration

The Not-Very-Honest AAUP Letter on Colorado

A few weeks ago, the Regents of the University of Colorado voted to commission a “political climate” survey of the Boulder campus to determine whether ideological discrimination exists there. Not long after, the AAUP issued a letter in response, warning against the threat to academic freedom that the survey poses. The letter is a prime example … Continue reading The Not-Very-Honest AAUP Letter on Colorado

Will the AAUP Sanction the New Republic?

The AAUP has now completed the final version of what NAS’ Peter Wood aptly termed a “firewall,” designed to protect academics from outside criticism, especially from conservatives and supporters of Israel. The organization’s new standards now face their first test–but from a most unexpected source. In the left-leaning New Republic, Alex Klein has a blog … Continue reading Will the AAUP Sanction the New Republic?

Campus Freedom, AAUP-Style

The American Association of University Professors has now issued its final report on “Ensuring Academic Freedom in Politically Controversial Academic Personnel groups.”) The basic principle is as unobjectionable as it is admirable: professors should not be hired, fired, or disciplined on the basis of their political beliefs. Yet the AAUP’s report is basically unchanged from … Continue reading Campus Freedom, AAUP-Style

A Feeble Statement from the AAUP

A few years ago, in the midst of the controversy over inappropriate faculty behavior in Columbia’s Middle East Studies department, more than 100 professors, led by former provost Jonathan Cole, signed a document demanding that the Columbia administration defend the faculty from outside criticism—without even determining the merits of that criticism. This approach essentially redefined … Continue reading A Feeble Statement from the AAUP

The AAUP Strikes Out . . . Again

The AAUP recently produced a new journal devoted to exploring the state of academic freedom on today’s college campuses. As customary with anything from the AAUP in recent years, the publication was as notable for what it didn’t contain as what it did, in that it offered no mention of the internal threat to academic … Continue reading The AAUP Strikes Out . . . Again

What Is The AAUP Up To?

Cary Nelson, current president of the American Association of University Professors, has a new book dealing with academic freedom and its relationship to broader structural problems in higher education. No University Is an Island: Saving Academic Freedom is interesting and important, but also frustrating. It provides remedies to the problems confronting academic freedom at the … Continue reading What Is The AAUP Up To?

Not Your Grandparents’ AAUP

AAUP president Cary Nelson recently e-mailed his membership about an important new venture for the academic union. Proclaiming “this is not your grandparents’ AAUP,” Nelson celebrated the work of the “Department of Organizing and Services,” which had discovered “a faculty band from Ohio performing original songs about the ironies of current academic life.” Perhaps Nelson … Continue reading Not Your Grandparents’ AAUP

Even The AAUP Opposes The Yale Decision

Cary Nelson’s statement: “We do not negotiate with terrorists. We just accede to their anticipated demands.” That is effectively the new policy position at Yale University Press, which has eliminated all visual depictions of the Prophet Muhammad from Jytte Klausen’s new book The Cartoons That Shook the World. Yale made the unusual decision not only … Continue reading Even The AAUP Opposes The Yale Decision

Moderating The AAUP And MLA?

At its annual meeting, the American Association of University Professors declined to vote to criticize Israel, yet voted to condemn Iran. In December, the MLA rejected a statement defending critics of Israel and replaced it with a much-milder statement defending contentious Middle East research. They also resisted condemning Ward Churchill’s firing, and instead only objected … Continue reading Moderating The AAUP And MLA?

Change At The AAUP?

Peter Wood and Ashley Thorne write on the upcoming AAUP Presidential Election at the NAS site. Cary Nelson, the current President, is facing Tom Guild, a professor emeritus of legal studies at Oklahoma State University. Guild is railing against the organization’s fiscal troubles under Nelson’s leadership, and “insider” posture. Thorne interviewed both candidates; here’s a … Continue reading Change At The AAUP?

The AAUP Straw-Man Statement

If anyone hasn’t realized that the new AAUP Statement on academic freedom is a sham, then there are two excellent means to inform yourself today. First, Erin O’Connor’s new piece here at the site, on the AAUP’s ducking of almost every serious complaint to which it pretends to respond. A small but telling indicator of … Continue reading The AAUP Straw-Man Statement

AAUP To Critics: What, Us Biased?

Last summer, AAUP president Cary Nelson announced that the AAUP would be issuing a back to school statement on academic freedom in the classroom. Now that statement has gone public – and it makes for very interesting and informative reading. Written by a subcommittee of the AAUP’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure, “Freedom in … Continue reading AAUP To Critics: What, Us Biased?

China’s Propaganda Arm on U.S. Campuses

More than 100 U.S. colleges and universities have allowed Confucian Institutes on their campuses. These institutes, sponsored and paid for by the Chinese government, yield a good deal of sway to  China over the curriculum and hiring of teachers, sometimes outsourcing control. As a result, several universities, including the University of Chicago, have closed their … Continue reading China’s Propaganda Arm on U.S. Campuses

Some New and Narrow Versions of Academic Freedom

The right to breathe is not generally understood as the right to choke others.  The right to move freely is not widely understood as the right to slip into your neighbor’s house in the middle of the night unannounced.  The right to listen to Neil Diamond’s greatest hits is not universally interpreted as the right … Continue reading Some New and Narrow Versions of Academic Freedom

The Campus Left Discovers Free Speech

The data are beginning to bear out the popular theory that free speech on campus is in steady decline. A study commissioned by the William F. Buckley Center at Yale found that 51% of college students favor speech codes to regulate speech for both faculty and students. Relatedly, a Pew poll found that a full … Continue reading The Campus Left Discovers Free Speech

Progressive Policing of Speech Moves Off Campus

“Hate speech is excluded from protection,” CNN anchor Chris Cuomo tweeted last year, echoing a dangerously common misconception. “Hate speech isn’t free speech,” people say, assuming they have a right not to hear whatever they consider hateful language and ideas. Government officials sometimes share this view: The Mayor of West Hollywood confirmed to Eugene Volokh … Continue reading Progressive Policing of Speech Moves Off Campus

4 Well-Known Universities With No Integrity

In a Commentary essay earlier this spring, I argued that universities’ response to the 2015-2016 campus protests can be seen, in part, through the lens of faculty and administrators sharing the protesters’ diversity-obsessed goals, if not agreeing with them on tactics. A recent protest from Dartmouth confirmed the point. Sometimes, campus speech issues are complicated. … Continue reading 4 Well-Known Universities With No Integrity

Title IX Tramples Free Speech and Fairness, So Now What?

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has just dipped its oar in the dank water of Title IX.  The AAUP’s draft of its new document, The History, Uses, and Abuses of Title IX, leaves much to be desired.  But welcome to the fight, AAUP.  We’ve been wondering when you would show up. From 1972 … Continue reading Title IX Tramples Free Speech and Fairness, So Now What?

‘You have to drown the bunnies, put a Glock to their heads’

Mount St. Mary’s in Maryland, a low-profile Catholic university, is suddenly the focus of heavy national publicity. “Drown the bunnies,” (Let’s get rid of academically weak freshmen), announced as a policy by the school’s president, Simon Newman, attracted  attention, but when the bunny-drowning strategy was followed by the firing of two people, one a tenured … Continue reading ‘You have to drown the bunnies, put a Glock to their heads’

Two Controversial Professors

The AAUP—the American Association of University Professors—held its annual Conference on the State of Higher Education at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. June 10-14.  A few subway stops away, the Heartland Institute held its tenth International Conference on Climate Change at the Washington Court Hotel, June 11-12.  I suspect that I am the only … Continue reading Two Controversial Professors

Why Obama’s College Plan Is Doomed to Fail

I’ve been saying for years that American higher education ought to be free, but I’m far from sanguine about President Obama’s college plan.  Here’s why: the plan to offer many students two free years at community college fails to take into account the general state of education in this country, from real costs to college … Continue reading Why Obama’s College Plan Is Doomed to Fail

Should We Be Able to Read Professors’ Emails?

Overlawyered Should we cheer or boo when outspoken professors at state universities become the target of public records demands filed by antagonists seeking their emails and correspondence? As we had occasion to note during the Douglas Laycock controversy in May and June, there’s plenty of inconsistency on this question on both left and right. Some … Continue reading Should We Be Able to Read Professors’ Emails?