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Illinois Academe
The Official Newspaper of AAUP-IL
Fall 2005 - HTML Files


Reclaiming the Ivory Tower
Roosevelt University Adjunct Joe Berry Writes a Guide for a Contingent World
By John K. Wilson
Of all the dramatic changes in higher education in the past three decades, perhaps none is as important as the growing dependence on contingent faculty. In the next few years, the number of contingent faculty in higher education will exceed all of the tenured and tenure-track faculty. So it is a fitting time for Chicagoan Joe Berry’s new book, Reclaiming the Ivory Tower: Organizing Adjuncts to Change Higher Education (Monthly Review Press).
The subtitle is significant: organizing adjuncts is essential to changing higher education. Unless we confront the problems caused by a faculty dominated by temps, the major problems facing us (corporatization of campuses, loss of shared governance, attacks on academic freedom, declining economic value of faculty work) will only be exacerbated. As Berry notes, “A generation or more ago, most college faculty were salaried, but pretty independent professionals, with the protection of tenure after a few years.” That reality has dramatically changed, but all too often academics (including the AAUP) try to pretend that nothing is different.
Berry’s short but useful book provides a quick analysis of the problem posed by exploited contingent faculty. A substantial part of the book is devoted to practical advice on how to go through the steps of organizing adjuncts. Berry is an organizer above all else.
As a long-term adjunct himself, Berry understands that contingent faculty are not the problem; they are an essential component of higher education. The problem is that adjuncts are so vulnerable to exploitation, and treated as second-class (or third-class) citizens in academe. Berry’s book is full of anecdotes, beginning with the adjunct who had to win a MacArthur “Genius” award before getting a permanent position.

Berry also understands the barriers to organizing. He recounts the adjunct who lose their jobs for daring to start a union. He reports the many difficulties of bringing together adjuncts.
Berry has a bigger vision than simply organizing individual campuses. He promotes the intriguing idea of “regional” union organizing, such as bringing all the colleges in the Chicago area under unions that could set minimal standards for all faculty. It is unfortunate, but accurate, that Berry doubts if the AAUP could ever undertake such a project, since it lacks organizational strength and has no bargaining units in the Chicago area.

The adjunct, Berry argues, is a bridge between different worlds, the worlds of working-class students and the tenured professoriate. He believes students are sympathetic to the plight of adjunct faculty if they are made aware of the circumstances under which they work and how it negatively affects the quality of their education: “It does not seem as strange to many students to support a struggle of campus workers as it did ten or fifteen years ago.”
He also sees the adjunct as a bridge between the often elitist professors and the service and clerical workers on campus. Berry is more skeptical, though, about graduate assistants: “Many of them resist recognizing the likelihood of their future as contingents.” However, the increasingly difficult job market is beginning to make clear a terrible reality identified by Berry: “College teaching is one of the few places where people sometimes take a pay cut upon completing their training.”
Berry sees tenure and organizing as the solutions for the adjunct crisis in academia, to make sure that institutions cannot exploit their faculty and must treat everyone fairly.

Marketopia U
Michael McIntyre
President, AAUP-Illinois

Anyone who has read the Chronicle of Higher Education over the past decade or so has heard the drumbeat: the university needs to get with it and embrace the market. Anyone who has taught in that decade, perhaps excepting those lucky few at universities well-insulated from the market by multi-billion dollar endowments, has felt the drumbeat’s effects: pressure on class sizes, marketing studies for new academic programs, students treated as customers. For just as long, AAUP and the faculty at large have protested loudly that treating the university as one more business will degrade our main tasks of scholarship and teaching. But, since our high-minded sentiments appear to be getting us nowhere fast, let me suggest that we abandon the high ground and engage the battle where it will be lost and won, on the terrain of the political economy of the university.

The university may not be a business, but it does have to pay the bills. For most private universities, that means tuition dollars are overwhelmingly important. As state spending on higher education stagnates or even drops, public universities, too, come to generate an increasing share of revenues out of tuition dollars. As a result, the student becomes a producer of marginal revenue. Even though the university may not run a profit, adding one extra student generates more revenue than costs. It may be an oversimplification to say that the student is a customer – after all, parents and the government may kick in a significant portion of the price – but it’s not fundamentally wrong.
If students are quasi-customers, what are they showing up to buy? We know from the UCLA surveys of entering students that they’re buying the promise of future higher incomes. We also know that to secure those higher incomes, students need to complete the degree. Students with some college make somewhat higher incomes than students without, but the real break in incomes in the U.S. is between workers with undergraduate degrees and those without. So, students come to the university to buy a credential. That credential certifies them as having certain general skills (literacy, numeracy, and perhaps, dare we say, compliance), and in some cases specific skills relevant to the labor market (accountancy, public relations, hotel management, etc.). That puts us in a very strange business, for it makes students both the customer and the product.

That peculiarity manifests itself in the fact that students must labor for their credential as well as purchase it, and they themselves are the material upon which they labor. That credential certifies a degree of self-transformation, but it contains little information about how the student was transformed while obtaining the credential. For the economically rational student, the best strategy is to obtain this credential at the lowest cost. Not for nothing does tell you which professors are easy and which aren’t.

Please don’t mistake this as a moralistic attack on lazy students. Students are caught in a collective action problem. If all students at a particular university work hard, an efficient labor market will recognize that the credential from that university is worth more, and will reward the students accordingly. However, an individual student’s effort will not have an appreciable effect on the value of the credential, so the rational course of action is to free-ride, to piggyback on the hard work of others. Since all students have this same incentive the natural tendency is to produce a cohort of free riders. The unintended outcome of this individually rational action is to lower the collective value of the credential. Unfortunately, the lone diligent student cannot raise the market value of the credential; unrewarded diligence is rarely maintained.

When Marketopia U makes decisions about how to allocate revenues, the market must guide it. In any university, some majors will require more work than others. Economically rational students will avoid them, gravitating instead to the majors that allow them to secure their credentials with the least labor. Marketopia U will rationally respond to student demand by shifting resources to programs in the greatest demand. In consequence, rigorous programs will become marginal to the university, while gut courses will proliferate. The economically rational actions of students and administrators will ineluctably transform Marketopia U into Slacker U.
There’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that market-driven universities are not necessarily the wave of the future. Because of the incentive-compatibility problems sketched above, market-driven universities are likely to produce degrees of lowered value in the market. Rich private universities, those most insulated from market pressures, will continue to command a premium. What’s the bad news? The bad news is that any individual university can be run into the ground by an administration pursuing the mantra of the market.

Why are faculty members the first and often the only line of defense against the encroachment of the market? Not because we’re nobler or smarter or more farsighted than other players in the game, but because our immediate and long-term interests are different. None of us wants to spend our nights grading hastily composed student essays. None of us wants to live in fear of bad student evaluations caused by a rigorous curriculum. Few of us want our courses packed with so many students that we’re reduced to courses built around lectures and multiple-choice exams. All of us would like to pick up a book now and then, to generate new ideas that may or may not show up in next term’s syllabus. Almost all of us have ideas for research that we wish we had time to carry out. And, to take the long view, none of us want to teach at the ultimate market-driven university where mass-produced courseware is delivered to the students via learning assistants paid low piece-rates with no job security.

What are the morals of the story? Two of them will be no surprise coming from the AAUP. Two others may be:

• Tenure is your friend. We don’t need to apologize for the fact that tenure insulates us from market pressures. Tenure helps us maintain educational standards precisely because it insulates us from the market. When the university can’t get rid of us, we have greater latitude to demand more of our students. That latitude helps preserve the university from market failure.

• Faculty governance is your friend. At most of our universities, the faculty still has effective power to hire and tenure, as well as power over the curriculum. Traditional standards of academic rigor preserve the university from market failure even as they serve our interests as faculty members.
• External research grants are your friend, not only because they buy you time for your research agenda, but because they diversify the university’s revenue base. As that revenue base diversifies, the market exerts less pressure on the university.

• The development office is your friend, for similar reasons. Development officers may have to spend a good deal of their time sucking up to people with money, but their holy grail is unrestricted giving, exactly the sort of revenue stream that insulates the university from market pressures.
In short, AAUP’s fight is as important today as it was in 1940. Unfortunately, we come to that fight with our ranks depleted. National membership is down by more than half in the past generation. Strong, active chapters are the exception rather than the rule. My predecessor, Pan Papacosta, has spent the past three years working to strengthen chapters across this state. I want to carry on that work. Contact us, and let’s talk about how the state conference can work with your chapter to rebuild AAUP’s base.

Can Anything Be Done?
But It’s Up to You!

Midterms are graded and we are getting ready for the end of the term, and the holidays. The spring term will be on us before we know it. Maybe it is time to think about our new year’s resolutions. After all, faculty are often described as taking too much time and engaging in too much deliberation before they make a decision, if they do.

We could focus on national/international issues. The nation is worried according to the opinion polls. But let us focus on Illinois as our state offers much to contemplate for those of us concerned about the role of higher education in shaping the state and nation’s future. As former American Education Council President Stanley Ikenberry pointed out at the October 18 meeting of the IBHE, we have done a great job of convincing the public of the great value of an education for the individual. But, we have done a terrible job of convincing the public of the great societal contribution of higher education in its contributions economic, medical, civic, aesthetic and to the overall quality of life attainable in this country. He issued an urgent call for the IBHE to speak on behalf of the needs of higher education.

Last year the Governor and the legislature refused to address the structural deficit that exists in the state’s budget. They had that opportunity in SB/HB 750 and chose not to do so. They piled greater debt on our students, our children, and our younger colleagues to handle in the future. They not only underfunded the state pension systems but also agreed to do so again next year. No use having that fight in the legislature when everyone wants to get home—adjournment date is set at April 7— to run for reelection or find an alternative to serving as a legislator. Illinois pension woes attracted attention this fall in major articles in Time and the New York Times Magazine. The underfunded pensions will be an increasing drain on the financing of higher education for many years to come limiting student financial aid, needed building maintenance and new facilities, and support of public colleges. This affects private schools, albeit differently than public colleges. Nor will the funds required to improve elementary and secondary education be there.

The underfunding threatens access to Illinois higher education now that a college education is as essential as a high school diploma used to be. Public universities are moving toward a high tuition, high financial aid model. Yet Congress is preparing to cut back on student aid and Illinois has yet to recover from MAP cuts. Reallocation of tuition money for needy students is unlikely to meet the need while it may provoke a negative reaction from many parents and students leading to more legislative efforts to cap tuition increases. Institutions correctly say aid is available but the high tuition rates inevitably discourage many students from even considering college. Many families have learned from bitter experience to fear debt and some need whatever income the prospective student can earn.

Have you looked at tuition and fees at your institution recently? (My tuition and fees as an undergraduate were $100 a year and $110 a semester on my doctorate.) The 2005-06 undergraduate tuition and fees reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education are startling: Bradley $18,630; Chicago State $6,625; Columbia (Chicago) $15,998; DePaul $21,100; DeVry $12,160; Illinois College $15,400; IIT $22,982; Illinois Wesleyan $27,624; Loyola $24,612; National Louis $16,935; Northwestern $31,789; Quincy $18,330; Roosevelt $14,430 (a reduction from the previous year by $2,000); SIU-C $6,831; Chicago $32,265; UIC $8,302; UIS $5,375; UIUC $8,688, Wheaton $21,100. Most community colleges fall in a range from $1,800 to $2,300. These figures do not include other costs such as textbooks and materials, a major concern of students, food and housing and personal expenses.

While tuition and fees at public institutions are still sharply lower than at private schools, particularly the more prestigious ones, they have risen sharply in recent years and the public four-year institutions are being pressured/forced to adopt a high tuition-high aid model by the decline in state support. With the emphasis on higher education as a private good, many believe public institutions should set tuition at whatever level the market will bear. This will effectively close the doors to many students and fracture the American dream.

It is not that faculty are overpaid. IBHE reports that median faculty salaries at the four-year publics are at 93.5% of peer institutions and our benefits packages lag as well. Community college salaries fare better in salary comparisons but there is a running dispute about the comparison base. Independent college and universities exceed those of their peer groups on the average but actual salaries vary dramatically from institution to institution. (For much greater detail, see the AAUP Academe data of last spring or the IBHE report of its October 18 meeting available online.)
What can we do? One of the governor’s aides told me last year, “No one fears an angry faculty,” and “No one will support a tax increase to pay for pensions.” But the reality is the tax increase is needed to support education among other state needs. And yes, we need to resolve the problems caused by past and continued disastrous decisions to underfund the pension systems. That burden grows every year. One estimate is the shortfall is equal to two years of the state budget.
What can an individual do? Maybe the recent national accolades for Rosa Parks tell us something. First, individuals can make a difference. Perhaps even more important, they remind us of the importance of narratives, of telling a story that captures attention and motivates change. The current emphasis on getting control of the “story” and “framing” by both the administration and the opposition suggests the importance of controlling the narrative.

What does all of this suggest about our New Year’s resolutions?

• We will tell the story of the impact on our students, our institutions, and ultimately the citizens of Illinois of the cuts imposed on higher education. Every institution, private or public, has been negatively impacted. Unless the pattern of declining state support for higher education is reversed, the state faces a significantly darker future. We are destroying the seed corn needed for tomorrow’s growth. We need to tell the story to friends, neighbors, legislators. It is not for our personal benefit that they need to support higher education, it is for the public good as well as their personal advantage for the long term. Surely we know something about the value of investing for the future and the value of compounding.

• We will recognize and respond to the realities of the political climate. Little will be done during the spring legislative session to deal with the substantial financial issues that Illinois faces. But, substantial risks and opportunities will come with the fall 2006 veto session after the election. Now is the time for us to establish contact with legislators if we are to have any impact during that veto session. It is too late then. Yes, most legislators will be reelected given the ability to carve out safe political districts for incumbents. But don’t overlook those not reelected for they have greater freedom to vote their conscience. Don‘t overlook the power of the lame duck.

• We will be active in shared governance on our campus and across the state. Fewer and fewer faculty are active in the shared governance process. We need to reinvent some elements of the process to ensure faculty have a meaningful voice and have ownership of change. If not actively engaged in shared governance activity we should be monitoring their activity and expressing appreciation to those who are actively engaged. Meaningful faculty participation in institutional governance is at greater risk now than it has been since tenure became a reality for most faculty. The role and responsibilities of the faculty are being redefined—too often without faculty participation in that process.

Two years ago the National Communication Association gave me the honor of addressing our national convention on the topic “Recovering the Civic Culture.” I argued that we have been seeing a well-documented loss of participation in the civic communal activities nationally and locally in voting, in civic groups such as the Rotary and the PTA, and in our own universities, colleges, and departments. In part, the decline in shared governance is because we have stopped participating in governance activity. We have voted with our feet and our allocation of time and commitment.
I conclude as I did then with a citation by Molly Ivins. Although focused on politics, her words apply to every domain where we have need of a vibrant civic culture—our institutions are certainly one such place. “In this country, we have the most extraordinary luck—we are the heirs to the greatest political legacy any people have every received. Our government is not them, our government is us.. . . It’s our government, we can make it do what we want it to when we put in the energy it takes to work with other people, organize, campaign, and vote—we can still make the whole clumsy money-driven system work for us. And it’s high time we did so.”(Molly Ivins, “Offering up a host of examples identifying Bush’s many problems,” Chicago Tribune, September 18, 2003.)

Ken Andersen is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

2005 Higher Education Legislative Report
By Leo Welch

Although the appropriations for higher education were bleak, there were some bright spots that came out of the Illinois General Assembly. Some of the bills that have become Public Acts were as follows:

HB 521 Group Insurance
Allows state employees and annuitants to purchase supplemental life insurance under the age of 60 up to 8 times the basis life insurance benefits.

HB 715 Elections – College Address
Requires each public university and college, at the beginning of each academic year, to provide the opportunity to change his or her voter registration address. This Act also requires public colleges and universities to provide mechanisms for voter registration.

HB 908 Fair Share
Provides that if a collective bargaining agreement that includes a fair share clause expires the employer will continue to abide by the fair share clause until a successor agreement is reached.

HB 1384 Medicare
Allows employees continually employed by the same employer since March 31, 1986 to irrevocably elect to participate in the federal Medicare program.

HB 2515 Transferable Courses
Requires colleges and universities to post on the World Wide Web information regarding transfer courses and their applicability towards degree requirements.

HB Health Education Grants
Provides that the Illinois Board of Higher Education will distribute funds to non-profit health service educational institutions a priority basis.

SB 445 Social Security Number
Prohibits the use of social security numbers by entities except for specific uses.

SB 2112 ICCB Faculty Member
Provides that one of the 11 members appointed to the Illinois Community College Board by the Governor must be a faculty member at an Illinois public community college.
Note: Bill Naegele of South Suburban College of Cook County has been appointed.
The bill descriptions are highly edited and for more details consult the Illinois General Assembly web site at

Higher Education Summit
By Leo Welch

The first Higher Education Summit ever held in Illinois took place on November 9, 2005 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Chicago. The meeting was organized by the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

The theme of the conference was “Higher Education: Why It Matters.” This issue was the main topic for an audience of 200 higher education leaders, members of the general assembly, state government officials, business leaders, students and faculty. Apparently higher education must convince the general public and in turn our state legislators that higher education is important because state financial support for higher has diminished since FY 2001.

Five panels were convened with a main speaker and a panel of responders. The common statements from legislators, as one might expect, are Illinois does not have sufficient revenue to meet current financial demands and K-12 education is the current priority. Legislatures know full well that colleges and universities have the ability to enhance revenue by increasing tuition and fees and that is exactly what they have been forced to do.

Although each of the five panels had been assigned specific topics, there was in fact only one common theme: what direction is the U.S. going in light of decreasing support by both state and federal government for higher education and how can the higher education community convince the general public as well as legislators to return higher education to a national high priority.
The concern of affordability is reflected in Measuring Up 2004, the national report card on higher education. In the 2004 report card Illinois is given a grade of D on affordability. The report states that “Illinois has consistently provided a high level of need-based financial aid for students, but recent policy decisions have begun to undermine this historic high level of performance.”
The impact on students was placed in a personal perspective by Adam Howell, a student from Eastern Illinois University, when he related in one panel discussion that many of his student colleagues are forced to work the equivalent of full-time jobs to meet the increasing costs of obtaining a college degree.

Although many of the speakers provided detailed analysis of a variety of issues many of the spontaneous comments were revealing. A few of the comments were as follows.

“There is no light at the end of the tunnel” — Senator Miguel delValle
“Due to revenue constraints, do not expect any help from the General Assembly” — Representative Rich Meyers

“You must do a better job in explaining the role of higher education to the general public” — Representative Kevin McCarthy

“Why should the next state dollar be spent on higher education when there are other competing needs?”

— Elliot Regenstein, Director of Education Reform, Office of the Governor

“We will look for educated employees elsewhere if the U.S. cannot provide them.” — Richard Stephens, Senior Vice President, The Boeing Company

“Public higher education should explore other sources of revenue” — Senator Rick Winkel
The last panel of the day was entitled “Where Do We Go From Here?” which raised the question of an action plan. Although this summit did not develop specific criteria for an action plan, one of the speakers, Stanley Ikenberry, President Emeritus of the University of Illinois, part of a national coalition of higher education associations and institutions called Solutions for the Future. They are preparing to launch a national dialogue in 2006 about the challenges faced by society and the role of higher education.

The focus of the coalition will be on the “public good” provided by higher education and the attempt to return higher education to a priority, not only in Illinois, but to the nation as a whole.
The challenge to us all was stated by the President of Roosevelt University, Charles Middleton. He said “If this summit is held again next year, I predict we will report back that nothing significant will have happened.” Will the public be convinced that higher education needs more support or will we be in this same place next year? A coordinated and effective message must be generated, or his prediction will indeed come true.

Shared Governance and Academic Freedom
By Peter Kirstein

I have had the opportunity to speak on a variety of campuses since my suspension for an anti-military e-mail on Veterans Day in 2002. This past Spring I had the opportunity to speak at McKendree College, a venerable institution with a bucolic, lovely campus in Lebanon, Illinois and at East-West University, a wonderfully progressive, dynamic institution of diversity in the Loop in downtown Chicago. The event at McKendree was sponsored by their AAUP chapter, whose president is Brian Frederking (who was recently elected to the IL-AAUP state council). I spoke on the topic: “Shared Governance and Academic Freedom: Resisting Marginalization and the Persecution of the Left.” Most of my remarks dealt with AAUP documentation on Shared Governance. This was a somewhat different topic for me and I perused the “Redbook” and other sources to familiarize myself with the nuances of this vital concept. I also read thoroughly the McKendree College Handbook, and summarized AAUP guidelines concerning Shared Governance that could apply to the decision of McKendree to embark upon graduate-level programs.

Indeed, one of the issues at the college was a concern that the faculty would be allowed to participate fully in the implementation, staffing and assessment—my favorite word—of graduate-level programming. It was emphasized that faculty, administration and governing boards must participate in strategic-decision making. Institutions of higher learning, despite the current fetish of emulating the latest Fortune 500 business model, are not corporations with a board of directors that alone determines and implements strategic planning. A university may “sell” education but it cannot do so effectively unless the faculty plays a seminal role in its formulation. It is simply poor management and inefficient use of university resources for an administration not to recognize or solicit the expertise that faculty have in curriculum development, utilization of finite resources, mission statements and as overseers of the intellectual life of an institution.

Examples of faculty being marginalized and underrepresented in determining strategic-decision making within an institution of higher learning clearly exceed those rare moments when the professoriate attempts to usurp control that unfairly intrudes upon the rights of an administration or governing board. AAUP does not construe governance as a Hobbesian, or if I may add, a neoconservative “war of all against all,” but as a collaborative enterprise. Yes there are competing interests. Yes there will be conflicts. Yes there are politics. Yet shared governance, if done correctly, leads to collaboration not confrontation; cooperation not competition; collegiality and not conflict that emanates from a mutual respect of differing roles but common objectives to pursue academic excellence.

Of course without academic freedom and tenure, shared governance would be impossible as faculty rights would be eviscerated under a fear of dismissal and loss of livelihood. Shared Governance can only flourish when the faculty, who are described as “officers” of an institution in the “1940 Statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure,” has the capacity to assert that role without arbitrary sanctions through the granting of continuous tenure. AAUP is explicit on the importance of academic freedom as a means for preserving and exercising shared governance. Although I am an academic freedom specialist, I sought to empower the mostly faculty-member audience that academic freedom for faculty members encompasses the unfettered right to express their views “on matters having to do with their institution and its policies.”(“On the Relationship of Faculty Governance to Academic Freedom,” 1994) This Redbook document states “in the case of institutional matters, grounds for thinking an institutional policy desirable or undesirable must be heard and assessed if the community is to have confidence that its policies are appropriate.”(Emphasis added)

It reaffirms the professoriate’s primary role in curricular matters which obviously would include establishing graduate programmes among the assorted disciplines of the faculty. “Moreover, scholars in a discipline are acquainted with the discipline from within; their views on what students should learn in it, and on which faculty members should be appointed and promoted, are therefore more likely to produce better teaching and research in the discipline than are the views of trustees or administrators.”

In reading the McKendree Manual, I was astonished to see a mandatory retirement age of seventy. Yet this appears in the McKendree Manual: 2.9.2 “Retirement.” “At McKendree College, normally retirement occurs at the end of the academic year in which the faculty member attains the age of 70. Continuous tenure expires simultaneously with retirement….” Even if not enforced, it is illegal and should be excised because McKendree could be vulnerable to litigation and AAUP censure if it were implemented. This is an example of how an AAUP chapter can assist a college or university in developing policies and practices that, if nothing else, are compliant with federal law. I was told the AAUP chapter had referred this matter to the McKendree Faculty Affairs Council.

In the AAUP document, “Faculty Tenure and the End of Mandatory Retirement” there is a necessary revision of the “1940 Statement” that had declared that tenure shall continue, absent financial exigency, dismissal for cause, or retirement for age. Since January 1, 1994, however mandatory retirement for age is prohibited under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Thus the “1940 Statement” must be read to mean that retirement terminates tenure, but retirement cannot be “for age.” Despite the near iconic stature of the 1940 statement, it is not the Holy Grail and needed significant modification and updating with the 1970 Interpretive Comments. I think the entire document could benefit from a robust revision that updates the AAUP’s commitment to academic freedom and tenure.

At East-West University last May, an institution celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary with a year-long “Perspectives Lecture Series,” I spoke on the topic: “Resisting Conformity: The Threat to Academic Freedom.” Naturally, I cast this presentation in the context of war. Randolph Bourne was a pacifist intellectual who wrote for Seven Arts magazine before it was suppressed for antiwar advocacy during World War I. He wrote in “War is the Health of the State,” a major uncompleted antiwar essay before he died at age 32 from Spanish influenza, a pandemic during the Great War: “The pursuit of enemies within outweighs in psychic attractiveness the assault on the enemy without. The whole terrific force of the State is brought to bear against the heretics …A… terrorism is carried on by the Government against pacifists, socialists, enemy aliens, and a milder unofficial persecution against all persons or movements that can be imagined as connected with the enemy.”
Socialist, antiwar historian Howard Zinn, who was my adviser and frequent professor at Boston University, wrote: “One certain effect of war is to diminish freedom of expression. Patriotism becomes the order of the day, and those who question the war are seen as traitors to be silenced and imprisoned.” I then summarized many of the McCarthy Era witch-hunts that were directed against university professors that led to the direct dismissal of about 100 and hundreds more being eased out through FBI pressure.

I then compared the 1950s with several contemporary cases that raised questions as to the vitality of academic freedom since September 11. Professors Ward Churchill, Nicholas De Genova, Richard Berthold, Sami Al-Arian and my own experiences were presented in comparative perspective. Considerable time was also spent in the question and answer session on the parameters of academic freedom in the classroom. The “AAUP 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure” affirms that professors may express their opinions in the classroom: “Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject.” Professors can be radical, left-wing, Trotskyite, anarchist, conservative, pacifist, right wing and even controversial! The audience, which included the university’s chancellor who had kindly introduced me, laughed at the word “controversial.” AAUP guidelines expressly indicate that, “Controversy is at the heart of the free academic inquiry which the [1940 statement] is designed to foster.” Professors can use books, lectures, and exams that advance the instructor’s commitment to critical thinking and pursuing pedagogy as a moral act. Professors are, however, proscribed from “persistently intruding material which has no relation to their subject.” A course on astronomy, for example, cannot be used by an instructor to condemn gay marriage or abortion with a frequency that intrudes on the stated objectives of the course. Professors may stray from their course topic as long as they are not “persistently intruding” unrelated material. As a professor said to me once at an out-of-state university, “Yes, we are allowed here to say, “Good morning.” or “Have a nice weekend!”

I think the enemies of academic freedom, some of whom are quite liberal by the way, would do well to consider President Kennedy’s extraordinary humility in his American University address in 1963: “If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” While the president was attempting to bridge the Manichaean divide between the Soviet Union and the United States, it certainly has contemporaneous applicability to academia.

Diversity for ideological differences, diversity in courageously rejecting the silencing of those with whom we disagree under the guise of public manners or goofball calls for self-deprecatory disclaimers, diversity in challenging the canon of educational rigidity and bureaucracy and recognizing without intellectual or ethnic diversity in academe, the capacity of higher education to elevate and liberate the consciousness and folkways of a society is suppressed and attenuated.

Peter N. Kirstein is professor of history at St Xavier University in Chicago. He is a member of the Illinois-AAUP council and a member of its Speakers Bureau. He has served on the AAUP national Committee on Membership and as president of his chapter.

Professor Bean and the Zebras
By John K. Wilson

One academic freedom controversy this spring involved history professor Jonathan Bean at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Conservative columnist Cathy Young called it “a witch-hunt that would do the late Joe McCarthy proud.” According to Young, “if this case is any indication, conservatives on many campuses are not just a rare breed but an endangered species.”(Cathy Young, “SIU Persecutes Its Lone Conservative ,” Boston Globe, May 3, 2005)

The controversy began in Bean’s 20th Century America class. After some classes about the civil rights movement, Bean handed out an article about the Zebra Killings, a dozen or more murders around San Francisco in 1973 and 1974, carried out by a gang of black thugs who apparently targeted whites. Bean used an article from David Horowitz’s website, The original article included a link to the European American Issues Forum (EAIF), a white supremacist group “dedicated to the eradication of discrimination and defamation of European Americans” which had a petition on its website calling for congressional investigation of excessive Jewish influence on America. (Horowitz’s website calls it “a civil rights organization.”)

In an April 6, 2005 email to his teaching assistants, Bean indicated the questions they should raise in discussing the article: “Did the civil rights movement lend an aura of innocence (or moral immunity) to all black actions, however heinous? If we study the ugliness of the KKK, should we look at other forms of racism? Someone once wrote that the oldest story known to man is that of the former oppressed becoming the oppressor.” Soon afterwards, Bean wrote an email apology and described the reading as “supplementary.”

Whatever the legitimacy of countering articles with civil rights by teaching about a gang of serial killers from the 1970s who targeted whites, the fundamental fact is that Bean was never punished in any way (and obviously should not be punished) for assigning an essay, even though it had links to a white supremacist group and he bizarrely suggested that African-Americans had become “oppressors” of white people. In fact, there are no reports of anyone filing charges against Bean or formally investigating Bean or ordering him to withdraw an assignment. The worst that happened to Bean was that the dean cancelled discussion sections one week during the turmoil, and allowed two teaching assistants who were offended by Bean to leave the course. While this was a questionable decision, deans have the authority to shift teaching assistants who have a conflict with professors. And it is understandable that African-American teaching assistants would be leery of continuing to work with a professor after being told that black serial killers might have been a creation of the civil rights movement, and then publicly exposing the professor’s allegedly racist assignment.

Jane Adams, an anthropology professor who defended Bean, denounced his faculty critics for a “serious breach of collegiality” because his “reputation has been publicly smeared.” However, this is a misunderstanding of collegiality, which is often used as an excuse to silence dissenting faculty. Collegiality does not mean faculty get together to hug each other. In fact, one important job for faculty colleagues is to criticize one another.

Bean wrote shortly after his apology, “They want a pound of my flesh!...They’ve been waiting to lynch me. I made the mistake using this particular source (sort of).” The administration, far from attacking Bean, came to his defense. Dean Shirley Clay Scott reassured Bean that the issue was over and he faced no danger of disciplinary action. Scott was much more harsh toward Bean’s critics, chastising the eight professors who had publicly criticized Bean. Scott sent an email to the history department, ordering faculty critics of Bean to “be more careful” and “curb rhetorical flourish.” Scott declared, “we should try to act with great civility toward one another.” A professor who publicly criticized Bean, Rachel Stocking, noted: “What we did was to exercise our free speech by basically criticizing his teaching methods. It’s significant that people who spoke against racism on a college campus have been subjected to this kind of attack.”

A Tale of Two Professors Under Attack at DePaul

By John K. Wilson

This fall, DePaul University has faced two academic freedom controversies, with mixed results. When the case involved a tenure-track professor, DePaul University has (so far) stood up for his rights, albeit quietly. When the case involved an adjunct instructor who insulted students outside of class, DePaul quickly got rid of the teacher.

When the University of California announced plans to publish DePaul professor Norman Finkelstein’s book Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz struck back even before the book was published. Dershowitz had his attorney, Rory Millson, threaten legal action against the University of California regents, the provost, plus the 17 directors of the University of California Press and its 19 members of the faculty editorial committee. Dershowitz accused the Press of being “part of a conspiracy to defame” him, and his attorney threatened, “The only way to extricate yourself is immediately to terminate all professional contact with this full-time malicious defamer.”

Dershowitz warned the University of California press that he would “own the company” if Finkelstein’s book accused him of plagiarism. Finkelstein argues that Dershowitz lifted quotations from another author’s book, but cited the original citations for the quotes rather than the book where he apparently got them. This is lazy scholarship by Dershowitz, but not what is commonly regarded as plagiarism. However, plagiarism is a disputed term, and everyone should be free to promote their own definition of it without legal penalty. According to Dershowitz, “the First Amendment gives no author the right to make up defamatory lies and publish them.”

Finkelstein’s book was originally going to be published by the New Press, but Finkelstein changed publishers after Dershowitz’s legal threats delayed the book (Dershowitz proudly takes credit for getting New Press to drop the book, a claim denied by New Press and Finkelstein). The University of California Press hired four lawyers to screen the book and forced Finkelstein to make changes to his manuscript and tone down some of his accusations.

Dershowitz declared, “Any person has a right to make an honest mistake, but no one has the right to defame another maliciously and knowingly.” Actually, everyone should have the right to defame another person, as Dershowitz does when he declares about Finkelstein, “he’s a Jew and an anti-Semite— and a neo-Nazi supporter, and a Holocaust trivializer, and a liar, and a falsifier of quotations and documents.”

Dershowitz wasn’t satisfied with his legal threats against the University of California Press. He apparently wrote California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger asking to have the book banned. “You have asked for the Governor’s assistance in preventing the publication of this book,” Schwarzenegger’s office responded to Dershowitz in a Feb. 8, 2005 letter, but “he is not inclined to otherwise exert influence in this case because of the clear, academic freedom issue it presents.”
Now that Finkelstein’s book has been published, Dershowitz is promising not to sue Finkelstein or his publishers (“If I wanted to sue him, I’d own him”), but is instead declaring that he will come to DePaul University at his own expense in 2006 when Finkelstein is up for tenure in order to get him fired: “I will document the case against Finkelstein. I’ll demonstrate that he doesn’t meet the academic standards of the Association of American Universities.” It’s not clear what academic standards Dershowitz is talking about, but open lobbying for firing a professor as an act of personal revenge probably doesn’t meet them.

The attack on Finkelstein is not the only academic freedom controversy at DePaul. Thomas Klocek, an adjunct instructor, got in a heated argument with DePaul Palestinian students at an information table on Sept. 15, 2004. After the students complained, he was suspended on Sept. 24 and then fired. Dean Suzanne Dumbleton explained, “The students’ perspective was dishonored and their freedom demeaned. Individuals were deeply insulted…. Our college acted immediately by removing the instructor from the classroom.”

The DePaul administration accuses Klocek of “threatening and unprofessional behavior,” although it has never specified any threats made by Klocek. AAUP guidelines protect the extramural speech of all academics, including adjunct instructors. Removing an instructor for an argument outside of class is a violation of due process, and firing him is even worse. Extramural comments are only subject to punishment if they indicate professional misconduct, and hostile arguments may be unpleasant but certainly do not rise to that standard.

Although some critics point to Klocek’s firing as an example of political correctness, it primarily reflects the powerlessness of adjunct faculty and the corporatization of colleges where students are seen as customers and those who offend them will be removed.

Report from 2005 AAUP Summer Institute in New Hampshire
By Lee Maltby, St. Augustine College

“Live free or die. We don’t use air conditioning. Those are moral statements and they are not debatable.” With these and other welcoming (and humorous) remarks, approximately 150 members of the AAUP began their weekend of July 21-24, at the Summer Institute in Durham, New Hampshire, home of the University of New Hampshire. Thursday night’s banquet was the kick-off for two days of conferences on how to support and promote the professoriate for the benefit of society, which in today’s hyper-connected/communicated/conflicted world can not be limited by geography anymore.

Around eighty percent of the attendees at the Institute were first-timers. From Illinois, our delegation consisted of John Wilson (editor of Illinois Academe), Patricia Simpson of Loyola University of Chicago, and Lee Maltby of St. Augustine College. Workshops began Thursday afternoon, and ran until Saturday afternoon. Topics were typically focused on issues more relevant to new members and new chapters, such as how to start a chapter, recruiting new members, faculty handbook, collective bargaining, etc.

As a first-time attendee, I was impressed with the depth of knowledge and experience of the workshop leaders. They presented a dynamic view of the academy and the AAUP that was thoughtful, intelligent, and deeply concerned about higher education today. Beginning with the first workshop, attendees were reminded that it is by their preparation, scholarship, peer review, and continual study of their area(s) of expertise, that faculty possess their competence and expertise, and by virtue of those qualities, are the ones best suited to attend to matters of curriculum, teaching and scholarship. According to the AAUP and as stated in the workshop, attendees were told that faculty are not employees in the general meaning of the word, and that the primary obligation of faculty is to the public, not the employing institution. Therefore faculty should not be subject to a board of trustees, just as judges are not subject to politicians. This point is crucial for understanding the principle of academic freedom. At the same time, the presenters had no patience for faculty who lack competence, integrity, or ‘moral rectitude’, and they were supportive of processes that allow for the correction and for ejection of faculty from the academy when necessary.

The central theme throughout the conferences was the importance of academic freedom and the right and responsibilities of faculty to exercise their competence in their area of expertise for the benefit of (global) society. There are, of course, many people, including some academics, who minimize the importance of academic freedom. However, at the institute, it was possible to hear stories of fellow professors whose rights, income, and professionalism were sullied and degraded by college presidents, deans, or governing boards who believe they can ignore the rights of professors, their freedom to teach and speak, and the processes that uphold those rights. There have been occasions when even the simplest act of protest regarding a decision or a process of decision making within an institution can lead to dismissal, eviction from one’s office, a lawsuit, loss of income, and a loss of professional respect. One attendee reported that after she had spoken in public about a recent event, her name began appearing in chat rooms and on websites, denouncing her views and her position in the university. She stated that she felt very threatened by these attacks.
It may be true in many institutions, especially those better protected by federal and state laws, and bargaining rights, that the opportunities for the abuse of one’s academic rights may be less. Nevertheless, challenges to those protections are ongoing by lobbyists and conservative ideologues who wield inappropriate influence over politicians, donors, and alumni, unqualified (e.g., politically or church appointed) presidents, and utilitarian for-profit educational institutions (see the IBHE meeting agenda for 8/23/2005), calling for the approval of dozens of program offered by independent for-profit institutions).

Sadly, even institutions involved in academia have little to nothing to say about academic freedom. A search in the 2003 Handbook of Accreditation of the North Central Association of the Higher Learning Commission contains two lines asking for evidence of how the board has disseminated statements supporting freedom of inquiry in the institution. A third line addresses “creating and maintaining a climate of intellectual freedom.” This is from a manual almost two hundred pages in its entirety. Similarly, the mission of the Illinois Board of Higher Education is not focused on academic freedom. An email inquiry seeking information on documents from the IBHE on academic freedom resulted in quick response by a kindly staffer that no “IBHE documents refer to the issue.” How did it come to pass that such important bodies that are deeply involved in authorizing and accrediting programs, have nothing to say about academic freedom? It was no surprise then when one presenter at the summer institute stated the profession may be on its last legs due to the ongoing assaults on tenure and academic freedom. And, we might add, the lack of support from other bodies whose missions are to promote and protect the quality of education.

In conversations and conferences, several references were made to the so-called “Academic Bill of Rights” that has been wending its way in and around various states’ legislatures. This bill would dilute the influence of faculty in their area of expertise, increase the influence of non-academics in curriculum, teaching, and research; and posits, especially in social sciences and humanities, that theories, knowledge, and values can be doled out to students in neat little packages for easy consumption. Should this bill ever make its way into public law in Illinois, most likely as a “stealth attachment” to another bill, the professoriate in Illinois would have no one to blame but itself. While this proposal, which “borrows” language from the AAUP, has not been passed in any state legislature, in the current political climate, anything is possible.

In addition to the “academic bill of rights,” politics and economic pressures are used to justify the reduction in the numbers of tenure track faculty and to increase the numbers of non-tenure track faculty and contingent faculty. There was general acknowledgement and empathy for non-tenure track and part-time faculty, who are now the workhorses for institutional economic well-being. Faculty at the institute agreed that the growing presence of non-tenure track and contingent faculty represents a danger for everyone concerned about academic life, not to mention academic freedom. Yet even “throw-away” faculty have a need to eat.

Of central importance to academic freedom, is the issue of shared governance. Presenters Kreiser, Scholtz, and Shaw stated that faculty, in addition to their traditional roles in teaching, curriculum and research, should have an important role in matters of salary, budget, the selection and evaluation of administrators, and yes, athletics.

It is here that private institutions can be the most dangerous for faculty and academic freedom when matters of decision-making and influence are at stake. Due to differences of law governing public and private institutions, faculty at smaller and lesser known private institutions can have great difficulty making inroads into the decision making process. Unfortunately, it seems to require the presence of an enlightened administrator to welcome faculty into the higher realms of decision making. It is very easy for faculty as smaller private schools to become discouraged and thereby unmotivated to work for positive changes in decision making. And, of course, if one’s employment depends on being a ‘company man’, then speaking out against the status quo can be very dangerous.

At the conference on governance, faculty were reminded that “a sound system of institutional governance is a necessary condition for the protection of faculty rights and thereby for the most productive exercise of essential faculty freedoms. Correspondingly, the protection of the academic freedom of faculty members in addressing issues of institutional governance is a prerequisite for the practice of governance unhampered by fear of retribution.” (On the Relationship of Faculty Governance to Academic Freedom, AAUP Redbook.)

At the conference faculty were told that it is possible for academic freedom to collide with governance issues. This type of situation can occur in conflicts with administrators, such as their appointment and evaluation, or calls for votes of no confidence. Last, “In sum, sound governance practice and the exercise of academic freedom are closely connected, arguably inextricably linked.” Presenters stated, however, that faculty cannot depend on the goodwill of administrators and governing boards to simply give faculty a role in governance. By implication, then, faculty must demand a role in governance, and exercise that role responsibly. (For a quick, intelligent summary on governance and academic freedom, see the interview with historian Joan Wallach Scott in Academe, September-October 2005.)

The workshop on governance also included an interesting tool that can be used for evaluating the state of shared governance at an institution. This tool was taken from a shorter work by Keetjie Ramo titled Assessing Faculty’s Role in Shared Governance: Implications of AAUP Standards (1998). Faculty seeking to initiate a conversation at their institution may find this tool very helpful and interesting.

Closely linked to governance and an important topic at the Summer Institute, is the issue of faculty manuals or handbooks. This discussion was led by Kreiser, Shaw, and Levy. In addition to handing out an overwhelming outline of possible topics for a faculty handbook, the presenters made a number of very important recommendations in order to strengthen a faculty handbook. First, a handbook should describe the full benefit of rights available to faculty. Two, a faculty manual provides a common bond across programs and colleges. Three, the manual helps to explain standards and principles that are being used with faculty.

Faculty were warned against being put under EMPLOYEE manuals, where a single policy applies to all. It is the position of the AAUP that faculty have the competence and experience to judge (from hiring to firing) their peers. A policy that is written for “all” will likely not apply to faculty.
The presenters recommended that a faculty manual should refer to the AAUP Redbook as the source of its principles and values. Second, a faculty manual should incorporate AAUP language as much as possible. The benefit of including references and quotes from the Redbook is that policies not explicitly found in the handbook can then be referred to the Redbook. Third, faculty contracts should explicitly refer to the faculty manual as the source of faculty rights and responsibilities. That language then links the contract with the Redbook and AAUP policies. Last, the handbook should include a provision that the faculty manual CANNOT be amended unilaterally. (For an outrageous example of this problem, see the report on Academic Freedom and Tenure: University of the Cumberlands (Ky) in Academe, March-April 2005.)

The Summer Institute also included presentations on a wide variety of topics, including an introduction to AAUP, Rebuilding Your Chapter, Contract Negotiations, Grievance Administration, Newsletters, Arbitration, Faculty Compensation, Gender Equity, Issues in bargaining, Institutional Finance, Rights of Contingent Faculty, Trends in Faculty Status, Communications, Recruitment and Development, Diversity, Student Organizing, Legal Representation, Benefits, and Public Hearings.
While many faculty may see little benefit in attending the Summer Institute, or any AAUP meeting for that matter, it is important to understand that higher education is being attacked from many sides, even as its importance continues to grow. In his book The Lexus and the Olive Tree (2000), Thomas Friedman describes how globalization is having an impact on almost every aspect of people’s lives today. No person can escape the consequences of this process, and whether we like it or not, globalization will continue to develop. This “one big thing” as Friedman calls it, can leave a nation fighting over barren land or developing new technologies to improve the life of a nation and the world. New knowledge, creativity, and an environment that supports those processes are essential for the success of a nation that is globalizing (and we are number 1!). Even as academic freedom takes on different shades and colors in different disciplines and institutions of higher learning, the need for new knowledge and skills is essential for the well-being of all people. The AAUP has a very important role in ensuring that the academy, in service to all people (i.e., the common good), continues to be at the forefront of all development and conversations about where our society and world are going.

AAUP members who are interested in attending the Summer Institute next year should visit the AAUP website at Readers interested in joining the AAUP can likewise visit the national office electronically, and become a member with a few quick clicks.

St. Xavier AAUP Letter of Support for Academic Freedom

May 10, 2005

Dear President Dwyer:

The Saint Xavier University chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) strongly affirms the principles of academic freedom and institutional autonomy in the selection of commencement speakers. The SXU chapter strongly opposes efforts of the Cardinal Newman Society to challenge the selection of Sr. Margaret Farley, a distinguished Yale theologian and Sister of Mercy, as spring commencement speaker. The AAUP chapter membership has urged its Executive Committee to communicate its support of the decision of the president and the Board of Trustees to select Sr. Margaret Farley for this honor. Commencement is both a celebration of our students’ academic accomplishments and a challenge for future service and engagement in the world around them. Clearly Sr. Margaret is a wonderful selection to pose that challenge.

Saint Xavier University-AAUP Chapter Executive Committee of the American Association of University Professors
Jacqueline Battalora, President
Norman Boyer, Treasurer
Olga Vilella, Secretary
Jan Bickel, At-Large Representative
Sandra Burkhardt, At-Large Representative
Margaret Carroll, At-Large Representative
Peter N. Kirstein, Ex Officio

7th Circuit Rules Against Student Press
By John K. Wilson

On June 20, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against college student rights to a free press in the case of Hosty v. Carter. On November 1, 2000, Patricia A. Carter, dean of student affairs at Governors State University in Chicago’s south suburbs, called the printer of the student newspaper, the Innovator, and demanded prior approval of everything in the paper, which had annoyed administrators with its criticism of the university. Prior restraint is a classic violation of freedom of the press, and the editors Jeni Porche and Margaret Hosty soon sued the university.

Student press groups were alarmed when the Illinois Attorney General’s office argued that the 1988 Supreme Court case Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier should apply to college newspapers.
The Hosty decision could also affect faculty academic freedom. If college students have no more Constitutional protections than first graders do, then college professors may have no more rights than elementary school teachers. Decades of cases establishing the unique legal status of colleges and academic freedom, based on the maturity and rights of college students, might be wiped away if Hosty is upheld.

In his opinion, Judge Frank Easterbrook also hauled out the dubious idea of institutional academic freedom: “Let us not forget that academic freedom includes the authority of the university to manage an academic community and evaluate teaching and scholarship free from interference by other units of government, including the courts.” If “academic freedom” means only the power of administrators to “manage an academic community,” then students and professors alike will be subject to censorship by the administration.

The student editors of the Innovator are appealing Hosty v. Carter to the U.S. Supreme Court, and if the case is accepted, it could represent one of the most important cases regarding college student rights and academic freedom.

Consequences of Closure
By Lesley Kordecki

The 2001 merger of Chicago’s DePaul University with Lake Forest’s 100-year-old Barat College ended with the closure of Barat College in June 2005. This is a brief accounting of what happened to the people of Barat.

Of the administration and staff, a few were transferred to other campuses of DePaul. The majority (around 50) received severance packages from the University and left its employ during the final years.

Of the faculty, several resigned at the time of the merger. Ten were incorporated into the colleges of Theatre, Music, and Education shortly after the merger. Subsequently, five of these have resigned or retired.

Twenty-six remaining tenured or tenure-track faculty, those who revamped all curricula for the new Barat College of DePaul, were then required to interview for faculty positions in the other colleges if they wished to continue at the University. Twenty were accepted into various departments or were brought into a newly created Academic Affairs unit, four accepted the buy-out offered, one retired, and one resigned. The five non-tenure track faculty, nearly all with a long history at the college, were not rehired by the University.

Glenn Poshard Named SIU President
SIU alum Glenn Poshard, a former state senator, member of Congress, and Democratic candidate for governor in 1998, was named president of the SIU system in November. Poshard was chair of the SIU Board of Trustees until he resigned this summer to pursue this job. SIU attracted controversy for paying a search firm $90,000 to find candidates and refusing to release the names of the finalists. Poshard will be paid $292,000 per year; he holds a doctorate in educational administration from SIU.

SIU Minority Graduate Fellowships Under Attack
The U.S. Department of Justice in November threatened to sue Southern Illinois University for three graduate fellowship programs aimed at helping underrepresented minorities, including one financed by the National Science Foundation. Two of the programs are limited to minority students, while the Graduate Dean’s Fellowship is “for women and traditionally underrepresented students who have overcome social, cultural or economic conditions.’’ According to the Justice Department, “The University has engaged in a pattern or practice of intentional discrimination against whites, non-preferred minorities and males.’’ U.S. Senator Barack Obama, an expert on civil rights law, told the Chicago Sun-Times: “One of my concerns has been with all the problems the Bush administration is having, that they’ll start resorting to what they consider to be wedge issues as a way of helping themselves politically.”

Arbitrator Sides with City Colleges Administration
City Colleges of Chicago won a November ruling by an arbitrator supporting the firing of 55 adjunct emeritus professors who had honored a picket line of striking full-time professors in fall 2004. The arbitrator ruled that the retired professors did not have a valid complaint because they were not part of the bargaining unit, even though the new contract prohibits reprisals against anyone for strike. City Colleges chancellor Wayne Watson received a vote of no confidence from faculty because of the City Colleges’ retaliation.

Judy Erwin New IBHE Head
Former state legislator Judy Erwin was named in October as Executive Director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE). Erwin chaired the House Higher Education Committee during her legislative career, and also taught political science as a graduate assistant at UIC. Erwin said, “We live in a time when postsecondary education is increasingly an essential experience for the modern workplace.”

Future State Pensions Reviewed
In a November 2005 report, the Advisory Commission on Pension Benefits refused to recommend any specific reductions in benefits for new state hires, rejecting the two-tier system of higher retirement ages and lower cost-of-living increases proposed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich to help resolve the state’s underfunded pension system.

Campus Equity Week
Campus Equity Week was held nationally on October 30-November 5. Sponsored jointly by the AAUP, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association, Campus Equity Week raises awareness about the status of adjunct faculty at colleges. At Green River Community College in Washington, organizers held a bake sale with “full time” and “part time” cookies of identical quality, except that the part-time cookies cost half as much. At Triton College, Adrian Fisher reported, “Triton College Adjunct Faculty Association (IEA-NEA), River Grove, IL, ran its first CEW information table. We distributed CEW/FEW buttons, which were very popular. The top administration got some, too! We spent most of our time educating students, I hope to good effect. We are in the midst of negotiating our first contract, and CEW/FEW was a low-key way to get our message to the campus at large. Next year we plan to do more.” Joe Berry, author of Reclaiming the Ivory Tower, spoke during Campus Equity Week at his home institution of Roosevelt University along with a speech at St. Xavier University sponsored by the AAUP chapter there.

Illinois Academe Wins Again
At the AAUP Annual Meeting, the Illinois AAUP newspaper won its second straight award for the best tabloid conference newspaper in the country.

Shimer to Chicago?
Shimer College in Waukegan is currently in talks with the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) to lease space in Chicago and move most of its operations there. IIT made the offer in order to strengthen the liberal arts on campus and allow its students to take Shimer’s Great Books courses.

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