During the Spring 2005 contract negotiations, the AAUP raised concerns about parking availability, parking costs, and the effects that parking problems and traffic congestion have on the overall quality of campus life, participation in campus activities, and the University’s educational mission. During negotiations, the Administration and AAUP agreed to continue discussions on these issues. As prescribed by the letter of agreement in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, AAUP President Linda Bucher met with Administration and Public Safety representatives this past Fall to lay the groundwork for the continued discussions
Significant progress has since been made on two issues. First, the number of residence permits has been reduced from 300 to 197 at the Hollingsworth Lot #19 ( North College Avenue next to McDowell Hall). Consequently, parking spot availability for faculty at this lot has improved considerably. Second, a bike rack will be installed in the Amy DuPont parking garage. This will enable faculty and students to leave bikes in the garage and use them to travel around campus. The Administration is also considering reserving the garage’s first floor for faculty.
The AAUP wants to thank Professor David Bellamy for his continued service as the association’s representative on the Parking Advisory Committee. We also thank Captain Jim Grimes and Jim Flately of the UD Department of Public Safety for their ongoing attention and responsiveness to our concerns in this area. The AAUP will continue to focus on faculty parking issues in an effort to enhance the University’s academic environment.
“Academic Bill of Rights” Hearings Come to Philadelphia
As we have reported in a series of articles over the last half year, the so-called Academic Bill of Rights resolution, which was passed last July by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and which empowered the House to hold hearings to investigate alleged liberal bias at public colleges and universities, was not a random occurrence. It is part of a movement in at least 15 states to increase government control over university and college campuses by establishing political guidelines for monitoring a variety of curricular and other matters. In its opposition to this movement for politicized criteria, the AAUP has stated, “The danger of such guidelines is that they invite diversity to be measured by political standards that diverge from the academic criteria of the scholarly profession.”
In the last issue when we provided an excerpt from Joan Wallach Scott’s testimony at the November 9, 2005 hearing of the Pennsylvania House Select Committee held in Harrisburg, it was not yet clear what the hearings’ outcome would be. As a result, the build-up to the second hearing on January 9 and 10 at Temple University in Philadelphia was often hyperbolic, with Academic Bill of Rights supporters announcing that higher education’s future was a stake. According to a Philadelphia Inquirer story, backers of the hearings claimed that administrators would finally be “called to account” before state legislators for permitting student “indoctrination and abuse” by leftist professors.
This, however, is not what happened. Following the two-day hearing, reports in the Inquirer, The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed indicated that the “hearing at Temple University did not live up to the billing” but instead fizzled. AAUP Voice editor Gerry Turkel, who attended the event, concurs with this assessment.
In fact, far from being an arena for successfully indicting liberal bias in higher education, the hearings ended up providing an opportunity for administrators and faculty to effectively answer the accusations. They did this by detailing the procedures available at Temple and other universities for filing complaints against instructors who allegedly use the classroom for political purposes and/or discriminate against students because of their political beliefs.
Temple president David Adamany pointed out that even with an elaborate complaint apparatus in place, over the last five years not one Temple faculty member was officially accused of political bias by a student. Adamany’s argument was underscored by Academic Bill of Rights supporters’ delivery of only one student to speak at the hearing.
Against this background, Rachel DuPlessis, a Temple English professor, testified that she believed the hearings’ most enthusiastic promoters were motivated not by a search for academic balance, but rather by a desire to impose their own political agenda on higher education. “Just as in the 1950s, right-wing forces are attempting to impose political tests on the faculty,” DuPlessis declared.Also present at the hearing was Professor Robert O’Neil who spoke on behalf of the AAUP. O’Neil is a Professor of Law at the University of Virginia and Director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. He is also a former president of the University of Virginia and the University of Wisconsin System, as well as a former chair (for seven years) of the AAUP’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure.
Professor O’Neil’s testimony dealt with many important issues involving academic freedom. One of his chief themes was student expectations regarding academic freedom.
Below is an excerpt from his testimony.
Prof. Robert O’Neil:
Student Expectations Regarding Academic Freedom
An Excerpt from His Testimony
The challenge comes in defining what we mean by student academic freedom. We all believe that students should enjoy a broad range of learning opportunities and experiences, including a diversity of viewpoints among those with whom they study. No student should be disparaged, or suffer any academic penalty, because of his or her political views or affiliations — any more than we would condone discrimination on the basis of race, religion, nationality or gender. Policies of the AAUP, as well as those of most universities, recognize and protect such essential elements of student experience.
It is easy to move beyond these readily acceptable principles into far less familiar terrain. So I should like to take the opening portion of my time to identify three possible expectations I would not include within student academic freedom, though some might argue to the contrary.
First, students should not expect their views and values to go unchallenged as part of the university experience. Indeed, if the son or daughter or a friend had such an expectation, I would urge that he or she either not go to college, or at the very least find that rare campus where nearly everyone shared the same views. Having one’s beliefs and values tested in a college classroom — and outside class for that matter — is of the very essence of higher education. So when I read of students who object to such challenges, or who feel that professors holding views very different from their own are somehow unfit to teach them, I fear that the most basic value of higher education has been misunderstood. If anything, we fail as college teachers if we do not force our students constantly to reflect upon the views they bring to campus . . .
Second, students should not expect to be free of all institutional values, even though the official declaration of such values may make them uncomfortable. Here I have in mind the perilous topic of speech codes, and of policies that are sometimes mistaken for speech codes. I would yield to few in my opposition to genuinely restrictive speech codes; the first year our Center conferred its Jefferson Muzzles on a dozen or so enemies of free expression, we targeted two campus speech codes that seemed to us dangerously inhibiting to student expression, thus setting a terrible example for that place in our society where all ideas should be tolerated. Along with the federal judges who have struck down every genuine speech code that has been brought to court, I never met a campus ban I could embrace . . .
Yet at the same time, I am deeply troubled by the claim that any campus policy remotely affecting student expression is effectively a speech code and should be struck down on that basis . . .
Third, and finally, students should never expect to impose their views and values on the institutions at which they study — nor should they expect government to give them tools by which to impose those views. Earlier I stated my belief that students should find on every college campus a wide variety of diverse views and values. For some who share my belief, the next logical step is that where such diversity does not exist — or is perceived not to exist — it should be imposed by external authority. This is where we part company, and quite dramatically. Questions of who shall teach, and what shall be taught, are properly left to the faculties and academic administrators of our colleges and universities. Even where others might strongly disagree with the curricular and personnel choices that have been made on the campus, the Supreme Court has time and again insisted that external authority should defer to internal professional judgments — until and unless there is clear evidence of a total abdication of such judgment.
There are reasons, both practical and principled, why such deference is appropriate. On the practical side, there simply are no generally accepted standards by which such authority could be implemented; one person’s ‘imbalanced’ curriculum or faculty almost certainly seems ‘balanced’ to others. Change the occupation to suit the objector, and concerns will now immediately arise on the other side. Equally problematic is the impossibility of even the largest and most comprehensive university being able to offer all options to all students. And even if all of us could agree on what constitutes an appropriate curricular ‘balance.’ it is far from clear who should be empowered to enforce such standards — unless it is the faculty and academic administrators who are charged with the task. Finally, such intrusions could hardly be limited to a single sector. or one type of institution, or one set of objections; once the door had been opened to such intervention, there would be no logical place at which to stop or draw lines beyond which to resist further invasions. The practical problems posed by external supervision of such matters are therefore legion and daunting.
The concerns of principle are even more serious. Central to academic freedom is the premise that the outside community relies upon internal faculty governance — one of the most refined forms of self-regulation to be found anywhere in our society — to resolve doubts and disputes. The notion that external authority might validly determine such matters as ‘balance or ‘fairness’ or ‘objectivity’ in hiring, in shaping the curriculum, or in the individual classroom, would severely undermine the process that ensures a quality of higher education too which students are entitled. Thus in the end, the superficial appeal of external intervention turns out to be as illusory as it would be pernicious to the core of higher education.
National AAUP Information Request
The National AAUP has asked for members to provide their home mailing address and email address for election purposes. Members can change their contact information by filling in the electronic form at: http://www.aaup.org\asp\chgaccess.htm.
To open the form, you must place your membership number in the entry box on the first page you come to when you go to the above address. Your membership number appears above your name on the label of each Academe.
The information you supply will be used solely for election purposes.
If you have any questions, phone (800) 424-2973 and ask to speak with someone in the membership department.
AAUP Joins Lawsuit Against
Patriot Act Ideological Exclusion Provision
A case the AAUP has been involved in for two years is that of Dr. Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss citizen who was scheduled on Fall 2004 to begin an appointment as Luce Professor of Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame.
Before Ramadan could fill the position, however, his work visa was revoked. Although neither Ramadan nor the Notre Dame received an official explanation for the revocation. a spokesperson for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security later told the press that the visa was revoked “because of a section in federal law that applies to aliens who have used a ‘position of prominence within any country to endorse or espouse terrorist activity.’”
The “section of federal law” referred to here is section 411 of the Patriot Act, and is known as the Patriot Act’s “ideological exclusion” provision. The provision contains language intended to broaden the government’s powers to exclude, deport or detain non-citizens for a variety of reasons including participation in certain types of legal protest.
Upon the revocation of Ramadan’s visa, Scott Appleby, who heads the Kroc Institute at the University of Notre Dame, decried the government’s decision by insisting that Ramadan was “a strong but moderate voice in a world plagued by extremism.” The AAUP also criticized the government’s action by stressing, in a letter to the appropriate cabinet members, that “foreign scholars offered appointments at an American institution of higher learning should not be barred by our government from entering the United States because of their political beliefs.” The AAUP further stated that such “an action was manifestly at odds with our society’s respect for academic freedom.”
A year and a half after Dr. Ramadan was first denied entry to the country, the AAUP continues to support his case as evidenced by the union’s recent decision to join in an ACLU lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of the Patriot Act language that was used to bar Professor Ramadan from the U.S. The American Academy of Religion and PEN American Center are also participating in the suit. Each of the involved groups is seeking to bring Professor Ramadan to the U.S. to meet with its members.
The plaintiffs argue that the ideological exclusion provision violates their own First Amendment rights to hear a full range of ideas. Several broad and vague terms in the statute effectively allow the current administration to use the provision to exclude individuals whose political views it disfavors. The provision damages the vitality and limits the freedom of academic discourse in this country. The plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment that the ideological exclusion provision is unconstitutional on its face, and as it has been applied to Professor Ramadan, an outspoken opponent of terrorist activities. The plaintiffs also seek an injunction to prevent the government from relying on this section to exclude any other foreign national.
“Fearing another’s ideas enough to prohibit their expression is perplexing to scholars and troubling to citizens,” Roger Bowen, general secretary of the AAUP, said. “The freedom to teach and the freedom to learn are protected freedoms in this nation and the AAUP and its co-plaintiffs must insist that these two freedoms be respected. Now is the time when we should be listening to and learning from Muslim scholars, not trying to silence them,” he added.
The AAUP has affirmed many times that the free circulation of scholars is an integral part of academic and intellectual freedom, and that the unfettered search for knowledge is indispensable for the strengthening of a free and orderly world. The AAUP’s work to promote academic freedom has included constant attention to the global implications of these principles. The AAUP routinely invites foreign scholars to lecture, attend conferences, and meet with U.S. academics. The AAUP has intervened on behalf of scholars who are oppressed in other countries, or who are unfairly denied visas to visit this country.
AAUP Steering Committee Vacancies to Be Filled
This spring the AAUP will hold elections to fill the following vacant Steering Committee positions:
* College of Arts and Science: 7 (4 on schedule; 3 new openings)
* Agriculture and Natural Resources: 2
* Business and Economics: 1
* Engineering and Marine Studies: 1
* Health Sciences: 2
* Human Resources, Education, & Public Policy: 1
Any AAUP member interested in serving on the Steering Committee, or any Department which is selecting someone to serve, should notify the AAUP office by email or phone no later than Friday, March 3 rd. A description of Steer Committee members’ duties and terms of service can be found on the union’s website (www.udel.edu/aaup/ ) under Resources: Constitution and Bylaws.