American Association of University Professors
Minutes of the fall meeting, November 11, 2000
The fall meeting was convened at 10:00 am on the beautiful campus of Emporia State University (ESU) in the Roe R. Cross Room of Cremer Hall. Professor Joe Yanik welcomed the Conference to the ESU campus. His welcome was followed by two speakers: Dr. David Ericson (WSU) and Dr. Edward McGlone (ESU). The presentations focused on the issue of Academic Freedom, and each speaker offered his particular perspectives on the topic. The presentations were followed by a question and answer period.
Brief summary of the presentations.
Dr. Ericson started by raising a question about the 'academic freedom' of the stone hurling incident of a Columbia University professor last summer in Lebanon. Some argue that the act was protected by academic freedom - as one would expect, others disagree. Academic freedom, Dr. Ericson suggested, is not only important to the individual faculty member, but it also benefits the students and the University community as a whole. It is important that the university professor be able to address difficult and controversial issues that may be politically delicate, e.g., abortion, homosexuality, prayer in schools, evolution, etc. Academic freedom makes it possible for faculty members to address such topics without (excessive) concerns. Academic freedom can protect the faculty member in the performance of his/her academic responsibilities, and that is important, but far more important is the fact that academic freedom helps to insure the vitality, the honesty and the integrity of the university as an institution of higher learning.
Dr. McGlone offered several examples from his personal experiences when academic freedom was put to the test. He was at the University of Ohio when the organization that later became the 'Students for a Democratic Society' (SDS) was formed. From his experiences as a faculty member and administrator he asserted that although there are some basic reforms to be accomplished in higher education, the preservation of the tenure system is essential to insuring that faculty have input in making these reforms. The operation of the tenure system is the single greatest safeguard of that oft-cited "mutual and fearless sifting and winnowing" which allows higher education to find the ideas and leadership that sustain during the good times and bad. Dr. McGlone claimed, very convincingly that tenure is
inextricably tied to academic freedom.
There was an excellent discussion following the presentations.
After a very good pasta lunch and some pleasant conversation the afternoon business meeting began with President Elmer Hoyer, presiding.
1) The minutes of the spring meeting (April 29, 2000) were distributed to all attendees. After a couple of questions and one change, it was moved by Rob Catlett (ESU) that the minutes be approved as changed. The motion was seconded and it passed.
2) The treasurer's report was distributed to the members present. After a brief explanation by the treasurer, Bob Neufeld (McPherson) moved that the report be approved. The motion was seconded and it passed.
3) President Elmer Hoyer reminded the Conference that we need faculty to serve on the Committee A. We want one person from each local chapter to serve on the committee. There have been a couple of new requests for a Kansas Conference Committee A to do fact-finding.
4) Professor Hoyer reported on the progress of the Kansas Conference Web site. The site has been overhauled and it is now very functional and it has minutes and agenda items of several past meetings of the conference, and the Constitution and By-laws of the Conference are also online. There are links to the National AAUP and to the local chapters in Kansas as well. I would also add, as the secretary, that Elmer has done an excellent job in developing this into an excellent web-site. Thanks, Dr. Hoyer!
5) At the last meeting Professor Hughen (FHSU) suggested that the Kansas Conference Executive Committee needs to be more inclusive. He proposed a change to broaden the participation in the Executive Committee.
Here is the proposed change to Article V, Executive Committee, Paragraph 1. of the Kansas Conference Constitution.
"There shall be an Executive Committee consisting of the officers (president, vice-president, the immediate past president, and the secretary-treasurer), and the president of each local AAUP chapter in the Kansas Conference (or another officer designated by the chapter president). Any Kansas Conference faculty member that holds an elected office with the National AAUP, or membership on the National Council of the AAUP shall serve as an ex-officio, voting member of the Executive Committee so long as he/she holds that office or membership. Also, the editor of the Conference newsletter shall be a member of the Executive Committee. The editor shall be named by the Kansas Conference president. A quorum shall consist of at least four members."
After some discussion and a few minor changes, the above motion was moved by Rob Catlett (ESU) and seconded (with the suggested changes incorporated in the above) and it was approved unanimously. The Kansas Conference Constitution will be changed accordingly.
6) The next item of business was campus reports. Several chapters reported on their activities.
7) The date of the spring meeting was tentatively set for Saturday, April 21 to be held at Kansas University. Details will be arranged. The meeting was adjourned at 3:30 pm.
Rich Hughen (Phil-FHSU)