American Association of University Professors
Minutes of the fall meeting, October 18, 2003
The fall meeting was convened at 10:45 a.m. at University of Kansas, in Alderson Auditorium in the Kansas Union. There was a fifteen-minute delay due to the homecoming activities and traffic congestion. The Kansas Conference was welcomed to the campus by the local chapter president, Ray Pierroti.
The business meeting began with the conference president, Donna Potts, presiding. The president presented the proposed agenda for the day, and it was accepted, without alteration, by the conference.
- The minutes of the spring meeting (April 12, 2003) were distributed to all attendees. After reviewing the minutes it was moved by Elmer Hoyer (WSU-emeritus) that the minutes be approved as written. The motion was seconded and it passed.
- The treasurer's report was distributed to the members present. After the treasurer briefly explained the report, Bill Roach (WU) moved that the report be approved. The motion was seconded and it passed.
- Elmer Hoyer offered a Committee A report. He discussed two recent Committee A contacts referred to as ID #21 and ID #22. He used a handout that summarized the general nature of the complaints. Both contacts were initiated by the faculty members through the Committee A web-site. This is a fairly good indication that the web-site is working.
Information on Kansas Conference Committee A (KCCA) activity can be found at the website http://aaup-in-ks.org/Committee_A/.
- President Donna Potts offered a report on the 2002 Higher Education Day at the state Capitol. It was not a total success. The legislators tended to go to other groups that had food rather than the AAUP representatives. The decision was to try this again in 2003, with some food, and perhaps a flyer to summarize some important items. The Kansas Conference Executive Committee will meet in November to develop more detailed plans for the 2003 Higher Education Day at the Capitol.
- At the Spring meeting, President, Donna Potts, expressed an interest in having Elmer Hoyer, Chair of Committee A, be part of the Executive Committee. It was announced at that time that a motion to change our constitution to allow inclusion of committee chairs as part of the Executive Committee would be introduced at this meeting.
The proposed motion will amend ARTICLE V of our constitution by an addition to the first sentence. The proposed addition is "and the chair of Conference committees at the discretion of the Kansas Conference president." If approved, ARTICLE V would then read:
- 1. There shall be an Executive Committee consisting of the officers (president, vice-president, the immediate past president, and the secretary-treasurer), the president of each local AAUP chapter in the Kansas Conference (or another officer designated by the chapter president), and the chair of Conference committees at the discretion of the Kansas Conference 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.
A motion to approve the amendment was offered. No second was needed since the motion came from committee. The motion was approved by a unanimous vote. The Constitution will be changed accordingly.
- We are sorry to report that we ran out of time and so campus reports were deferred until the Spring meeting. When it came to a choice between "eating" and "reporting" the campus chapter presidents preferred "eating." This may indicate more wisdom on the part of faculty than our campus administrators seem to believe.
- After lunch we had presentation by David Brodsky on the topic, "The Broad Perspective of Academic Freedom." David Brodsky is an independent scholar, member of UMKC Chapter of AAUP, and founder of the Education for Democracy Network. His paper took a historical and global perspective regarding academic freedom. He explained why the current attacks on academic freedom in conjunction with the "War on Terror" might be referred to, by some individuals, as the "new McCarthyism." We hope to get a copy of his talk posted on the Kansas Conference web-site.
- After David Brodsky's talk we had a panel discussion. The panelists were: Dennis Dailey, Professor of KU School of Social Welfare, Ann Springer, National AAUP Legal Staff, and David Brodsky. Professor Dailey explained how he had taken academic freedom for granted prior to his ordeal. He told us that he had chosen not to take a public defense in response to the accusations leveled against him. He believes that the strongest and most effective response was by his prior students that came to his defense. Professor Dailey also stated that the attack on him and academic freedom does not appear to be over quite yet.
Ann Springer, an attorney with National AAUP, offered a legal and yet insightful perspective regarding academic freedom. Academic freedom, she said, protects the faculty member and also the university (the academy). It protects the academy from outside political assaults. It protects faculty in the same way, and also from internal political interference from campus administrators. The former has a clear legal precedence, the latter is not as clear. Ann Springer referred several times to the 1940 and 1970 AAUP statements on academic freedom. Perhaps we should have these clearly posted on the Kansas Conference web-site, and perhaps hand these out to the legislators on Higher Ed Day.
One statement by Ann Springer that seemed especially apropos was, "In a business model, academic freedom doesn't work." It deserves repetition, "In a business model, academic freedom doesn't work." This could become a mantra for AAUP, perhaps.
There was a lengthy question and answer period after Ann Springer and Dennis Dailey offered a few brief comments. David Brodsky was involved in the Q&A.
- The Spring Conference meeting was tentatively scheduled for a Saturday in April, probably the third or seventeenth at Newman University. We anticipate inviting a person, from National AAUP, to address the issue of tenure at private colleges as the key speaker at the Spring Conference.
- The meeting was adjourned at 3:35 p.m. in a mad dash to beat the crowds at the KU - Baylor football game out of town.
Rich Hughen (FHSU)