American Association of University Professors
Minutes of the fall meeting, October 16, 2004
The fall meeting was convened at 10:30 am at Emporia State University, in the Brighton Lecture Hall. Rob Catlett(ESU) introduced President Kay Schallenkamp who welcomed us to the campus. She also reported on her recent visit to Washington DC to talk with policy leaders. She said that, in her opinion, we are at a crossroads in higher education. There is an increasing demand for accountability. This accountability seems to be measured mostly by graduation and retention rates. There was much discussion after her thought-provoking remarks.
Interim President Charles Merrifield began the meeting. He announced that the planned afternoon speakers would be unable to attend.
The agenda was approved, the minutes were approved and the treasurer's report was accepted.
President Merrifield announced that Higher Education Day is scheduled for January 18. There was discussion about the strategy for visiting legislators on that day. Some ideas suggested were to visit individual senators and representatives, to visit the education representative for the governor, and to be sure to bring food for the table that will be set up.
There were no attendees at the last summer institute, but members were encouraged to consider attending the summer institute for next summer. There are scholarships available from the Assembly of State Conferences (ASC), and the Kansas State Conference will provide transportation for some members to attend.
President Merrifield reported on the national annual meeting which he attended in June 2003 in Washington DC. The consistent theme was the effect of the budget cuts on state schools. The committee A report took several schools off the censure list and put one other one on. There was one contentious case involving Medaille College. While Committee A found that Medaille was guilty of censurable conduct it recommended against censure for now because of encouraging developments at the college. Many of the members present wanted to vote for censure. They finally decided not to censure.
Also at the annual meeting, ASC President Tom Guild led a proposal from the Oklahoma conference to have AAUP staff salaries published. This led to a contentious debate. The proposal did not pass.
Elmer Hoyer provided the Committee A report. He reviewed some of the current cases that Committee A had been working with. He said that one benefit of the Conference Committee A work is that when a case is brought to the national level, it is taken seriously. He said that this past year there was one case that he dealt with that was passed to the national level.
It was announced that the next meeting will be on April 9 at Washburn University. Various chapter reports were given. President Merrifield described a visit by Tom Guild to Wichita and said that they had recipients of some seed money from ASC to help to start up their chapter. Rob Catlett described a forum for candidates for Faculty President that had been co-sponsored by the ESU chapter. MacPherson reported that the Board of Trustees for the college and decided a fourth criterion for tenure and promotion that “Institutional Need” should be added to the traditional three criteria of teaching, scholarship, and service. There was considerable discussion of the problems associated with this action.
In the afternoon there was an informative panel discussion on Freedom of the Student Press. Although the original speakers were unable to attend, four people agreed to serve on a panel at the last minute. They were Andrea M. Allen, the editor of the student newspaper at Newman University, Meg Smith, the media adviser for the student newspaper at Emporia State University, and Mary Ann Redecker and Noah Sturdevant who work on the student newspaper at ESU.
One of the points that all the panelists made is that decisions about the content of student newspapers are made by the students themselves. Meg Smith pointed out that allowing them to make mistakes can provide a tremendous learning experience. She said that the media adviser is barrier between the university and a potential lawsuit. There was discussion about the reassignment of the media adviser at KSU because of a perceived failure to adequately cover issues involving diversity. The panelists made the point that the newspaper is run by full-time students. Often a student is assigned to cover an event but simply does not do it or does not do an adequate job of it. The editor then is unable to publish a story on that event. In most cases the only time the media adviser gives advice is when it is asked for. There was a lively discussion of the issues surrounding freedom of the student press.
After this panel discussion conference revisited the recent developments at MacPherson College. A motion was proposed to authorize the executive committee to draft a resolution from the conference stating that:
The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
- Institutional Need should not be a separate criterion for promotion and tenure.
- Any changes in the terms of employment ought to be drawn up and ratified by the faculty.
The meeting was adjourned.
Joe Yanik (ESU)