Exposing the American Association of University Professors: Politicized Guild
A key point: the AAUP is less than forthcoming when the academic freedom of conservative professors is attacked. Some key passages:
“In the aftermath of [Trump’s] election, it has become evident that his election poses a grave threat to the principles that lie at the very heart of the AAUP: academic freedom, shared governance, and economic security for those engaged in teaching and research in higher education,” AAUP President Rudy Fichtenbaum declared at his organization’s 2017 annual meeting.So the simple election of a president you don’t like is a threat to academia freedom? Thanks, AAUP, for making your political biases clear.
The article goes on to mention cases where the AAUP defended extreme and inflammatory statements from leftist professors, and notes the lack of support for conservative academics. And further:
The same goes for more politically-neutral professors who simply challenge campus orthodoxy, like the Christakis’s and, even more recently, Evergreen State College Professor Bret Weinstein, who was forced to hold classes off-campus after campus police were unable to protect him from a mob of students who had angrily confronted him for questioning the legitimacy of an event in which white people were requested to leave campus for a day.The author (Anthony Gockowski) devotes considerable attention to our case. While the AAUP objected to our suspension in December, 2014, it had no problem with Marquette’s attempt to fire us, and with the punishment imposed by a faculty panel.
The AAUP did not release a single statement in support of Weinstein’s “academic freedom,” even after the student protesters held the school’s president hostage in his own office to demand, among other things, that Weinstein be summarily suspended without pay.
“My thoughts regarding the AAUP are much like my thoughts about the ACLU,” said George Leef, director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. “It avoids battles where it doesn’t like one of the combatants, principle be damned.”
David Randall, director of communication for the National Association of Scholars (NAS), expressed similar sentiments, acknowledging that while the AAUP did play an instrumental role in [conservative Mike] Adams’ lawsuit, “it is easy to find cases in which conservatives on campus have suffered significant infringements of their academic freedom in which the AAUP has been mute.”
An AAUP official informed us that we had received “due process” from the faculty panel.
“Their position was that I had received ‘due process’ from the Faculty Hearing Committee, and that was all I deserved,” McAdams told Campus Reform. “They seem to view ‘academic freedom’ as a collective right the faculty have, not a right that each faculty member has. Thus, views unpopular with the faculty generally will get little support from the AAUP.”Worse, however, was the fact that there were several gross violations of due process on Marquette’s part. As we told AAUP official Greg Scholtz:
. . . McAdams noted that due process—especially on a “contemporary campus”—offers “scant protection to views unpopular among the faculty,” pointing out that “in addition to ideological bias, there is the fact that campus bureaucrats can load committees with people who are keen on currying favor with the administration.”
- I was suspended in violation of Marquette’s own rules. You have already taken notice of this.
- The Faculty Hearing Committee was supposed to issue a report within 90 days of the end of the hearings, but failed to meet that deadline by almost a month, finally delivering a report on January 19, when the deadline was December 23.
- One member of the Faculty Hearing Committee had signed a statement attacking me for my blog posts, but declined to recuse herself.
- Marquette refused to provide my legal team with evidence, possibly relevant to the case, that my legal team requested.
- President Lovell, while claiming to follow the recommendation of the Faculty Hearing Committee, in fact added a proviso that I had to apologize for the blog post, and provide a loyalty oath pledging allegiance to vaguely defined “Marquette Guiding values” and “Marquette’s Mission.”
- Marquette could point to no rule that I had violated, but the Faculty Hearing Committee engaged in what [my attorney] called a “multi-part balancing test” to come to the conclusion that I should be disciplined (but not fired). Restrictions on academic freedom (like all restrictions on speech) should be based on “bright line” prohibitions, and not vaguely defined and subjective “balancing tests.”
Free Speech to Criticize ProfessorsBut going beyond merely defending the right of leftist professors to say extreme and inflammatory things, the AAUP has condemned those media outlets that publicize those extreme and inflammatory things. For the organization, “academic freedom” means a lack of free speech when that speech criticizes leftist professors.
As David Randall suggested, the AAUP has to be viewed as a “politicized guild, and not as disinterested partisans of academic freedom.”