American Association of University Professors Endorses March 4

The AAUP Online
News for the Higher Education Community

This is a time of and for action. A time for faculty, students, and
professionals in the academy to form common cause and to take the lead in
reversing current patterns of policy and practice. A time to rebalance the
academy and to refocus on the broad public purposes of higher education.

California faculty and higher education supporters have declared March
4—tomorrow—a day of action for higher education. Around the country, AAUP
chapters and members are engaging in activities to support California
colleagues and extend the day of action to their own states. Our members—
faculty, academic professionals, and graduate students—are forming
coalitions with other groups to convey a clear message about the public
value of higher education. The American Association of University
Professors endorses those actions and encourages our members and their
colleagues to make the coming weeks and months a time of action and
education. We must take the lead in charting the future.

First, our challenge is to reverse public policies that are further
privatizing higher education. Costs are being shifted to students and
families in what amounts to an excise tax on education. Colleges and
universities are increasingly focused on serving an ever-narrower band of
private interests. Too many universities and colleges are focusing more on
organizational self-interest in the form of aspired-to rankings and
revenues, and less on serving broad academic, educational, social, and
cultural purposes.

Second, our challenge is to reverse patterns of resource allocation within
institutions. Over several decades, institutions have increased their
relative investment in administrative positions and expenditures, and
decreased their relative investment in educational positions and
expenditures. At the heart of that shift has been a restructuring of the
academic workforce from a largely full-time tenure-track faculty to one
that is overwhelmingly contingent on managerial discretion and whim. We
are depleting our intellectual capital, the faculty and professionals who
serve our students. We are charging students more for less even as more
prospective students have fewer economic resources. And our investment in
serving our communities is diminished.

The AAUP strongly supports the right of faculty to exercise an independent
voice in shared governance, without fear of discipline or punishment by
the institution. Academic freedom in teaching, research, extramural
speech, and speech about institutional matters is at the core of higher
education’s quality, of sound governance, and of engagement with the
external world. It is at the core of the public mission and dimensions of
higher education.

It is time to rebalance and recognize that higher education is a public
good worthy of investment and is essential to our nation’s future. We
salute our colleagues in California who have undertaken this day of action
to raise awareness about the crisis in public education and the need to
fully fund our schools, colleges and universities, as well as colleagues
nationally who are undertaking their own coordinated actions. We salute
the students who have most aggressively taken the lead in establishing and
coordinating these state and nationwide activities. We hope that the
California day of action, and its corollaries nationally serve as a
clarion call to all who care about the not-for-profit, public missions and
functions of higher education and to all who are concerned about the
academy’s current direction. It is time for us to take the lead to define
a more promising set of possibilities for the future.

Gary Rhoades
General Secretary

The AAUP Online is an electronic newsletter of the American Association of
University Professors. For more information about the AAUP, visit


2 responses to “American Association of University Professors Endorses March 4

  1. Pingback: Summary Of The Day’s Big News (So Far!) « UC Regent Live(blog)

  2. Sorry Tale of UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Office: easily grasped by the public, lost on University of California’s President Yudof. The UC Berkley budget gap has grown to $150 million, & still the Chancellor is spending money that isn’t there on $3,000,000 consultants. His reasons range from the need for impartiality to requiring the consultants “thinking, expertise, & new knowledge”.
    Does this mean that the faculty & management of UC Berkeley – flagship campus of the greatest public system of higher education in the world – lack the knowledge, integrity, impartiality, innovation, skills to come up with solutions? Have they been fudging their research for years? The consultants will glean their recommendations from faculty interviews & the senior management that hired them; yet $ 150 million of inefficiencies and solutions could be found internally if the Chancellor & Provost Breslauer were doing the work of their jobs (This simple point is lost on UC’s leadership).
    The victims of this folly are Faculty and Students. $ 3 million consultant fees would be far better spent on students & faculty.
    There can be only one conclusion as to why inefficiencies & solutions have not been forthcoming from faculty & staff: Chancellor Birgeneau has lost credibility & the trust of the faculty & Academic Senate leadership (C. Kutz, F. Doyle). Even if the faculty agrees with the consultants’ recommendations – disagreeing might put their jobs in jeopardy – the underlying problem of lost credibility & trust will remain. (Context: greatest recession in modern times)
    Contact your representatives in Sacramento: tell them of the hefty self-serving $’s being spent by UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau & Provost Breslauer.

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