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10/6/22 UIUC Policy Committee Summary

    Present: Richard Laugesen, Walter McMahon, David O’Brien, Robert Parker, Bruce Rosenstock, Daniel Steward, Leslie Struble, Carol Tilley, H. F. Williamson.

    The meeting began at about 12:35 p.m. with Parker presiding.

    1. Introductions. Introductions were not needed.
    2. Review of the Minutes for September 8, 2022 Meeting of Policy Committee. The minutes were approved.
    3. President’s Report. Parker reviewed his October 3, 2022 report to the Committee. He thanked the Policy Committee for their help preparing the statement to Chancellor Jones on Covid policy. He felt that regardless of whether or not there were changes, it was important that we could provide that input so at least they are aware that their actions are being observed. He also emphasized the need to grow the Chapter’s membership and how we might attempt to accomplish this goal This would include our contacting specific faculty about the importance of becoming members. He concluded the report by noting the monthly set of links about AAUP concerns in the news.
    4. Schedule for Policy Committee Meetings.
      1. Remaining Fall Meetings. Parker noted that the remaining fall meetings will be at 12:30 p.m. on the following dates:
        • Thursday, November 10 (2nd Thursday)
        • Thursday, December 8 (2nd Thursday); Reading Day is also December 8
        • We assume for now that they will be held electronically.
      2. Spring Meetings. Williamson noted that the planning for the schedule of Policy Committee meetings during the spring semester is underway. He will send an email to the Committee requesting input on this process.
    5. Report from our Liaison to the NTFC Local #6546 Chapter. Steward thanked Parker for including his reports and assured Parker that he did not feel neglected! He noted a book chapter about solidarity and the work of the NTFC and the GEO to build solidarity on the UIUC chapter. Laugesen asked him about the effect on the NTFC of the national merger between the AAUP and the AFT since NTFC is affiliated with both. Steward didn’t think it would affect their relations with the UIUC AAUP chapter while it will strengthen their links to the national organizations. To read the chapter, see: https://aaup-ui.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/chapter11.pdf.
    6. Review of Campus COVID Policies. Parker provided a link to an article about what occurred at Rutgers
      University when the administration removed the mask mandate
      . There was a faculty protest with a partial court order implementing a partial reinstatement of the mandate at least temporarily. Rosenstock asked whether there were a state law in New Jersey authorizing organizations to issue mask mandates and how this compared with other states including Illinois where the example of the mandate at UIC was cited
    7. Addressing the Current Crisis in Attacks on Universities. Parker thought we could consider a program with individuals from three different parts of the university speaking on how this issue affects their units. This would provide an opportunity for this to be discussed and for us to attract a number of attendees He asked for suggestions as to what these topics might be. Tilley suggested we consider issues involving reproductive rights and gender and sexuality in addition to race. McMahon noted that many of the attacks are essentially attacks on the funding of public universities and community colleges. On a related note, he announced that his latest book, “The External Social Benefits of Higher Education,” is just out and a link is now available. It provides a direct response to these attacks since they too often fail to acknowledge the external social benefits that are the main rationale for supporting higher education. Rosenstock noted his concern about the implications of likely Supreme Court decisions that eliminate the consideration of gender or racial diversity for admissions. If implemented, they would undercut the ability of the University to contribute to the social good. He suggested this would be an important topic to cover. Tilley noted this could also be framed in terms of public engagement and public scholarship and how the campus engages with the broader community. Possible speakers on this topic were discussed. There was also discussion of the similar program we held at the 2018 Annual Meeting regarding “The War Against Universities, Academic Freedom, Free Speech, and Science.” Parker concluded the discussion by noting that we seemed to be reaching an agreement that we have a program involving some of the five or so topics on the floor under the rubric of addressing the impact of attacks on Universities. Laugesen noted that where possible we note how such attacks might affect higher education in Illinois. This led to a discussion of how the role of the Illinois Board of Higher Education might be included in our coverage. Parker concluded by thanking the group for the excellent discussion.
    8. Other Activities for Chapter
      1. Membership Campaign. Parker discussed possible actions in addition to the programs just discussed. One would be to follow through on the idea of providing speakers to talk about the AAUP at department meetings. A second would to be invite current Chapter members to become more active such as by attending Policy Committee meetings as guests. Tilley suggested that the invitation include also asking them what we could do to make their chapter membership more valuable. She also noted that we might include usage of social media. This could take a significant effort, but it could build a sense of community. She and Parker will investigate this further. McMahon pointed out the need for flyers to circulate information on the AAUP and the costs of membership.
      2. Promotion and Tenure Workshop. Parker reported that he has agreements from the interim Provost and the interim Associate Provost to participate. He will follow up regarding speakers representing the Faculty Advisory Committee and the Promotion and Tenure Committee.
      3. Membership Committee. Williamson reported that they are reviewing the monthly membership roster to contact individuals whose membership has lapsed to ask them to rejoin and individuals whose renewal date is approaching to remind them to renew.
    9. Adjournment. The meeting adjourned at about 1:36 p.m. As noted above, the next meeting of the fall semester will be 12:30 p.m. on November 10, 2022