Summary Report for UIUC AAUP Policy Committee Meeting on September 17, 2014
Present: Ken Andersen, Bettina Francis, Michael Grossman, Harry Hilton, Lewis Hopkins, Harry Liebersohn, Walter McMahon, Cary Nelson, Robert Parker, Art Robinson. Donald Uchtmann, H. F. Williamson,
(1) Introductions. Hilton noted that O’Brien will not be able to attend until he has completed his duties as Chair of the Senate Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee that involve matters which include possible actions of the AAUP organization at its various levels.
(2) Review of the Minutes for May 7, 2014 Meeting of Policy Committee. The minutes were approved.
(3) Discussion of Annual Meeting and Program on May 6, 2014. Hilton noted that his report was part of the packet. There was a discussion of the problems that can arise when such topics are covered at our meetings
(4) Review of Roster for Policy Committee. Hilton noted that any corrections should be sent to Williamson.
(5) Review of fall schedule of Policy Committee meetings: The dates for the remaining meetings of the Policy Committee for the fall will be as follows. The regular meetings will begin at noon in 211 Illini Union. The meeting with Chancellor Wise on October 15 will begin at 11 a.m. in 217 Illini Union.
(6) Invitations to Campus Administrators to meet with Policy Committee. Suggestions included President Easter and the new Executive Vice Provost.
(7) Chapter Actions Regarding the Salaita Case. There was a lengthy discussion of this topic. Topics covered included (a) the actions taken by the national AAUP and the Illinois Conference often without the knowledge of the chapter; (b) whether or not we should wait for the reports being prepared so we have a better idea of the facts of the case; and (c) the procedural problems created by such issues as the fact that the Board of Trustees doesn’t consider hiring/promotion actions on a timely bases. Hopkins suggested outlining the situation using a two-by-two table with (a) rows on the topics: this case or the general procedural issues involved and (b) columns on the possible actions taken: individuals making contacts or general public statements. Parker noted it appeared that (a) we agree that changes in the procedures used should be recommended; (b) we do not intend to prevent the national AAUP of the Illinois Conference from taking actions but can ask for them to consult with the Chapter as part of the process; and (c) it may be necessary to wait before taking any actions until we have further information. Uchtmann suggested that in any reports we prepare, we (a) affirm the principles of academic freedom; (b) describe the role of the Chapter vis-à-vis the Conference and National; (c) note that we intend to look at the facts and how they relate to the principles of academic freedom; and (d) indicate a desire to work toward better procedures in the future. In general, these comments indicated concerns about (a) what the procedures are that should be followed in such cases and (b) were these procedures followed in this case. There was also a discussion of some of the more pragmatic aspects of the case such as (a) whether due diligence was carried out prior to the recommendation that an offer be made and (b) the strength of the legal case that Salaita might bring. Nelson noted that there would be no case if there is a settlement which could involve non-disclosure and non-disparagement stipulations. Hilton closed the discussion by requesting that we provide him with ideas of what our next step(s) should be.
(8) Preparation for Meeting with Chancellor Wise on October 15. The abbreviated agenda for the meeting was in the packet. The principal concern was how to address the topics involved with the Salaita decision. There was agreement that we should discuss how we could help with a review of the procedures to assure that the principles of academic freedom and tenure are being followed. Hilton will work on a revision of this document.
(9) Other Planned AAUP Activities for 2013-2014: There was general support for considering sponsoring a workshop on academic freedom and tenure. Francis noted the importance of this topic given how many faculty, particularly those untenured, have expressed concerns about related issues such as sexual harassment and public reactions to their research results. If the goal is to hold a workshop this fall, it would have to be in November. Hilton asked for suggestions from the individuals present.