University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Academic Freedom for a Free Society
of University

Why Join the AAUP?

From The Virginia Commonwealth AAUP Chapter

What is the AAUP and What Can It Do for You?

Do you desire to have a voice in faculty governance?

Have you ever wondered how your salary and other compensation compare to other professionals in your field across the country?

Are you worried about current state legislative discussions on education using business metaphors that refer to students as clients and education as a product?

Do you feel that you have no options or means of redress within your department, school, or university?

Are you content with your current situation, but desire to insure its continuance?

Are you bothered by the current trend to hire adjuncts at low wages and no benefits rather than tenure track faculty?

Are you interested in issues in higher education?

From The University of Washington AAUP Chapter

For more than 85 years, AAUP has been the guardian of academic freedom, shared governance, and tenure at the University of Washington and universities throughout the United States. The UW chapter was founded in 1918 and helped create the Faculty Senate and the system of tenure at UW. It also has contributed directly to the University’s reputation as a premier institution of higher education. The names of AAUP members today grace some of the campus’s best known buildings. Professors Padelford, Parrington, Savery, McMahon, and Smith were all members of AAUP.

AAUP operates on both a national and campus level, sustained by the 45,000 members whose dues insure that faculty will have a strong voice. The national office in Washington D.C. coordinates activities on many fronts. When Congress considers higher education bills, AAUP is there to lobby and advise. When state legislatures write their budgets, AAUP is there. . When journalists look for data and information, AAUP is where they turn. When individual faculty are involved in employment disputes, they call AAUP, which helps resolve more than 1,000 cases each year. Most importantly, when college and university administrations do things that threaten academic freedom, undercut shared governance, or violate faculty codes, they know that AAUP will be there, ready to defend practices that the organization helped invent.

Over the years AAUP committees have established standards that are recognized by most institutions of higher education. These include the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, the 1966 Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities, and more recently Academic Freedom and National Security in a Time of Crisis. These policies are compiled and published in the AAUP Redbook. Universities are urged to bring their practices into compliance with these standards. When violations are flagrant and the issues warrant, an offending institution can be subject to AAUP censure.

AAUP is a communication center and data resource for higher education. The national office publishes Academe, a bi-monthly magazine, and Footnotes, once a year. Also important is the Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession which policy makers, faculty and administrators rely on each year.

From The Louisiana State University AAUP Chapter

The officers of the LSU Chapter of AAUP (AAUP-LSU) are often asked: “What does AAUP do for me? Why should I pay the steep membership dues?”

One answer is: “You never know when or whether you will need the assistance of the AAUP.” Let’s hope that you never will. A second answer is that all faculty benefit from academic freedom, tenure, and other core issues that AAUP has fought to establish and defend for decades. In this, as with listeners of public radio or TV, all who benefit should also support the organization through membership. Membership in the AAUP is not only about meeting our own needs–as it so ably does–but about solidarity with our colleagues and about upholding professional and academic principles for ourselves and for the next generation of scientists and scholars. How many, astonished at what has happened recently to universities in New Orleans, are now searching for a way to help ensure that our academic freedom will endure? AAUP is a part of the answer for all of us.

On Tuesday, August 30, 2005, the citizens of Louisiana watched New Orleans fill with water. For many faculty members, the feeling of horror was mixed with another feeling that was difficult to describe: We knew that this would happen one day, but no one had heard us. The destruction of New Orleans was a human-made disaster, one that was created by not listening to those whose job it was to know, namely scholars and scientists at universities.

Since then, all of us, even university faculty, have come to realize that we are not protected from the ravages of a devastated economy and population. At the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, tenured and untenured faculty members have been furloughed starting on December 1, most with only one to eight days’ notice. This experience sent shockwaves through an already depressed faculty, many having lost everything they owned. Our colleagues at the LSUHSC were caught unawares, not least because tenured professors had relied on their tenured status to protect their jobs.

AAUP-LSU in Baton Rouge was contacted, and it advised on the need to organize the faculty, to collect firm data, and to develop a strategy to ensure that the furloughs and eventual dismissals would follow the established principles developed by the AAUP. It contacted National AAUP, which responded immediately, assuring assistance in examining the situation facing the faculty at several universities that have declared financial exigency under a “force majeure”. It met with the Executive Committee of the LSU Faculty Senate to discuss the situation and to plan how to assist our colleagues. AAUP-LSU attended the meeting of the Faculty Senates of the LSU System in Alexandria on December 10, where Commissioner of Higher Education, Dr. Joseph Savoie, answered questions. At that meeting, AAUP-LSU raised the issue of the manner in which plans for exigency had been implemented on certain campuses, and Commissioner Savoie promised to look into the matter.

It is unclear how the situation will develop for our colleagues at campuses in crisis, but their plight is instructive for the faculty at LSU. Shared governance between the faculty and university administration is crucial to ensure strict adherence to academic and professional principles, and shared governance can only be maintained by faculty involvement. At LSU, the Faculty Senate and AAUP-LSU have a track-record of working together on issues that affect the working conditions of the faculty, such as PM-35, PS-104, the review of administrators, and the raising of admission standards for students. AAUP-LSU assists faculty members before and during the processing of their grievances through university channels. AAUP-LSU also advises the Faculty Senate and individual faculty members on the academic principles that were established by the AAUP and are widely accepted as the gold standard in academia. It is due to this collaboration — the Faculty Senate working from inside the university and AAUP-LSU working as an independent organization — that shared governance and the working conditions for the faculty at LSU are comparatively good, as several colleagues, who have moved from LSU to other universities, have testified.

Nevertheless, the work that is required in order to maintain shared governance at LSU is shouldered by a tiny minority of the faculty: Only 56, of about 1,300 faculty, are members of AAUP, and only about 60 faculty volunteer to serve on the Faculty Senate. As we can learn from the recent events, it is easy to be caught unaware. We faculty know that hurricanes and other disasters, some less tangible, will occur again and that it is only a matter of time and luck until we are the ones directly affected. Will we faculty be ready with a fair policy for dealing with financial exigency and a fair and effective implementation of those plans, or will we be caught unaware?

Faculty have generally been socialized to work alone and are, therefore, often skeptical of group behavior and group activities. But they also know, and teach students, about the benefits of concerted actions by groups. It is time that this expertise be put into practice at LSU. Joining AAUP-LSU as a dues-paying member would be a first step in this direction; a second step would be to become involved in the various activities of the Faculty Senate and AAUP-LSU.

First they came for those at Xavier,
and I did not speak out
because I was not at Xavier.

Then they came for those at Tulane,
and I did not speak out
because I was not at Tulane.

Then they came for those at LSUHSC,
and I did not speak out
because I was not at LSUHSC.

Then they came for me at LSU,
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Paraphrased from Pastor Martin Niemüller

Open Letter to Indiana University Faculty

During the last twenty years AAUP membership at research universities has declined precipitously. A renewed commitment to the goals of the AAUP has become a necessity for all research university faculty.  A quick survey of the national and local situation explains why.

The Threats

In the 1990s research universities became the targets of financial downsizing, political attacks, and general public skepticism about their enterprise. Trustees at Minnesota tried to eliminate tenure. A private company sued a faculty member at Cornell for defamation based on statements that she made before Congress about her research. Over the last twenty years the City University of New York has cut the number of full-time faculty from 15,000 to 5,500. Brigham Young fired a faculty member on grounds that she prayed not only to God the Father but also to God the Mother. These particular conflicts have erupted amidst broader efforts to curb faculty autonomy by instituting post-tenure review, downsizing departments and schools, replacing full time faculty with part-timers, and even monitoring the use of e-mail. Developments like these threaten all research university faculty now and graduate students in the future.

IU has not been immune to these struggles. The trustees tried to impose post-tenure review on the faculty. Regional campuses are hiring more and more part-time faculty. Last year’s presidential review followed principles laid down by the Association of Governing Boards that seek to limit the role of faculty in university governance. The impending changes in senior campus administrators signal a need for increased vigilance in preserving AAUP principles of academic freedom and faculty voice in governance. And every year the Kinsey Institute is attacked and its research mission threatened.

Defending Faculty

Despite declining membership the AAUP has actively and effectively protected the interests of faculty at research universities. It has continually monitored academic freedom at campuses and used its censure list to publicize institutional violators. It has prepared reports on critical issues from campus fiscal policies and the status of non-tenure track appointments to post-tenure review and the implications of electronic communication for academic freedom. Many of these reports are published in the association’s journal, Academe, which is distributed widely. And AAUP staffers regularly and successfully lobby state and national legislators on behalf of faculty interests and file briefs in support of besieged faculty members. On some campuses it has even become a bargaining unit for faculty. It has released the first comprehensive statement on graduate student rights.

One of the oldest local chapters in the nation, the IUB chapter of AAUP has for decades provided a campus-wide voice advocating the interests of all faculty. During the past few years the local chapter has spurred debate and policy changes on clinical faculty, health benefits, and post-tenure review to ensure that university policies are in accord with basic AAUP principles. Through its Committee A the chapter has intervened on countless occasions to protect the rights of faculty members. These interventions have included aiding faculty in a department taken over by administrators of the College and defending the rights of a tenured faculty member threatened with disciplinary action for refusing to teach a course via distance learning for pedagogical reasons. And the chapter is now defending the due process rights of an Associate Instructor terminated without a hearing. The IUB AAUP has also sponsored forums on critical questions facing all faculty: the corporatization of the university, faculty reviews, and balancing teaching and research. And its services continue to expand. Last year the chapter established the Jim Christoph Fund for Academic Freedom. This year through the state AAUP the chapter has introduced a legal services plan that provides qualified attorneys for members at reduced rates.


Faculty at IU and at other research universities cannot possibly resist or prevent the erosion of academic freedom and faculty autonomy on their own, department by department, school by school, or campus by campus. We need a local and national organization devoted to the preservation of academic freedom in all its forms, from the right to design our own curricula and conduct research to the right to comment on public issues and disagree with university administrators in our published work, on the street, and on the internet. We need the AAUP. So join us in AAUP ( ) to preserve due process and free speech in the classroom, to preserve a strong faculty voice in university governance, and to protect this generation of scholars and those to come.


Signed: Moya Andrews, Bob Arnove, David Austin, Ben Brabson, Ann Bristow, Jim Capshew, Paul Eisenberg, Laura Ginger, Don Gray, Ed Greenebaum, Dan Maki, Ted Miller, Roger Newton, Norm Overly, Al Ruesink, Myrtle Scott, Sarita Soni, Herman Wells

Open Letter to Michigan State University Faculty (2004)

Dear Colleague:

We are writing to ask that you join the American Association of University Professors, the nationwide professional organization that has, since 1915, established and monitored standards for the preservation of shared governance and academic freedom, as well as for the importance of graduate and undergraduate education in Research I institutions.

We have supported the call for a meeting of the MSU Academic Senate, comprised of al the regular faculty.  This meeting, at 5:00 p.m. Thursday 22 April, will provide a university-wide forum to discuss two critical issues to express a faculty voice, and even make your views heard. 

Such a meeting is necessary because an increasing number of faculty from across the colleges at Michigan State University have become concerned about the way in which decisions are being made about the structure, scope, purpose, and location of various units of our institution without early and adequate faculty consultation.  The faculty and the administration have been complicit in allowing this untenable situation to become acute.  As a faculty, our apathy toward participation in governance has created a vacuum which the administration has often had to fill.  Nevertheless, shared governance, established by the bylaws of the University – and however onerous we may find it in practice – is fundamental to our academic lives, and to the reputation and Research I status of MSU.  Committees are in place that have the responsibility and indeed the right to evaluate plans and advise on proposals such as major, cross-college reorganization, or the shifting of significant resources and facilities.  We do not doubt the seriousness of the University’s current financial situation, the necessity to make substantial changes, or the good will of the administration, but we must object to the way in which these changes are being approached.

We are faced with two matters of immediate concern, both of which will be addressed at the Academic Senate meeting:

Faculty in the Colleges of Arts and Letters, Human Ecology, and Communication Arts and Sciences were given restricted time-frames in which to respond to complex reorganization proposals that were formulated without appropriate faculty consultation, and without the opportunity for researching alternatives that might be better for the future of liberal arts education.

Faculty in the College of Human Medicine discovered only through newspaper reports that the MSU administration was contemplating a move of substantial parts of the College to Grand Rapids.  Such a move could have great significance fir faculty of the College, and for the future of community-based medical education as well as for the University as a whole.

We believe that in such matters a careful consideration of a range of proposals generated as well as evaluated through proper governance channels is needed.

Further, recently enacted and impending budget-driven adjustments to the funding of research and graduate education, distributed across all colleges, reveal tensions between economic and intellectual needs.  Fir instance, a recent proposal by the administration would have raised the fringe costs for postdoctoral temporary positions in the sciences significantly above those of peer institutions, thereby effectively reducing the number of such positions any unit can maintain.  This decision would have put MSU science research at a disadvantage in relation to peer institutions, and weakened MSU’s position and reputation as a strong science research center.

Another pertinent issue involves recently enacted and impending budget-driven adjustments to the funding of research and graduate education, distributed across all colleges, which reveal tensions between economic and intellectual needs.  For instance, as a result of recent cuts to graduate student support and the redistribution of funding toward new initiatives rather than toward established and successful programs, most of the well-respected, strong, stable graduate programs in the College of Arts and Letters are in danger of becoming non-viable.  Support for graduate education in the College of Arts and Letters has generally come in the form of teaching assistantships, not fellowships.  The erosion of graduate student support, coupled with difficulties in obtaining funding for replacement and new faculty lines, undermines the ability of departments to meet the needs of undergraduate as well as graduate education.

While the situation in the sciences appears to be under resolution, the administration’s initial position in both of these cases would negatively impact graduate education and research, two areas that are central to maintaining our status as a Research I institution.

We seek your help in ensuring that the faculty and the administration will work together to find better solutions for the University.  We also urge an active commitment to participation in academic governance, which has been allowed to languish in recent decades through the faculty autonomy.  Identify and contact your faculty representatives on the Faculty Council, and ask that they address these important issues in their meetings.

Finally, we ask again that you consider joining the American Association of University Professors.  In conjunction with other efforts such as those outlined above, the AAUP can help represent concerns of the faculty as well as those of individual units to the administration and step in to bring these matters to the attention of the Board of Trustees.

All of us – students, faculty, staff, and administrators – need to help one another to find the best way to move forward in the best interests of our University.  Unified, organized efforts will help ensure that our various but closely linked concerns will be given a serious hearing.



Grover Hudson
Professor of Linguistics

Scott Michaelsen
Associate Professor of English

Richard Peterson
Professor of Philosophy


Executive Committee:

Howard Brody
University Distinguished Professor of Family
Practice, Center for Ethics and Humanities

Colletta Moser
Professor of Agricultural Economics
Past President

Debra Nails
Professor of Philosophy
Chair, MSU Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee
National Council

Sheila Teahan
Associate Professor of English
Chair, MSU Teaching, Research, and Publication Committee

American Association of University Professors — UIUC Chapter

1001 S. Wright St.
Champaign, IL 61820

The University of Illinois AAUP chapter maintains this web site. Opinions expressed by individual contributors to the site represent their personal views and are not necessarily positions of the chapter or any other entity. Opinions expressed by the chapter do not necessarily represent the views of the national AAUP or any other entity.