The AAUP: A View From the Top

by E Wayne Ross on December 7, 2009

The Chronicle: The AAUP: A View From the Top
By Cary Nelson

In 2006 the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Garcetti et al. v. Ceballos that public employees’ statements about official responsibilities and administrative policy are not shielded from disciplinary action by employers. District courts have since begun applying that decision to faculty members, hence putting faculty participation in college and university governance at great risk. In November the American Association of University Professors launched its campaign to alert faculty members and administrators to the growing danger that those federal-court decisions are undermining First Amendment protections for public-university faculty members speaking out about campus governance. Our staff members designed a striking campaign logo, set up talking points on our Web site, and added video interviews with AAUP personnel and leaders. The organization had never done anything comparable before. Of course we also distributed the detailed scholarly report by the AAUP’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure (Committee A). But translating that report into an agenda for local campuses required rethinking how we present ourselves.