AAUP e-Unities Fall 2013 Newsletter

October 01, 2013 / Phil Lesch

Lil Taiz, Calif. Faculty Assn President, to Highlight Fall Meeting Weds., Oct. 16th, Noon to 1:30, SMSU 328

The California Faculty Association (CFA) has been really successful in recent years in organizing faculty, students and staff to improve conditions in the Cal State campuses, and to better fund public higher ed.

Come on out to hear how they did it, and bring your questions for the Q & A, as well as to hear our bargaining update, details of the membership drive, how you can help the Bargaining Support Team get us a better contract and have lunch with your friends and co-workers. More

Membership Drive!  100 New Members by Halloween!

We have a lot of new colleagues on campus, as well as people in the bargaining unit who THINK that they’re PSU-AAUP members, but are only Fair Share Fee Payers and can’t vote.

It’s time to make sure that everyone has signed up, so that the Administration understands that ALL of the PSU faculty want decent wages, good supports to do the job right and the ability to build a good career here.

For each new member you sign up, we’ll send you a $10 gift card for Powell’s or Fred Meyer’s at the end of the drive, and the person who signs up the most new members will win a dinner for 2 at a great local restaurant!   And one lucky new member will also win dinner for 2!

Here are the membership forms, and some talking points to help you out!

Welcome Marissa Johnson to the PSU-AAUP staff team

We are pleased to welcome Marissa Johnson to the PSU-AAUP staff!

Marissa will be helping us organize ourselves, through Bargaining Support, our Membership Drive, staying in good touch with the Unit Reps and reaching out to PSU-AAUP members

We’re thrilled to have her join us!  She brings great experience, great skills, and a great attitude!  Marissa can be reached at

Marissa comes to us from the office of Representative Michael Dembrow, our closest ally in the Oregon Legislature, where she was a policy advisor and helped keep the pro-faculty agenda alive in the midst of great change in our higher education system. Prior to working with Representative Dembrow, Marissa was campaign manager for Kathy Campbell in House District 24 and before that was Director for the Q Center at Portland Community College. She is a proud alumni of Portland State University and is thrilled to be able to come back to PSU.

Collective Bargaining News:

The University of Oregon faculty have a tentative agreement for their first contract!  They’re putting into place the range of benefits of a union workplace, including

  • an average of 6% raises both this academic year and next,
  • multi-year contracts for all Fixed-Term Faculty members with 4 years of seniority or more,
  • contract protection for all evaluation, promotion and tenure and other Faculty Senate language,
  • paid parental leave for teaching faculty

We’re gearing up for the Fall Bargaining push at PSU, and will be calling on you to help the bargaining team! 

Please join your colleagues and come out on Friday, Oct. 4th, from 12:15 to 12:45 pm, to stand quietly in the 6th floor hall of the Market Center Building, to be there as the PSU Administrative Bargaining Team heads in to negotiations.  The Administration needs to understand the strength of faculty desire for progress in this contract.

Here’s the latest update on the status of bargaining at PSU, from VP for Collective Bargaining, Ron Narode. 

Bargaining Update
Ron Narode, VP for Collective Bargaining

Your Collective Bargaining Team has been working throughout the summer with continuing negotiations toward a fair contract.  Our team currently consists of myself, David Hansen (Fixed-term faculty), Mary King (Tenured faculty), Phil Lesch (AAUP Director), Bob Liebman (Tenured faculty), Anh Ly (Academic Professional), and Leanne Serbulo (Fixed-term faculty).  Many thanks to Sy Adler (Tenured faculty) who leaves our team to take up administrative duties this fall.  Since April, we have conducted eight bargaining sessions on many open articles from our current contract.  We have also alternated venues for bargaining between the Administration’s home in the Market Center Building and AAUP’s home in Smith Memorial Center.  AAUP members have been very supportive in attending bargaining sessions as have the student representatives from ASPSU who are also at the bargaining table.

Here is where we stand:
After a frontal assault on “permissive” language in our current contract involving the evaluation of Tenure-track faculty, Non-tenure track faculty, and Academic Professionals, the Administration has been persuaded to accept some of our conditions for evaluation processes that were deemed “mandatory”.  Unfortunately, these discussions took far too much time, involved legal consultations for AAUP, and are still unresolved.

We had proposed a post-tenure review process similar to our current process but with added incentives of progressively increasing salary bumps for satisfactory reviews every 5 years.  The Administration has rejected this proposal entirely.  They also removed current AAUP review of changes in the P&T processes for Tenure-track faculty.
Despite our proposals to increase job security for the Fixed-term faculty, the Administration has proposed to eliminate multi-year contracts (currently more than 45% of FTF), reduce the notices of termination from the current “Christmas letter” notice, and offer no assurances against mid-contract reduction of FTE.

Similarly, although we have argued for the need for increasing the notices of termination for the Academic Professionals, the Administration has insisted that they remain the same as in our current contract.

Our proposal that FTF, APs, and Research faculty receive 1% increases in salary upon satisfactory annual reviews was also ignored by the Administration.

We proposed two new articles: Parental and Catastrophic Leave, and Academic Quality.  The Administration has rejected everything in these except the Parental Leave article that mirrors the current benefits enjoyed by our colleagues at the UofO.  They are considering those further.

With respect to economics: our proposals for increased funds for Professional Development and for a continuation of the 5% contribution toward our benefits remains unaddressed by the Administration until they understand the full extent of our requests for increases in compensation.  Both our team and theirs are waiting to propose anything about compensation until we more fully understand what the rest of the articles entail and what the University’s finances look like this fall.

You may read a full account of each bargaining session on our PSU-AAUP website.  Please stay engaged.  Attend bargaining sessions as often and for as long as you can.  Your presence makes a difference.

Grievance News:
Portland State University Administration eroding tenure system

The Portland State University Honors Program eliminated the position of Dr. Hillary Jenks, a faculty member who was on tenure track in her fourth year. She had very good annual reviews and a very good third year review. PSU-AAUP, the Association for full time faculty members and academic professionals, has filed a grievance challenging the elimination of the position as a violation of the Portland State University Promotion and Tenure Guidelines (which are empowered in collective bargaining agreement between the faculty association and the University.  

The University stated that the reason for the elimination was program reduction for budgetary reasons and asserts that the Oregon Administrative Rules allow tenure track positions to be eliminated as long as they meet the statutory notice requirement of twelve (12) months.  They further assert that if the University lacked the ability to eliminate positions prior to tenure, then faculty members would have de-facto tenure, an assertion that AAUP vehemently contests.

The University’s elimination of this position “for budgetary reasons” is all the more puzzling and disturbing as the department conducted an active search for a tenure track position in the same Honors program after the resignation of another faculty member. In fact, the administration initiated the search to fill the position within days of their decision to eliminate Dr. Jenks’ position. Additionally, the Honors department doubled the number of students it will house in the Honors residence hall this fall and opened a whole new floor, and has also expended funds to build new Honors only “sandbox” study spaces.

It is AAUP’s position that tenure track faculty can be let go only for just cause, or through the procedures established around the declaration of financial exigency as per Article 22 of the collective bargaining agreement, which embody the AAUP’s 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure.  Tenure track faculty can also be let go if they fail to meet the standards of the position and are judged unable to meet the qualification for tenure while on the way to tenure evaluation. 

AAUP asserts that faculty members hired on the tenure track have a contract with the University to provide a tenure track position as long as the faculty member meets the standards and requirements of the position and the requirements for tenure as established in the University Promotion and Tenure guidelines.  The determination that a faculty member meets those standards is part of the tenure process.  AAUP sees this as an attack on tenure and a very dangerous precedent. 

The University asserts they have eliminated tenure track positions in the past and have eliminated tenure track positions of faculty members who were otherwise on track to earn tenure without a declaration of financial exigency.   PSU-AAUP is not aware of any other elimination of a tenure track faculty without cause or a process.

Instead of waiting for the 12 months to run out, Dr. Jenks resigned her position in September. The Association is currently deciding how to proceed with the grievance. The Association will also seek review of the Administration’s action by National AAUP Committee A and Committee A at AAUP-OR, which may lead to AAUP voting to censure or sanction Portland State University for the elimination of tenure track positions in violation of AAUP policy.

Upper Administration demands removal of long-standing Merit Pay and Workload provisions of the USP Guidelines.

In August 2013 the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs minor revisions to the Schools Guidelines, Procedures and Operating Rules, The Guideline changes were the result of the schools robust shared governance process and were signed by the Division Chair and the Dean. The longstanding sections on Merit Pay and Faculty Workload were not changed and had not been revised in many years. They were returned immediately by OAA with assertion that: “Those sections will need to be revised before your guidelines will be effective.  The sections that need to be revised are ordinary and customary functions of management therefore subject to OAA approval and not faculty decision.” 

OAA’s position that Merit Pay and Workload are “functions of management” is patently incorrect. Merit Pay and Workload are mandatory subjects of bargaining and because they were in long standing school guidelines, are protected by our contract in Article 8- Past Practices. It is a violation of the contract to demand to overturn these provisions by administrative fiat. It is also a violation of AAUP shared governance principles. PSU-AAUP has filed an Association grievance and will begin meetings with management this month.

AAUP discovers provisions in PSU Research Misconduct Policy that violate the Contract

Last spring, PSU-AAUP for the first time represented a member who was alleging a violation of the University Research Misconduct policy. As a result, PSU-AAUP discovered that a faculty member’s contractual right to due process was compromised by the policy as it prevented faculty members from challenging the findings of research misconduct upon which any discipline would result. This is akin to not being able to cross-examine witnesses in a criminal trial.

Vice President Grievances Judy Patton and PSU-AAUP Executive Director Phil Lesch filed an Association grievance on the matter, and have met with PSU’s attorneys and research managers on two occasions to find a solution.   PSU-AAUP is waiting for management’s response to our grievance.

Bullying in the Workplace:
How to Create A Healthy Workplace Environment

November 6, 2013 SMSU 237
12:00-1:30 PM light lunch provided

Bullying in the workplace is now recognized as a health and safety issue, which causes stress for both targets and witnesses, and is very costly for employers.  In this workshop, we'll discuss what is and is not currently considered bullying; identify the effects of bullying on the target, witnesses and workplace; provide an overview of anti-bullying strategies for individuals, unions and employers; and identify some "best practices" for moving forward here at PSU.

The Workshop will be held Wednesday November 6, 2013 in Smith 237 from 12:00 to 1:30 PM. Light Lunch will be served.

We should note that the administration was invited to sponsor this workshop with us but declined.

• RSVP by October 25 to or 503-725-4414

AAUP-Oregon is ready to commence operations

Faculty represented by AAUP around the state are getting together to influence legislation, collaborate on bargaining, help campuses that want a union and get the word out about faculty concerns.  PSU Faculty are playing a big role.  More

Higher Education Faculty leaders around the state have met throughout the year to finalize the structure of AAUP-Oregon so it is ready to function when the faculty of University of Oregon ratify their first collective bargaining agreement and become regular members of National AAUP and AAUP-Oregon. The Constitution and Bylaws and a preliminary budget including dues rates were adopted in January and the first Executive Committee was elected in April, 2013. The officers of the Executive Committee are working on the business plans for their areas and will present the proposals for adoption at the October quarterly meeting. Former PSU-AAUP activist Jacqueline Arante is working on the application for AAUP-OR to become eligible for non-profit status pursuant to IRS code 501-c-5 (for labor organizations) and we hope that application will be filed soon.

The structure of AAUP-OR is unique and does not duplicate any other AAUP conference structure. It seeks to meld traditional nonprofit operational governance with strategic portfolio ownership at a high elected leadership level and provide true representation governance for the diverse body of interests that AAUP-OR will embrace. There are 4 vice presidents, each with a portfolio: Collective Bargaining; Political Action; Membership and Organizing, and Committee A. We hope to add (back) a fifteen vice president who would work on public messaging for the conference: Communication and Public Relations. Each collective bargaining chapter has a representative. There are representatives in leadership- called advocates- for tenured faculty, for academic professionals, for contingent faculty, and for graduate students. There are also appointed leaders to present the interests of individual AAUP members in Oregon as well as advocacy chapters, which are expected to grow considerably as a percentage of membership in the intermediate term.

The leadership team meets quarterly. The next meeting of the executive committee is Saturday October 26, 2013 at University of Oregon.

Once AAUP-OR is operational they will begin charging dues. Our current dues rate (and the projected increases above) do not include AAUP-OR dues. AAUP-OR will be billed to PSU-AAUP, and our dues will subsequently rise, once that organization formally commences operations. We expect AAUP-OR to commence in Fall or Winter term.

PSU-AAUP members are members of AAUP-Oregon as per the PSU-AAUP Constitution. AAUP-Oregon dues will cause PSU-AAUP dues to increase as follows: .05% in the first year; .10% in the second year; .15% in the third year and thereafter. The commencement of AAUP-OR dues will, thus, cause PSU-AAUP local dues to increase to .886% if it occurs on or after January 1, 2014. As soon as we are notified of the re-commencement of operations at AAUP-OR we will notify the membership through a similar newsletter or email news communication.

National AAUP and AAUP- Collective Bargaining Congress restructuring in place. 

National AAUP reorganization
AAUP has split into three separate but affiliated organizations: the professional organization we have known since 1915 will operate legally as a c-6, the AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress is legally defined as a labor union or c-5, and the AAUP foundation is a c3.

National AAUP has a new Executive Director.

National AAUP New Executive Director
National AAUP's reorganization is marked by the hiring of former PSU-AAUP Chapter Coordinator Julie Schmidt to be the first Executive Director for the c-6. Julie Schmidt left PSU-AAUP to work for National AAUP as an Associate Secretary in the Department of Organizing and Services for a number of years, then moved on to AFT-Wisconsin where she rose to the position of Chief of Staff. We join the National AAUP in our confidence that Julie Schmidt will further the work of AAUP in organizing higher education faculty in this era of challenge and change in higher education.

AAUP Delegates pass dues increase at June 2013 Annual meetings.

National AAUP Raises Dues for all Members
At the June 2013 Annual Meeting, AAUP delegates-who are all elected at large, rather than as representatives of the chapter, approved a dues increase of 2.717% effective January 1, 2014. At its June 2013 AAUP- Collective Bargaining Congress (c-5) annual meeting, the delegates passed a dues increase of $15/member/year. For PSU-AAUP this means an increase of .029%. As a result PSU-AAUP members’ dues will increase to .836% effective January 1, 2014.

Audit of 2012 Association Financials is complete and available for member review

The audited financial statements are available in the AAUP office, Smith 232, for member review on site. If you are interested in reviewing the statements, we ask that you contact Tita and visit by appointment.

Each year the Executive Council employs an independent auditor to review the Association’s financial statements, as prepared by the Executive Director, for accuracy, completeness and so the Association can be in compliance with Chicago Teachers Union. Local No. 1. AFT. AFL-CIO v. Hudson. 475 U.S. 292, 106 S.Ct. 1066 (1986). This is a Supreme Court case that delineates how labor unions must collect Fair Share Fees and provide notice to fair share fee payers of their rights. Our requirements under this procedure are laid out in Association Policy 2- Hudson Procedure.

This year the Association hired Jarrard, Seibert, Pollard and Co to conduct the audit and present audited financial statements, and to prepare the Statement of Chargeable vs. Non-chargeable expenses. The auditor states:  “In our opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Portland State Chapter of the American Association of University Professors as of December 31, 2012 and 2011, and the changes in its net assets and its cash flows for the years then ended in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.”

Appeals Court Ruling Bolsters Professors’ Free-Speech Rights in the West: WSU Professor’s Plan to Improve Murrow Program Qualifies for Free-Speech Protection

A U.S. District Court judge erred when he ruled that a Washington State University professor was not entitled to First Amendment protection when he developed a controversial plan for restructuring and improving a journalism program, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday.

“The decision is a great victory for those who cherish academic freedom, free-speech ideals and shared governance,” said David Demers, a former tenured WSU professor who created the plan to improve the quality of education in the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication.

 “Professors should be able to criticize administrators and their policies and play an active role in the affairs of the university,” added Demers, who left the university in 2012 and currently teaches a mass media law course in The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. “The decision bolsters the idea that free-speech protection for professors extends beyond their academic research programs and the classroom. It covers our service role, too.”

Demers brought suit in 2010 alleging that four university administrators retaliated against him for distributing a “7-Step Plan” that sought to improve the quality of the Murrow program (Demers v. Austin, et al.).

The plan asked university administrators to give more power to professional faculty, to seek national accreditation for the Murrow School, and to remove a non-journalism major from the school. The latter program only served 60 of the 1,000 majors in the Murrow School but was consuming one-fourth of the school’s resources, Demers said. Demers also offered to donate $100,000 of his own money if the university implemented the plan.

University administrators ignored the plan.

When he submitted the plan, Demers said he assumed his speech was protected under the principles of shared governance and academic freedom.

The WSU administrator-defendants disagreed.

But instead of fighting the lawsuit on its merits, the defendants asked to declare that professors, as employees, do not deserve First Amendment protection.

Whaley agreed and threw the case out of court, before it went to trial.

To support his decision, Spokane District Court Judge Robert H. Whaley he cited the 2006 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Garcetti v. Ceballos, which held that government employees (an assistant prosecuting attorney in this case) are not entitled to free-speech protection, even if those employees report criminal wrongdoing on the part of other government workers (the attorney learned that police officers had fabricated evidence to obtain a search warrant).

The high court ruled 5-4 against the “whistle blower,” with the conservative justices outflanking the moderates and liberals. The majority essentially ruled that it is better to control employees than to expose corruption, Demers said.

But the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel, headed by Judge William A. Fletcher, ruled in the Demers case that Garcetti does not apply to professors, because “teaching and academic writing are at the core of the official duties of teachers and professors. Such teaching and writing are ‘a special concern of the First Amendment.’ ... We conclude that if applied to teaching and academic writing, Garcetti would directly conflict with the important First Amendment values previously articulated by the Supreme Court.”

The appeals court ruling means that, to receive First Amendment protection, a professor’s speech must address matters of public concern and the professor’s interest in the matter must outweigh the state’s interest in promoting efficiency on the job.

The appeals court remanded the Demers case to the Spokane District Court for further review. A trial date has not been set.

The defendants could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

But Demers said this would hurt the reputation of the Murrow program even more.

“From the beginning, it never made any sense that administrators working in and supervising the Murrow journalism and mass communication programs would argue that journalism professors don’t deserve free-speech protection,” Demers said. “I think this is a case of where the administrative bureaucracy was so focused on winning that it forgot about the importance of principles. Free speech is a principle worth defending.”

Demers said the ruling is another black mark on the administration of WSU President Elson Floyd, who in 2009 concealed a report from the Washington state Auditor’s Office which concluded that a WSU internal audit of Demers was tainted by a conflict of interest.

The appeals court also ruled that the defendants have qualified immunity from financial damages because the Ninth Circuit has never clarified Garcetti. This means Demers cannot seek punitive damages. But Demers, who said the case has cost him about $350,000 so far, said he didn’t care.

“This was a case about principles and free-speech rights, not money.”

The American Association of University Professors and the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression penned a friend-of-the-court brief in support of free-speech rights for faculty.

The appeals court ruling, if it stands, will affect public universities nine states, including Arizona, California, Nevada, Montana, Washington state, Idaho, Hawaii, Alaska and Utah.

Demers taught at WSU for 16 years. He quit in 2012 to spend more time writing about civil liberties issues.

WSU has implemented some aspects of Demers’ 7-Step Plan, but the Murrow program, now a college, is not accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. The Cronkite School is.

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