Flexible Fall Term Plan

July 10, 2020 / PSU-AAUP

We have asked the administration to allow all of our members the choice to work remotely until there is a vaccine for the virus or if there are significant positive changes in this public health crisis. We have not received an answer to this request. We will continue to put pressure on the University on this issue.

On July 1, we received communication from Provost Susan Jeffords detailing a range of options for instructional faculty to teach their courses in the fall of 2020, and many of you may have begun to hear further detailed plans coming out from your department chairs and/or deans. All plans that AAUP is currently aware of are prioritizing faculty safety in making decisions regarding the mode of course delivery, and we appreciate the priority given thus far to public and individual health and safety. We hope that the university will continue to remain flexible and allow instructors a significant degree of autonomy in making these important decisions. Recent outbreaks within student communities at the University of Washington and elsewhere are incredibly alarming. We are particularly concerned that non-tenured instructional faculty may not feel comfortable asserting their choice in course delivery and we urge campus administration to message to Deans and Chairs that the health, safety and well-being of all instructors, regardless of rank, should be our top priority. We encourage any impacted members to reach out to AAUP directly for support. 

And what about Academic Professionals? Will some be required to return to campus? What about our academic worker colleagues in the Offices of Financial Aid or Admissions? SHAC? The Rec Center?  We have not heard plans from the administration on this front, and AAUP continues to insist that all members’ health and safety be the first priority. Again, we encourage any impacted members to reach out to AAUP directly for support in the event that you are asked to return to campus and you do not feel safe doing so. We know that many of our APs are among the lower paid members of our union and also are disproportionately female. We remain concerned about the  ways that even a partial reopening of campus will reinstate extant hierarchical systems. BIPOC and lower income folks experience many more negative health impacts of this virus than wealthier white folks. And we as members of PSU-AAUP should also consider the health and welfare of our SEIU colleagues, many of whom, in addition to experiencing the furlough, will be working in campus building and will be incredibly vulnerable. 

Of additional concern: what of our colleagues with children and other caregiver needs? With daycares largely closed and the fate of our public school system in the air, the University must be reasonable and accommodating to our academic community who are really struggling during this crisis for all sorts of reasons. Let Florida State University be the example of what not to do as a community who cares about their workers. PSU needs to be a place where people matter.

PSU-AAUP has signed on to this well considered argument from AAUP Oregon regarding all of the issues that administrators should consider before opening up campus. Please take a moment to review its focus on equity and safety for faculty, staff, and students as our guiding priorities over that of money.

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