The University of Connecticut (UConn)-AAUP stands in support of the recent declaration and pledge of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and the AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress (AAUP-CBC).
Following a historically divisive election and its surprising outcome, many members of the AAUP find themselves wondering how the next presidential administration will affect academia in general and our community at the University of Connecticut in particular. Some academics see Donald J. Trump’s rise to power as a grave threat to principles of inclusiveness, democracy, and academic freedom which are fundamental not only to higher education but to our country as a whole. Others think that the threat has been greatly exaggerated. All of us are no doubt troubled by the racism, sexism, and xenophobia which were on display in various quarters during election season.
For this reason, we think it important at this time to reaffirm UConn-AAUP’s longstanding commitment to inclusiveness, democracy, and academic freedom and to reject acts of bigotry, violence, and discrimination.
We are all aware that problems facing higher education are not products of a single election process or action. Rather, colleges and universities have withstood steady assaults over the past decades. We must be even more vigilant and vocal as we have yet to hear any national policy proposals for higher education. We must also become more active locally as the change in composition of the legislature could bring significant changes to operations in higher education.
With these points in mind, we the UConn-AAUP join the national AAUP and AAUP-CBC in pledging to intensify our efforts to:
- Oppose discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or national origin, and fight for an equitable and welcoming educational environment in which all can freely and safely learn, discuss, differ, debate, and grow.
- Oppose behaviors that harass, intimidate, bully, threaten or harm any member of the University community and that undermine a campus environment that promotes civility and collegiality.
- Oppose attacks on unions and the economic security of college and university faculty and staff. We will continue to fight for expanding and strengthening the rights of all faculty members– tenured, tenure-track, contingent, and graduate employees–to organize and bargain collectively.
- Oppose the privatization of our public higher education system and fight for higher education as a common good, accessible and affordable to all.
- Oppose violations of academic freedom and of the broader rights to free expression in the academic community. We fight for strengthened protections and renewed commitment to the principles of the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure and the 1966 Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities.
We furthermore pledge that we will stand in solidarity with members of the UConn community who by virtue of their race, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, or immigration status may find themselves targeted by agents of intolerance. We hope President Herbst and the University administration will do likewise.