30 November 2016

Press Release: Washington State University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors Supports Efforts to Create a Sanctuary Campus

Professor Donna Potts (donna.potts@gmail.com), WSU Pullman
Professor Elizabeth Siler (elizabethsiler@gmail.com), WSU Pullman
Professor Desiree Hellegers (desiree.hellegers@hotmail.com), WSU Vancouver
Professor Michael Mays (wmmays@hotmail.com), WSU Tri-Cities

Washington State University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors Supports Efforts to Create a Sanctuary Campus 

The Washington State University chapter of The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) stands firmly with those seeking to petition to make WSU a sanctuary campus and urges the university administration to affirm this request.  

Across the United States, hundreds of universities have proposed officially making their universities sanctuary campuses, safe spaces in which undocumented students can study and learn without fear of deportation.  28 universities have formally offered sanctuary to their undocumented students.   Currently, at Washington State University (WSU), there is an effort to petition the university administration to make WSU a sanctuary campus.    

This petition asks that Washington State University:

Adopt a resolution that actively bans U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other immigration enforcement officials from this campus,

Block immigration officials from student information without explicit consent from the student, and

Make a public statement indicating that the university urges the U.S. government to affirmatively protect students who are currently under DACA  (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) from removal and supports a path to permanent status for these students

These student-centered goals are congruent with the stated university’s broader goals, explained in the Vision, Mission, and Values statement of 2014-2019 as fostering the values of Integrity, Trust, and Respect, in which WSU asserts its commitment “to ensuring trust and respect for all persons in an environment that cultivates individual and institutional integrity in all that we do.”[1] That trust, respect, and cultivation of integrity cannot be fostered in an environment in which students who have been permitted to enroll at WSU under the Washington State REAL Hope Act must be fearful of potential deportation from the university and from the country.

Furthermore AAUP recognizes the contribution of undocumented students to helping meet our collective commitment to the value of Diversity and Global Citizenship outlined in this strategic plan.  As Dr. Kirk Schulz, our university President, has noted in a related statement on the issue of undocumented students on this campus, “It’s important to remind ourselves, too, that diversity in all its forms benefits each of us. Interacting and learning with people from a diversity of backgrounds stimulates intellectual growth, encourages collaboration and fosters innovation – essential building blocks in creating community.”[2]   Acknowledging that the WSU university community proudly “offer[s] life-changing college experiences to our undocumented students as authorized by the state,” Dr. Schulz also notes this university has developed scholarship programs for undocumented students.

This well-established commitment to undocumented students underscores the need to further affirm students in their efforts to achieve sanctuary campus status.

[1] Value, Mission, and Vision. Washington State University Strategic Plan, 2014-2019.
[2] WSU committed to free expression, access to higher ed, WSU News, October 18, 2016

05 February 2012

Rules of Discussion

Since the blog of the WSU chapter of the AAUP is moderated, any comments will be considered before posting.  As long as the poster or commenter is writing material that is relevant and respectful to the rest of the WSU community, we will publish it.

To encourage everyone to feel comfortable enough to participate in the discussion, we invite members of the WSU community to submit postings and comments to be published under their own names or pseudonyms.  However, at least the editor (currently me) or some member of the WSU-AAUP board needs to know the name, status and contact information of anyone publishing in our blog.

If you wish to post on the blog and remain anonymous to the general public, I recommend using an e-mail account not linked to the university and sending material to us at wsu.aaup@gmail.com.

--Lynn Gordon

27 January 2012

Union! Union! Union!

The administration has let WSU professors down; time to organize

Published 1/20/2012 Daily Evergreen / Washington State University
By David Demers, associate professor of communication

Sometime during the next couple of weeks the WSU chapter of the American Association of University Professors will decide whether to begin the process of forming a collective bargaining unit for WSU professors. Here are five reasons why faculty should unionize:

1. The provost’s policy for evaluating and terminating tenured faculty violates AAUP guidelines pertaining to academic freedom. The provost’s office has forced at least “five to 10” tenured faculty to resign or retire in recent years because they received below satisfactory ratings in as few as three annual reviews.

Vice Provost Frances McSweeney revealed this practice under oath during a deposition she gave in fall of 2010. I am the plaintiff in that lawsuit (Demers v. Austin, et al.), which is pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. AAUP says annual reviews for tenured faculty should be used for faculty development, not for termination decisions, mainly because annual reviews can be easily manipulated to fire faculty who are openly critical of administrators and their policies.

2. President Elson S. Floyd’s administration did not provide faculty with “ample voice” in the budget-cutting process, which also was biased. These were some of the key findings of an online survey of WSU faculty conducted last year. WSU faculty have low job satisfaction and low morale. Although budget cuts are partly responsible, the results of the study suggest that the “termination policy” mentioned above may also play a role. The survey found that even tenured WSU faculty (50 percent of all faculty) believe they have little job security. In fact, WSU scored lower on this measure than 80 percent of comparable universities and organizations.

3. Floyd and his administrators do not support free speech rights for faculty in their service roles. They made that clear last year when they convinced a federal judge to toss out my free-speech lawsuit, arguing that faculty, as employees, do not deserve First Amendment rights outside of the classroom or their research programs. If the administration wins the appeal, it means WSU can punish faculty who criticize administrators and their policies. If faculty cannot criticize without fear of reprisal, then shared governance is, for all intents and purposes, meaningless.

The irony is that WSU’s most famous graduate, broadcast legend Edward R. Murrow, was a staunch supporter of free speech rights and the First Amendment.

4. Administrative salaries have increased five times faster than faculty salaries. From 2001 to 2009, salaries of administrators working in the provost’s office jumped about 80 percent, according to state salary records. In contrast, salaries for faculty during that eight-year period increased about 15 percent, less than the rate of inflation. The average administrator in the provost’s office now earns nearly $160,000 a year. The provost’s salary, $250,000, increased 66 percent. The president’s salary, $625,000, also more than doubled. Administrators also get to cash in some of their “banked” sick days when they leave the university. Faculty on nine-month appointments do not.

5. There is no independent appeals procedure for faculty who believe they have been unfairly treated at annual review time. Currently, they can appeal only to deans or the provost, who almost always side with unit supervisor. The Faculty Status Committee can but usually refuses to hear annual review appeals, because it is too busy with tenure-denial cases. But even if the committee heard such appeals, it has no power to force the administration to change a review rating. A union, on the other hand, would have more power to force administrators to follow due process procedures.

David Demers is an associate professor of communication at Washington State University.

19 September 2011

Elections and Membership

I strongly urge all eligible members of the WSU community interested in shared governance and the future of tenure and higher education in the US and here at WSU to consider joining the AAUP and the WSU chapter in particular. Visit http://public.wsu.edu/~wsu-aaup/join.html and see how easy it is. We are about to send out an e-mail ballot for all the offices in the local chapter and we would like to see as many eligible voters as possible! Join today and vote tomorrow!

06 September 2011

Next General Meeting

The next general meeting is scheduled for 4:30 on Thursday, 8 September, in the Bundy Reading Room in Avery Hall on the Pullman campus. We have a lot to cover and we hope that you can make this important meeting. Topics to be addressed include:

  1. Election of officers for WSU-AAUP. Nominations and self-nominations for positions including president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary, and members-at-large should be sent directly to Elizabeth Siler at elizabethsiler@gmail.com by September 7 at 5 p.m. 
  2. Budget cut related matters 
  3. Issues related to shared governance/informed faculty participation/ budget transparency
  4. Revision of the faculty manual section on curriculum (a faculty responsibility) 
  5. Issues related to possible unauthorized changes to Faculty Senate bylaws 
 Light refreshments will be served. As always, feel free to bring a friend!

Interesting Article in Washington Monthly

A very interesting article in the Washington Monthly on some of the budget/finance issues that we have been discussing has been brought to our attention from several sources.  We thought that the rest the WSU community might be interested in "Administrators Ate My Tuition".

Response from President Floyd

President Elson Floyd responded on 31 August to Judy Meuth's 25 August letter. With his permission, we are posting his response here:

Dear Judy:

I appreciate your feedback regarding the proposed budget plan.

Let me provide some historical information that may prove useful. Over the last 10 years, WSU has consistently spent about 63% of state and operating tuition revenue in support of our core research, instruction and public service mission. We have used the remaining 37% to provide critical academic support. Academic support services include course development, course scheduling, advising, accreditation/certification, learning assessment, research compliance, student recruitment, admission, registration, information technology, payroll, campus maintenance and libraries – just to name a few.

With this historical context, one can easily see the tremendous protection the proposed FY2012 budget plan provides for the academic areas.

The proposed $3.2M reduction in the Academic Affairs budget represents about 16% of the required $20M budget reduction. Thus, while WSU invests 63% of our state and tuition budget directly in our core research, instruction and public support mission, it will carry only 16% of the total reduction. Critical support areas and branch campuses will shoulder the remaining 84% of the $20M reduction. This disproportionate reduction for academic support services is intentional. Yet we will soon hit a breaking point where we can no longer afford to erode these critical services.

The Academic Affairs proposed plan deliberately meets most of the reduction through consolidations and streamlining of academic administration. We simply must do all we can to protect our strong academic programs and our faculty who carry out our research, instruction and public service mission.

During times of economic scarcity and uncertainty such as these, it is human nature to direct frustrations and worry inward, struggling amongst ourselves over a seemingly ever-declining state funding base. Yet to do so threatens the fabric that is WSU. For it is the research, instruction and public service performed by our faculty and the intricately related support services provided by staff that form the inseparable tapestry that has and will continue to make WSU world class. In times such as these WSU is best served when we unite our efforts to expand our available resources, become more efficient, effective and focused in all that we do.


Elson S. Floyd, Ph.D.

Washington State University

Press Release: Washington State University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors Supports Efforts to Create a Sanctuary Campus

CONTACT: Professor Donna Potts (donna.potts@gmail.com), WSU Pullman Professor Elizabeth Siler (elizabethsiler@gmail.com), WSU Pullman Pr...