With “Why I Feel Bad For the Pepper-Spraying Policeman, Lt. John Pike,” Atlantic magazine senior editor Alexis Madrigal provides a useful discussion of the criminalization of protest and related militarization of police response. Madrigal is quite right that we’re missing the point if we pretend that Pike is an “independent bad actor” and “vilify” him […]

When we added humorous chapter books (eg Roscoe Riley) to my three-year-old’s story time, we were appalled to find that one of them featured one of the cruder and, we thought, outmoded Asian stereotypes–the New Kid from the Black Lagoon, it turns out, is not the scary blue-skinned alien from Mars that the other kids […]

You don’t know the name Elbert F. Tellem, but you will. Just last week, as the acting Director of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) District 2, Tellem issued a potentially historic decision green-lighting contingent-faculty unionization at Catholic-affiliated Manhattan College. In the process, he threaded his way through some of the most dishonest law in the […]

Should The New York Times (NYT) exist? Ha–you’re thinking, “What an unfair question!” Or “You’ve framed the debate in an obviously unfair or careless way.” And right you are. But since I’m a rich and powerful chunk of media capital with a stake in the answer, I don’t care what you think, and I’m free […]

Only way to please me turn around and leave and walk away –Alabama Getaway, lyrics by Robert Hunter Many who learn that the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) amputated a $650,000 state appropriation, not to mention a flow of grant money, just to rid itself of a labor center (and Glenn Feldman, the accomplished historian who […]

Across the planet for the past two years, university management has been opportunistically putting the screws to faculty, staff and students with bogus claims that “the economy made us do it.” Professor of accounting and AAUP Secretary-Treasurer Howard Bunsis has made a second career of flying around North America debunking these hilariously dishonest claims, a […]

Think you enjoy academic freedom? Think again. In July 2007, the American Sociological Association reported that 1/3 of its members felt that their academic freedoms were threatened, a significantly higher figure than the 1/5 recorded during the McCarthy years.  What this suggests is that witch-hunts haven’t gone away; they just don’t attract as many headlines. […]

In a nine-page report, the ACLU just slammed the Berkeley administration for trampling on the rights of two student protesters. And: is the Minneapolis conference about this year’s campus unrest the last act, or a prelude to even bolder action? Watch the live broadcast to find out.  There was a police confrontation at a sit-in […]

In a surprise move today, President Obama fired all 5,000 Department of Education staff members, including Secretary Arne Duncan. “Education is a failed Cabinet office,” he said. “We needed a clean sweep.” Spokespersons for the administration said the president was forced to act by a little-known federal law mandating the radical progressive de-funding of any […]

What’s worse than David Horowitz’s brand of right-wing drivel giving yellow journalism a bad name? A ghost-authored Horowitz sequel, padded with over 150 witless, tendentious summaries of courses that the compilers erroneously imagine will frighten middle America into hauling the faculty up the nearest telephone pole. The current issue of American Book Review highlights their […]

In a draft article published to its website today, Scientific American blasts some of the junk analysis bedeviling mainstream higher ed coverage and what passes for policy “thought” about academic labor. “The real crisis in American science education,” the article concludes, “is a distorted job market’s inability to provide [young scientists] careers worthy of their […]

The stark contrast between recent imaginative actions by students and the decades of poor data, bad analysis, and foot-dragging by most academic institutions suggests a possibility. Could AAUP and the disciplinary associations could become the next target for the more radical students? For today’s grads, socially conscious unionism no longer represents the left wing of […]

In a second occupation at Mrak Hall, student activists forced the administration to negotiate, make several concessions, and enter into discussion about their demands. See the full story, complete with a scan of the agreement signed by UC administrator Janet Gong.All thanks to the disobedient!

Update: you’ve got to watch this video. Yesterday the UC Regents walked into a room packed with gasoline and nonchalantly lit their cigars–handing down tuition increases that will hike 2010 rates 44% over 2008, turning higher ed into a gated community for the offspring of California’s “Real Housewives” class. Their bet is the usual bet […]

Is your administration using “the economy” as an excuse to extort more work for less pay from an already over-burdened faculty? Buying Howard Bunsis a plane ticket to your campus might be the best investment you can make right now. Bunsis, a Michigan professor of accounting and treasurer of the AAUP, has been tracking administrator […]

In response to the massive re-orientation of education toward job training, privatization and the standardization of curricular outcomes mandated by the Bologna Process, students across Europe have been turning out by the thousands. This past June, as many as 250,000 students, parents, schoolteachers, college faculty and staff coordinated a week-long education strike in 90 cities […]

In lower Manhattan, students demonstrate in solidarity with protesters at UC Santa Cruz. The Occupy California group peacefully ended their weeklong occupation of a UCSC facility last Thursday, but announced that they left “in order to escalate” their confrontation with the state and campus authorities. During the event, messages of solidarity poured in from Britain, […]

The professional opinion of the chair of the George Mason University economics department is mistaken for the punchline to a Cajun joke. Last Thursday, 350,000 faculty members–most of them without any hope of entering the dried-up tenure stream–received a militant blast email from the AAUP: The AAUP serves notice that we are working to end […]

Late last night, disabled faculty veteran Gerald Davey posted to the adjunct faculty discussion list (join) to explain that he’d been fired, less than a year after blowing the whistle on San Antonio College administration’s scheme to defraud contingent faculty by forcing them to sign waivers relinquishing pay and eligibility they had earned under state […]

Last week President Obama (He Who Must Not Be Criticized From the Left) proposed throwing some chump change at higher education–12 billion or so to community colleges, much of it intended for such great ideas as more spending on facilities, online education, assessment tools, and a standardized national curriculum–excepting where potential employers want to dictate […]

In my last column, I pointed out that the nationalist and “cultural capital” function of literature classes are in decline. With their tenure lines evaporating, many literature faculty are grasping at the claim that they teach “reading” and “thinking.” By this they generally mean the training of managers and professionals in a degraded version of […]

“The Adjuncts” by Chloe Smolarski, City University of New York, CUNY Contingents Unite Academic freedom is the subject of three major conferences and at least two substantial journal issues this season, and they’ll all get a fair amount of ink and electrons when Ward Churchill’s lawsuit against the University of Colorado commences next month in […]

At the annual convention of the Modern Language Association last month, David Horowitz once more shared a panel with AAUP President Cary Nelson, who has previously replied to Horowitz’s exaggerated claims of bias in the classroom. As Chronicle Review editor Liz McMillen’s coverage pointed out, there wasn’t much actual debate in this over-hyped appearance, which […]

There are several new confirmed appearances for the spring. Some of these events are free and open to the public.  With the exception of possible appearances in Southern California (Occidental College and/or Cal State San Marcos), I think I’m pretty much as booked as I can handle until very late in 2009. “Social Media and […]

Steve Street thinks you could be part of the problem, and he’s right. In the current issue of _The Chronicle,_ faculty activist Steve Street writes from the perspective of the overwhelming majority who serve contingently to the shrinking minority of us who serve in the tenure stream. Titled Don’t Be Kind to Adjuncts, the piece […]

“There’s no way I could have kept my scholarship if I didn’t use it.”   I’m working on a piece about undergraduate academic freedom that relates changes in campus culture to changes in the culture of schools. One area of particular interest is the medicalization of youth relations with authority. In a previous section, I […]

An epidemic of compliance in higher ed helps turn parents and schoolteachers into corrections officers. I’m working on a piece about undergraduate academic freedom that relates changes in campus culture to changes in the culture of schools. One area of particular interest is the medicalization of youth relations with authority. AlterNet’s Bruce Levine, a clinical […]

Gary Rhoades, who transformed our understanding of the professoriate with the publication of Managed Professsionals and Academic Capitalism in the New Economy, will join Cary Nelson at the helm of the AAUP in January. As director of the Institute for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona, he is already a leading […]

Anon. I looked at everyone sitting around me. ‘Slavetrading’? …Nobody reacted. MB. But you kept working there. Anon. I had no choice. We needed the money. Next I’ll feature Melanie Hubbard, a Columbia Ph.D. with articles, an NEH fellowship, and a book contract who has never been interviewed for a tenure track job while serving […]

Hey, I just got my invitation from the National Association of “Scholars” to join their Golden Snitch project–they called it the Argus project, but I didn’t get what that means, ’cause I’m in English and that reference requires a course in Classics. Like most NAS invitees, I insist on coloring inside the lines. My invite […]

Sometime in early 2009, the Denver District Court will begin to hear testimony in Ward Churchill’s lawsuit against the University of Colorado. It will be a very different national political climate than the one in which Churchill’s reference to Hannah Arendt’s classic study of the banality of evil*, Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963) set in motion […]

Last week, which I’d dedicated primarily to family time, I jumped on to post breaking news about UAW’s successful organizing of 5000 University of California postdocs, and a fairly uncontroversial AP profile of Cary Nelson’s service as AAUP president. In the profile, Cary gets credit for turning around organizational missteps in the membership office and […]

So I’ve been taking a few days for non-academic desk work–chiefly editing about twenty hours of Emile video (aged six weeks to five months: first swim in the lake, first rice cereal) into forty minutes that a grandparent would enjoy, notwithstanding the Oakland funk sound track. But with a brief opportunity to interrupt my hiatus […]

The Moore College of Art and Design has been trying to crush its faculty for two decades. Since 1990, when it employed mostly tenure-stream faculty, it has been converted into an academic Wal-mart, with 31 full-timers on contracts and 70 adjuncts, draconian violations of shared governance and academic freedom norms, including a code prohibiting artists […]

Many thanks for the suggestions on the Academic Labor Bookshelf. Later in the summer, I’ll reissue it, revised, expanded, and with commentary. A couple of weeks back, I linked to a report by Phil Jack on AFT’s Face Talk about the case of Margaret West, a 20-year veteran part-timer at Edmonds Community College in Washington […]

Last week I posted on the scary case of Juan Hong, a tenured full professor at UC Irvine, who was retaliated against for his speech in connection with his governance duties. Because he dissented from the majority on a couple of personnel decisions, and expressed concern about the impact of nontenurable hiring on undergraduate learning, […]

A California court upholds UC-Irvine’s retaliation against engineering prof Juan Hong for complaining about permatemping–are you next? AAUP senior counsel Rachel Levinson has taken to sending occasional emails to AAUP members about the truly scary state of case law affecting traditional faculty rights. Her latest, on the retaliation against Irvine professor Juan Hong for speech […]

With the whole first-time dad thing, I’ve been a bit behind on the video project! I have twenty interviews on the external hard drive and another thirty or so scheduled for this spring (I’m taking advantage of my book tour to collect more important testimony than my own). At the rate of one interview a […]

“It’s broadly recognized, certainly by contingent faculty themselves, that they really don’t possess academic freedom,” Cary Nelson says, at least not “in the way that the American academy has assumed for basically half a century that everyone who teaches does.” In the first segment of our interview, the 49th president of the AAUP suggests that […]