American Association of University Professors
University of Delaware Chapter

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April 2003 aaUPBEAT

Workload, Awards, the Union and the Patriot Act

Statement: The AAUP's Position on Workload

Since December the Executive Council has been concerned about Administration statements tying administered workload policies and their implementation to (a) the allocation of faculty lines to academic units in the College of Arts and Sciences and (b) the resolution of budgetary problems faced by the college. Such a departure from previous Administration policy has no foundation in the discussions and understandings that were reached between the union and Administration prior to the ratification of the 2002-2005 Collective Bargaining Agreement. Also, the Administration did not discuss these items with the AAUP at any time after the ratification vote.

Accepting of this approach to the development of workload policies would promote a top-down managerial framework for departmental governance and faculty workload issues that has no UD precedent or grounding in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates that faculty review their workload policies and, if they so determine, revise them. Workload policies are supposed to reflect a unit's mission while simultaneously conforming to University policies. Neither the Collective Bargaining Agreement nor UD policies gives Administration the power to use workload policy reviews as a means of managing departmental budgets, centralizing authority over department workload issues, or influencing the workloads of individual faculty members.

Rather than changing existing policy to allow such things to happen, the AAUP believes that workload policies should continue to do what they are supposed to do: foster equity within units and guarantee faculty the freedom to fulfill the academic missions of their units.

In March, a College of Arts and Science Senate meeting was held that included faculty discussion of concerns about the process of workload review/revision. Shortly after this meeting, Leon Campbell, the Contract Maintenance Officer, asked Dean Huddleston to clarify remarks he made regarding workload at a recent Arts and Science meeting. His response made it clear that he had no intention of trying to meet college budget obligations by systematically raising workloads. The AAUP views this statement as positive.

Additional meetings with the Provost and the Vice President for Administration were also held in March and are ongoing. These meetings have been held to further clarify their views on workload, budgets, and new faculty positions. These meetings have been helpful, The AAUP will provide updated information at May's open Steering Committee meeting (May 8, 11:30-1:00 PM, Room 347, McDowell Hall) and in the May newsletter.

AAUP Student Award Winners 2003

Erwin C. Puente and Amanda Eaton are the recipients of this year's AAUP Student Awards.

Erwin C. Puente of Millsboro, Delaware, is the winner of a $2,000 AAUP Student Award for graduate school study. Erwin, a Liberal Studies and Biological Sciences double major and a Chemistry minor, with a 3.93 gpa cum, will graduate with an Honors B.A. Degree With Distinction and plans to obtain an MD/PhD combined degree. Mr. Puente has several research fellowships, one article published and another submitted for publication, and is completing a senior thesis on the effects of mechanical load on bone-forming cells, called osteoblasts. A member of Phi Beta Kappa and four other honor societies, Erwin has garnered three Howard Hughes Medical Institute awards, and presented posters at two conferences. He is also an active tutor of elementary and college students as well as a volunteer at Beebe Hospital and Jeanne Jugan Retirement Home. An outstanding young scholar, Erwin has already taken part in "exciting, cutting edge projects," as one faculty member wrote. As a teacher and researcher in a medical school, he intends to develop new approaches to therapeutics for bone diseases such as osteoporosis.

Amanda Eaton of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, is the winner of a $2,000 AAUP Student Award for graduate school study. Ms. Eaton, a double major in French Studies and Spanish Studies, with a 3.98 gpa cum, will graduate with an Honors B.A. Degree With Distinction and desires to continue her Spanish-French literature studies in graduate school. Amanda is completing a senior thesis comparing the development of Naturalism in France and Spain during the 19th century, and has been assisting Professor Vincent Martin in the publication of Golden Age theatrical pieces from Spain. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi and seven other honor societies, Amanda has studied in Barcelona and the Sorbonne at Paris. She also has been active in the community tutoring children and college students, and translating many documents from English into Spanish to assist Hispanic parents whose children attend a Head Start program. As her professors wrote, Amanda's "seriousness of purpose, intellectual curiosity, and originality" in combination with "leadership skills and her drive to dedicate her life to teaching" should bode well for a career as a productive scholar at a university in the future.

Union: Post-Sept. 11 and the War against Iraq

John Sweeney, the president of the AFL-CIO labor federation, knew what he was doing on Oct. 7, 2002 when, backpedaling on his commitment to endorse all Bush foreign policy decisions that pertained to the war on terrorism, he announced that the AFL-CIO believed "war must be the last option, not the first" in terms of resolving the US's conflicts with Iraq. Sweeney further dug in his heels by suggesting that the White House should prioritize arriving at a "peaceful settlement through the United Nations" as opposed to acting unilaterally.

Although Sweeney stopped short of declaring that there were no circumstances under which the AFL-CIO would support a war against Iraq, his remarks were nonetheless history-making, given the federation's usual stance regarding US military actions. Not only has the AFL-CIO historically been an avid supporter of the U.S. military during times of war (e.g. Vietnam), but even on those occasions when it viewed a particular war (e.g., Afghanistan) as only peripheral to its interests it remained silent rather than raise questions about the war's character.

So, when Sweeney spoke out against war on Oct. 7, 2002, he did something that no one had seen an AFL-CIO leader do in decades: challenge a pending White House military policy.

But that was only the beginning of labor expressing concerns about the war. By the beginning of 2003, antiwar sentiment among unions was even stronger than it had been a few months earlier. Jerry Zero, the president of a 20,000-member Teamsters local in Chicago, made this point clear in a January interview when he explained to Knight-Ridder that his local's opposition to the war wasn't born of liberalism but merely from a sense that this war was being drummed up for the wrong reasons. "We're not exactly a liberal union," Zero told the newspaper. "We've got a lot of truck drivers, UPS employees, freight drivers. I'd say it's a pretty conservative union. Yet they feel pretty strongly against the war."

Zero's comments are especially interesting because the Teamsters have developed a strong relationship over the years with the Republican party. Today's Teamsters, for instance, support Bush on a number of issues including drilling for Alaskan oil. Consequently, there was nothing automatic about the Chicago Teamsters local coming out against the war. On the contrary, it surprised analysts.

The surprising opposition of many traditional trade unions to the war is certainly worthy of our attention. Still, it doesn't explain to us why so many faculty across the nation are concerned, independently of their party affiliations, with the war's potential domestic repercussions. To understand this, we must look briefly at Sept. 11 and the war on terrorism that resulted from that day's attacks on the Pentagon and the twin towers.

The Patriot Act and Academic Freedom

In Sept. 11's aftermath, a wave of understandable fear swept across the country. On the one hand this fear took the form of a heightened awareness of our vulnerability as a nation and of the consequent need to develop new modes of self-protection. On the other hand, the fear sometimes spilled over into paranoia and violence, as in the murder of a Sikh gas station owner in Arizona who was mistaken for a Muslim. The country's jitteriness and suspiciousness became the emotional climate out of which grew legislation like the USA Patriot Act of 2001 with its emphasis on scrutinizing those who live among us for signs of treason, nonconformism or anti-Americanism. Bush signed the Act into law on Oct. 26, 2001, about one and a half months following the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Patriot Act was originally submitted to Congress by Attorney General John Ashcroft as the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001. Ashcroft gave Congress one week to pass the bill without changes. In acquiescence, Senate leaders prepared a bipartisan bill that stipulated the proposal was to be passed without debate or amendment. Only one Senator, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, voted no. In the House of Representatives, the Act won by a margin of 357 to 66. Not only did the bill pass without discussion, it was passed in the absence of any investigation into the causes and contexts of Sept. 11's events.

The USA Patriot Act consists of 132 pages of complex legislation that amend approximately 15 federal statutes. The purpose of these amendments is to provide federal law enforcement agencies with increased power to investigate suspects. This power increase includes not only things like expanded wire tapping rights so officials can more easily investigate suspected terrorists but also provisions for more aggressively monitoring higher education, including faculty.

Here are some highlights:

  1. The USA Patriot Act amends the Family and Education Rights Privacy Act of 1974 to allow law enforcement agencies to gather information about student records "likely to contain" information relevant to an investigation of domestic or international terrorism. Institutions must disclose this information without the knowledge or consent of the student or parent. The institution does not need to maintain records of disclosures of information. There is no requirement for record keeping.
  2. The Patriot bill changes the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA) to enable law enforcement agencies to obtain stored voice mail, e-mail and other electronic communications through a search warrant rather than a wiretap order. This is a lower standard of privacy protection.
  3. The law requires university and college libraries to be included in 1 and 2. Library records, such as books that students and faculty have taken out, can be subject to disclosure without the student or faculty member knowing. This is also true of bookstores.
  4. The Act also amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA). Under FISA, law enforcement agencies may get records from persons, including university bookstores, libraries, internet service providers to investigate international terrorism. Such investigations are exempt, in part, from Fourth Amendment Protections. They are subject to a special FISA court. The record keeper, such as a university library, may not disclose requests for information to anyone except those who are needed to carry it out.
  5. The Act provides greater power for monitoring foreign students. For example, it requires foreigners who have visas other than student visas to get student visas before they can enroll in a school. Students from Canada and Mexico who are part-timers must fill out Arrival and Departure Forms each time they cross the border.

These are some of the more striking features of the USA Patriot Act.

All of us in the UD community, especially faculty and students, are subject to this law. We have a right to know how the University administration views the USA Patriot Act, how it is being implemented on campus, what rights faculty and students have, and what legal resources are available. The USA Patriot Act makes the university a site for intelligence gathering in ways that can have profound effects on research and education.

These are concerns that must be faced by the UD academic community since the cumulative impact of the USA Patriot Act could be (a) the shrinkage of what's allowable as so-called legitimate dissent and (b) an expansion of the list of behaviors and analyses considered subversive and/or terroristic. Historically, such ideological shifts don't bode well for academic freedom.

Not surprisingly then, organizations like the American Council on Education (ACE) are committed to resisting any encroachments to academic freedom that might result from the nation's current war mood. According to a recent ACE report, the group feels obligated to speak out because "teachers and scholars of American culture and history... are deeply concerned about the storm of attacks on intellectual freedom and the ebb of open public debate, in the name of patriotism and a war on terror."

Like ACE, the AAUP is committed to making sure that academic freedom does not suffer as a result of measures that, although ostensibly based on security interests, do more to promote intellectual conformism than to pro