AAUP Truman chapter meeting, April 16, 2013
Attendance: Marc Becker, Wolfgang Hoeschele, Marc Rice, David Robinson
1. Elections for AAUP Truman chapter officers for the 2013-14 academic year. Marc Rice agreed to continue serving as treasurer, and Wolfgang Hoeschele as secretary. Marc Becker will be unavailable to serve as chapter president, because he will be spending one semester in Ghana. We could not proceed with elections for president, but decided to contact Taner Edis to ask whether he is ready to serve in this capacity.
**Note: Taner declined. We still need somebody!
2. How to increase faculty involvement in AAUP? It was discussed that regardless of who served as president and in other capacities for the Truman chapter, faculty involvement in the AAUP has tended to decline – old active members retiring and few new ones coming to replace them. Possible reasons were discussed (with no definitive answers), as was the possibility of increasing involvement in ways other than meetings (also with no definitive answers).
Marc is going to do a doodle poll with several possible meeting times to figure out which one works for the most members.
3. Email from the union of AAUP staff. We all recently received an email from the union of AAUP staff, charging that their salaries are being frozen while the AAUP leadership is showing lack of transparency and fair dealing in their negotiations about salaries, i.e., precisely the kinds of things that AAUP often criticizes about university administrations. Wolfgang brought this up as a topic of discussion.
David said that he thinks the letter is probably accurate; there are indeed strained relationships with the staff (he gave some examples), and they deserve a raise. At the same time, AAUP membership is going down nationally, and legal counsels and the like demand a large share of the budget. He suggested that one way to perhaps save some money in the budget to allow for salary increases would be to substitute some of the travel funds with more remote conferencing, and through better information exchange via computers/internet – the AAUP has not been pursuing this very forcefully.
He agreed to draft a letter expressing our concern about the situation, which once it is finalized can be sent by Marc as representing the chapter.
4. AAUP salaries. The AAUP annual report on the status of the profession has come out, and as usual showed few increases for professors in general, and Truman almost at the bottom of the range. It is available here: http://www.aaup.org/report/heres-news-annual-report-economic-status-profession-2012-13. This report was discussed in relation to continuing expectations of excellence from an underpaid faculty. To make more people in the university community aware of this situation, Marc Rice agreed to draft a letter to the editor for the Index, to be revised by others present, to represent the ideas of our AAUP chapter concerning these issues.
**Note: as of Monday, April 22, the letter has been sent.