Monday, December 22, 2014

AAUP Save the Date: February 12th, 2015

Thursday February 12, 2015
Higher Education Funding Rally and Lobby Day
State Capitol Building Salem

Faculty and Students AND University officials from all seven Universities will come together in a rare display of solidarity for increased funding in higher education:
Oregon State Capitol Building
12:00 Noon- 1:00 PM
100 PSU Faculty members needed
Lunch provided
PSU hopes to send 3 buses for faculty and students who do not want to drive
(buses estimate leave at 10:30 am and return PSU 2:30 pm)
the rally will be followed immediately by:
Oregon State Capitol Building
1:00 to 5:00 PM
Faculty and Students to visit EVERY legislator to ask for increased funding
Training and Lunch provided. 20 PSU faculty members needed
Faculty drive themselves or carpool to stay for the afternoon.
(estimate leave 10:30am and return around 6pm)
2015 is the year for higher education reinvestment. The only way to get the higher education funding we need is to ASK FOR IT !
Join Faculty and Students from around the state to rally and lobby the legislature for increased funding.

RSVP NOW for the rally only or rally and lobby day
(Click the appropriate link)

Rally Only:
Rally Only via Bus RSVP             Rally Only will go on my own or carpool RSVP
Rally and Lobby Day:
Rally and Lobby Day will go on my own or carpool RSVP

The rally and lobby day is going to be very powerful and alot of fun. This is a tentative schedule of events. We hope you can join us.

Phil Lesch
Executive Director

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

PSU's March 9th, 2014 threat to cut off email from striking AAUP members found to be unlawful

On March 9th, 2014 the University Office of University Communications sent a brief e-mail to faculty with the subject heading of "PSU Strike guidelines and FAQs" which provided a link to a document that answered frequently asked questions in the event of an AAUP strike.That document contained the following question and answer:
“Would a striking AAUP-represented employee have access to email, their office or lab during a strike?
“No. Striking employees will not be permitted to engage in any activities related to their employment. The electronic log-in credentials for striking employees will be disabled during a strike, preventing access to email, Banner, D2L, VPN and other electronic systems..."
PSU-AAUP filed an unfair practice charge against the University alleging that this communication was unlawful. A hearing was held before an Oregon Employment Relations Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) on September 3, 2014. The ALJ's decision was received this week.
The ALJ states:
"The University’s March 9 announcement that it would disable striking faculty’s e-mail accounts violated ORS 243.672(1)(a) by interfering with, restraining, or coercing Association members “because of” and “in” the exercise of rights guaranteed by ORS 243.662.
ORS 243.662 guarantees public employees the “right to form, join and participate in the activities of labor organizations of their own choosing for the purpose of representation and collective bargaining with their public employer on matters concerning employment relations.” In order to protect and enforce these rights, ORS 243.672(1)(a) provides that a public employer may not “nterfere with, restrain or coerce employees in or because of the exercise of rights guaranteed in ORS 243.662.”
Subsection (1)(a) provides for two separate violations, commonly referred to as the “because of” prong and the “in” the exercise prong. Subsection (1)(a) prohibits employer actions that interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees because of of their exercise of protected right; and it prohibits employer actions that interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of protected rights. Portland Assn. Teachers v. Mult. Sch. Dist. No. 1, 171 Or App 616, 623, 16 P3d 1189 (2000). The Association assert (ed) that the University violated both portions of subsection (1)(a). "
The ALJ found that the University violated both portions of subsection 1 (a). The decision includes a cease and desist order.

Member Message December 16th, 2014


As this term comes to a close, the staff of PSU-AAUP and the Executive Council wish you all a peaceful winter break.

Be sure and mark your calendars for the caucuses to be held in winter term:

Tenure Track Faculty: January 27th, 2015 at 12-1pm in Smith 298
Non-Tenure Track Faculty: February 3rd, 2015 at 12-1pm in Smith 298
Academic Professionals: February 10th, 2015 at 12-1pm in Smith 298

Take care all.

Pam Miller
PSU-AAUP President

Monday, December 15, 2014

Portland State Trustees: Yes on Sworn Police

PSU Vanguard
December 13th, 2014

Portland State’s Board of Trustees voted yes on a contentious resolution to build a force of armed sworn police, despite fierce protests by students and faculty. The vote, particularly during an extended debate over a proposed amendment to withhold firearms authorization until a subsequent June vote, exposed a racial divide on the issue that extended to the trustee board itself.
The trustees met for the vote yesterday at the University Place Hotel, where mre5any were forced to step over protesters staging a mock “die-in” to get into the meeting. The meeting included a number of campus measures and provided a forum for public comment by signup, as is standard procedure. Commenters were required to signup 24 hours early, citing a decision to move comments to the beginning of the meeting.
During the vote on the resolution, which passed 11–2, Public Safety Committee Chair Tom Imeson proposed an amendment to withhold deployment of the armed sworn officers until the board’s June 11 meeting, which passed unanimously. Trustee Maude Hines followed up by proposing an amendment to adopt new language to authorize sworn officers while withholding firearms authorization entirely until the June meeting, pointing to insufficient data on the impact of armed police on university campuses.

Member Message December 12th, 2014

This message will be short (I promise), yet not necessarily sweet.

Board Passes Resolution for an Armed Police Force on the PSU Campus

There was an amendment to the resolution (introduced by Maude Hines, Faculty Representative to the Board) to delay the vote on arming officers until the Implementation Advisory Committee could do its work over the next six months. This group is charged with exploring the needs of effective university policing, cultural competency, bias, and interactions with students who have mental health concerns or students with disabilities. The President said this amendment was "symbolic," and a Board member called it "a distraction". This amendment was not added to original resolution. It appeared that almost all Board members voted yes to an armed police force but it was hard to know since many did not speak into the microphone during the voice roll call. The Oregonian reports that two board members voted no.

U of O GTFF reach a Tentative Agreement after an 8 day Strike

Here is their press release. Thanks to our members who pitched in and walked the picket line in Eugene and here in Portland.

U of O Faculty Senate Holds Emergency Meeting on Wednesday 12/10

We have not heard the outcome of this important meeting but we have learned that the The Board of Trustees at U of O has delayed consideration of policy and constitutional changes on that campus.

Take care everyone.
Pam Miller
PSU-AAUP President

Friday, December 12, 2014

Portland State trustees vote tentatively to create armed campus police force as soon as July

December 11th, 2014

Over the strong objections of many students and three-fourths of the tenure-track faculty, Portland State University's new board of trustees voted Thursday to create an armed campus police force.
But the university can't deploy a single armed officer unless the board votes yes again in June.
Before that, a committee including students, faculty and staff must write a plan setting forth special training requirements, use of force policies and other conditions for the new police force that match the expectations of people at Portland State.
Much of the rationale for the decision to move toward armed campus police was the desire of many Portland State administrators who oversee student health and safety to have campus-based officers steeped in PSU culture, not officers from the Portland Police Bureau, respond to the biggest safety threats on campus.
Portland police officers do not understand campus culture and have shown slow or insensitive responses to PSU emergencies, Michelle Toppe, dean of student life, and others said.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Take Action!

There are two actions happening in our community:

Let's walk the picket line here in Portland to support the UO GTFF Strike:

URGENT! Join one or both of two rush-hour pickets in support of striking U of O Graduate Teaching Fellows right here in downtown Portland, outside the UO center, 70 NW Couch:

  • Tuesday, 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
  • Wednesday, 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
 Please email Kevin Dugan indicating what day(s) and time(s) you will be able to join:
KUMBAYA Rally on Park Blocks on Thursday December 11th

Many times members have asked, "what can I do?" concerning armed police officers on our campus.  PSUSU has requested that we share their flyer and the message below:

"Dear PSU community,

Despite multiple meetings with concerned students, a faculty senate resolution opposing the Safety Task Force proposal, and multiple protests and shows of strength, President Wim Wievel and the Board of Trustees are moving forward with a vote to deputize campus safety officers .It seems clear to us that the Board of Trustees are going to ratify this resolution in the face of a clear "NO" from the PSU community.

On Thursday the Portland State University Student Union (PSUSU), the BSU (Black Student Union) and Don't Shoot PDX (the group organizing recent Ferguson solidarity events) will be rallying at 11.30 in the park blocks and will be hosting a die-in at the University Place hotel about 45 minutes before the board meeting. For this action we would like the Board members and the general public to walk over our "dead" bodies before they are able to enter the room. We feel that having faculty presence at this rally would further legitimize our efforts, as none of us have been adequately listened to or consulted in this process.

We are reaching out to see if any of you would like to be involved in the following efforts:

11:30- Meet for rally in PSU Park Blocks
12:15- March to the University Place Hotel
12:30- Die-in outside of the University Place Hotel
1:00- Meeting begins, several of us will sign up to speak, and will do a theatrical mock-vote (what this vote would look like at a democratic university)

Please consider coming out an joining in our efforts. Students and professors united will never be defeated.

Here's the event page:
Please share this message widely!

In solidarity,
Sonya Friedman on behalf of PSUSU

Thank you your attention to these important events at this busy time of the year.

Pam Miller
PSU-AAUP President

Member Message December 8th, 2014

he Board of Trustees at University of Oregon and our Board of Trustees are wasting no time in stomping all over faculty, staff, and students. I realize you are all extremely busy finishing up the term...BUT

There are some big happenings that need our attention! PLEASE TAKE A FEW MINUTES TO READ BELOW!

Let us begin Part 1 of this story with PSU's Special Committee on Campus Public Safety. At their third meeting on December 3, Bob Liebman, Presiding Officer of the Senate spoke, as did the President and Vice President of ASPSU, Eric Noll and Rayleen McMillan. No public comment was permitted. In a nutshell, the resolution was passed that will allow some (not all) of our campus public safety officers to have guns. Please note on the resolution that approval for both this meeting and for the Full Board are all ready to fill in. The President, after a resounding no to guns from Faculty Senate just two days previous, spoke to the audience and said that he knew he was going against faculty wishes, yet deciders have to decide, and he'll "take the hit" for this decision. He did not want more time to do research on this as he believes enough has been done and it is time to act. He also added that PSU has always had controversy and this debate fits into that history. This Committee passed the resolution and it will go to the full Board for a vote on Thursday, December 11. This meeting is at University Place and begins at 1:00 p.m.

PLEASE NOTE: If you want to speak at the Board meeting on December 11, you need to sign up 24 hours in advance and only a limited number of people can speak. You can also send letters to the Board members. Here is the agenda, time, and location.

As I look back over the President's address to the Faculty Senate from April 7 of this year, the words seem hollow as he said, "I and other members of my leadership team will work with the Faculty Senate, the unions, and students to start a deep conversation about the future of PSU." I realize this was pitched to the potential strike at that time. However, the process that has happened with the Special Committee on Campus Public Safety and with the Board of Trustees is unsettling. And now, more trouble at U of O.

GTFF is on strike and on the picket lines. U of O's administration is attempting to break the union by imposing itself into dealing with final grades. United Academics is heavily involved in the fight and here is their press release on grading. My understanding is that mediation will continue on Tuesday. One third of undergraduates are taught by graduate students at U of O and they deserve paid sick and parental leave. U of O says it cannot afford this...really? Sound familiar? Their football team is going to the Rose Bowl. That's probably pretty expensive.

The really BIG newsflash out of U of O is a move by their Board of Trustees to strip their Faculty Senate of established rights and governance and give tons of power to the Board and to the President. This agenda item comes at a time when the campus is already in crisis mode. Here is some information about the Board meeting and their agenda provided by the United Academics :

"The UO Board of Trustees will hear public comments on Thursday. Then, on Friday the board will discuss and vote upon the "Adoption of a Policy on the Development and Revision of University Policies." If approved, this motion will initiate a new way of developing policies that will radically change the role of the Senate and shared governance as we know it on this campus. Senate President Rob Kyr has called for a Senate Executive Committee meeting tomorrow at 5pm and is urging attendance at the Board meeting as well.
This is a pivotal decision that would seem to give the Board and a new centralized administrative body sole authority over all policies. Appointments to this new body would not involve an election by faculty or other constituencies, as is the current case with the Senate. Reading the proposal, the new policy could:

1. Remove the role of the Senate Executive Council in determining if a policy is academic and therefore must go to the full Senate.
2. Remove the requirement that the President respond within a certain time frame to policy statements from Senate and that the President make a public accounting to the Senate when s/he rejects a policy.
3. Remove the provision that in case of a veto the Faculty Assembly can be invoked.
4. Require the President to develop a new policy making process with some requirements, all of which the Board can choose to not follow.
5. Creates a policy process and a committee system that is selected by the President, not elected by the university community.
Please join the university community in asking members of the Board to delay consideration of this motion and advise the President to begin consultation with the University Senate on the following: a collaborative and transparent process that is consistent with University Constitution; an open discussion that identifies and explains what problems the Board is trying to solve by this repeal; and why the actual process called for by the University Constitution was bypassed in this motion."

Here is a page from UO Matters that describes some history of the Board and the resolution itself that will make sweeping policy changes and this will be voted on this Thursday. THIS IS HUGE. Some faculty offer responses at the end that say things like, "the senate is dead," and "the Union is our best hope," and lots of references to corporate higher education.
Robert Kyr is the Presiding Officer for the Senate at the U of O and Michael Dreiling is the President of United Academics. Bob Liebman and I have been in touch with both and we may learn more news later today or tomorrow, particularly what we can do to help. Stay tuned.

Phew! Thursday is a big day for both our campuses as our Board will most likely approve guns and U of O's Board may do a power play to their Senate. PSU-AAUP must remain strong and get really prepared for our contract action. You will be hearing more about this very soon. Talk to your colleagues and friends about what is shared in this message. Think about how you can be involved to push back on the Board and the President as 2015 gets underway.

In solidarity,

Pam Miller
PSU-AAUP President

Faculty Senate votes to oppose arming campus safety

PSU Vanguard 
December 3rd, 2014

The Portland State Faculty Senate confirmed their support of the proposed resolution against arming Campus Public Safety Officers.
The Faculty Senate debated the issue during their meeting yesterday, Dec. 1, according to Michael Taylor, a senate member and professor in family studies.
“A resolution opposing arming the current CPSO employees was introduced at the November [Faculty Senate] meeting,” Taylor stated in an email.
According to the official Faculty Senate resolution document, the debate consisted of “opposition to arming PSU Campus Public Safety officers” and “support for the creation of a campus committee for oversight and supervision of the PSU Campus Public Safety Office as a necessary condition for implementation of changes in campus policing policies, including alternatives to an armed police force. The campus committee must be comprised of administrators, faculty & students.”
Thirteen senators singed the document, which can be viewed here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Time Sensitive Updates, December 2nd, 2014

This is such a busy time of the term so this message will be precise yet please check out the three important points below:

1) GTFF at U of O went on strike this morning. PSU-AAUP stands in solidarity with the GTFF and I have been in communication with Joe Henry, their President. Jose Padin and others are in Eugene today to walk the picket line with our brothers and sisters.

Here is a news flash from the Eugene Register Guard

2) The Special Committee on Campus Public Safety did not come to a resolution at the last meeting on November 24. It seems that they were trounced with the public comment time that was overwhelmingly opposed to an armed police force.  After 90 minutes of presentation by administration, public comments were held to two minutes each. After this time, the administrators got 5 more minutes each to continue justification of an armed police force on this campus.

PLEASE NOTE: The Special Committee on Campus Public Safety will have a meeting on Wednesday, December 3 from 9 to 10 at University Place, Wahkeena Falls Room. The agenda is not available at this time and will be here when posted.

3) There will be a non-contractual grievance hearing concerning  Library faculty on Friday, December 5 that begins at 2:30 in Market Center Building, room 650.

Take care everyone. As always, more soon.
Pam Miller

Monday, December 1, 2014

Pending Strike at U of O: Carpool Information


We are organizing car-pooling to support the University of Oregon Graduate Teaching Fellows, who have given notice and plan to strike on Tuesday the 2nd of December if no agreement is reached. Picket lines will be set up at 8 am on Tuesday the 2nd.  We propose meeting to carpool at the Native American Center at 6:45 am, departure at 7 am sharp.

Come out and support this critical struggle!

Please reply to to let us know that you are planning to come so that we can let you know if there is a settlement. Margaret is coordinating this (thanks!). If our needs exceed our carpooling infrastructure, AFT might be able to help with a bus.

There is also a rally at 5:00 pm on Monday the first of December for supporters who are able to go down.

One key issue at the table is a GTFF proposal which would create up to 2 weeks of paid leave fore medical hardship or new parenthood.  This proposal would cost the university approximately $35,000 a year. For the administration, this is a matter of "principle" that part-timers don't get paid leave. The graduate employees are also seeking raises in wages and continued language limiting student fees and preserving the existing health care split at 95% university paid.

José Padín
VP of Grievances & Academic Freedom

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

AAUP Supports Oregon Teaching Fellows

November 25th, 2014

AAUP president Rudy Fichtenbaum issued the following statement on the situation of graduate teaching fellows at the University of Oregon:
The AAUP commends the University of Oregon faculty senate on its stand against the administration’s attempt to subvert faculty governance and weaken academic standards as means to undermine the potential Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation's strike.
In the 1966 Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities, the AAUP affirms that the faculty “has primary responsibility for such fundamental areas as curriculum, subject matter and methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and those aspects of student life which relate to the educational process.” This standard is reaffirmed in the University of Oregon’s constitution. Decisions related to these fundamental academic areas must involve the faculty, through the appropriate shared governance body, and we commend the faculty senate for demanding that the administration adhere to these professional standards.
The university administration’s attempt to circumvent the shared governance process in order to break a potential strike by the graduate employees makes their action all the more troubling. The AAUP has long recognized academic unionization as both a fundamental right and an effective means of furthering AAUP’s core principles of academic freedom, due process, and economic security for all academic workers. We stand in solidarity with the GTFF and call on the administration to return to the table and to negotiate in good faith.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Potential Strike at University of Oregon

Greetings to all of you:

As we enter the week of Thanksgiving, my hope is that all of us can find some moments, and hopefully much more, to reflect on the spirit of this holiday. Please enjoy time with your loved ones.

Potential Strike at University of Oregon
I want to let you know that the Executive Council of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation at the University of Oregon has voted to strike effective December 2. This union represents about 1500 Graduate Teaching Fellows and Research Assistants. GTFF is fighting for a living wage, dental benefits, and paid parental and sick leave.

Here is a link to a message from the GTFF President, Joe Henry:

Here is a link to Corey Robin's blog (filled with more links and information):

Here is a link to a statement from AAUP re: this action:

Here is where you can sign the petition to support GTFF:

We will keep you posted on this situation.
Take good care!
Pam Miller
PSU-AAUP President

Friday, November 21, 2014

Portland State professor unlocks virus that could lead to drugs for HIV

November 20th, 2014

A Portland State University biology professor who's been tramping around the globe for 18 years hunting viruses has marked a breakthrough that could help patients infected with the HIV virus that leads to AIDS.
Professor Ken Stedman and his team are the first to unlock the structure of a virus found in volcanic hot springs in Japan. The discovery took their breath away: It resembled human immunodeficiency virus, which scientists had thought was unique.
"It's a lot like two HIVs stuck together," Stedman said. "It's a really big milestone."
His finding, made in collaboration with biologist Marc Morais at the University of Texas Medical Branch, could pave the way for the development of HIV drugs that disturb the virus' structure, making it difficult for the organism to mutate and adapt.
Many current HIV drugs target genes involved replicating the virus. But the genes are flexible. They can get around the drugs. Medication aimed at the structure itself would make the organism more vulnerable.

Portland State University raises millions for scholarships, ahead of schedule

The Oregonian
November 19th, 2014

Christine and David Verniersuccessful Portland-area entrepreneurs who never attended Portland State University, announced Tuesday evening they will donate $3.6 million for scholarships to help generations of PSU students afford college.
Their gift, giant by PSU standards, highlights an unusually successful drive by Portland State president Wim Wiewel and his fundraising team to win donations for the need he says is "right at the top of the list:" scholarships for needy, bright and diverse young Oregonians to earn degrees at PSU.
With the Verniers' gift and another anonymous $3 million donation also announced Tuesday, Portland State has raised $44 million for scholarships in just over two years, exceeding the pace that Wiewel had set to raise $50 million in 3 1/2 years, he said.
Last week, the University of Oregon reeled in a single $50 million donation from alumna Connie Ballmer and her Microsoft billionaire husband Steve Ballmer, $25 million of which went to endow scholarships for Oregon students.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Faculty receives grant to study climate change, Klamath region

PSU Vanguard
November 18th, 2014

Portland State environmental science and management faculty members Robert Scheller and Melissa Lucash received a grant from the National Science Foundation to study the effects of climate change and fire on the Klamath region of Oregon and California.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service website, “The Klamath National Forest encompasses nearly 1.7 million acres of land straddling the California and Oregon border.”
The website also said the Klamath National Forest is one of the most biologically diverse regions
in America.
“We focused our grant on that area because it’s this hotspot of [biodiversity], but also because it’s an area where people are worried about climate change and fire,” Lucash said. “There is more frequent fires than there used to be, and they think that that’s driven by this climate change increasing temperatures.”

Friday, November 14, 2014

Member Message November 14th, 2014

Greetings everyone:

I hope this member message finds you all well. Winter came early this year...we shall see what the weather holds for us in the upcoming months.

New Hire
Great news! PSU-AAUP has hired a full-time internal organizer, Michelle Zellers! She will begin on December 1. She will be busy working with the Executive Council, the Executive Director, and all of you to mobilize our union and move us towards the bargaining table in spring of 2015. We hope you can meet her personally early in winter quarter.

Summer Term
We resent the survey for summer session. It is very important for us to gather data so that we can develop a response and plan for summer of 2015 as well as consider the impact on collective bargaining. Hope to see you at the coffee hour drop in from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Friday, November 21 in 238 Smith. Members of your Executive Council and CORE will be present to speak with you individually and in small groups about your experiences this past summer.
Here is a letter to the editor of the Portland State Vanguard about summer term written by Patricia Schechter, Professor of History and member of PSU-AAUP's Executive Council.

Armed Police Force
There is another meeting of the Committee on Campus Public Safety on Monday, November 24 at University Place from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. There does not appear to be an agenda for this meeting on the website at this time. Students, Faculty Senate, staff, and faculty across the campus are continuing to be engaged about having an armed police force on our campus. This could be the last opportunity to air your views before the full Board of Trustees makes a decision on December 11.

Warm regards,

Pam Miller
PSU-AAUP President

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Summer term

Portland State Vanguard
November 10th, 2014

Patricia Schechter

I don’t know anyone who is happy about summer term at Portland State.
In 2013, the abrupt cancellations of some 90 classes, a number of them fully enrolled, left students in the lurch. This move left faculty scratching their heads and earned PSU undesirable coverage in The Oregonian. In 2014, the summer term budget was cut yet units were expected to maintain student credit hours. Departments responded with a patchwork of approaches, most of which involved pay cuts to faculty regardless of rank and a push to online courses, for which students pay more.
The pleasing hum of learning on our summer campus capped by the outdoor August graduation ceremony in the Park Blocks is no more. What will happen this summer? Will empty buildings be rented out to even higher paying customers while we exile our students to D2L? Is this how knowledge serves the city?
Summer term at PSU has become a maquiladora zone in which administrators tinker with schemes to keep tuition flowing but in which questions of student access and retention, program quality and fairness to hard-working faculty appear to be marginal concerns. To be sure, summer term has never been well integrated into shared governance on our campus. This part of faculty work is understood to be part of “additional duties” acknowledged but not exactly regulated in the American Association of University Professors contract.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

PSU-AAUP Communications Committee Seeking Members

The PSU-AAUP Communications Committee is seeking energetic members to serve on the committee. Our communications tasks include working with a mix of social media as well as formal and informal communication channels to connect with PSU-AAUP Members and the community at large.  We hope you will recommend individuals from your units who could contribute their time to this important Committee.

This year the committee’s focus will be to:
  •  Push out stories regarding what work we still have to do to move PSU in the right direction;
  •  Follow up on conversations regarding sworn officers at PSU; and
  • Promote and discuss the opening of a new round of contract bargaining that begins in May.
Please send names of interested individuals to the Communications Committee Co-chairs, Justin Carinci and Emily Ford by November 15th.

Thanks for your commitment and dedication to PSU-AAUP!


Justin & Emily
Communications Committee Co-chairs

Monday, November 3, 2014

Member Message November 3rd, 2014

Greetings everyone:

I hope this message finds you all well. By turning back the clock, it does seem like fall is really here. The extra hour is welcomed!
My message today focuses on our Board of Trustees. Their official duties and responsibilities began on July 1 of this year. University of Oregon and Oregon State also have Boards. The other universities will follow in 2015.

On September 11, I was asked to give a brief overview of our union to the Board at its quarterly meeting. I finished that presentation by asking for a place on the agenda at each meeting to apprise the Board of our activities. The Presiding Officer of Faculty Senate and ASPSU (Associated Students of PSU) each have a standing five minute spot on the agenda at every meeting. This is most likely a carry over from when meetings were a part of the Oregon University system.

On October 27, I was asked to present at the Special Committee on Campus Public Safety concerning an armed police force on our campus. Here is my speech and here is the data from our poll. I shared the results of the poll and then mentioned that that the Board's "corporate" model prevented those who live here, work here and study here from access to them as decision makers for this campus. When members asked me where to send their input on an armed police force on our campus, the best I could do was point them to the Board's Secretary or the President.

On Wednesday, October 29, I received a phone call from the Board of Trustees' Chairman, Mr. Nickerson. He told me that none of the other 2 boards in Oregon have contact information for their members. He apologized for taking so long to get back to me concerning my request for time on the Boards' agenda at each meeting. He said he has just completed his poll of the Board members and the decision was that AAUP could not have time on the standing agenda (nor would any of the other unions on our campus). Mr. Nickerson said I could speak during the public comment period that is offered at the end of each Board meeting, or I could ask him for agenda time and he would consider my request. As President of our union and all it stands for and has accomplished on our campus, this felt dismissive and I find the timing of the denial to speak at each Board meeting quite interesting.

My feedback was that I was disappointed that the Board decided to not grant this time and I also added that it felt like I was being reprimanded for my words at the Campus Public Safety meeting on Monday.

In conclusion, my hope is that the next meeting of this Committee will offer more public input and less administrative filibuster on an armed police force on our campus. The meeting on October 27 was dominated by justification for an armed police force and students of color spoke at the very end. PSU-AAUP is not unified on this and I understand that. However, all groups need to have equal time to speak and all of us should have access to this Board who will set policies and practices for our campus. That's how a public university works!


Take care everyone,  
Pam Miller
PSU-AAUP President

Friday, October 31, 2014

PSU-AAUP Coffee Hour

Join the Executive Council to talk about the effects of summer session departmental budget cuts!
Coffee and tea provided by PSU-AAUP.
RSVP to Emily by November 14th.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

ASPSU senate meeting discusses public safety

PSU Vanguard
October 29th, 2014

The Associated Students of Portland State University met last Monday for a senate meeting that included a presentation on the possibility of the university transitioning to a sworn and armed police force.
Kevin Reynolds, the newly appointed vice president for Finance and Administration, led the presentation, with substantial comments from Phil Zerzan, chief of Campus Public Safety, and Michelle Toppe, dean of Student Life. Forty-five minutes were reserved for questions and comments from ASPSU and the public.
Reynolds presented the findings of the 2013 Task Force on Campus Safety. He focused on comparing the policing model of PSU to peer institutions.
In regards to the Urban 21, a set of universities similar to PSU set in urban centers, Reynolds said, “PSU is an outlier, it’s the only one that doesn’t have a fully sworn police force.”
Reynolds compared the financial implications of transition to a campus police department to different policing options mentioned in the task force, including contracting with the Portland Police Bureau, contracting with the Oregon State Police or collaboration with OHSU. He said that having a campus police department was most likely the most cost-effective choice.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Kevin Reynolds appointed new VP of Finance and Administration

PSU Vanguard
October 27th, 2014

Kevin Reynolds has been appointed the new vice president of Finance and Administration for Portland State by President Wim Wiewel. Former Vice President Monica Rimai left PSU to work at Willamette University in June.
Reynolds’ new role follows a three-month term serving as interim vice president. Reynolds came to PSU in 2005 and has since served as a chemistry professor, chairman of the chemistry department, interim dean of the School of Extended Studies and vice provost for Budget, Planning and Internationalization in the Office of Academic Affairs.
Scott Gallagher, director of communications at PSU, believes Reynolds’ extensive involvement with the university is beneficial for his new role.

American Indian Teaching Program receives $1.2 million grant

PSU Vanguard
October 27th, 2014

The Graduate School of Education at Portland State received a $1.2 million grant in late September for its American Indian Teaching Program by the Office of Indian Education, a part of the U.S. Department of Education.
The AITP aids American Indian students in obtaining their teaching licenses and master’s degrees.
“Through our professional development seminars, we make sure to emphasize culturally responsive teaching. We provide them more methodology about how to create a culturally responsive classroom for Native and non-Native children,” said Micki Caskey, associate dean and principal grant investigator for the AITP.
The grant is similar to one the AITP received in 2010 from the Office of Indian Education to kick-start the program. Maria Tenorio, project director for the program, said it successfully produced 12 American Indian teachers over the course of four years.
“Our focus will continue to be the same, but we’ll tweak it a bit. We were just getting started during our first grant cycle. We prioritize community based education,” Tenorio said.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sworn Armed Police Department Poll Results

Nearly 70% of faculty responding to poll oppose Sworm Armed Police Department at PSU PSU-AAUP conducted an informal poll of its members about the Administration's proposal for a sworn armed police department proposed to the PSU Board of Trustees at their September meeting. The poll was open for three days. In addition to the tally, over 100 comments were submitted and a few will be presented to the Board on Monday October 27, 2014 3:00 to 6:00 by PSU-AAUP President Pam Miller during invited testimony before the Board of Trustees Special Committee on Campus Public Safety.

Here are the results:

Ballots Cast  404 of 971 - 41.6%

Do you support a sworn armed police department on PSU Campus as proposed by the administration?
        Yes: 119 - 31.7%
        No: 256 - 68.3%
        Abstained: 29

Should this decision be made by a campus wide vote?
        Yes: 264 - 72.7%
        No: 99 - 27.3%
        Abstained: 41

Will you attend the committee meeting to show that faculty care about this proposal on Monday October 27 from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM at University Place Hotel?
        Yes: 75 - 18.8%
        No: 324 - 81.2%
Please come to the meeting if you can to show that faculty care about this issue. If members wish to speak to the Board directly, the special committee will take public comment after invited testimony.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Portland State University wins its largest research grant yet, $24 million to help train diverse science and health researchers

October 23rd, 2014

Hundreds of promising young people in the Portland area and elsewhere will have the opportunity to get college scholarships, stipends, paid research gigs and mentoring by research professors, beginning next fall.
The National Institutes of Health selected Portland State University for a $24 million grant, the largest in PSU history, designed to help grow the number of biomedical and health researchers who are Latino, Pacific Islander, Alaska native, African-American, Native American, low-income, raised in foster care or have a disability.
The hope is that with researchers from diverse backgrounds with fresh ways of approaching problems will help create breakthroughs in preventative health promotion, bioscience and other critical health research, said Carlos Crespo, director of PSU's school of public health.
The NIH millions will fund a new program at PSU, called Enhancing Cross-disciplinary Infrastructure Training at Oregon, or EXITO. Students will be chosen based on their grades, letters of recommendation and statement of why becoming a scientist beckons them, said Crespo, who conceived of and will run EXITO.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tenure Related Faculty Caucus TOMORROW

Greetings PSU-AAUP Tenure Related Faculty,
TOMORROW, 10/21/2014, at Noon-1:00pm PSU-AAUP will be hosting a Fall Caucus meeting for all Tenure Related Faculty in Smith 238.

Come join your friends and colleagues for lunch provided by AAUP!

Take care,
Pam Miller
PSU-AAUP President

Friday, October 17, 2014

Portland State community discusses deputization at safety forum

PSU Vanguard
October 14th, 2014

Officials from the administration and Campus Public Safety Office held an open forum on Oct. 7 to make a presentation on campus safety and gather input from members of the Portland State community regarding a current proposal to transition CPSO to a sworn police force. Over 160 people attended.
PSU President Wim Wiewel introduced the forum by stating that “without safety, nothing else really matters…There’s no dispute about the goal that we share, which is to have a safe work and learning environment for everybody, even as there might be different opinions about how to achieve that.”
President Wiewel noted that the final decision will be made by PSU’s governing body, the Board of Trustees, and that there is still time to deliberate on the issue.

Armed PSU Police? No thanks.

PSU Vanguard
October 13th, 2014

The current issue before the Board of Trustees regarding whether or not to arm our campus security makes me a bit nervous.
It doesn’t take a skilled political analyst to understand why this Portland State student is a little hesitant to embrace having sworn police officers packing heat all over campus. With violence happening all over the nation due to police misconduct and abuse of power, it’s a wonder there isn’t more obstinacy toward such an idea.
I’m not one who often gets in trouble with the campus security here on campus, so I know that overall my life will not be affected by such a change (assuming the university was being honest when they said that the $1.5 million it will take to upgrade security won’t result in higher tuition).

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

AP Fall Caucus TODAY!

Let us know what is going on TODAY! Academic Professional's Fall Caucus is today at noon-1pm in Smith 238.
Lunch is provided.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Black students worry about Portland State University's proposal to create an armed police force

October 10th, 2014

Before Patrick Kindred walks the quarter-mile to class on chilly days, he considers what could be an important question: To wear a hoodie, or not to wear a hoodie?
It's not because the temperature is unpredictable. It's because he's black, and there are now armed police officers patrolling the University of Oregon's Eugene campus.
Kindred said he's terrified of police, and housemates at his predominantly black fraternity share his concerns.
"We talk about it. If we're in a group, how many of us will there be? What are we wearing?" said Kindred,  a 22-year-old native of Portland.

Online education leaves much to be desired: Guest opinion

October 11th, 2014

By Ramin Farahmandpur

Some believe online education is the future of public higher education. But is it? As Oregon colleges and universities brace themselves for the next wave of budget cuts, a growing number are betting that online courses will increase enrollments and lower costs.
The passage of two bills by the 2013 Legislature paved the way for the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to expand online programs, supposedly to reach the state's degree-attainment goals.
House Bill 4018 allows Oregon to join the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). This compact permits out-of-state students to pay in-state tuition for online courses offered by universities in another member state.
House Bill 4059 allows Oregon to partner with Western Governors University, a private nonprofit online university with about 47,000 students. This institution, which caters to adult "nontraditional" students, has the lowest graduation rate in the country, according to a 2012 CBS Money Watch report.
University and college administrators generally do not focus on quality concerns, however. They see opportunity to cut costs, offer a range of courses and bring in new enrollees that their brick-and-mortar classrooms would not. They claim that online education better serves nontraditional and first-generation college students, most of whom are working adults with families and children.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Is creating an armed police force the best way to address sexual assaults at Portland State?

October 9th, 2014

Portland State University is in the midst of a campus-wide debate about whether or not to create an armed university police force.
Sexual assault is one concern at the heart of the issue.
Improving sexual assault response is one of the most common goals named by proponents, said Eric Noll, student body president. But not everyone agrees that creating a police force is the best way to address sexual violence.
The university currently has public safety officers, who do not have the authority to perform off-campus investigations. That makes following up on sexual assaults slow and complicated, said Phil Zerzan, chief of campus public safety.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Quality Education Festival

The local associations of the Oregon Education Association from across the Portland Metro region have worked together to create an upcoming event called the “Quality Education Festival.”  The purpose of the Festival is to highlight the impact that diminished programs have on the students in Oregon schools.  The lack of services means that today’s students are in huge classes, often don’t have real access to guidance counselors, and often don’t have the opportunity to experience physical education, art, music, a library with an actual librarian, etc.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

We all know that the reason for the erosion of a full education is because of Oregon’s broken system of funding public education.   The Quality Education Festival will be held on October 19th from 12 o’clock until 3 o’clock.  The entire Portland Metro community is invited to attend for face painting, student musical and drama performances, and games.  Mixed in among those activities will be opportunities to engage with educators from all over the Metro area who will highlight the importance of a full, deep, real education for all of Oregon’s students.

Many of the members of labor unions across the Metro region send their children to public schools.  Please share the attached documents with your members and let them know that together we can fill Pioneer Courthouse Square on October 19th and let the Governor and the legislature know that it is time to work with families across the state to create the Schools Oregon Students Deserve.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Member Message October 6th, 2014

Greetings PSU-AAUP:

I hope the new academic year and fall term are off to a good start!

PSU-AAUP Member Meeting October 2nd, 2014
Thanks for turning out for the membership luncheon last Thursday at the Native American Center. It is important to say that your commitment to our union really shines while volunteering for the numerous Task Forces and Committees that need our representation. There seems to be a bumper crop of committees this year and so thank you very much!

At the luncheon, we heard from Rayleen McMillan, Vice President of the Associated Students of PSU. She walks the talk of "faculty working conditions are student learning conditions," and we appreciate her taking time from her busy life to be such a solid contributor to our community.

Thanks Rayleen!

Patricia Schechter, Executive Council member and Chair of PSU-AAUP's Legislative and Political Action Committee introduced two guests who spoke to us about higher education in the next legislative session: Lew Frederick from House District 43, and Tina Kotek, from House District 44 and Speaker of the House. They both advised that we be active during the upcoming legislative session and that we remain committed to our students and to the academic mission of higher education.
Thanks to Patricia! We also thank both Mr. Frederick and Ms. Kotek for joining us at our fall membership luncheon!

Senator Jeff Merkley's "Fighting for College Affordability Tour"

Senator Jeff Merkley came to PSU as part of his tour of all college campuses in our state to discuss affordability and to offer some solutions to this crisis. I introduced the event with a short speech. More importantly, I announced PSU-AAUP's endorsement for Senator Merkley in his bid for re-election to the U.S. Senate. He shares our values about public education, living wages, and worker's rights. Two PSU students also shared their stories about the cost of higher education, Rayleen McMillan, a senior, and Andrew Davidson, a freshman.

Reminder: 3 Caucuses in October all held at noon and lunch provided!
  •     Academic Professionals' Caucus will be held on Tuesday, October 14 at noon in Smith 238
  •     Non Tenure Track Faculty Caucus will be held at noon on Wednesday, October 15 in Smith 327
  •     Tenure Track Faculty Caucus will be held at noon on Tuesday, October 21 in Smith 238
Take care,
Pam Miller
PSU-AAUP President

Friday, October 3, 2014

Jeff Merkley’s Fighting for College Affordability Tour

Yesterday's Member Meeting and Jeff Merkley's Fighting for College Affordability Tour went great! Thank you to all that joined us at the Native American Center for good food, lively discussion, and Senator Merkley's tour.
Below are some photos of the event.

PSU-AAUP President, Pam Miller
ASPSU Vice-President Rayleen McMillian
Senator Jeff Merkley

Monday, September 29, 2014

RSVP to Member Meeting on October 2nd!


PSU-AAUP will hold its fall membership meeting on Thursday, October 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Native American Center.
Immediately following lunch, Senator Jeff Merkley will present his “Fighting for College Affordability Tour” at 1:30 p.m.

Please join your colleagues for lunch and lively discussion.  Hope to see you there!
Please RSVP to Emily TODAY, Monday, September 29.

Attached is a flyer for the event. Please post and/or distribute! Thanks.

Take care.
Pam Miller
President, PSU-AAUP

Thursday, September 25, 2014

PSU-AAUP Fall Membership Meeting


PSU-AAUP will hold its fall membership meeting on Thursday, October 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Native American Center.

Immediately following lunch, Senator Jeff Merkley will present his “Fighting for College Affordability Tour” at 1:30 p.m.

Please join your colleagues for lunch and lively discussion.  Hope to see you there!
Please RSVP to Emily by Monday, September 29.

Attached is a flyer for the event. Please post and/or distribute! Thanks.

Take care.
Pam Miller
President, PSU-AAUP

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fall 2014 Member News

Fall 2014 Member News
(Click on links below to read article)

Collective Bargaining Update

NTTF Seniority and Multi-year contracts
Since ratification of the new agreement the Collective Bargaining Team has been in negotiations with administration over implementation of the multiyear contract provision...
Ratified Agreement on New Ranks      
As previously reported, PSU-AAUP reached agreement on New Rank Salaries and implementation...
New Contract available for download
The New Contract can be downloaded here...

Unfair Labor Practice update

You may recall that on March 9, just prior to the strike vote on March 12, PSU sent a link to the entire campus community with a link to FAQs where PSU threatened to cut off the email of any AAUP member who went on strike...

Grievance Mediation Update

PSU-AAUP and PSU attorneys met three times in August to address three outstanding grievances: the elimination of ECTC, the salary reduction of an academic professional, and the layoff of academic professionals in the Office of Academic Innovation.
All three grievance address, at least in part, PSU’s not following Article 22 of the collective bargaining agreement regarding layoffs of academic professionals.

Elimination of Early Childhood Training Center
We are pleased to share that we reached agreement on the ECTC...
Reduction of Pay of Academic Professional
We are pleased to share we reached agreement on the reduction of pay of academic professional based upon the inappropriate use of Article 17 Section 5...
Layoff in the Office of Academic Innovation
We reached agreement in principle on the on this difficult grievance that should bring the most senior instructional designers back to work, and favorable monetary settlements for the other instructional designer and the Program Administrator 1...

Contractual Grievances on their way to Arbitration
Academic Professional Denied Representation in Disciplinary Meeting
An Academic Professional received a calendar invite from their supervisor for a meeting that included Anne Lewis, from HR. She was advised it was a meeting where an oral reprimand with a notation to file would be imposed...

Other Employment Issues

New Hire not provided a contract consistent with the position advertised
A new hire responded to an advertisement for a 12 month, 1.0 FTE fully benefited position with employment commencing July 1, 2014...

Fixed Term Faculty Member forced to have double payroll deductions for Health insurance premiums over HR error
A PSU-AAUP member properly arranged pregnancy leave and to extend leave with an unpaid leave of absence to care for the new born...

PSU Board of Trustees Update

Armed Police at PSU
On September 11, 2014 the Portland State University Board of Trustees approved the establishment of a Special Committee on Campus Public Safety for the purpose of confirming the need for an armed sworn police department...
New Strategic Plan for PSU to be developed. What is PSU to become now?
With the adoption of this resolution, the PSU Board of Trustees has begun the strategic planning process to re-define what PSU is to become under the new governance model. The President has promised to include faculty- union and faculty senate appointees alike- to inform the decision. Stay tuned for more details.
PSU-AAUP President Pam Miller gives 10 minute presentation to Board about PSU-AAUP
This was the first formal introduction the Board was to receive about the Association, our membership, our goals and priorities, and the role we have played in at PSU. Pam formally requested that PSU-AAUP have a permanent place on each Board of Trustee agenda...


Internal Organizer position
The PSU-AAUP Internal Organizer position description is in the process of being revised and we expect to post the position at around October 1....
The hunt for office space continues
One of the lessons learned is that we can’t have three employees in the current PSU-AAUP office, and we definitely can’t run a contract action campaign with contractors and many activists in that space on top of the Association’s regular work...
National AAUP and AAUP-Oregon Dues increase
Member Dues are currently .888%. The National AAUP annual meeting approved a dues increase effective January 1, 2015 of 2.12% (rounded). Phase Two of AAUP-Oregon dues will be implemented on November 1, 2015 from .05% to .10%. Pursuant to Article 7 of the PSU-AAUP Bylaws, on November 1, 2014 PSU-AAUP dues will thus rise to .938%...

Monday, September 22, 2014

PSU-AAUP Solidarity at Tomorrow’s Convocation


At tomorrow's convocation (3:00 in the Smith Ballroom), let's show our solidarity as the academic year gets underway.

Please wear PSU-AAUP buttons, pins, lanyards and/or red shirts.

Be sure to watch for more news tomorrow!

Take care.
Pam Miller
President, PSU-AAUP

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Can you help with PSU-AAUP Task Forces and Committees?

I hope this message finds you all well.

When our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was ratified in spring term of 2014, it contained two Letters of Agreement (LOA):
  •    creation of the Task Force on Family Friendly Policies (to review current policies and to identify possible changes for employees balancing family and career),
  •    creation of the Task Force on Academic Quality (to look at the many components of quality teaching and student support). 
If you are interested in learning more about these two Task Forces, or would like to nominate yourself or someone else to represent AAUP, please be in touch with me.
In Article 18 we also agreed to create a Task Force to review employment practices of NTTF, a joint labor/management task force will be created to examine the numerous issues that have an impact on NTTF.  Please be in touch with Leanne Serbulo if you would be willing to serve on this task force.

Lastly, at their last meeting PSU Board of Trustees has charged PSU to work on a strategic plan for the campus community and that work group will get started early in fall term. This will be a large committee of 25-30 people that will represent the many aspects of PSU. The work of this committee will most likely be done in smaller groups. It is very important that AAUP has solid representation during this planning process. If you are interested in learning more the planning process, or would like to nominate yourself or someone else to represent AAUP, please be in touch with me.

I realize it is early in the academic year to be asking for you to participate and volunteer. However, these groups are forming right now so they can get their important work underway. If you are new to PSU, this is a good way to meet people from other departments and to begin your service to both AAUP and to PSU. If you are not new to PSU, I ask that you consider giving some time to AAUP so that we can have an impact on the future of this institution.

Thanks for listening.
More news to come very soon! Lots going on!

Take care.
Pam Miller
President, PSU-AAUP

AAUP Member Message September 15th, 2014

Hello everyone:

As the new academic year begins, I wanted to say hello and thank each of you for all you do to keep PSU going. This was a busy summer for PSU-AAUP and in a few days, we will fill you on those details and also share the dates and times for our planned meetings and events for fall term.
For a start on fall member meetings, here are the dates and times for fall caucus meetings:

Academic Professionals: October 14th, 2014 at 12-1pm in Smith room 238
Non Tenure Track Faculty: October 15th, 2014 at 12-1pm in Smith room 327
Tenure Track Faculty: October 21st, 2014 at 12-1pm in Smith room 238

We need to keep our connections and communication active as we enter this new year so that together, we can meet the challenges and opportunities that are waiting and ready for our attention and action.

Take care. More soon.

Pam Miller, President, PSU-AAUP

Monday, September 15, 2014

Canzano: It's campus cannibalism at Portland State, but football is still fighting

The Oregonian
September 12th, 2014

On Friday morning at 10 a.m., buses are scheduled to pick up the Portland State football team at the Stott Center loop and transport the Vikings five hours away to Pullman, Wash, where they will presumably be throttled on Saturday in exchange for a $500,000 payday.
Before that, though, let's solve the "Case of the Missing $20,000," because right now, that little mystery has the chronically fractured and typically divided university that operates on the Park blocks even further fragmented.
Let's back up.
Because four years ago after Nigel Burton was hired as Vikings coach, he was minding his business, driving to what is now Providence Park for his first-ever home game, and observed one of his starting defensive backs walking out of a 7-11 with a Slurpee.
"He thought a Slurpee was the way to go," Burton said. "I'm like, 'No way -- we can't continue that.'"
Burton decided his team would stay in a hotel on game days. They'd eat meals together, have meetings, and bond. In order to offset the cost, and some other travel benefits he wanted that weren't included in the program's $3.5 million budget, Burton decided he'd need to raise the funds himself.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

On Trigger Warnings

September 9th, 2014

A current threat to academic freedom in the classroom comes from a demand that teachers provide warnings in advance if assigned material contains anything that might trigger difficult emotional responses for students.  This follows from earlier calls not to offend students’ sensibilities by introducing material that challenges their values and beliefs.  The specific call for “trigger warnings” began in the blogosphere as a caution about graphic descriptions of rape on feminist sites, and has now migrated to university campuses in the form of requirements or proposals that students be alerted to all manner of topics that some believe may deeply offend and even set off a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) response in some individuals.  Oberlin College’s original policy (since tabled to allow for further debate in the face of faculty opposition) is an example of the range of possible trigger topics: “racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression.”   It went on to say that a novel like Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart might “trigger readers who have experienced racism, colonialism, religious persecution, violence, suicide and more.”  It further cautioned faculty to “[r]emove triggering material when it does not contribute directly to the course learning goals.”
At Wellesley College students objected to a sculpture of a man in his underwear because it might be a source of "triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault." While the students’ petition acknowledged that the sculpture might not disturb everyone on campus, it insisted that we share a “responsibility to pay attention to and attempt to answer the needs of all of our community members." Even after the artist explained that the figure was supposed to be sleepwalking, students continued to insist it be moved indoors.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Poorer By Degrees

Acadame Blog
June 2014

Here is a link to Poorer by Degrees, a new short documentary by Jennifer Shuberth, a former faculty member at Portland State University:
The documentary questions the premise that our economic growth requires a dramatic increase in the number of college graduates. Indeed, it suggests that the increased emphasis on completing degrees may actually just be increasing the pool of over-qualified applicants for all levels of employment and forcing less educated workers out of the workforce. In effect, a college degree has become increasingly necessary to find employment, but that employment is no longer guaranteed to provide a sufficient salary to offset the personal debt that increasingly must be incurred to complete the degree.
The documentary shows that the biggest proponent of increased college completion rates has been the Lumina Foundation, which, not coincidentally, has been funded by Sallie Mae, the largest holder of student debt.
The documentary also makes the very noteworthy point that the Lumina Foundation has not advocated any increased public investment in—spending on–public higher education.
The following point is not made in the documentary, but given the broader observations that the documentary makes about on the impact of economic class on who is winning and losing in the competition for employment, it seems especially troubling that Lumina has placed particular emphasis on increasing degree completion among economically disadvantaged groups, when those groups are the most likely to incur debt and the least likely to find well-paying employment immediately after graduating.
In any case, whether you completely agree with the documentary’s view of Lumina or not, it does very convincingly make the case that simply increasing the number of people with college degrees is not going to solve the broader issues with employment and wages that are critical to the future of the U.S. economy and of the American middle-class.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

PSU hygienist claims dentist harassed her, commented on patients' breast size, $1.3 million suit says

August 19th, 2014

A dental hygienist who claims she was fired from the Portland State University Dental Clinic as retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment filed a $1.3 million lawsuit on Friday.
Valarie Austin claims she had a spotless record for four years, before she started complaining in 2012 that dentist Tuan Truong was making sexual remarks and gestures toward her and had commented to co-workers about the size of female patients’ breasts.
Austin and Truong had dated for about six months in 2011, and Truong continued to pursue Austin after she broke up with him, according to the suit.
A June 2012 investigation by PSU’s Office of Equity & Compliance found that Truong had violated PSU’s consensual relationship policy and engaged in “unprofessional behavior,” but that Truong hadn’t harassed Austin, according to Austin’s lawsuit. Truong was verbally reprimanded, according to the suit.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

2014 AAUP Bulletin

August 2014

The AAUP's annual Bulletin collects in one place the reports, policy statements, and official AAUP business materials of an academic year—in this case, 2013–14. Most of these documents have already been published on the AAUP website or in Academe, and the parenthetical dates after their titles refer to date of original publication.
The Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors is published annually as the July–August issue of Academe. This table of contents links to pdfs of that print version. These pdfs will stand as the historical record for 2013–14 and will not be changed.
However, some of the reports here (for example, "Committees of the Association") are updated frequently. If you are looking for the most recent version of a report or statement, please search the main AAUP website.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Portland State University profs No. 7 least accessible in nation, survey says

The Oregonian
August 5th, 2014

Portland State University professors are the No. 7 least accessible in the nation, according to an unscientific survey of 130,000 college students released Monday.
Princeton Review, which publishes college guides, asked students to complete a highly detailed survey covering all aspects of their collegiate experience that included a single question about how accessible students find professors to be out of class.
According to Review officials, Portland State students tended to disagree, sometimes strongly, that professors were available to help them. Only six schools, including Howard University and the University of Hawaii, ranked worse in the eyes of their students, the Review said.
Portland State has seen its enrollment swell by thousands in recent years, but faculty hiring has not kept pace, as state funding stagnated. Like many universities, it relies more heavily than it used to on lower-paid and part-time non-tenure-track instructors. Professors nearly went on strike this spring over low salaries, job security for some non-tenure-track instructors and a  faculty union powers.