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AAUP Presents

Author: The AAUP

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A new podcast by the American Association of University Professors on issues related to academic freedom, shared governance, and higher education. Visit for more news and information.
13 Episodes
We’re returning to the topic of student debt after this week’s arguments before the Supreme Court over the Biden administration’s student debt relief program.  Risa Lieberwitz, AAUP’s general counsel and a professor of labor and employment law in the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and Jenna Sablan, AAUP’s senior program officer for government relations, weigh in on what happened at the high court this week and what's next.  In August, the Department of Education announced that borrowers with federally-held loans making less than $125K for individuals or $250K for households would be eligible for up to $20,000 in debt relief to Pell Grant recipients  and up to $10,000 in debt relief to non-Pell Grant recipients. On February 28, the justices heard two cases challenging the debt relief plan, one from six Republican-led states  and one from two individuals. The episode is hosted by Mariah Quinn, AAUP's digital organizer.Links:AAUP Files Brief Supporting Student Debt ReliefThe Past, Present, and Future of the Student Debt Crisis (AAUP Presents, Season 1, Episode 11)
In this episode we discuss  the AAUP’s new  investigative report on the summary suspension and dismissal of Dr. Mark McPhail, at Indiana University Northwest. In September 2021, the administration dispatched campus police officers to McPhail’s home to inform him that he had been dismissed and banned from campus, supposedly for making racially charged threats of physical violence. No accuser was identified, and no criminal charges were filed. An AAUP investigation found that, in acting against McPhail, the administration disregarded AAUP-supported standards of academic due process. The committee deemed “implausible” the charge that McPhail had made violent threats, and it found “highly credible” McPhail’s allegation that the administration’s actions were prompted by his criticism of the administration’s handling of racial equity issues and therefore violated his academic freedom. The guests are Afshan Jafar, a professor of Sociology at Connecticut College, and the chair of the investigative committee for the report, and Mark Criley, a senior program officer in the AAUP’s Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance, who staffed the investigation.  The episode is hosted by Mariah Quinn, AAUP’s digital organizer.Links:Read the full investigative report hereThe Disenchantment of a Black Professor,  Oyin Adedoyin, The Chronicle, May 2022
As student debt has grown astronomically over the past few decades, topping $1.7 trillion in federal and privately held debt, there seemed a moment of (limited) hope over the summer after years of activism and pressure when the Biden administration announced a federal plan to cancel $10K of debt for most federal loan holders and $20K of debt for those who had received Pell Grants. That plan ground to a halt in November when Republican-led courts halted the program. In this episode we discuss the current state of student debt in the U.S., how we got here, and where we could go next. The episode's guests are Elizabeth Tandy Shermer, an associate professor of history at Loyola University Chicago and the author of Indentured Students: How Government-Guaranteed Loans Left Generations Drowning in College Debt, and Charlie Eaton, an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Merced, where he co-founded the Higher Education, Race, and the Economy Lab. He is the author of Bankers in the Ivory Tower: The Troubling Rise of Financiers in US Higher Education.Links:“American Higher Education’s Past Was Gilded, Not Golden," Elizabeth Tandy Shermer, Academe, Fall 2022“Student Debt Cancellation on Campus," Charlie Eaton, Academe, Fall 2022College Score Card from the Department of  Education with information on debt held by students"The Private Side of Public Universities:  Third party providers and platform capitalism," Laura T. Hamilton, Heather Daniels, Christian Michael Smith, and Charlie Eaton, University of California, Merced, Berkeley Center for Studies in Higher Education, June 2022Information on SUMMER debt counseling from the AAUPThe Debt CollectiveCancel My Student DebtVisit our website for more information on our work. 
In this episode we sit down with Professor Lori Latrice Martin, an associate dean in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and professor in the Department of African and African American Studies at Louisiana State University, to discuss  her article “Black Out: Backlash and Betrayal in the Academy and Beyond,” which examines what Professor Martin describes as the "predictability of efforts to silence conversations and actions related to combating anti-Blackness in America and the continued use of Black deaths to further the social, economic, and political progress of non-Black groups in the academy and beyond" in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd. You can find the article in the most recent edition of AAUP’s Journal of Academic Freedom; the entire issue is devoted to the intersection of disinformation and academic freedom. Links:"Black Out: Backlash and Betrayal in the Academy and Beyond,"  Lori Latrice Martin, Journal of Academic Freedom, Volume 13, 2022"Racial Realism," Derek Bell, Connecticut Law Review, 1992Journal of Academic Freedom, Volume 13, 2022Visit our website at for more information on our work. 
 On April 28 the AAUP released a report of the Special Committee on Governance, Academic Freedom, and Institutional Racism in the University of North Carolina System. The report considers the influence of the North Carolina state legislature on the systemwide board of governors and campus boards of trustees. It discusses how political pressure and top-down leadership have obstructed meaningful faculty participation in the UNC system, jeopardized academic freedom, and reinforced institutional racism.The guests are the co-chairs of the special committee that wrote the report, Nicholas Fleisher, professor of Linguistics at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and Afshan Jafar, professor of Sociology at Connecticut College. The episode is hosted by Anita Levy, senior program officer in the Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure and Governance at the AAUP. Visit to for more of our work or to become a member. Episode links:Governance, Academic Freedom, and Institutional Racism in the University of North Carolina System
In this episode we discuss AAUP’s recently released statement from Committee A, Legislative Threats to Academic Freedom: Redefinitions of Antisemitism and Racism, which addresses partisan efforts in state legislatures to enact bills targeting teaching about Israel and about the history of racism in the United States, in ways that present a significant threat to academic freedom.  The guests are Rana Jaleel, an associate professor of gender, sexuality, and women’s studies at the University of California, Davis, and a member of the AAUP’s Committee A, and  Risa Lieberwitz, who is AAUP’s general counsel and a professor of labor and employment law in the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She is also a member of Committee A. The episode is hosted by Mariah Quinn, AAUP's digital organizer. Episode links:Legislative Threats to Academic Freedom: Redefinitions of Antisemitism and RacismStatement on Legislation Restricting Teaching about RaceThe History, Uses, and Abuses of Title IX
 The AAUP’s Kelly Benjamin talks to Michele Rayner, a member of the Florida House of Representatives, about attacks on academic freedom, the motivation for anti-critical race theory bills, and the state of the broader political situation in Florida. Episode update: When the episode was recorded, a bill Kelly and Rep. Rayner discussed that would make public college presidential searches in Florida secret had not passed the state legislature. It has since passed and Florida governor Ron DeSantis is expected to sign it. See the article below for more information.Episode Links:"Florida legislature passes bill making public college presidential searches confidential," Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, Higher Ed Dive"Late bill change would weaken tenure at Florida universities, faculty say,"  Divya Kumar and Ana Ceballos, Tampa Bay Times"Florida Memorial University Lays Off Four Tenured Professors, Discontinues 16 Degree Programs," Alex Deluca, Miami New Times
After the University of Florida administration blocked faculty from testifying in a voting rights case, a battle over academic freedom broke out in the state, garnering national attention and a court case.  Paul Ortiz, professor of history at the University of Florida and president of the United Faculty of Florida-UF, talks to host Mariah Quinn about how faculty in the state are geared up to protect academic freedom and the first amendment.Episode links:AAUP President Cautions Against Lack of Transparency as University of Florida Seeks New PresidentUniversity of Florida's Politically Motivated Violation of Academic Freedom Undermines the Common Good"Judge rules for professors in University of Florida academic freedom case,"   Susan Svrluga and Lori Rozsa The Washington Post"UF researchers felt pressure to destroy COVID-19 data, faculty report says," Divya Kumar, Tampa Bay Times
This podcast discusses the student debt crisis,  which affects than forty-five million people in the United States who are saddled with debt in excess of $1.7 trillion, and perils and promise of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. The guests are Kaitlyn Vitez, Federal Government Relations Specialist, AAUP national office and Jessica Sponsler, art historian and adjunct professor and AAUP’s Pennsylvania state conference president. The podcast is hosted by Mariah Quinn, AAUP's digital organizer.Episode links:AAUP Joins Coalition to Call for Student Debt Cancelation"The Miseducation of the Indebted Student," Academe, Jason Thomas Wozniak, Spring 2021US Department of Education Overhauls Public Service Loan Forgiveness"Fixing Public Service Loan Forgiveness", Academe, Kaitlyn Vitez, Winter 2022Jessica Sponsler's testimony to the Department of Education on PSLFDebt Collective Petition Calling for Student Debt Cancelation All of AAUP's podcast can be found on our website, here. Thanks for listening. 
 We're joined on the podcast by Irene Mulvey, a professor of mathematics at Fairfield University and the AAUP’s current president. We'll cover the AAUP's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, current fights to protect academic freedom and shared governance, and plans for a new deal for higher education.  Episode links:AAUP's COVID-19 resourcesSpecial report on COVID-19 and Academic GovernanceCoverage of the University of Florida and the fight over academic freedom University of Georgia system under investigationSpecial Committee to Report on Structural Racism and Violations of Shared Governance at UNCNew Deal for Higher Education websiteAs always, check out our website for news, resources, and links to join the AAUP. 
This podcast focuses on the 2020-2021 Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, which presents findings from the AAUP’s annual Faculty Compensation Survey, as well as taking a deeper dive into the issue of institutional debt, which is covered in a special section of the report. This annual report outlines how years of unstable funding, combined with the impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic, have created an existential threat to shared governance and academic freedom in higher education that severely weakens our nation’s ability to effectively educate our communities. The guests are Glenn Colby and Eleni Schirmer. Glenn is the senior researcher at the national office of the AAUP. Eleni is a research associate on UCLA’s Initiative for the Future of Finance, which is part of the Institute on Inequality and Democracy. The episode is hosted by Mariah Quinn, the AAUP's senior program officer for digital organizing and chapter services. Episode links:The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2020-21Faculty Compensation Survey Results ToolIt's Not Just Students Who Are Drowning in Debt -- The NationDebt Reveal ToolkitFollow the AAUP on Facebook and Twitter. 
This podcast focuses on shared governance in higher ed. The AAUP released three reports this year looking at data collected from our national shared governance survey. The reports looked at the impact of the pandemic on shared governance, the demographics of senate chairs and governance structures, and faculty roles in decision-making. We’ll be discussing those reports and more, as well as discussing the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on shared governance.  This podcast features guests Joerg Tiede and Michael DeCesare. Joerg is the director of research at the AAUP, who conducts survey research on academic freedom, tenure, and governance. He has also written on the history of the AAUP and the development of academic freedom, tenure, and governance in the United States. Mike until recently chaired the AAUP’s Committee on College and University Governance. He is professor of sociology at Merrimack College and a consultant with AAUP’s Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Shared Governance.  The episode is hosted by Mariah Quinn, AAUP's senior program officer for digital organizing and chapter services. Episode links: Survey Data on the Impact of the Pandemic on Shared GovernanceFindings on Demographics of Senate Chairs and Governance StructuresFindings on Faculty Roles by Decision-Making AreasSpecial Report: COVID-19 and Academic GovernanceAAUP's Shared Governance Assessment ToolStatement on Government of Colleges and UniversitiesFollow the AAUP on Facebook and Twitter. 
In this episode of the podcast we discuss the issue of the massive transfer of wealth from tribal nations who underwrote the founding of land-grant universities and how institutions are beginning to address and contend with difficult questions about their relationship to Indigenous communities. The issue is the topic of a recent article  in AAUP’s Academe magazine entitled  “Confronting the Wealth Transfer from Tribal Nations That Established Land-Grant Universities” written by today’s guests, Stephen M. Gavazzi, a professor of human development and family science in the College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State University, and John N. Low, an enrolled citizen in the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi Indians and the director of the Newark Earthworks Center. He is  associate professor of comparative studies at Ohio State, and the author of Imprints: The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi and the City of Chicago.  Subscribe and listen to all episodes at: Suggested reading:"Confronting the Wealth Transfer from Tribal Nations That Established Land-Grant Universities,"  Stephen M. Gavazzi & John Low, Academe, Spring 2022"Land-grab Universities," Robert Lee & Tristan Ahtone, High Country News, March 30, 2020
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