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AAUP-SC Takes on Gender and Equity Concerns

The South Carolina Conference of the AAUP held the Spring 2016 Assembly on Saturday, March 19, at the Columbia campus of the University of South Carolina. The venue for the meeting was the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

A Gender and Equity Survey completed by 33 faculty across the state showed the following results:

  1. With regard to gender equity, two concerns stood out: equity in compensation (just over 50%) and equity in tenure/promotion or reappointment/advancement (just over 40%).

  2. With regard to diversity, another two concerns were highlighted: equity of representation in leadership positions (just over 60%) and attitudes toward race/equity/national origin among students, faculty, and/or staff (just over 50%).

  3. Best Practices at our institutions include: same sex partner benefits, affirming spaces for campus minorities, hiring practices conscious of multiculturalism/equity, Title IX Counsel to investigate these issues, and women in leadership positions, especially department chairs.

  4. AAUP-SC has an important role in: Failures of campus HR to effectively discipline tenured males who engage in harassment; Pay Equality; Closures of Child Development Center and attempt to close Women’s Center; Problematic tenure/reappointment policies; The gender/diversity challenges of contingent (non-tt) faculty; Heavy service loads and diminished access to research leave for minority faculty; Ableism as a diversity issue.

Following refreshments, the meeting began with an address by Dr. Augie Grant, USC Faculty Senate Chair. He offered a provocative and wide-ranging view of the state of higher education. Professor Grant reminded the audience that money for higher education from outside sources is currently about half of what it was a decade ago, that students now expect to live a post-graduate lifestyle while still in school (while piling up enormous debts), and that university administrations see the hiring of contingent faculty as a means of fiscal discipline.

Professor Amy Buttell (Furman University) reported on the results of a recent Conference-wide survey on contingent faculty. Conference President, Dr. Brandon Inabinet, then addressed the matter of gender equity and diversity. He remarked that in this area, there is considerable variance between perception and reality.

Following luncheon, the business meeting was conducted. Conference Secretary Ernest Wiggins and Treasurer Roger Johansen made their reports. An idea was brought forward to make special recognition of AAUP chapters and colleges where something of special significance occurs. This will be given further study and reported back at the next meeting. Reports from the chapters represented at the meeting were made and a lively discussion of issues and possible solutions followed. The meeting adjourned at 3:42 pm.

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