AAUP of SC's 2018 Spring Meeting Discusses Equity, Education Funding, Academic Freedom, and Due
The AAUP South Carolina Conference's 2018 Spring Meeting was hosted by USC-Aiken's AAUP chapter on March 31, 2018 at the USCA Alley Annex in downtown Aiken. AAUP members from seven state chapters attended to discuss current issues facing higher education nationally and within the state of SC.
The keynote speaker for the Spring Meeting was Dr. Thomas Wood, Associate Professor of Political Science at USCA, who spoke on "Teaching College in an Authoritarian Regime." Woods, using his experiences as a university instructor in Kyrgyzstan as example, illustrated the ways authoritarian regimes' perversion and suspension of academic freedoms turn higher education into a political tool for the enrichment and protection of those regimes, and outlined the ways faculty might resist political pressures to shape course content and maintain academic freedoms.
USCA AAUP chapter members Brandy Horne, Instruction and Reference Librarian, and Dr. Amanda Warren, Professor of English, presented on recent Campus Equity Week activities at USCA including the distribution of a Fact Sheet detailing equity issues for non-tenured faculty and a survey of non-tenured/tenure track faculty. Horne and Warren proposed a state-wide Campus Equity Week initiative coordinated among AAUP chapters for the purpose of drawing attention to the working conditions of faculty in contingent or adjunct positions and the threat those working conditions pose to academic freedoms. Members agreed to unanimously establish a Committee Z on Economic Status and Faculty Welfare to research and coordinate Campus Equity Week activities chaired by Dr. Warren. Activity and contact information will be provided on the AAUP of SC website.
In a State of the State discussion lead by President Blackwell, AAUP members deliberated on the progress of the Campus Conceal/Carry discussions in SC Legislature, state funding for SC education, and issues relevant to unpaid leave and due process at Furman University.
A major topic of discussion at the Spring 2018 AAUP Meeting was the tenure termination of Dr. Daniel Turner by Coastal Carolina. AAUP members decided not to request an investigation into the incident by the national AAUP organization, but voted unanimously to send a letter to the national AAUP to raise concerns about the failure of due process and shared governance. More information about the AAUP's involvement with CCU and Dr. Turner can be accessed on the AAUP of SC Website. A forum has also been established at the AAUP of SC's website to discuss the ongoing situation.
Tentative dates and locations for future Spring and Fall AAUP of SC Meetings were proposed. The Fall Meeting is tentatively scheduled for October at the Inn at USC in Columbia. The Spring Meeting is tentatively scheduled for March at The College of Charleston.
The full minutes of the Spring Meeting, recorded by Dr. Smolen-Morton, Francis Marion University, can be found here.