Letter to AAUP-SC Members: Monitoring Higher Ed Concerns amid Covid-19 Pandemic
June 1st 2020 Letter From AAUP-SC Executive Committee
Dear AAUP Members,
We hope that you and your loved ones are well and safe.
Over the past month, your AAUP-SC Executive Committee has met via teleconferences, and we are writing to bring you the following updates and recommended actions.
Executive Committee Update:
We cannot fully understand the current and near future threats and impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. We must prepare a variable academic and legislative calendar.
The SC-AAUP’s number one priority is communication between the state’s entire faculty, public and private. We must observe governance relative to higher education, report problems to each other, and advocate through our legislators and the statewide media.
We should monitor the potential for increased attacks on and defunding of higher education (and public education in general).
We should monitor the likelihood of furloughs, their efficacy, and structure.
We should realize the value in regional coordination between advocacy conferences.
We should monitor the financial and structural stability of the national AAUP.
At the State level, the Governor’s Taskforce and accelerateSC are in continuing discussions over the distribution of $1.9 billion in COVID – 19 Aid to our state. The General Assembly is now scheduled to return in mid to late June to decide how the $1.9 billion will be distributed with recommendations from the Governor and the accelerateSC Resources Team. Their decisions will be critical for the financial future of public education in South Carolina.
At the Federal level, there is H.R. 6800, the “Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions” Act ($3 trillion) relief package in discussions in the House that may come before the Senate, proposing further relief for distribution at the national and state levels. Funding for Health Care, Safety, Telecommunications, Direct Relief for Individuals, and further State and Local Aid are some areas addressed. This funding affects the survival and well-being of Higher Education employees directly and indirectly, as additional relief monies to State and Local Aid could allow the General Assembly to allocate more of the $1.9 billion to education as the fiscal year progresses.
What actions can our AAUP members take to make known our concerns to those governing and representing us?
Stay informed by reading and sharing information from the AAUP-SC website and social media accounts with your chapter and faculty regularly.
Continue to participate in the shared governance processes at your institution.
Reach out to your administrators and share the actions you are taking with regard to the current funding process.
BEFORE JUNE 20 write emails to the Governor and State Legislators representing your areas, and write emails to your national Senators and Representatives. We are providing sample letters and links to the Governor’s Office and links to state and national legislators.
BEFORE JUNE 15 each chapter is asked to prepare a 1-2 page update on its institution’s response to COVID – 19 (or any AAUP matter) and to email the update to email@example.com.
BEFORE JUNE 15 select a representative from your chapter to attend the June 19 AAUP-SC Teleconference. Email that representative’s institution and name to firstname.lastname@example.org. That representative will read their chapter update during the meeting and be available for discussion. We ask that only one member from each chapter attend and will inform their own university chapter with any takeaways.
Please continue to use our website, Facebook page, or email to share questions, concerns, or ideas that will enhance our commitment SC higher education and to each other as colleagues and friends.
We will continue to work together and survive the crises we are facing, and we will renew our fight for academic freedom and shared governance in the Palmetto State.
J. Mark Blackwell, President
Amanda Warren, Vice President
David Bruzina, Secretary
Shawn Smolen-Morton, Treasurer
Brandon Inabinet, Past Presiden