Spring 2021 News & Events
April 23: Our annual membership meeting focused on the national AAUP "New Deal" initiative, as well as OSU's *strong* fiscal health coming out of pandemic year 2020-21. The national AAUP organization is working with federal initiatives and individual campus chapters to fulfill the goals of "A New Deal for Higher Education." Major aims are (1) to build prosperity from the ground up; (2) to advance social, racial, and economic justice; (3) to strengthen democracy and civil society; and (4) to foster knowledge and innovation. Our annual chapter meeting also answered the questions: How is OSU doing at the end of the pandemic year? Were those cuts justified? The answer is a resounding no. Watch this AAUP-OSU space for more detail soon on OSU's extraordinary wealth even in these troubled times.
April 16: Save Ohio Higher Ed held its six forum, "The Debt Trap: Students, Equity, and the Ohio Economy." The forum included recent and upcoming college graduates, as well as speakers from the Ohio Student Association and Policy Matters Ohio and a University of Pennsylvania postdoctoral researcher on student debt. Find more information here.
February 12: Save Ohio Higher Ed held its fifth forum, "Economic Importance of Higher Ed." The forum featured Ohio civic leaders and academic researchers discussing the importance of publicly financing higher education for the sake of a better Ohio. Find more information here.
Fall 2020 News & Events
October 22: Save Ohio Higher Ed held its fourth forum, "Shared Governance for the Current Crisis and Beyond: A Primer." The presentation was aimed at helping faculty senators and other faculty involved in shared governance to understand their shared governance rights. It explained why shared governance matters and proposed pathways for making a difference. See more here for presentation slides.
October 1: An AAUP-coauthored resolution amending the Together as Buckeyes Pledge passed the University Senate's Faculty Council. The amended pledge eliminates ambiguities in the existing pledge by explicitly stating that signing is not mandatory and that the pledge does not constitute a legal liability waiver or an assumption of risk. See the Lantern coverage. The resolution now passes to the full Senate floor. Contact your OSU Senator to support (directory here).
September 14: Our organization supported a faculty-led informational town hall on the underfunding of OSU's Arts and Sciences College (ASC). ASC - which houses fields in the humanities, arts, natural and mathematical sciences, and social sciences - brings into OSU a sizable portion of instructional income: 51% of all non-medical credit-hour production. Yet it receives only 30% of OSU's non-medical instructional budget. Additionally, in the current fiscal year (FY21), university administrators are planning to make substantial cuts to ASC, and some of them are slated as permanent. These cuts are also occurring despite OSU's very strong financial position, which includes over $4 billion in unrestricted assets.
September 7 (Labor Day): As part of a Save Ohio Higher Ed student-faculty coalition, AAUP-OSU helped to launch a petition letter to Ohio college administrators and political decision-makers to "End Misspending in Higher Ed." The petition called for budget transparency, genuine student and faculty voices in decision-making, fair tuition for students, fair pay for all academic employees, and an overall understanding "that higher ed is not a business, but a resource for the public good that sustains our economy and welfare."
September 4: Save Ohio Higher Ed held its third forum, "Where Does Tuition Go?: Students Speak Out." Guest speakers included undergraduate and graduate student activists discussing the financialization of higher education: the shift of student dollars away from educational mission and fair instructor pay, toward marketing, capital projects, investment growth, and executive-level administrative salaries. See a full description here.
August 25: We sent a statement supporting the Graduate Student Labor Coalition in its protest against OSU's unnecessary cuts to graduate student pay and funding. (See more on the OSU budget here.)
Spring / Summer 2020 News & Events
August 19: We published an open letter in the Lantern calling on OSU to amend the "Together as Buckeyes" pledge to reflect administrative promises that it is not a legal liability waiver. See our full summary of the university's response to COVID-19.
July 20: The AAUP-OSU sent a resolution to the OSU Senate Faculty Council Chair urging amendments to the interim furlough policy. We recommended language stipulating that (1) before implementation, a budgetary rationale for furlough be shared with Senate members for review; (2) the highest salaried employees be furloughed first and the lowest salaried employees be furloughed last; and (3) benefit coverage continue for those earning less than $55,000 per year.
July 2: The AAUP-OSU hosted a true town hall on campus reopening plans. Many OSU "town halls" this spring have been presentational webinars by senior administrators that allow for little questioning and feedback. We wanted to host a real conversation to enable OSU faculty, staff, and students to voice questions and concerns about university plans (regardless of AAUP membership). Attendees discussed the public-health dangers of reopening, the ambiguity and non-transparency of OSU's plans, inconsistent policies across units, and limited choice of whether to return to work in person. See the Columbus Dispatch coverage of our town hall.
June 19: Save Ohio Higher Ed (SOHE) held its second forum, "Overcoming Inequities." See the SOHE page.
June 19: AAUP-OSU signed on to the Midwest AAUP coalition's statement "Protecting Lives, Promoting Education: Principles for Reopening Campuses," which asserts that physically reopening campuses has the "almost assured potential to launch a superspreader event that will harm, or even kill, members of our communities." The coalition arose specifically in response to COVID-19 and includes universities across Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio. Its first video press conference discussed the dangers of reopening, lack of shared governance in crucial decision-making, and increasing inequities and austerity measures in response to the virus.
May 13: Save Ohio Higher Ed (SOHE) held its inaugural forum, "Academic Workers Speak Out." See the SOHE page.
April 24: AAUP-OSU held a Day of Solidarity in support of the OSU academic employees most economically vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic. In conjunction, we released a statement on the COVID-19 era, "What Does OSU Value and How Should It Respond?", which was endorsed by almost 300 people. We asked university leadership to (1) prioritize the most economically vulnerable; (2) maintain transparency in financial decision-making and in instructional plans for the next academic year; and (3) recommit to the university's academic mission by reducing administrative bloat, along with spending on athletic buildings and other capital projects.
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