Why should contingency matter to tenure-line faculty?

First, what’s contingency? For AAUP, “contingent faculty” is an umbrella term encompassing all non-tenure-system faculty — that is, faculty who, to different degrees, experience precarity. If you’re not clear on why, say, lecturers and VAPs at Miami count as “precarious,” please see this post

Contingency matters to tenure-line faculty. Why?

  1. Shared governance (faculty’s ability to affect decisions) is threatened when fewer & fewer faculty are enfranchised.
  2. Reduction in TT numbers leads to increased service loads & reduced time for research.
  3. Market/efficiency oriented thinking provides ready argument for using the cheapest labor available, & availability of cheap labor means tenure-line numbers will continue to decrease whenever there is a “crisis.”
  4. Academic freedom is diminished and threatened. (For more on academic freedom at Miami, see here.)

What are the end results of contingency?
An insecure labor force, lack of opportunities for research, and lack of academic freedom in academia is harmful to students, faculty, and citizens. The university’s educational mission is increasingly restricted from free inquiry and reduced to career training, resulting in less informed citizens. Citizens become increasingly less capable of critical thought and creative solutions to the problems the world faces.

What to do?
Tenure-line faculty can try to improve their conditions without seeking solidarity with contingents. But unless TT and non-TT faculty join together and organize, budget pressures and reduced faculty power mean that TT numbers could continue to erode until almost all faculty (if not all faculty) are contingent.

AAUP’s One Faculty movement explains that “the best way to halt the erosion of tenure and to extend economic security and other rights to contingent faculty is by organizing and using our collective strength—working together in solidarity across faculty ranks…The participation of all faculty in shared governance strengthens the faculty’s voice.”

We can fight contingency and win. Become part of AAUP’s One Faculty movement by joining AAUP and becoming active in Miami’s AAUP Advocacy Chapter.


Do NTT faculty at Miami have academic freedom?

Do NTT faculty at Miami have academic freedom? What about due process in case of non-renewal?

Fact: The answer to both questions is no.

  • Miami’s policy manual, MUPIM, specifically associates academic freedom with tenure.
  • MUPIM is silent on academic freedom for NTT faculty—LCPL, visiting, part-time faculty, and graduate students—who teach ~60% of the credit hours at Miami.*
  • MUPIM provides for a very loose version of due process in cases of nonrenewal only for lecturers and clinical faculty, and only at department or program level. Due process procedures for these faculty are not required and their nature is not specified.

Here are the relevant passages.

From MUPIM 7.3: Tenure & Promotion:

“Tenure is a means of assuring academic freedom: that is, the freedom to teach, to inquire, to create, to debate, to question, and to dissent (see Section 5.1). Such activity is the essence of the search for truth and knowledge, and is primary to the University. This atmosphere is necessary as the University seeks to attract, maintain, and nurture a diverse and exceptional faculty. —

From MUPIM 5.1: Principles of Academic Freedom:

“The following statement of principles of academic freedom adopted by the American Association of University Professors in 1940 was approved by the Board of Trustees, June of 1950:

Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition. (The word “teacher” as used in this document is understood to include the investigator who is attached to an academic institution without teaching duties.)

Academic freedom is essential to these purposes and applies to both teaching and research.  Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth. Academic freedom in its teaching aspect is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the teacher in teaching and of the student to freedom in learning. It carries with it duties correlative with rights.

Tenure is a means to certain ends, specifically: (1) freedom of teaching and research and of extramural activities, and (2) a sufficient degree of economic security to make the profession attractive to men and women of ability. Freedom and economic security, hence tenure, are indispensable to the success of an institution in fulfilling its obligations to its students and to society.

No faculty member shall be obliged to make her or his nonpublic work available for inspection by a second party in the absence of compulsory legal process.

From MUPIM 7.11: Nontenured-Eligible Faculty Positions

“Appointments to nontenure-eligible faculty positions are made on an academic year basis. A person in a nontenure-eligible faculty position is eligible to receive, but not entitled to expect, renewal of appointment. No person shall serve more than five (5) years in a fulltime, nontenure-eligible instructional staff position except for those appointed as Lecturers or as Clinical/Professionally Licensed Faculty. Appointments to nontenure-eligible instructional staff positions are subject to renewal at the will of Miami University. Persons whose appointments are not being renewed are entitled to notice of nonrenewal on or before February 1.”

From MUPIM 7.11 C & D: Nonrenewal Process for Lecturers & Clinical Faculty:

In the event the nonrenewal of a Lecturer [or Clinical/Professionally Licensed Faculty] is under consideration, the department chair or program director (when appropriate) must first consult formally with the faculty consistent with the governance procedures of the department or program (when appropriate).

[No language about cause or due process above department/program level in cases of nonrenewal; no language specifying that governance procedures governing nonrenewal exist at department program level, or what they should consist of if they exist.]

From MUPIM 7.1 1A & B: Renewal/Nonrenewal of Visiting Instructors and Visiting Faculty:

Visitors [& Instructors] are eligible to receive, but not entitled to expect, annual reappointment not to exceed five (5) years.

[No language about academic freedom or due process protections in cases of nonrenewal.]

From MUPIM on per-credit-hour/part-time faculty:

[No language we could locate on either academic freedom or due process in cases of nonrenewal].


*See Miami University Budget Symposium 2017 presentation, p. 26.




How contingency affects all of us

For our first fall meeting, the chapter hosted a panel of Miami contingent faculty. They contributed valuably to our discussion of contingency, an issue we hope to make a focus this year.

Whether you are a tenured or tenure-line faculty member, a student, a visiting assistant professor or instructor, an adjunct, or just a citizen, contingency at universities harms you. Find out why in these slides, which contain notes from the panel and a summary of contingency’s harmful effects.

AAUP denounces DACA decision

Today’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) will cause massive insecurity, difficulty, disruption and harm for hundreds of thousands of innocent, hardworking people—many of them our students. (The majority of people with DACA status are university students). Miami AAUP urges faculty and students to call their legislators to express support for DACA. We urge Miami University leadership to publicly denounce the DACA decision and to pledge to do their utmost to support and protect DACA and other international students.

Here is AAUP’s statement on the DACA decision:

“The AAUP denounces in the strongest possible terms the decision by the Trump administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). This decision marks a continuation of the anti-immigrant racist policies that the administration has supported from the start.

“Many of our members come from families that immigrated to the US. Their forebears came to the US for the same reason that today’s immigrants do, for a better life for their families, especially their children. But the Trump administration, feeding off the fears and insecurity of many Americans, has used the issue of undocumented workers, along with racism and anti-Semitism, to divide people and disguise the real causes of the declining standards of working people, including working people of color.

“DACA, which provides renewable two-year work permits for immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children, was created by President Obama after the Republican-led House of Representatives refused to act on immigration. About 1.9 million undocumented young people are eligible to apply for the DACA program. Nearly 800,000 had their request for DACA status granted in 2016. Of those who have DACA status, about 576,000 are enrolled in college. In other words, an overwhelming majority of those granted DACA status are our students.

“One of the major factors that makes American higher education a world class system is the diversity of our faculty and students. We owe it to these students and their families, as well as to other undocumented young people, to speak out against this action in the strongest manner possible. We call on our members to urge Congress to act immediately to undo President Trump’s action and allow these young people to remain in our classrooms.

“We also urge Congress to enact a comprehensive immigration reform policy that will welcome immigrants to our shores–those fleeing political persecution and violence as well as those who simply seek a better life, regardless of their race, religion, or national origin.”

Rudy Fichtenbaum
AAUP President

September 5, 2017

Miami AAUP’s Statement on Diversity: A Call to the Miami Community

At a galvanizing and moving chapter meeting on February 15, the leader of Graduate Students from All Nations, Ancilleno Lewis, urged all of us present to ask our departments and programs to make statements in strong support of students from other nations. Lewis and others reported disturbing details about hate-related activity happening on campus. Some Muslim students are staying home out of fear of being mistreated in the streets. We heard reports of women in hijabs being verbally abused; in one case at Lane Library in town, a community member tried to pull off a woman’s hijab.

Amber Franklin, AAUP chapter treasurer and a member of the police community council, explained that it is possible to call for police presence when verbal abuse is happening; police do not make arrests in such situations, but they will stand by. She also noted that Oxford police have issued a statement explaining that they do not enforce federal immigration laws, only state and local laws; however, they will serve federal warrants and assist federal agencies when requested. We realize that some members of our community, given the history of policing in this country, may not feel comfortable calling the police for protection.

During a discussion of creating a more welcoming atmosphere for international or undocumented students and faculty, issues beyond safety came up. It was suggested that all of us consider diversity of background, access, and religion when planning social and other events for students and faculty. If your event can’t be arrived or departed from without a car, or if your event serves alcohol, you may unintentionally be excluding or discouraging someone from joining you.

It’s clear that the times are calling on all of us to work harder to protect our students and faculty and to create an atmosphere in which all of us can learn and thrive. Here is our chapter’s statement (also posted on our “About” page):

In the wake of recent presidential orders concerning immigration and transgender rights, and as part of its advocacy for the educational mission of the university, Miami AAUP Advocacy Chapter affirms its unequivocal support for the right of all members of the Miami community to have space and time to pursue learning in safety and with full freedom of movement.

We condemn acts and words that denigrate and/or discriminate against members of our community on the basis of national origin, religion, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

We encourage all departments, programs, and individuals at Miami to explore the many ways that diversity strengthens our community. We call on all parts of the community, including Miami leadership, to commit to doing everything in their power to affirm and protect the human and civil rights of members of the Miami community—such as Middle Eastern, Latinx, Jewish, and transgender students—who may currently be experiencing increased vulnerability.

Rudy Fichtenbaum on RCM at Miami

Our chapter meeting tomorrow night features a talk on RCM by National AAUP President Rudy Fichtenbaum, who is Professor Emeritus of Economics at Wright State University. RCM, or Responsibility Centered Management, is a budgeting model that’s swept higher education, a decentralized management model that rewards revenue generation and cost efficiency in academia. Do the risks of turning academics into entrepreneurs outweigh the rewards? How can competition between programs and divisions help and harm the academic mission?

See you there, 5:30–6:30pm in Shideler 32! Rudy will be glad to answer questions, and we’ll be going out for some social time afterward.

On the immigrant question: a love letter

For all my friends in the university community and elsewhere who are more vulnerable under the new order—and for all those who are not their friends:

Whatever your feelings about the increasingly anti-immigrant efforts of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, it’s worth considering another period of our history when our democratic future hung in the balance: Reconstruction, after the Civil War.

How at that point, as W. E. B. Du Bois explains, there was an opportunity for an unfairly exploited labor pool (in that case, enslaved people) to gain democratic citizen’s rights that they had not been able to enjoy, despite their backbreaking work building this country and building wealth for others.

How 150 years ago, commodity prices were artificially cheap because the workers that produced them were paid zero or (after emancipation) very little. How that and the fact of competition from unpaid labor kept downward pressure on wages for all workers (so more profits went to the bosses).

How similar conditions exist now.

How today, immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, do valuable hard work in many industries, work that benefits all of us and builds wealth. Work doing scientific research, picking pesticide-laden fruit at risk of birth defects, making art, writing journalism. doing care work, teaching, feeding people.

How while immigrants’ work has obvious value, profits are higher when wages are low. How racism, because it creates a vulnerable, despised class of workers, is the secret ally of of the bosses, of capital, of the rich.

How if exploited white and even-more-exploited black labor had managed to join forces back during Reconstruction, their joint power would have increased their wages and living standards and political clout.

How if exploited white and even-more-exploited brown and black labor join forces now, especially if they link arms across borders, they (I mean we) will have power against corporate control of our government and will be able to demand increases in wages, living standards, climate justice, and political agency right now. How we could work together toward a sustainable future for all of us.

How big-money interests back during Reconstruction, seeing that their power was at risk, exploited racial identity categories that had been invented for their use. How even if Trump had lost the election, he would still, in a sense, have won the election for big business, because he successfully increased divisions between racial and ethnic and religious identities. How his tactics are swerving people away from working together for their own benefit.

How big-money interests, aided by friends in government, used law and violence to enforce divisions between identity categories. How the Trump administration is doing the same today.

How the pool of “freed” labor was terrorized and effectively re-enslaved—imprisoned, hired out as cheap labor. How undocumented workers face a similar fate right now (a fate black people have faced for over 150 years). How by singling out a mostly-brown group for “extreme” treatment, the government encourages mistreatment (sometimes violent) of brown people by their fellow humans on the street.

How democracy could have been democracy for all of us. How it still isn’t.

How the detention system that served private interests during and after Reconstruction has gotten bigger, and privatized, and metastasized.

How the prison system is about to metastasize far beyond its Arizona dreams, as Homeland Security diverts taxpayer dollars toward private companies such as GEO for the construction and management of more and more immigrant detention centers.

How the production of fear is an industry that serves private interests. How it has done so for a long time. How not very long ago, irrational fears of miscegenation produced brutal violence in the form of lynching. How such fears were exploited to recruit white people for the policing and terrorizing of black people. How terrorized people are less likely to make demands for political and economic justice. How hate serves the interests of the rich—even when neither the haters nor the rich realize it.

How those of us who are not likely to be targeted need to use our power strongly in support of those who are. How we need to tell stories that are not being told, stories of ecological destruction (abroad and at home) at the hands of private interests, how it breeds social unrest and famine and sparks immigration. Stories about underreported US aggression abroad, how it disrupts societies and families and spawns hate that is then viewed in the US as irrational. Stories that draw on the wisdom of those who have understood all this for centuries because they and their families have lived it. Stories about people who have the strength to be loving and strong, stories about connections across difference.

How we need to be producing a lot of documentation right now, and not the kind that Homeland Security is demanding.


Protest against Trump's executive orderOur international students, staff, and colleagues, regardless of their immigration status, are part of our community. Our community must make every effort to keep them safe, free, and able to pursue their studies. Please join our chapter in support of international students and in protest of Donald Trump’s recent executive order.

What you can do:

• Watch this space: AAUP Miami is reaching out to the Miami/Oxford community to organize sanctuary possibilities for at-risk students in case such measures become necessary. Please follow us on Facebook or Twitter to stay informed.
• Sign AAUP National’s #NoBanNoWall petition
• AAUP Miami has also drafted a petition where faculty can pledge not to participate in recruitment activities until Miami has issued a clear and robust policy to protect international students as far as it can under settled law. We are holding the petition back until we gain clarity on Miami’s current policy, but it can be viewed here.

Action Alert: “Guns Everywhere” Bill


Members and friends, we hope you will call your Senators to tell them *NO on HB 48*, the “Guns Everywhere” bill allowing concealed carry on campus. The bill was not passed this week as expected, but will likely be passed next week, perhaps with amendments that would make it impossible for institutions to reduce the impact of the bill by making their own regulations about campus carry.

House Bill 48, known as the “guns everywhere” bill, would reduce the offense for unauthorized carrying of a concealed handgun on the premises of an institution of higher education from a felony to a minor misdemeanor, if the offender produces a valid conceal/carry license within ten days of arrest. This is the equivalent of a first time speeding ticket or failure to register a dog.

The bill in its present form would allow Ohio colleges and universities to develop a policy for allowing conceal/carry of handguns on campus and grant institutions immunity from liability caused by a conceal/carry licensee bringing a gun on to campus.

Here’s what you can do to help:

1) Call the offices of the Republican members of the Senate Committee and ask them to vote NO on HB 48. You may also click on their names below and send e-mails through their contact forms. Phone calls are more effective, though.

-Chairman Bill Coley: (614) 466-8072
Bill Seitz: (614) 466-8068
Troy Balderson: (614) 466-8076
Dave Burke: (614) 466-8049
Kris Jordan: (614) 466-8086
Frank LaRose: (614) 466-4823
Larry Obhof: (614) 466-7505
Tom Patton: (614) 466-8056
Bob Peterson: (614) 466-8156

2) Contact the State Senator that represents you — either by phone (more effective) or by using our online form — to tell them you oppose HB 48.

-Click here to find your Senator’s phone number.
-Click here to use our online form to send a message to your Senator.

More information on this issue:

The Ohio Conference AAUP consistently has opposed any measures that would open the door for conceal/carry on campuses. At our 2015 Annual Meeting, the membership unanimously approved the following resolution:

Resolution #3 – Opposition to House Bill 48
Whereas the Ohio Conference AAUP has a commitment to the safety and welfare of its members and their students, and to the educational missions of its members’ institutions;

Whereas Ohio House Bill 48 would open the door for conceal/carry permit holders to carry their weapons onto public and private college campuses;
Whereas the National AAUP passed a resolution in 2008 which stated:
College and universities closely control firearms and prohibit conceals guns on their campuses because they regard the presence of weapons as incompatible with their educational missions. The Ninety-fourth Annual Meeting of the American Association of University Professors endorses the reliance of colleges and universities on trained and equipped professional law-enforcement personnel to respond to emergency incidents. We call upon state legislative bodies to refrain from interfering with decisions that are properly the responsibility of the academic community.

Be it resolved that the Ohio Conference AAUP opposes Ohio House Bill 48 and other efforts that would allow firearms to be carried onto college campuses.

*Note: We understand that not every member of our association opposes this legislation or agrees with the position statements we have passed on the issue. However, just like everything the Conference decides to support or oppose, this matter has gone through a rigorous discussion and democratic process that involved our state leadership and membership.

Ohio Conference AAUP
137 East State Street
Columbus, OH 43215

Sign Petition to Miami Community: Solidarity Against Hate

Faculty, students, staff, alums—please sign the below petition now to support, defend and stand strong for all those among us who may already be suffering from the normalization of hate. Let’s build not walls but bridges of love across all parts of the Miami community.

Text of petition:
To the Miami University Community:

We strongly condemn the recent posting of white supremacist flyers at Miami and all acts that threaten vulnerable and valuable members of our community. We urge the university administration to condemn publicly these expressions of hatred, and to continue robust support of free intellectual inquiry in an atmosphere in which all members of our diverse community are made welcome, safe, and supported.

We look forward to partnering with faculty, students, staff, administrators, and our whole community in active, vigilant solidarity against hate on our campus. With colleagues at universities around the country, we pledge to support, defend and stand strong for all those among us who may already be suffering from the normalization of hate: people of color, LGBTQ people, women, the differently abled, immigrants (including undocumented people), and Muslims, as well as those of other faiths. Further, we pledge to get to know our neighbors so that we can better work to support and care for one another. We pledge to build not walls but bridges of love across all parts of our community.