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Truman State Urges Action on Covid
TSU AAUP Position Statement: COVID Vaccination
With a new federal administration comes the promise of a coordinated
national plan to address the health crisis that thus far has cost over
400,000 lives in the United States and counting. Such a plan affords all
of us the reassurance of accelerated production and a fair and equitable
distribution of the vaccine which will lead us out of the pandemic.
The logistics of such a plan, organized federally and carried out on
state and local levels, are daunting: from the adequate manufacture and
distribution the vaccine to the large numbers of health care
professionals required to administer the shots. Governmental openness
and clarity about the principles governing the tiered system of vaccine
priority is admirable and generally persuasive: those most /vulnerable/,
whether due to health status or probability of exposure, and those
/essential/ to the fundamental functions of our society, are afforded
priority. Unquestionably, health care workers qualify on both counts.
The elderly, in particular those housed in institutional settings where
contagion has been known to spread readily, are also at the highest
level (Phase 1A) of priority for vaccination. The rationale is clear,
and the necessity obvious.
Only slightly lower in priority are K-12 faculty and staff, currently in
Phase 1B-Tier 3, entitled “Critical Infrastructure.” Who could begrudge
the people tasked with the education of our nation’s children this
guarantee of safety? After all, they are essential to our children’s
future success, and they are exposed consistently to an age group
notable for asymptomatic harboring of the virus.
Higher Education faculty and staff, however, have not been included in
this priority tier. The 1.5 million employees engaged in teaching nearly
20 million college and university students who are the nation’s next
generation of innovators, professionals, and teachers are surely as
essential as K-12 faculty and staff to the country’s future.
Furthermore, these employees are even more likely to be exposed to
asymptomatic students than K-12 employees. A recent (January 2021) CDC
analysis reports that 18-24-year-olds accounted for 57 percent of cases
for those under 24, while 34 percent were attributable to the entirety
of K-12 children. The study reasonably concludes that in-person higher
education classes are likely to be more risky than in-person elementary
schools. The faculty and staff in Higher Education are both as
/essential/ yet even more /vulnerable/ than the K-12 employees currently
listed at Phase 1B-Tier 3 for vaccination access. Despite this,
Missouri’s Higher Education employees have been relegated to Phase 2,
entitled “Equity and Economic Recovery.”
We, the faculty at Truman State University, take our responsibility to
our students seriously, putting ourselves at risk with the in-person
instruction in which student learning prospers. We are willing to bear
that risk fairly on the basis of clear categories of vulnerability and
essential services. At present, however, the Missouri State Tier system
does not clearly reflect such fairness. A shared threat can bring people
together—whether nations, communities, or institutions. For the sake of
the students of today and productive citizens of tomorrow, we call upon
Governor Parson to address this clear inequity by placing Higher
Education faculty and staff in the same vaccination tier as K-12
teachers and employees.
/Executive Council of the Truman State University (TSU) chapter of the
American Association of University Professors (AAUP)/
/Please sign our petition demanding equal prioritization for
post-secondary workers as for our pre-K-12 counterparts
/The mission of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)
is to advance academic freedom and shared governance, to define
fundamental professional values and standards for higher education, and
to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good. For more
information, visit //https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://aaup.truman.edu/*__;Lw!!K543PA!Y6qzBNswf10LODQ8kKZe51IPhQiZToCRmu7-h_uQ8f27iNrvGxiNXKRwMRthlQ$
Note: You are receiving this email as a member (or former member) of the Missouri Conference of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). For more information, see https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.moaaup.org__;!!K543PA!Y6qzBNswf10LODQ8kKZe51IPhQiZToCRmu7-h_uQ8f27iNrvGxiNXKTDTS6bhQ$ . If you no longer wish to receive these occasional messages, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=unsubscribe.
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NOTES FROM MOAAUP VIRTUAL TOWN HALL
MOAAUP Virtual Town Hall — August 11, 2020
Reports on COVID policies, issues and related matters from around the state
University of Central Missouri
Masks required, but none provided
Faculty given a face shield
No testing of students, faculty, or staff
Pay cuts for faculty, furloughs for some staff
12 month contracts without corresponding pay raises
Question: what is the oversight for monies received from CARES act?
Mask policy will be *enforced*
Contingent faculty status is of concern – they were given contracts with no start or end date.
“At will” language regarding firing added to contracts for contingent and tenure track but not yet tenured faculty
Changed language in tenure policies
There was a dedicated task force of faculty to plan for and communicate COVID related changes and policies
Masks required for all
Faculty given 1 2oz bottle of hand sanitizer and 1 mask for semester
Testing only for resident students
Faculty and students are responsible for cleaning classrooms after use
Faculty could choose to teach online prior to July 15 and must petition to do so since
Pay cuts for faculty range from 5-7.5 -percent
NT contracts re-written — higher teaching load and no service responsibilities, leaving service to tenured faculty
AAUP chapter is actively working on its own COVID proposal
Have had discussions between administration and AAUP chapter
Masks mandated, 4 given out to faculty, who also received 1 face shield
Faculty must sanitize their own classrooms
All classes must be face to face unless medical exemptions are granted, which is a rare thing
Must have permission to use an A/B or other hyflex strategy
Minimum enrollment for classes to make increased to 15, led to canceling of some classes and concern for whether some students can graduate on time if needed classes are not offered
AAUP chapter is still inactive
University has a detailed plan for students and faculty
Masks are required
Students asked to self-quarantine for 2 weeks prior to coming to class, no enforcement mechanism
No testing is required
Academic portfolio review is ongoing
Masks are required for anyone on campus
Face shields area optional, but only as add-ons
Faculty given 2 masks each
Testing for resident students, but not for others
Questions about when, how, and if people are notified if a colleague or student tests positive
Faculty can teach online, although now must go through their chair or relevant dean
Commitment Contracts required for all – promising to wear masks, practice social distancing, practice good hygiene and health updating
University has suspended retirement fund matching
Enforceable mask policy, Faculty given 3 masks
Mandatory 6 foot social distancing in all classes
Continuity of Instruction Committee
No testing available
Students asked to sign waivers
Contract language allows the administration to reduce compensation
University has suspended matching retirement fund contributions
Detailed plan, “The Panther Plan”
Faculty given face shields
Faculty have to clean room after each class
Students required to take their temperatures before entering classrooms
University has suspended matching retirement contributions
AAUP chapter is actively involved
Missouri State- Springfield
50 COVID cases on campus over the summer
1616 cases in Greene county
Masks required, face shields are available
Faculty told to expect furloughs, although none have been enacted
All lower division courses must be face to face
Upper division courses may be hybrid
Testing only for symptomatic people
Committee will draft statewide recommended policies/guidelines
Kathryn E Kuhn
Schedule another town hall for beginning of September
AAUP VIRTUAL TOWN HALL – TUESDAY, AUGUST 11 AT 2:00
If you are an active member of the AAUP (meaning you have paid dues), you should have received an email inviting you to join a virtual town hall on Tuesday, August 11, at 2:00. We will discuss COVID planning across the state, with someone from each institution giving a brief summary of what is happening on their campus. The ultimate goal is to develop a set of recommendations or guidelines for use across the state. Please see the COVID Resources page for a working list of issues of interest.
MIZZOU IN THE NEWS: UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT TELLS DISSENTERS THEY SHOULD REMAIN SILENT
Following a series of tweets from an employee and a local journalist criticizing Mizzou’s decision regarding the statue of Thomas Jefferson on its campus, university President Mun Choi gave an interview to The Columbia Daily Tribune. According to the Tribune:
“Choi used the tweets as examples of the kind of dissent from university staff that he said undermines the mission of the university.
Choi called senior leaders in the chancellor’s office, the president’s office, the provost’s office and deans and last Monday [via Zoom] to tell them he expects people who disagree with decisions to remain publicly silent.”
Further details can be found at https://www.columbiatribune.com/news/20200717/mun-choi-tells-university-leaders-to-back-his-decisions
Choi shared a PowerPoint presentation during the Zoom meeting and also, it seems, with the Tribune. While it is framed as a discussion of diversity and inclusion, it makes for an interesting read.
UMKC CHAPTER IS BACK!
Great news. The AAUP chapter at University of Missouri Kansas City is back up to full speed. Check out their new website, https://umkcaaup.org/. It joins the newly revitalized/formed chapters at Webster, University of Central Missouri, SEMO, and Saint Louis University in re-mobilizing over the past several months.
If you wish to start a new chapter, or re-start a dormant chapter, please contact any of us on the board, or check out the national AAUP website for more information. The officers of MOAAUP are here to help.
TRUMAN STATE AAUP CHAPTER RESPONDS TO COVID PREPARATIONS
Thanks to the great folks at Truman State for sharing this letter. Their concerns are doubtless shared by many of us. If you are interested in developing a state-wide document or set of guidelines, please contact Kathryn Kuhn (email@example.com), Marc Becker (Marc@ychana.org) or Stephanie Chamberlain (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The AAUP statement on principles of shared governance during COVID can be found on the COVID Resources Page.
· greater administrative transparency and regularity in communication about the fall planning process
· increased faculty participation in the fall planning process, including, but not limited to, adding an AAUP representative to the planning committee
· heightened campus safety measures, including the following:
o requiring all students, staff, faculty, and visitors to wear face coverings in public buildings on campus
o providing students, faculty, and staff with an adequate supply of masks
o arranging class spaces for physical distancing and informing faculty of corresponding room capacities and approved social-distancing layouts as soon as possible
o establishing a protocol for cleaning classrooms between each class session
o establishing a protocol for the entry and exit of academic spaces in a way that ensures physical distancing and enables symptom checking (including temperature checks)
o installing HEPA-grade or equivalent filters into HVAC systems on campus to guarantees adequately filtered air ventilation in rooms
· the issuing of an openly circulated Truman Plan that describes Truman’s intended protocols for dealing with various contingencies: for instance, what happens when someone tests positive for COVID-19, what would happen if a classroom building had to be shut down suddenly for decontamination, what the conditions are which would trigger a return to fully remote learning, what the procedure is for making such a transition to remote learning, and so on. The plan should indicate concrete responses to specific circumstances: responses of the form, “If community infection rates increase by 25% over X period, Truman will…”
Welcome Back, Saint Louis University Chapter
Thanks to the tireless efforts of many people, but particularly Silvana Siddali at SLU, the chapter has been revived!
Please be aware that if your chapter has fewer than seven dues paying AAUP members, it is no longer considered to be an active chapter by the national AAUP. Interested in reviving your chapter or starting one? Please contact Kathryn Kuhn, Jason McCollum, John Harms, or any of the members of the executive board. Please note that David Robinson is taking some needed time off.
SUMMER INSTITUTE IS FREE THIS YEAR AND ONLINE
Those of us who have been fortunate enough to attend prior Summer Institutes (held by the national AAUP) have found them immensely rewarding and informative. Due to COVID 19 this year’s institute is entirely online and free of charge. Please do note, however, that space is limited, so it is best to sign up as early as you can.
Here is the announcement from AAUP:
In just a few months, the world of higher education has changed. That’s why there’s a new AAUP Summer Institute this year: it’s on your screen and it’s free.
From July 7 to August 4, we will run two webinars each week. Our 90-minute sessions will cover a wide range of topics, from campus decisions about reopening to supporting student protests to pushing back against austerity budgets. In addition, hour-long breakout sessions after the governance and organizing webinars will provide a special opportunity for smaller groups of attendees to brainstorm about how to apply the guidance to their chapter’s circumstances. There is also a special plenary panel that will highlight the experiences of frontline health care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Administrations across the country reacted to the ongoing pandemic by laying off faculty and staff, closing programs, and drafting reopening plans without faculty input. But if we’ve learned anything from fighting such austerity measures in the past, it’s that we can win a better future for our students, the profession, and our communities when we organize together. We can’t wait for the pandemic to end before we fight for the future of higher education.
East Coast Organizer
AAUP SHARED GOVERNANCE WEBINAR SLIDES AVAILABLE
AAUP condcted a very informative webinar on shared governance in the context of COVID 10. They were kind enough to share the PowerPoint slides with all members. Here is a PDF of the PowerPoint presentation.
Membership Status: A Gentle Reminder
It is easy to let membership in the AAUP lapse, so please check to be sure you are still an active member. Worried about dues? The AAUP offers the option of deducting your membership dues automatically each month from your bank account or paying through credit card. You do not have to pay for the entire year at once.
Welcome New Chapters!
Chapters are Southeast Missouri State, the University of Central Missouri, and Webster University have recently been formed, or reactivated. Thanks to the leadership of all those involved, faculty members at these campuses now have a greater voice in maintaining shared governance and academic freedom here in Missouri.
If you are on a campus that does not have a chapter, please consider organizing one. The board of MOAAUP is happy to help in any way.
News From National AAUP Meeting, June 13-16, 2019
Organizational Changes to the AAUP
“We are pleased to announce that the AAUP will be moving forward with organizational changes after affirmative votes at last week’s AAUP annual meeting and AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress regular meeting. Both bodies voted overwhelmingly to proceed with a package of changes that combines the AAUP-CBC and the AAUP. The AAUP-CBC will no longer exist as a separate entity and its programs will be transferred to the AAUP. This will streamline our governance and organizational structure to ensure that we are using our resources to support our chapters and conferences.”
Below: On the left is Rudy Fichtenbaum, President of the AAUP
On the right is Hank Reichman, Chair of Committee A.
Now, more than ever, the AAUP is an important voice for academic freedom and shared governance. In states such as ours, chapters are vital to the ongoing protection of these crucial principles. What can chapters and state conferences do?
— Institutionalize AAUP policies. Faculty manuals and handbooks should incorporate explicitly AAUP principles and policy recommendations. Having an AAUP chapter and coordinating efforts across the state is one way of ensuring that these issues are addressed.
—Speak Truth to Power. National AAUP and your state conference stand ready to offer resources, organizing help, and speakers to assist all faculty in the state. As Cary Nelson writes:
“The most immediate difference an AAUP chapter can make is to be a source of frank, honest, and forthright commentary on nearly every aspect of campus life. A chapter, moreover, is not a voice crying in the wilderness. Whenever possible, it should represent the consensus view of a core faculty group formally recommending actions, issuing warnings about real problems, and deflating administration hyperbole about false emergencies. An AAUP chapter provides the faculty with a voice that can shed sunlight on cant, self-interest, and deception and applaud good practices. Then, of course, the chapter needs to promote solutions to problems.” (see https://www.aaup.org/article/aaup-chapter-can-transform-your-campus#.XQ7tBuhKiUk0)
— Organize Faculty locally and at the state level. Most of us face similar challenges. The AAUP affords us both the mechanism by which we can address those challenges ad the opportunity to engage with our colleagues at other institutions.
The AAUP is as strong as its membership base. If even a fraction of faculty become members the influence of the organization, the number of programs it offers, and the resources it has available will grow enormously.
MOAAUP SPRING CONFERENCE, 2019
News from this year’s conference and minutes from the April 28, 2018 at the University of Missouri, Kansas City are posted on the MOAAUP Conference Page.
AAUP NATIONAL CONFERENCE
The 2020 AAUP conference will be the last annual conference. Following that, the conference will be biennial. Date and location of next year’s conference are TBA.
AAUP REPORTS AND POLICIES ON ROLE OF FACULTY IN CASES OF FINANCIAL EXIGENCY
These reports expand the definition of financial exigency to include cases such as those that have recently arisen in Missouri. They are a valuable resource for those interested in understanding the role of faculty in budgeting, academic reorganization, and governance.
MOAAAUP — DEFENDING ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND SHARED GOVERNANCE ACROSS MISSOURI