The Illinois AAUP has sent a letter to the members of the College of DuPage Board of Trustees, which will be meeting on Monday, May 4 and may reconsider its decision at the last meeting to impose the Academic Bill of Rights and other unconstitutional policies on the college. Several of the existing board members were badly defeated in the election last month, and there's a hope that the new board will re-examine the policies.
Here is the full text of the Illinois AAUP letter:
To the Trustees of the College of DuPage
The Executive Committee of the Illinois Conference of the American Association of University Professors is deeply disappointed by the action taken by the outgoing Board of Trustees at the College of DuPage on April 16 to adopt a new policy manual containing several provisions that threaten the quality of education at the College. In our letter of March 16 we noted in particular detail how certain proposed provisions interfered with academic freedom. At the subsequent Board meeting the challenged provisions were tabled for further review. As we understand it, no further discussion took place with any persons or organizations that had raised questions about the policies. This despite the fact that the AAUP and others had indicated that the policies raised serious constitutional concerns, in addition to concerns about the impact of these changes on the quality of the education available to the students. Then, with minimum notice and no further discussion the flawed proposals were approved by the “lame duck” Board. Should this decision stand the College would be the first and only college or university in the country to have adopted these very controversial policies.
As our initial letter pointed out the American Association of University Professors has strongly opposed the Academic Bill of Rights, and in 2003 the AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure issued a statement calling it “improper and dangerous” and noting that the principles in the Academic Bill of Rights “contradict academic freedom.”(http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/comm/rep/A/abor.htm)
AAUP’s commitment to excellence in higher education and its experience in matters of academic freedom and governance lead us to join in support of the faculty, students, and staff who oppose these policy changes. Further, the lack of respect for the principles of shared governance in changing these policies over the past year is a serious violation of academic norms as emphasized in the march 18 letter of the AAUP National Office, and contrary to the College of DuPage’s obligations to the faculty union. It is also obviously, contrary to the maintenance of a good working relationship with the faculty, staff, and students, and with the local community.
We strongly encourage the new Board of Trustees to vote on May 6 to overturn the provisions in the “Academic Bill of Rights,” and the other policies which threaten academic freedom. We also urge that the Board overturn all of the policy changes enacted by the previous Board without adequate input from campus constituencies and begin a new process in accordance with the principles of shared governance we have commended to your attention.
Illinois Council AAUP
By Walter J. Kendall lll