“To Make Collective Action Possible”: The Founding of the AAUP


Among the articles in this year’s edition of the Journal of Academic Freedom is one I wrote on the history of the founding of the AAUP. Since I am not a professional historian (I teach computer science), I feel like I should offer an explanation (and to my colleagues who are historians, an apology) for venturing outside of my discipline. In a word, it was mostly due to puzzlement. The origins of the AAUP have at times been reduced to a founding myth, whose bare essentials are: the AAUP was founded in response to the Ross case with the primary purpose of defending academic freedom. What puzzled me was that Ross was dismissed in 1901, while the AAUP was founded in 1915. That seemed like a long time to organize a response – although a colleague noted, maybe only half in jest, that that is the length of time it takes for…

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About @NatM4Equity

The National Mobilization for Equity is a coalition of organizations committed to alleviating the present staffing crisis in higher education: three-quarters of the teaching jobs in American colleges are held by underpaid, precarious and poorly-supported contingent faculty. Our long-term goal is to end contingency as the norm. The current untenable situation not only adversely affects all faculty members, both contingent and tenure-track, it also negatively impacts our profession, our students and the quality of their education.

One thought on ““To Make Collective Action Possible”: The Founding of the AAUP

  1. It would perhaps be interesting and worthwhile to map whatever we can discern from this history about public attitudes toward higher ed, against the K-12 history Goldstein lays out in “Teacher Wars.” Looking forward to more. KG

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