Louisiana Conference AAUP
April 26, 2011
The Annual Meeting convened at 10 AM in the President’s Conference Room at the University of Louisiana, Alexandria.
The initial part of the meeting, shared with the Louisiana Statewide Colleagues’ Collaborative, began with a presentation by Belle Wheelan, President of the Southern Accreditation Commission on Colleges on the topic of Academic Freedom and Shared Governance. Dr. Wheelan’s presentation was followed by a question and answer period during which two main topics emerged. The first had to do with reports of diminished influence of faculty in institutional governance around the state. The second had to do with repeated urging that SACS accreditation teams should be required to meet with the elected representatives of the faculty. Dr. Wheelan appeared prepared to give serious consideration to that possibility. She also urged individuals who wished to report violation of the principle of shared governance to report those instances directly to her.
Following Dr. Wheelan’s presentation AAUP members continued their meeting separately. President Bill Stewart announced that, because of Treasurer Paul Bell’s wish to resign, Sandra Loucks had been appointed to serve for the remainder of his term, and that Linda Carroll would serve as Secretary for the remainder of Dr. Loucks’ term.
Paul Bell presented the Treasure’s report, the details of which will be posted on the Conference website.
Alvin Burstein summarized a report from Jordan Kurland on the two remaining post-Katrina censures: UNO and Loyola. Significant progress in resolving the situations has been made. At UNO, all furloughed faculty who sought re-employed have been placed in positions and a Faculty Handbook paralleling the one at LSU-HSC has been adopted. At Loyola, following the resolution of the series of laws suits for wrongful termination on terms favorable to the faculty involved, Loyola President Wildes indicated his interest in having censure removed and visited the offices of AAUP in Washington in pursuit of that interest. In that visit expressed his support of the inter-related principles of academic freedom, tenure and shared governance and his conviction that the newly appointed Provost shared those views and would make that explicit in regular meetings with the Faculty Senate. Kurland expected that Committee A might be asking the Conference for its views on lifting censure at some point during the year. The meeting voted to authorize the Executive Committee to respond to any such inquiry on behalf of the membership. Kurland’s report also indicated that the results of the Committee A investigation of LSU in regard to the situation regarding Professor Homberger and that regarding Professor Vnn Heerden would soon be available.
President Stewart had received a copy of a letter from faculty to Jonathan Kurland asking for Committee A to consider the issue of the French Program at Southeastern Louisiana University having been terminated without consultation with the faculty involved and the consequent termination notices sent to four tenured faculty in that program. Several of the faculty involved were present at the Annual meeting and presented details about the situation. The meeting voted to have the Executive Committee write to Dr. Kurland in support of a Committee A inquiry.
President Stewart was also in receipt of a letter from a tenured faculty member at Tulane who, following his protests about being required to submit details about the proposed content of a scientific report to be prepared during his sabbatical, anticipated being asked to meet with the Dean and/or Provost. The faculty member wrote President Stewart to ask if the conference could provide a representative to accompany him to any such meeting as a witness to the proceedings. It was unclear as to whether the representative should or could be another Tulane faculty member. The Annual meeting voted to agree in principle to attempt to do so, and Dominque Homberger agreed to get further details from the Tulane faculty member, reporting those details to the Executive Committee.