Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Louisiana Conference of the American Association of University Professors.
The meeting was held in the Lavin-Bernick Center of the Tulane University campus in New Orleans on Saturday, April 14, 2012. It was called to order by President Alvin Burstein at 10:00 a.m. Attending were faculty members representing about a dozen private and public institutions around the state.
The first order of business was the election of a new executive committee, proposed by the nominating committee of Paul F. Bell (chair), Louise Bostick, and David Otto. The following slate was nominated:
President Brooks Ellwood (LSU, Baton Rouge)
Vice-President Sudhir Trivedi (Southern University, Baton Rouge)
Treasurer Nicole Greene (Xavier University)
Secretary Linda Carroll (Tulane University)
At Large Sandra Loucks (Southeastern Louisiana University, retired)
The slate was approved unanimously.
Treasurer Sandra Loucks next presented the treasurer's report. The report is available on the Conference website. Briefly, it reflects a healthy cash balance of approximately $20,000.
It was moved, seconded, and unanimously approved that the Conference would set up a legal defense fund to help faculty members obtain legal assistance. Requests for financial assistance to members of the AAUP State Conference in amounts up to $1,000.00 would require approval of the state executive committee in consultation with the national office.
A presentation on current proposals in the state legislature to modify the retirement plan of state employees by increasing their contributions and raising the retirement age was then made by Dayne Sherman
A brief presentation on faculty ownership of intellectual property generated by them was then given by Linda Carroll in the context of the recent announcement of a new policy by the University of Louisiana System by which the system claims ownership rights on all faculty-generated intellectual property. Prof. Carroll noted that in the matter of copyright, the copyright is generated as the work is generated and therefore lies with the author (in the broad sense of 'generator') of the work, but that the matter of patents is more complicated because the work required to produce them may call for substantial support from the institution in the form of laboratories, expensive equipment, etc. In the latter case, the best solution is the drawing up of a written agreement concerning the apportionment of ownership and proceeds. There was also discussion of an issue raised by one conference member, of a dean requiring that pre-publication material be submitted by a faculty member requesting travel funding to a professional meeting in order to receive support. A number of questions were raised, beginning with the matter of the faculty member being required to go on record prior to the completion of the research, which could give rise to a very different result. It is the general norm within the profession that the professional expertise required for approval of proposals lies with the professional association to which the presentation has been proposed.
President Burstein in the name of the Conference then presented the J. Thomas Hamrick Award for Exemplary Faculty Efforts on Behalf of Academic Freedom ex aequo to Profs. Kevin Cope (LSU-Baton Rouge) and Sudhir Trivedi (Southern University, Baton Rouge). The award is accompanied by a $500 donation to the awardee's AAUP chapter to assist in development. Prof. Cope has undertaken exemplary work as a leader both in his role as the LSU Faculty Senate President and in organizing all-state meetings. Prof. Trivedi as Faculty Senate President at his institution has undertaken exemplary work in defending the academic freedom and tenure of the faculty and their role in assuring the quality of education in the face of invidious cuts. Prof. Cope was unable to attend because of his participation in a meeting in New York. Prof. Trivedi gave a moving presentation of the difficulties faced by the faculty at his institution and of the assistance that he had received by the AAUP.
The development of new chapters at various institutions in the state was discussed.
A luncheon followed during which testimonials were given by the three tenured French professors whose dismissal had been a central issue in the recent AAUP investigation of the University of Louisiana System, Profs. Katherine Kolb, Margaret Marshall, and Evelyne Bornier.
Following lunch, a workshop was conducted by national AAUP leaders also participating in the meeting of the executive committee of the Assembly of State Conferences that included the following presentations.
Jennifer Nichols, staff member, Programs in Academic Freedom, Tenure and Governance, "Faculty Governance: Definitions and Strategies"
Cary Nelson, President, AAUP, "A Faculty Agenda for Hard Times"
Donna Potts, Chair, Assembly of State Conferences, "Academic Freedom and the Corporate Campus"
Lynn Tatum, Member-at-Large "Governing Boards"
Hans Joerg Tiede, Member-at-Large "Faculty Senates and AAUP"
Charles Smith, Treasurer, "Faculty Senates, the AAUP, and the Garcetti Ruling"
Copies of the packets of materials prepared for the workshop are available.
As the last order of business, attendees gave a rousing round of applause to outgoing President Alvin Burstein for his six years of exemplary leadership of the Conference, years in which severe threats to academic freedom, tenure, the faculty role in governance, and the faculty role in assuring educational quality were met with growth in membership and chapter numbers, multiple investigations of campuses and a system, and increasing activity of the Conference on all fronts (a new website, grant applications to the Assembly of State Conferences, the institution of a new award, the institution of a legal defense fund, the reactivation of a legislative program, and much more).
Linda L. Carroll
Secretary, Louisiana Conference, American Association of University Professors