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  • Why Join AAUP?

  • By Gary Rhoades, Former National AAUP General Secretary

    From leaders around the country I hear that many faculty members, particularly newcomers, do not understand the AAUP's value. "What do we get for our dues?" they sometimes ask. I'd like to consider a related question: What would academe be like without the American Association of University Professors? I title my column with a bow to the 2004 mockumentary A Day Without a Mexican, which highlights how our society could not function without the contributions made by Mexican immigrants.

    Academia as we know it would come to a halt without the AAUP, because the concepts we have established and fight to defend are at the core of professorial rights and of the academy's vitality. If you believe in academic freedom, in an independent faculty voice in shared governance, in academic due process and peer review for all academics, and in the security afforded by tenure, then you have the AAUP to thank. For more than ninety-five years we have defined, advanced, and defended these concepts, and the struggle continues. If they are in your handbook or collective bargaining agreement, as they are at colleges and universities across the country, the AAUP helped put and keep them there, embedding them in the consciousness of academic administrators and boards.

    The statements, policies, and recommended institutional regulations that we promulgate on furloughs, free speech, shared governance, outside speakers, freedom in the classroom, academic freedom on overseas campuses, graduate student employees, and other issues provide chapters, bargaining units, and state conferences with nationally articulated standards to enforce locally.

    Our amicus briefs and other legal work establish in individual cases the collective rights of faculty members nationally. Our investigations into and case work on academic freedom, tenure, and governance, the product of the hundreds of inquiries our staff fields each year, forge national standards that help change faulty policies.

    In our daily, individual struggles, we faculty members take too much for granted and too little responsibility for the future of our profession. In collective bargaining settings, the AAUP is more than your local or national office providing direct services, more than a union or professional association; it is a national force that defends the profession as a whole, expanding your ability to define the terms and conditions of academic employment. The same is true in nonunion, "advocacy" settings. The terms under which you work are shaped not only by your immediate setting and grievances but also by what happens at colleges and universities nationally. You benefit from the AAUP?s defense of your colleagues elsewhere.

  • In the midst of increasing demands for more service and our inevitably limited capacity to meet all that demand, can the AAUP find new ways to support members and the profession?

    We can. We must. And we are, with more training, in new leaders workshops (to build on our excellent Summer Institute); with a conference during the annual meeting; with more online resources and templates that local chapters can draw on; and with systematic campaigns, such as “Speak Up, Speak Out,” on the freedom of academics to have a voice in institutional decisions.

    Moreover, we are working to expand our membership and capacity with initiatives in key advocacy settings (such as the University of California), in twenty-two new chapters, and in five union campaigns across the country. We are also proposing a new dues structure to make it easier for lower-paid faculty to join the AAUP.

    If we don’t work together, academic freedom, tenure, and shared governance will disappear. If you think academe should be about shutting up, laying low, and being subject to the arbitrary whims of managers, then you may decide a world without the AAUP sounds fine. If you think otherwise, support us, with your time and money, so that we can become an even stronger force.

    The academy is a uniquely vibrant public space. We in the AAUP are fighting to maintain, redefine, and expand that space, defending it against corporatization that compromises the quality of education and the public good. It is that fight you are paying for with your dues to the AAUP. It is a price worth paying.

  • Message to Non-Members

  • By Cary Nelson, Former National AAUP President

    If you’ve been reading the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Inside Higher Education, or the Chronicle of Higher Education over the last year, then you know that the AAUP is increasingly visible and influential. In fact, accounts of our work have recently appeared in Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Finnish, Hungarian, French, German, Dutch and other languages. When Virginia’s attorney general tried to launch a fishing expedition into university files, we were there. When BP tried to embargo Gulf area oil spill research, we were there. When universities tried to misrepresent the state of their finances, we were there.

    The need for our vigilance over academic freedom and shared governance issues grows greater every month. Now it is time for you to join us in our efforts.  Now we invite you to come on board. We want to help keep higher education afloat. We want American higher education to remain the principled and high quality enterprise it has been and can continue to be. But you all know those values are threatened.

    Our new dues structure makes AAUP membership less expensive for many of you. Is academic freedom worth $5, $10, or $15 a month? We think it is. AAUP membership is the premier insurance policy for the profession. With your help, we are prepared to expand our reach still further. But it costs money to draft our legal briefs. It costs money to send our investigators and organizers across the country. Joining the AAUP is the most cost effective way you have to promote higher education’s pivotal role in our democracy.

  • Join AAUP at DU

  • We are an "Advocacy" chapter here at DU, as opposed to a Collective Bargaining chapter. Our mission is to work in close and complementary ways with the DU Faculty Senate to protect faculty rights, strengthen shared governance, and safeguard academic freedom. 

    We do not charge local chapter dues.  If you have any questions please contact Dean Saitta, Department of Anthropology and campus AAUP chapter Secretary, at, or 303-871-2680. 

  • Join AAUP
  • National AAUP Resources

  • AAUP Publications

  • Colorado Conference of the AAUP

  • Colorado Conference Website

  • Colorado Committee for the Protection of Faculty Rights

This portfolio last updated: 12-Mar-2023 4:35 AM