Top Eight Excuses for not Joining AAUP*
- “I don’t know what they do.”
Since 1915, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has been defending the rights of faculty in the areas of academic freedom, tenure, diversity, salary, and working conditions. We operate on the national, state, and local levels. Here in Georgia, the state organization (the GA Conference of AAUP) sends representatives to Board of Regents meetings, has a lobbyist who advocates on our behalf at the state legislature, and keeps in constant communication with USG leaders. As a member, you’ll be kept abreast of state and local activities and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow members at the university. All members receive Academe, the national magazine, and state newsletters. Members also have access to professional liability insurance, group term life insurance, discounts on home and auto insurance, and other benefits. The purpose of the UWG chapter is to advance academic freedom and shared governance, define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education, and ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good. Now you know.
- “I’m fairly new here, don’t have tenure, and don’t want to make waves with my administrators.”
You won’t. Faculty from instructors through full professors are members. We work with college leaders in a positive way to articulate faculty concerns. In fact, you may well find that the administrators you work with are members themselves!
- “I already have tenure, am near the end of my career, or both, and feel secure in my own position.”
Good for you! But remember that the security you now enjoy came from the efforts of other faculty colleagues in the past who fought the good fight on your behalf. Don’t you owe that same commitment to newer colleagues coming down the pike? And, of course, when it comes to issues of salary and working conditions, we all benefit from AAUP efforts.
- “I’m pretty happy with the way things are right now at UWG.”
Fine. But consider this: Much of the reason you are is because of the work done by faculty in the past. Also, who knows what changes are coming in the future? College leaders come and go all too frequently. Policies and procedures are continually being re-examined. Years of experience and the lessons learned from the predicaments of colleagues at other institutions remind us that we must remain vigilant and proactive when it comes to our involvement in campus governance.
- “I’m a part-timer. What’s in it for me?”
The AAUP advocates for all faculty (full-time and part-time, temporary and permanent, tenured and untenured) in areas that concern us all–salaries, workloads, governance, and working conditions. Dues are also significantly lower for part-timers.
- “The dues aren’t cheap, there are so many expenses to juggle, and let’s face it, faculty are not getting rich in higher education.”
Right you are. The AAUP advocates on salary issues. Also–and let’s hope this never happens–if you ever get in a legal bind on an employment issue and need professional advice and counsel, what you pay lawyers will far exceed the cost of your dues. Nationally, the AAUP helps about a thousand faculty members each year on legal matters. It could help more if it had a larger membership base. Dues can be paid all at once or via the “painless” payroll deduction method. Dues for “entrant members” (first four years, untenured) are 50% of regular full-time dues. Dues for part-time faculty and graduate students are 25% of regular dues. And besides, how many organizations worth joining do you know of that that don’t have dues?
- “I don’t like unions.”
Fine. The AAUP in Georgia is not a union and does not advocate for strikes (probably illegal in Georgia public education anyway). We have consistently maintained healthy lines of communication with UWG and USG leaders, and, more often than not, they listen to us! Moreover, the AAUP does not take political stands or endorse candidates for political office.
- “Frankly, I just don’t care.”
Wonderful. Congratulations on your positive attitude toward your profession.
Any Other Excuses?
*Gratefully adapted from a similar document on the website of the Georgia Highlands College AAUP.