NEWSLETTER OF THE UMKC CHAPTER OF THE
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS
Vol. 2, No. 1
Destruction at the UMKC Dental School
"The Workshop for
UMKC": Questions about the Chancellor's Agenda,
by Stuart McAninch
Why I was Forced to Resign as Dean, by Marino Martinez-Carrion
E-com Expresses Support for Governor Holden on Collective Bargaining
"Brain Wash": a Review Article, by David Brodsky
Education for Democracy Network activities
First membership meeting of academic year
Food for Thought, by Patricia Brodsky
UMKC Part-Time Faculty Association: Update on Organizing Efforts, by Mindy Fiala
"Teaching Tolerance" Forum Addresses Xenophobia, by Patricia Brodsky
AAUP Chapter Initiates its own Website
AAUP Dues Information
Destruction at the UMKC Dental School
The following report is a slightly abridged and edited version of presentations on the panel, "Degrading the Workforce: The UMKC Dental School," at the March 3, 2001 AAUP conference "Education for Democracy: Fighting the Corporate Takeover."
Testimony of James M. Mixson
My name is Dr. Jim Mixson, I'm an Associate Professor at the UMKC School of Dentistry. Also on our panel are: Dr. Dorsey Moore, the H. G. B. Robinson Professor Emeritus and Chair of Removable Prosthodontics at the School of Dentistry; and soon to be doctor Kirkland Graham, a senior dental student. We are particularly happy to have Mr. Graham here to give the student's perspective on the situation at the School of Dentistry.
After listening to earlier panels at this conference, I must say that it is very reassuring to know that these problems are not just ours, but universal ones, more widespread than I had thought.
We have had to deal at the School of Dentistry with the issues of merging of departments and the decreasing quality of our leadership. A number of lawsuits have been filed at the School of Dentistry, and I am going to outline a history of our problems.
There are two camps at the Dental School: the clinical faculty against the administration of Dean Michael Reed. There is a lack of respect, we feel, which has affected the morale of the faculty and the students. Dean Reed came to the School of Dentistry in the fall of 1986. He was chosen by then Chancellor, George Russell, to turn the school around and make it more of a research institution while deemphasizing teaching. He came in on a controversial note. Faculty had been made part of the decision-making process--so they thought. Their last choice was Michael Reed.
Dean Reed has made some important improvements in the school, instituting more scholarly activity among faculty and students. This is a positive achievement, but many of us feel that this new emphasis has come about at the expense of trust among the faculty, and at the expense of teaching. We were a very strong, nationally known clinical teaching school, and many of us feel that our teaching reputation has declined in recent years.
Our troubles started soon after Dean Reed was appointed. Two faculty members, Drs. Long and Houston, happened to come up for tenure at the same time that the Dean arrived. The Dean immediately denied them tenure, on the grounds that they did not have enough publications to satisfy him. They filed grievances, which were actually supported, and received minor settlements. But it sent shock waves through the School of Dentistry. The signal was loud and clear that teaching was secondary and research was king. If you did not publish, you would perish in fact. Along with my colleagues I took valuable time from clinical teaching responsibilities in order to turn out the required number of research papers.
The first major lawsuit occurred in 1988. Jerry Hart filed charges of age discrimination, because he received no raises compared to younger faculty and had a greater workload. During a lengthy hospitalization he received no pay raises. He filed a retaliation suit with the EEOC on the basis of age discrimination. Eventually, the university settled out of court and he received full salary and raises for the next eight years, although he was not allowed to teach during that time. Shortly thereafter his chair, Dr. Neil Reardon, who had supported Dr. Hart, was relieved of his chairmanship by the Dean.
In 1990 Dr. Elletar, who was Director of the Laboratory for Hormone Research, was removed from his position by the Dean, and began receiving decreased raises compared with younger faculty in similar positions. He filed a claim with the EEOC. There was a jury trial in 1990 which found for Dr. Elletar, primarily on the grounds of retaliation for filing his original EEOC suit.
I don't have time to discuss all these lawsuits and grievances. But a pattern began to develop. Drs. Long and Houston had been supported by their department chair, Dr. Gier, who then himself became a victim of retaliation. In 1989 Dr. Gier was relieved of his position as chair of the Diagnostic Sciences Department, a position he had held for 22 years. He was replaced by a much younger member of the junior faculty, who had none of Dr. Gier's credentials.
In a trial in 1993, a jury found Dean Reed guilty on 28 counts of willful retaliation. The cost to the university was over $600,000. Part of the legal costs were paid by UMKC's liability insurance, but the rest came from general funds, diminishing money available for teaching and increasing the cost to taxpayers. The next year the Dean received a pay raise that was two and one half times greater than the average faculty pay raise.
Around 1990 there was a major uproar at the school concerning the faculty's right to choose its own curriculum. Dean Reed was pushing what is called a "problem-based curriculum," modelled on a program at McMaster University Medical School in Canada. Most faculty felt the plan was unworkable. The Dean got into trouble when he notified the American Association of Dental Schools that we were going to adopt the problem-based curriculum irrespective of faculty opinion. Thus he narrowly survived a no confidence vote by the faculty. He had to retract his notification to the Association and the issue was dead.
In 1997 nine professors--of which I was one and Dr. Dorsey Moore was another, totalling about 10% of the faculty, including three Chairs--filed age discrimination retaliation suits against Dean Reed. Together we represented over 130 years of experience, and the suits got national coverage. They were settled out of court, and resulted in the retirement of seven out of the nine plaintiffs. The two who remained were myself and Dr. Chris Cumming. He and I are the lone soldiers fighting for the faculty and it's a little uncomfortable at times. The payments and settlements in this case totalled over a million dollars. A very conservative estimate of lawyer's fees and settlements to faculty members incurred by the university during the past fifteen years is over two million dollars.
The position of those who have filed these charges throughout the years is that the university's continuing support for Dean Reed is unfortunate. [This support endures: Dean Reed was appointed leader of one of the Blueprint projects by Chancellor Gilliland.--Ed.] It ignores the fact that he has repeatedly been found by juries to have discriminated and retaliated against his faculty. I understand that it is an AAUP position that Deans found guilty of discrimination should not be allowed to continue in office. The position of the administration has been that Dean Reed was brought in to increase research in a backward university community. Because the changes have been traumatic, he has been punished by a disgruntled section of the faculty (the old guard), which continues to file charges.
And yet charges continue to be made, even by faculty hired after Dean Reed assumed office. A disabled faculty member had worked part-time for the School of Dentistry for ten years as a clinical and pre-clinical teacher in every area that the School has to offer. Six people, many with no teaching experience at all, had applied for five positions in the School as generalists, and the only person not hired was the disabled teacher with ten years experience. After he engaged a lawyer, he was immediately offered a position, though at a salary lower than the others hired at the same time.
The administration has encouraged us to use the internal grievance procedure, to try to resolve these matters internally. Though some of the faculty have been successful in this procedure, many feel the administration will not treat them fairly. At least one faculty member who declined to appear on the panel today cited fear of retaliation. He has gone through the internal grievance procedure. Half the panel hearing his case was chosen by him and half by Dean Reed. The panel voted unanimously for the faculty member, finding that he had been discriminated against and should receive equal pay for an equal position, and recommending a significant salary increase. The recommendation was denied by interim Chancellor Lamb as well as President Pacheco. The whole process took two years, while the grievance procedure states that it should last no longer than six months. The faculty member suspects that the reason for the delay was to run out the statute of limitations and prevent legal action.
Dr. Chris Cumming asked me to mention several other issues. He felt that the individual could never win against the administration, whether through internal or external avenues of redress. If a grievant remains in a position of authority, the administration will move to totally isolate him. Chris serves on no committees, our department of diagnostic sciences has been cut to bare bones, and new faculty trained in our area of oral medicine have been assigned to the departments of Public Health and Behavioral Sciences, rather than Diagnostics. The special patient care clinic which treats medically compromised patients--those with TMJ [Temperomandibular Joint] disorder and oncology patients, who comprise a major focus area in our department of oral medicine--has been transferred to the Department of Public Health. New faculty are instructed not to associate with Dr. Cumming, always under the implied threat of retaliation. Chris believes that the role of the AAUP should be to support individuals who have been isolated.
Fear of retaliation has prevented several faculty members in the School of Dentistry from appearing on this panel today. One non-tenured faculty member fears that joining the AAUP would be the "kiss of death" for him. Another disabled faculty member who can no longer practice dentistry is scared to death that joining the AAUP would actually jeopardize his job.
Testimony of Dorsey Moore
I applaud Dr. Mixson for speaking here today, since he is still a member of the faculty. I came to Kansas City in 1955 and entered Dental School when it was located on the main campus. I have great love for the Dental School and for Kansas City, and for the University when it was UKC (University of Kansas City). I entered the Navy after the Dean passed away and was replaced by Dr. Robinson. Both Deans were dentists, in fact all our Deans were practicing dentists until the present time.
Our current Dean, Michael Reed, cannot get a license to practice in Missouri or in any other state, because, so far as I know, he doesn't have the training or qualifications to practice dentistry.
I served twenty years in the Navy, and when I returned the Dean was Marvin Revsin, a dentist and an oral surgeon from California. Unfortunately, he had a massive heart attack after serving as Dean for only three years, and a search was mounted for a successor. Not only was the current holder of the position the last choice of the faculty, when Dean Reed's appointment was announced, the alumni association, long a source of influence and financial support, withdrew a $50,000 donation. Dean Reed assumed his duties at UMKC knowing he was disliked by the dental community.
The UMKC School of Dentistry used to offer an excellent clinical program. Its faculty did research, but it was not nationally recognized by the NIH [National Institutes of Health]. The goal of the new administration was to attract NIH money to UMKC. Of the goals and objectives listed on the wall of the Dental School presently, the number one goal is to provide dentists and dental hygienists with the opportunity to practice in the states of Kansas and Missouri for the good of the people of these states. Dean Reed tried and failed to have this goal removed from the wall.
As for the no confidence vote mentioned by Dr. Mixson, Dean Reed survived it only by insisting that the Presidents of the four dental classes and the President of the Dental Hygiene School be allowed to vote in the faculty body. These students voted, of course, to graduate. The vote was illegitimate because students were allowed to vote, without faculty approval, in a faculty assembly.
Since I helped draft the no confidence motion, I have not been in good favor with Dean Reed. The day he arrived, I was about to leave to lecture in Indonesia under the auspices of the School of Dentistry. He called me just before I left for the airport to ask whether I had cleared all the administrative hurdles, and whether the Chancellor had been informed of my trip. When I returned, I was told by two other chairs in the School that in the future anyone else gone as long as I had been would be removed from his chairmanship. Although I was put on notice sixteen years ago, I kept my chairmanship all that time, with the help of the legal profession.
The Dean is the only problem we have at the Dental School. We can do research, we can get money from NIH, we can work with other agencies. All my faculty received tenure under my guidance during those sixteen years. They also brought in several hundred thousand dollars worth of research money, but not under conditions they set. For example, because one junior faculty member's funding came from private industry instead of NIH, the Dean did not want to grant him tenure, although his publications appeared in nationally recognized journals. We won that case, again, in the courts.
I tried to keep faculty at UMKC, but they were bailing out. I trained seven residents in my department, which specializes in artificial teeth and partials (removable prosthodontics). We had undergraduate and graduate level programs, as well as a third level, comprising hospital prosthodontics, cancer research, cancer rehabilitation, and congenital defects. Dean Reed did not believe that these programs constituted special patient care. He formed his own group for special patient care, which excluded our programs. The Dean also forced out all the six residents who wanted to stay and teach in Kansas City. All of them ended up at good schools and in good areas to practice (Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Florida, Michigan, and Maryland). He is deliberately sending good people away from this region.
I tried to go through the internal grievance procedures, but eventually we formed our group of nine plaintiffs. Individually we had our own problems and grievances, none of which have been settled. On the day I retired he killed my department, it no longer exists in the university system. The graduate program was marginalized and appears to be headed for extinction. The post-graduate program was cancelled, also. A resident from out of town, who was planning to come to Kansas City to work in the program, informed me of its cancellation--I myself was not informed. We started another legal battle, but this one we could not win. I found out that through lawsuits I can protect myself, but I am not allowed to protect my faculty or my department.
Testimony of Kirkland Graham
I did not move from New York to Kansas City to attend a dental school that specialized in research. My father and brother are dentists. My brother attended Baylor, which devotes a great deal of time and money to research. Research isn't bad. But my father advised me that if I really wanted to learn dentistry, I should go to Kansas City, which has a great clinical program. I already tried research for three years and decided that is not what I wanted. I wanted to become a dentist, so I chose the UMKC Dental School.
When I visited the School, I saw these wonderful cubicles for every single dentist, while at Baylor I noticed that cubicles were shared. It was a big nightmare to be a clinician at Baylor. I was very excited when I was accepted to UMKC.
On the very first day of my first year we were talking with upperclassmen and got the feeling that there was a problem with the Dean: he was basically money-hungry, intent on fund-raising to secure his position. Because it sounded like rumor, I took it with a grain of salt. But as time went on and lawsuits increased in number, I was astonished that what appeared to be rumors were borne out as truth.
The reason I am speaking today is because I was affected personally. I entered the diagnostics sciences honors program led by Drs. Mixson and Cumming. I was advised by some of my professors at the School not to enter this program because of the known animosity between Dean Reed and Drs. Cumming and Mixson. I couldn't comprehend how that might have any bearing on my studies.
I was accepted into the program in July along with three other students. We spent one or two days a week working at hospitals. About three months later Dean Reed advised us that we would not receive time units (credit) for the procedures we performed on patients. His announcement came in mid-program, which lasts until we graduate. The Dean's ruling had non-trivial effects for me. I had invested 100 time units in the honors program and we needed 800 units to graduate. If I were denied the 100 units, my progress would be pushed back and I would be in a bind. I decided I had to file a grievance.
We first set up a meeting with Dean Reed and the Assistant Dean of the clinic, Dr. Clark. Dr. Clark, however, did not show up. Dean Reed informed us from the start that his decision was final. We tried to argue our case, but the meeting was a bust. We then decided to go to the Provost [Marjorie Smelstor]. She talked with the Dean and informed us by letter that she would let the Dean handle the case. This is the UMKC grievance process. I called the Provost and reminded her that her office was the next stage in the process. If she wouldn't deal with the case, all our channels for redress were blocked. Then she decided to meet with us. At the meeting three of us explained to her how ridiculous Dean Reed's ruling on units was, and that he was redefining our program from an honors to an outreach program, which earned only one time unit per session. Our clinical handbook clearly states that time units for outreach programs are strictly limited and I had already received the maximum number. In addition, outreach programs are limited to four weeks, utterly inconsistent with a whole year's honors program. She promised to think the matter over and send a letter in a few days.
When she spoke with Dean Reed he asserted that time units are an ambiguous entity, not standardized, hard to define, etc. Her letter confirming Dean Reed's position was a big slap in the face, since she had a copy of the clinical handbook which clearly defined time units. The same day I wrote a letter to the Chancellor. I hand delivered it and asked them to sign that they received my letter. I was protecting myself, since it was clear by now that the grievance procedure was basically a big run-around. I was being especially careful to dot my "i"'s and cross my "t"'s. The Chancellor's assistant assured me the letter would be delivered to the Chancellor. Of course, it wasn't. I called the Chancellor's office every day and was told that she hasn't gotten to my letter yet. Finally, I was told that the Chancellor decided to give the letter back to the Provost, and the Chancellor's office refused to have anything more to do with our case.
We had hit a brick wall. All our grievances were being referred back to Dean Reed and our cases were being absorbed by his problems with the faculty. That's why I wanted to speak today. I was told not to come here by administrators and faculty, but this is something which needs to be said. It's great to have a forum in which to speak out. The students are frustrated, the faculty are frustrated, and it's amazing to me that this Dean is still here.
Conference. "High Stakes: School and University Teaching; Threats to Our Professions, Strategies for Democratic Resistance and Change." October 27, 9:00-6:00, Temple University, Philadelphia. Sponsored by Radical Teacher and Teachers for a Democratic Culture. Contact: email@example.com
"The Workshop for Transforming UMKC": Questions about the Chancellor's Agenda
By Stuart McAninch
During the past year professors and other UMKC employees have spent a phenomenal number of hours in Blueprint workshops and committee and cabinet meetings of one sort or another. Does this necessarily represent commitment by the Chancellor and university administration to meaningful participation in decision-making for the university? What if we were to take "The Workshop for Transforming UMKC," a key institution in the preliminary phase of the Blueprint process, as a case study? Does the Workshop represent in practice such a commitment?
Within this context, three characteristics of the Workshop are worth careful analysis: 1) control of the agenda for the three-day session; 2) the lack of regard on the part of the facilitators for the nature and principles of academic work; and, 3) the therapeutic dimension of the Workshop.
Control of the agenda is tightly maintained by the two facilitators. At the particular session I attended, a clear pattern emerged: questions were asked or reservations were raised; these were considered for a moment and then dropped by the facilitators, who then returned the group to the pre-established agenda.
Moreover, the facilitators repeatedly violated a fundamental principle of academic discourse: they failed to sufficiently qualify their generalizations and their descriptions of complex social and psychological phenomena. We were repeatedly faced with their reduction of complex epistemological and ontological issues to slogans ("language is the ultimate reality" to quote one tear-off sheet, for instance). At times, this resulted in gross distortions of the work of professors in universities. Hence, we were introduced to what the facilitators call the "Reality Principle," the first premise of which is "We live our lives....What's so + Interpretation = Truth."
In my case and that of my colleagues whose work I am familiar with, we were trained to carefully craft interpretations which would correspond as closely as possible with social or natural reality based on empirical, theoretical, and logical criteria--and we were trained to teach our students to do the same. Assertions like this one call into question the extent to which the facilitators understand academic work in the university. They also suggest important related questions as to why, over the course of the months spent working at this university, they have not revised their Workshop to reflect a more accurate understanding.
The therapeutic dimension of the Workshop is significant as well. The direct target of "transformation" for the Workshop appears to be our state of mind--notably, our attitudes and "interpretations," which are depicted by the facilitators as integral parts of a fundamentally dysfunctional past holding back needed change for the university. Such personal, affective, and cognitive problems as "thinking inside the box," mistaking interpretation for truth, maintaining critical viewpoints inconsistent with the Blueprint process, or maintaining commitments to "silos" (homogeneous groups operating within units or representing elements of faculty, staff, and students)--as these "problems" are defined by the facilitators--need remedy. The Workshop, so the script of the facilitators goes, enables us to reject a dysfunctional past sustained by our attitudes and "interpretations," and leads us to embrace present courses of action, framed by that vision of the future potential for a transformed university which is to emerge out of the Blueprint process. We are to become, at least in large part through the Workshop, "visionary leaders," and--since, as we were told on the tear-off sheet from our session, language is the "ultimate reality"--our repetition of slogans like "unleashing human potential" will ultimately fix those slogans in our consciousness, change our patterns of behavior, and transform the university.
A reasonable conclusion is that underlying the Workshop is a crude pop psychology. The Workshop gives little, if any, indication that the Chancellor's rhetorical commitment to shared governance with faculty through the Blueprint process is serious. For all of the discussion, feedback, suggestions, and committee and cabinet meetings generated through the Blueprint process, the structure of the Workshop itself suggests that the university's administration is not seriously committed to meaningful inclusion of faculty in making key decisions which will shape the future of the university (or the present operation of the university, for that matter). Certainly, tight control of the three-day agenda indicates little concern with those insights, questions, or reservations which are not consistent with the facilitators' script.
Even more troubling is the failure by the Workshop facilitators to come to an understanding of the nature of professors' work and academic training--and what this failure suggests. Either the accuracy of their understanding as facilitators in this crucial area is not being evaluated by the Chancellor, or the Chancellor concurs with the simplistic epistemological and ontological premises underlying their script, or else the Chancellor considers their understanding of our work and standards to be irrelevant to their real mission.
Also particularly troubling is the therapeutic approach of the facilitators--and the questions raised by that approach. What are we to make of three days of immersion in a Workshop governed by a pop psychology which at least many of those who attend (based on numerous personal conversations as well as Kendrick Blackwood's article on the Blueprint process in the September 20-26 issue of the Pitch Weekly) are not taking seriously? How are we to reconcile crude attempts to change our consciousness through the Workshop with a professed commitment by the Chancellor to include faculty in decision-making for the university? And what do these crude attempts reveal about how the Chancellor views faculty?
Why I was Forced to Resign as Dean1
By Marino Martinez-Carrion
I believe a university exists to create and transmit knowledge. This leads to practical applications and training of people for the advancement of the humanity's welfare. Furthermore, I believe the university's primary functions are conducted properly by talented and uninhibited faculty.
My way is that of science. Science flourishes on criticism; propaganda crumbles before it. I will pursue the following issues that in the last few months led to my (and of similarly minded colleagues) demise as Dean:
I will continue to defend the core values upon which the School attained national recognition. These may be derided by others who offer bombastic claims to change higher education with few substantive creative alternatives.
The anti-intellectual climate of the Chancellor's Blueprint process with its mind-controlling exercises practiced in the transformation sessions by expensive corporate-type consultants should have no place at a university in a democratic society. My opposition to its financial excesses and assaults on academic freedom got me into today's predicament.
A university should be the last place where one encounters resistance to free speech, especially when used in defense of public interests. The Chancellor tempted me with an endowed chair and additional stipends if I acquiesced to the pablum of her Blueprint philosophy. Surrendering my constitutional and academic freedoms when used in the defense of public interests is unacceptable. Forty-four years ago I escaped Franco's Spain, a regime where freedom of expression was restrained, a cult of the leader imposed, and loyalty to the doctrine of "the party" was demanded [in order] to have a job. Little did I imagine I would experience a case of "deja vu" at a US university. I was forced to resign because I would not acquiesce in my desire to defend the public interest and serve in building world-class quality in teaching and research."
1 A slightly abridged version of this letter was published in the "As I See it" section, Kansas City Star, September 9th, 2001.
E-com Expresses Support for Governor Holden on Collective Bargaining
On September 7th, after Missouri Governor Bob Holden signed an executive order granting collective bargaining rights to selected state employees, the Executive Committee of the UMKC-AAUP drafted the following letter of support.
"Dear Governor Holden:
We, the Executive Committee of the UMKC chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) were gratified to read of your recent action establishing collective bargaining rights for certain state employees in Missouri. As you point out, the right to bargain collectively is crucial for all workers, including state employees as well as those in the private sector. We would like to express our support for Executive Order 01-09, and thank you for your courage in taking this step in the face of predictable and vocal opposition from some elements in the State Legislature.
Further, we would like to urge you to take whatever steps are within your power as Governor to expand these rights to other categories of state employees, including, but not limited to, teaching and research faculty at public universities in Missouri."
"Brain Wash": a Review Article
By David Brodsky
The December 2000 issue of Faculty Advocate contained an extended critique of the "Blueprint for the Future." It argued that the Blueprint's main effect has been "to undermine faculty prerogatives and responsibilities in the areas of curriculum and governance." "The Blueprint process is fatally flawed because it violates the principle of shared governance." And rather than a welcome departure from tradition, "this is business as usual at UMKC" (p. 3).
An investigative report entitled "Brain Wash," by Kendrick Blackwood, published in the Kansas City Pitch Weekly (Sept. 20-26, 2001, pp. 14-21) disinters the little known background of the Blueprint process and documents the testimony of disenchanted participants or formerly silent opponents. This review article summarizes the substance of "Brain Wash" and supplements it with additional information and commentary. Unless otherwise indicated all quotes are from Blackwood. ["Brain Wash" can also be read online at http://www.pitch.com/issues/2001-09-20/feature.html/page1.html ; and on the AAUP chapter website at http://cas.umkc.edu/aaup/brainwash.htm].
Near the start of "Brain Wash" Dean Michael Reed of the Dental School eulogizes Chancellor Gilliland and the Blueprint for the Future. "'Life as a dean has bever been quite so fulfilling, enjoyable and exciting as it is right now'." Blackwood continues: "In truth, the last year at UMKC has been marked by division, conspiratorial whispers and high-profile departures. Reed is one of only four remaining deans: seven others have quit or been fired since Gilliland's arrival." One of the removed Deans is Marino Martinez-Carrion of biological sciences, whose faculty voted 41-0 to reinstate him (see Martinez-Carrion's letter above).
The three-day gatherings dubbed "Transforming UMKC" workshops at the Uptown Theater "were billed as ways to help everyone speak the same language and understand the new way UMKC would be run. Instead, they have separated members of the faculty and staff as effectively as if Gilliland had built a wall straight down Cherry Street. UMKC faculty and staff have been forced to make a winless decision: sign on to Gilliland's blueprint process ... or shun it and watch their backs."
Gilliland's infamous essay, written before she came to UMKC, in which
she called dissenters who shaped public opinion "terrorists" who "need
to be removed" (ineffective dissenters could be safely ignored).
[Martha W. Gilliland and Amelia Tynan, "Leadership and Transformation
in an Environment of Unpredictability."
http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/html/cem9737.html]. Blackwood accurately notes that her essay "condemned the free exchange of ideas." By recommending reprisals for effective outspokenness, it advocated a gross violation of the cardinal AAUP principle of academic freedom.
Gilliland's essay and opinions about "terrorists" were known to faculty and students as early as her campus interviews, before she was selected to become Chancellor. However, the most interesting discovery Blackwood made is that her "precious blueprint [is] connected to an oft-mocked 1970s self-improvement program known as 'est'."
Est was founded by John Rosenberg, a former car and encyclopedia salesman, who abandoned his wife and four children, remarried illegally, and changed his name to Werner Erhard, names he borrowed from prominent German figures. In the early 1970s he cashed in on the then fashionable human potential and self-improvement movements with the founding of est (Erhard Seminars Training). Est was a pastiche borrowed from Scientology, Dale Carnegie's "power of positive thinking," Zen Buddhism, and some primitive social psychology. His program, "in exchange for a few hundred bucks and two weekends of time,... promised to transform lives."
Est, like other self-improvement programs of the sixties and seventies, promised escape from contemporary social and political upheaval (the Vietnam War, social disintegration and escalating violence at home) into a comforting private sphere which blocked out awareness of disturbing reality. Est advocated extreme relativism and amorality ("there were no victims"), extreme subjectivism ("each person created his or her own reality"), extreme dehumanization ("humans were simply machines"), and, most dangerously, the denial of history and memory ("the past was unimportant.") But denial of the past (to adapt several aphorisms) condemns us to repeat it in the form of a bloody farce.
The early est movement deployed group intimidation techniques. These "exercises" mobilized severe disapproval of individual participants by the group and by its leaders--including verbal abuse and cursing that evoked group applause--and inculcated extreme fear of others. Traumatized participants often vomited or fainted, cried or moaned. Mixed messages of alternating abuse and approval induced severe confusion, whose aim was to undermine critical thinking and resistance to est "training." Leaders retained tight control of discourse and group interaction. Participants were prohibited from speaking spontaneously to one another, note taking was banned, and manipulative jargon--"one of the characteristics of a cult," according to the American Family Foundation--was insinuated through repetition. The long sessions--watches had to be removed (perhaps to suppress awareness of time) and bathroom breaks were infrequent--also produced physical and mental exhaustion. Exhaustion likewise weakened resistance to est messages. Not coincidentally, the tight rationing of bathroom breaks is a perennial corporate tactic to regiment assembly-line workers in factories (cf. Erhard, "humans were simply machines"). The est assembly line, finally, manufactured converts (known as "esties") to recruit more paying customers into the est "movement."
Mass production of converts paid off, and hundreds of thousands signed up. The American Family Foundation, which monitors mass psychological manipulation, compares est and similar "training" to "brainwashing" and to "cults." Bertram Gross describes cults as "belonging through submission." They are a substitute for the genuine community that is absent in a desperate, socially fragmented population (Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America. Boston: South End P, 1980, pp. 318-320).
Est was not an apolitical and non-ideological personal improvement program. Erhard stated: "There is nothing out there. No one cares. Do you get it? You can change nothing. Accept what is" (Gross, p. 319). In four short slogans he: 1) denies external reality, 2) denies all social cohesion, compassion, community, and solidarity, 3) denies all possibility of action by ordinary people to improve society, and 4) promotes submissiveness. Gross concludes that the ultimate lesson taught by cults is "submission to an authoritarian doctrine or leader" (pp. 319-320). Blackwood writes that the founder of est argued "on more than one occasion that the Jews were responsible for their persecution by Hitler." Such statements place the self-invented German "Werner Erhard" in the company of the extreme right, denying the reality of Nazi policy while exonerating the perpetrators. Additionally, his extreme stress on "personal responsibility," a corollary of Margaret Thatcher's slogan, "there is no such thing as society," evokes the familiar ultra-conservative agenda of dismantling (and privatizing) all social programs. These include public education.
In cults corruption is predictable. Millions of dollars donated to Erhard's campaign to "end world hunger" were spent on advertising rather than on food for the famished. He also used offshore corporations as tax shelters and evaded paying millions in uncollected taxes demanded by the IRS.
Nevertheless, Blackwood reports that "for many, the course was positive. It was a strong dose of common sense and encouragement ..." A friend of mine who has gone through several stages of est insists that it has made significant improvements in his private life. But he stresses that the process he experienced was strictly voluntary, with no place for coercion.
Est was dissolved in 1985, and rights to its techniques were eventually sold to Erhard's employees, "who incorporated under the name Landmark Education Corp." More significantly, Erhard repackaged his techniques for corporate training programs. In 1984 he founded "Transformational Technologies," a group of consulting firms that worked with companies such as Allstate Insurance Co., Ford, and Monsanto to motivate their department managers."
The executive vice president of "Transformational Technologies" in the late 1980s was Gordon Starr, who had worked with Erhard's company since 1974. Last year Starr formed "Starr Consulting Group, which 'specializes in the transformation of large organizations'." A month later Chancellor Gilliland hired Starr, to the tune of $750,000, to oversee the Blueprint for the Future. Blackwood writes that Starr was hired to "essentially put a large public institution through est." He also reports that both Gilliland and Starr declined his requests for interviews.
UMKC officials estimate that 600 faculty and staff have attended the Workshop for Transforming UMKC (out of a total of 826 faculty and 1251 staff). Est as a "motivational tool" for corporate employees is designed to manufacture enthusiasm and reinforce loyalty to the business through a semblance of participation, without real authority to make policy, set priorities, or oversee the institutional budget. It is a symbolic gesture which promises its participants much more than it will deliver. It is also a method of mobilizing employees to cannibalize targeted institutional units and members, e.g. to recommend "restructuring" or "downsizing, thus absolving top management of responsibility for "tough decisions." Priorities set at the top, of course, are not permitted to be questioned or challenged from below. "Facilitators" retain tight control of the process.
Blackwood writes that "the [UMKC] workshop's lingo is all too familiar for people who remember the esties." Its jargon includes "breakthrough," "transformation," and "unleashing human potential." At UMKC the repetition of hyperbolic slogans--what the American Family Foundation calls "'exciting' words and phrases" typical of cults--is even more significant. Familiar Blueprint hyperbole includes "leading edge status," "a campus without borders," "world class excellence," "illuminate the excellence," "budgeting for excellence," "better than Harvard," and "reach for the stars." Hyperbolic fantasizing is also "enforced by Starr and his two assistants," who tell participants: "Don't consider the budget. Don't consider restraints. You decide what is possible."
One participant reports that UMKC sessions are less intensive than the original est workshops of the 1960s, and there are more bathroom breaks. But some abusive est techniques and group scapegoating of criticism persist in the Blueprint process. Another participant, not interviewed by Blackwood and preferring anonymity, was seated in the center of his group and verbally assaulted by the others for being "too negative." That is, he was punished for exercising his critical faculties, the sine qua non of a professional academic. A third participant told me that not one of his quite reasonable proposals was accepted by his group. Perhaps because its members know that Blueprint decision-making is ultimately top-down and initiatives by participants are beside the point.
The Blueprint process has helped motivate faculty resignations, such as Michael Friedland as Dean of the School of Medicine and Biology associate professor Kelley Thomas. Friedland said, "the atmosphere at UMKC was no incentive to stay.... 'My whole career I've been trained to be dispasionate about how I approach things.... There seems to be a lot more emotion being expressed than real substantive progress moving forward." Thomas, an early supporter of the Blueprint who worked closely with the Chancellor, is leaving for another institution, taking his $800,000 grant with him. Blackwood terms his departure "a significant loss" and Thomas' colleague, Jakob Waterborg, called it "one of the very severe losses," because his specialty is in high demand by the Kansas City life sciences initiative.
"Thomas says he's leaving because of his fears about what is happening to the university and the school of biological sciences." He was "initially turned off by what he calls 'standard corporate mind manipulations'--exercises to get the blueprint participants thinking the same way." In the Third Reich this principle, which was applied to every aspect of society, was called Gleichschaltung. Loosely translated, it means "harmonization" or "alignment," which is itself a Nazi euphemism for regimentation. Needless to say, "harmonization," "alignment," and regimentation are incompatible with diversity and pluralism, in thought as well as in culture, principles which US democracy and UMKC claim to support.
German-born biology professor Alfred Esser is disturbed by the coercive methods of the Blueprint process and Gilliland's reference to critics as "terrorists." He "likens the August 27 progress meeting to a famous Nazi propaganda film directed by Leni Riefenstahl called Triumph of the Will. The procession of speakers emerging from the dark to introduce themselves reminds Esser of a sequence in the film during which loyal Nazi party workers introduce themselves."
Thomas also claims that many Blueprint participants are acting in bad faith, feigning enthusiasm while secretly mocking the process. He himself stopped participating after a meeting in May devoted to combatting "growing campus dissatisfaction." One banner at the meeting, recalling Erhard's own slogan, "you can change nothing," read something like: "'Don't listen to people complaining about things you can't do anything about'." The moderator of the meeting insisted that "'we need to get all conversations on campus to be about the blueprint'." When a professor objected (perhaps to the totalitarian "all"), the moderator ruled objections out of order as signs of disloyalty to the Blueprint process.
The leader also began coaching participants on how to market their progress to colleagues on campus. When asked to speak, Thomas invented a hyperbolic false assertion: "the Kansas City Business Journal had reported that UMKC was the regional leader in the development of bioinformation." But after Thomas acknowledged that his statement was false and the leader nevertheless praised it, Thomas said, "'I got up and left and will never return.... If nothing else a university is about being real and knowing the difference between truth and what isn't the truth'." Thomas now regrets wasting his valuable research time at Blueprint meetings.
"Philosophy professor George Gale believes that sort of lost time is devastating to junior faculty ..." The benign façade of idealistic reform may be attractive, but, as Gale says, "this kind of thing can eat up your prime years ... The unofficial advice in the College of Arts and Sciences now is 'Keep your young people out of it. They have more important things to do right now'."
Dental school Dean Michael Reed claims that opponents of the Blueprint are merely defending their turf, which he calls "empires" (and which Starr improbably calls "silos"). But the Dean is living in a glass house: see the reports from the Dental School in this issue on Reed's empire building, destruction of programs, and intimidation of all who stand in his way.
Patrick Peebles, chair of the History department, who is "skeptical about the blueprint's effectiveness" and describes "estlike programs in the '60s and '70s" as "very destructive," indirectly acknowledges the coerciveness of the Blueprint process. "'The blueprint is the means by which money is being allocated now.... It seems that projects need to be part of the blueprint to be funded." That is, the stick behind the carrot is economic blackmail.
Blackwood also mentions that "UMKC ... hosted a conference called 'Education for Democracy: Fighting the Corporate Takeover,' without, however, crediting the AAUP chapter for organizing and sponsoring it. After summarizing a few basic themes of the conference in six lines, he devotes many column inches to proponents of corporatization. One of these is Gary Baker, program director in the Bloch School of Business and Public Administration and formerly CEO of a mental health facility for 20 years. Baker regards some aspects of corporatization as "beneficial," while claiming they do not threaten academic freedom. "Blueprint sessions," he says, "remind him of corporate strategic planning." He thinks that "any CEO of any organization ... has and should have the ability to align an organization with a set of future strategic directions that they and we believe in" [for "alignment" see Gleichschaltung above]. But this "we" is by no means unanimous. A significant proportion of the faculty, perhaps the majority, does not believe in the "strategic directions" that have been arbitrarily chosen without its advice or consent. By naming the Blueprint a "five year battle plan," Baker exposes its aggressive and hostile intent, not very well concealed, to be sure, beneath its smiling face. Who and what, after all, are being fought in the Blueprint war?
To make his meaning perfectly clear, he adds that "if Gilliland were operating in the business world, she could use layoffs and demotions to weed out critics. 'In a university setting, that basically doesn't occur, so you end up being slower, harder to change'."
"Weeding out critics," at whatever speed, is a classical violation of academic freedom. Rather than being a rare occurrence, as Baker claims, a brief perusal of the AAUP magazine, Academe , demonstrates that it happens all the time "in a university setting." The national AAUP office receives 1200 complaints every year about violations of academic freedom. The presentations at our conference, "Education for Democracy," documented many violations at institutions in this region, including UMKC. Baker's tacit approval of these violations confirms the destructive intent of the Blueprint process.
The strategy of corporate takeover, through psychological warfare on employees using mixed messages of co-optation and coercion, which goes by the name "Blueprint for the Future" at UMKC, has been marketed under different labels at other institutions. For example, the devastation wrought on a number of disciplines at the University of Rochester starting in 1996--among them anthropology, chemical engineering, comparative literature, linguistics, and mathematics--was packaged as a humanist utopia, "The Rochester Renaissance Plan." It offered the same kinds of spurious arguments used at UMKC for reallocating resources (e.g. "inadequate linkages" between already cooperating disciplines). The destruction of several programs at UR, by the way, was prepared by first eliminating the foreign language requirement. The main (but not sole) corporate force that made policy at University of Rochester was Eastman Kodak Co., a role which the Stowers Institute is poised to assume at UMKC. The University of Rochester, however, is a private institution. [See Ali Zaidi's reports, "The Rochester Renaissance: A Corporate Farewell to the Imagination," UR Voice 3.2 (1996): 6-7; and "UR Reborn," Crossings 1.1 (Spring 1997): 27-54 (copies available on request from D. Brodsky)].
George Gale reminds readers of the often ignored fact that "'ordinary corporate employees don't have freedom of speech'." Any number of workers can testify to the absence of free speech (among other rights) on the job. But free speech is the job of academics. Without it, they can be replaced by robots (flesh or plastic) on the instructional and research assembly lines. Perhaps this is the most convincing argument for faculty (and for all members of the university community) to prevent the corporate takeover of public education, including UMKC.
Education for Democracy Network activities
The AAUP sponsored conference, "Education for Democracy," established an "Education for Democracy Network," which is based in this region but has a national membership of over 130 names. Its activities this year include preparing papers from the conference for publication by the e-journal, Workplace, and co-sponsorship of a public forum, "Teaching Tolerance," held at UMKC on September 21 to combat xenophobia and assaults on people presumed to be of Middle Eastern descent after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. To join the Network or participate and be kept informed of its activities, contact David Brodsky, firstname.lastname@example.org
First membership meeting of academic year
The first AAUP chapter meeting for this school year will be held on Thursday, October 11 from 3-5 PM in Room 11 in the Education Building. The agenda includes four items for discussion: 1) the current status of efforts by part-time faculty to organize, 2) concerns and issues regarding the searches for Deans, 3) concerns and issues regarding the Blueprint process, and 4) recruitment. We will need to work on establishing priorities for our efforts as an organization during the school year based on the discussion. If you cannot come to the meeting, but would like ideas on these four topics or on others of concern entered into discussion, please e-mail President Stuart McAninch at email@example.com
Food for Thought
By Patricia Brodsky
The University Budget: Time for Some Glasnost?
In an A&S faculty meeting on February 13, 2001,1 Gene Wagner presented a extensive report on the College and campus budget. His report confirmed what most of us already suspected, the opacity and arbitrariness of UMKC's budget process. According to Professor Wagner, the budget is only a wish list; a complete financial report is necessary to know where money comes from and where it goes. Actual budgetary decisions are made on several levels, including the Governor, the Legislature, the President of the UM system, the Curators, and the upper campus administration. Those below the level of upper administration--faculty, staff and students--have no say in how funding is allocated. Yet significant participation in the budget process by faculty, and representation in the process for students and staff, is a prerequisite for a democratic institution. It constitutes a part of our broader mandate to play a significant role in institutional governance. In order to participate intelligently, faculty must have access to all relevant information; this, too has been a problem at UMKC. At the same meeting Jack Ward noted that he had received no data on the UMKC budget, even though he was chair of the campus budget committee.
AAUP guideliness state that the faculty "should have a voice in the determination of short- and long-range priorities, and ... should receive appropriate analyses of past budgetary experience, reports on current budgets and expenditures, and short- and long-range budgetary projections" (AAUP Policy Documents and Reports , p. 195). In addition, "the faculty should participate both in the preparation of the total institutional budget and ... in decisions relevant to the further apportioning of its specific fiscal divisons (salaries, academic programs, tuition, physical plant and grounds, etc.)" (195).
The results of the current undemocratic budget process are predictable. Funding is taken away from established programs to pay for upper administration priorities, chosen without the advice and consent of the faculty or the rest of the campus community. When departments request funding for their legitimate program needs, they are told by the upper (campus or system-wide) administration that the money isn't available, or, lately, in a blinding exercise in creative buck-passing, that the Deans, not the administration, control the funds we need for programs. Another response is that we must come up with our own ideas for funding (how many bake sales would it take to hire one assistant professor?) At the February 13 meeting Professor Wagner noted that in comparison to colleges nation-wide, UMKC's salaries were "abysmal" and headed downward. Yet administrative salaries and projects seem not to suffer from the shortages that supposedly originate at the state level.
A letter to the Editor of the Kansas City Star (28 March 2001) from Charles Hammer, a former journalism instructor in the College, suggests that there is no shortfall in funding. "The UMKC administration simply chose to short-change teaching" while spending "millions on luxuries," such as its failed research park and "an NCAA sports program that pays only 18 percent of its costs through ticket sales." He further notes that 58 people on the payroll earn more than $100,000, while the city of Kansas City, "with a budget four times larger than UMKC's, pays only 22 salaries above $100,000." At the other end of the scale the part-time faculty "have been turned into cash cows." E.g. two classes that earned about $34,000 in tuition made "a gross profit of $30,400" because the part-time instructor received only $3600. He concludes: "For teachers this cheap, why must UMKC students struggle to pay tuition that is 50 percent higher than tuition at the University of Kansas?"
An article by Chris Dunst in the University News (24 April 2000), based on the University of Missouri Employee Salary Report (27 Sept. 1999), states that these 58 high-end salaries totalled almost $7.2 million, or about eight times the total instructional costs for each of three departments in the College of Arts and Sciences. Not surprisingly, the very highest salaries went to four Deans and the then interim chancellor (a professor of Biological Sciences also made the list). The salaries of another three Deans at the top of the list depend on an incentive program (e.g. bringing in research money), but even without incentives each makes well over $100,000. These figures have no doubt increased in the 2001 budget. Professor Jim Durig noted at the February 13 meeting that when he was Dean, "UMKC's administrative costs were at least 10% higher" than schools with which he was familiar.
President Pacheco's salary rose nearly $50,000 in July 2000, to $250,000, and a university attorney's pay reached $200,000 (Lawrence Journal-World, 23 Sept. 2000). Pacheco claimed the raise was granted to make his salary "competitive" with those of top system administrators in the Big Ten. Students, faculty, and staff should remember that all these inflated salaries, perks, and administrative initiatives are directly subsidized by funds unavailable for maintaining core instructional programs. Faculty were also reminded of the significance of the purported short-fall this year, when even our small raises were granted only because a decision was made to cut other programs, including a reduction of the percentage spent on maintanance and buildings, and the elimination of the $l million state portion of the UMRB pool.
To this list of examples could be added nearly a half million dollars for the renovation of the Chancellor's residence (which is still not completed), over $12,000 for a single-page ad in the Star, a quarter million a year to a consulting firm to promote the Blueprint (see "Brain Wash: A Review Article" in this issue, and Pitch Weekly, September 20-26, 2001, online-- http://www.pitch.com/issues/2001-09-20/feature.html/page1.html), and tens of thousands to head-hunting agencies for administrative job candidates. Another significant fact, pointed out by Professor Durig on February 13, is that the College, which has about 25% of UMKC faculty and teaches 40% of its students, generates $1 million more than it actually receives. That is, the College is subsidizing other units of the University.
There have been too many nasty surprises concerning the budget. Faculty should be asking questions and asserting our rights and responsibilties to participate at a significant level in the budget process. This is an important step on the way to taking back our central role in university governance.
1 Information on the February 13 meeting is taken from the official minutes.
UMKC Part-Time Faculty Association: Update on Organizing Efforts
By Mindy Fiala
The UMKC Part-Time Faculty Association met September 20th and discussed several issues. Members were informed of the upcoming Campus Equity Week Rally which is being held in conjunction with National Equity Week (October 28-November 3, 2001). The purpose of Campus Equity Week is to promote campus activities designed to bring to public attention the realities of working conditions of part-time and contingent (non-tenure track) faculty. We will focus on issues of fairness and quality of education. Our rally will be held on Monday, October 29 from 11-2 and Tuesday, October 30 from 12-2, in the quad behind Scofield Hall, and will include the same kinds of activities as last year's Part-time Faculty action--leafletting, presentations on the status of part-time faculty, readings and music. Students will be urged to contact administrators, the Board of Curators, and state legislators and will also be asked to urge their parents, co-workers, and employers to do the same, to bring home the message that part-time faculty are dedicated professionals working under demeaning conditions.
More information on Campus Equity Week will be provided through both the U-News and the Part-Time Faculty mailing list. If you would like to be added to this list, e-mail Mindy Fiala at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. If you would like to participate in the rally in any way, please contact Amy Zeh at email@example.com . We need lots of help in order to make this rally even more successful than last year's. Campus Equity Week is endorsed by scores of national and local organizations, including AAUP.
The second issue discussed at the meeting was August paychecks for part-time faculty. While part-time faculty stipends for the winter semester are divided into five payments, thus allowing faculty to be paid on January 31, in the past stipends for the fall semester have been divided into four payments, the first coming on September 30th. As you know, class begins in August, thus causing great hardship for part-time faculty, who are not paid until 6 weeks after they have begun their work. The officers of the UMKC Part-Time Faculty Association met in July with Provost Steven Ballard and Interim Dean Bruce Bubacz to discuss our concerns, requests, and activities of the past academic year. Provost Ballard said that while he would probably be able to do little in terms of more money because of the large budget cuts required by the state, he would try to find a way to get us paid in August and would also check into ways we could participate in the benefit program.
We were subsequently informed by Dean Bubacz that Provost Ballard had reported that "there is a way to be paid in August" and that Pat Hilburn, the College's Director of Business Affairs, was looking into it. The Provost added that "because of MU System rules it looks as if you cannot be included in the benefits plan." At the end of August, part-time faculty in English and History and some in PACE received their first paycheck. However, part-time faculty in other departments of A&S did not. In early September Pat Brodsky, representing the AAUP, and Mindy Fiala of the Part-Time Faculty Association met with Dean Bubacz to discuss the discrepancy. We were told that there had been a great deal of miscommunication concerning the issue and that a college-wide policy and a procedure for accomplishing it for all part-timers in A&S would be worked out this year. [Note: Several weeks later Dean Bubacz did present the idea to a Council of Chairs meeting, in the form of an option. Beginning in August 2002, department chairs will have the choice of paying their part-time faculty in August. But he warned that this will require departments to submit firm class assignments and paper-work for the part-timers in a timely fashion.--Ed.]
In the course of our discussions with the Provost and the Dean, both emphasized that part-time faculty should be encouraged to joint the Part-Time Faculty Association. Both asked that they be informed if any part-time faculty felt that they were being targeted for joining the association, and that this would not be tolerated. [We must assume that the same holds true for faculty, whether part-time or tenure-track, who choose to join the AAUP. See Dental School report above.--Ed. ]
Beth Huber and Harry Blanton, representing the PTFA, then met with Vice Provost Agapito Mendoza and a representative from Human Resources to discuss benefit participation and were told that only the curators can change the policy. As Lou Potts from the History Department is on the system-wide Benefits Board, Beth will write a letter asking him to bring this up at their October meeting.
The third major topic discussed at the September 20th PTFA meeting was the meaning of the word "faculty" and its connection with voting privileges within A&S. This was a continuation of a discussion held at the special A&S meeting on September 11th. While the membership of the PTFA understands the concerns of tenured faculty in this matter, especially concerning the possible application of administration pressure on vulnerable non-tenured faculty, we feel strongly that we are faculty and should have more voice than we presently have.
"Teaching Tolerance" Forum Addresses Xenophobia
By Patricia Brodsky
On September 21st fifty people attended a public teach-in entitled "Teaching Tolerance," which was co-sponsored by the student organization Shifa International, the UMKC-AAUP executive committee, and the Education for Democracy Network. As the literal and metaphorical dust settles from the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, an irrational backlash has erupted against people who seem to look "Arab," "Middle Eastern," "Muslim;" against neighbors, colleagues, students, tourists, working people, who, like the rest of us, were already trying to deal with the tragedy. They have now been made to feel personally afraid, and find themselves in a position of continual self-justification, as if they had to prove they are not guilty of anything.
The co-sponsors organized the teach-in as a public statement against knee-jerk racism and scapegoating. Its format provided an opportunity for members of the university community and the broader Kansas City community to talk to one another in a welcoming space, to learn from one another, and to go away better informed and ready to teach others.
Presentations by speakers from Kansas City's interfaith and diversity community--Imam Ahmed El-Sherif, founder and past president of the American Muslim Council of Kansas City, and Rev. Vern Barnet and Lewis Diuguid, regular columnists for the Kansas City Star--provided a platform for discussion. The audience stayed for an hour beyond the scheduled end of the event to discuss not only reasons for and creative responses to the racist backlash, but also deeper political background and ramifications of the terrorist acts themselves.
In a telling commentary on the biased role played by the mainstream media during these weeks of crisis, this highly successful event earned not a word in any local news outlet, including the U-News or the Star. This despite the presence of a note-taking Star reporter in the audience and two presenters associated with that paper, and despite the fact that all the local media had been informed of the event by several different sources, including the University's media alert office.
A series of similar campus teach-ins is being planned by a coalition of UMKC student organizations. In the mean time other campus groups have also organized meetings where members of the university community could discuss the issues that most concern us after the events of September 11th. Besides an administration sponsored campus-wide vigil on September 14, there was a "Students Speak Out" meeting sponsored by the Latino Students Association on September 21, and on the 28th the TEA (Teaching Educational Activism) Society held a two-hour peace rally on the central quad with the motto, "Stand up for Justice, not War."
AAUP Chapter Initiates its own Website
At the end of April the AAUP chapter at UMKC initiated its own website, URL address: http://cas.umkc.edu/aaup/ . It includes: an INDEX to the site; Chapter Activities; Current Campaigns; News Flashes; AAUP Principles, with special emphasis on Academic Freedom; Chapter Officers, Membership Eligibility, and National and Local Dues; Chapter Publications and Documents; and numerous LINKS to people, organizations, and publications.
Chapter activities include a letter from the executive committee to Missouri Governor Holden (see above). The current campaign is Campus Equity Week (see above), an international action to improve the pay and working conditions of part-time and non-tenure-track faculty, with a link to the Campus Equity Week website . Our AAUP chapter website includes links to four significant policy documents developed in connection with it: Community Employment Standards; Campus Charter; Boston Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor: A 10 Point Program; and Fair Labor Practices: A University Code of Conduct.
News Flashes currently contains links to the Pitch Weekly article on the "Blueprint for the Future" and a number of news items concerning faculty unionization (full-time, contingent, and graduate teaching assistants) at institutions around the country.
The AAUP principles enumerated on our website are academic freedom, tenure, faculty control of curriculum and faculty affairs, shared governance, rights of the entire academic community, and interests of the public.
There is a link to the national AAUP website to find national dues for various categories of membership.
Chapter publications on the site comprise all issues of the Faculty Advocate and materials from the "Education for Democracy" conference, which the chapter sponsored on March 3 of this year, including the conference program , a background statement , and an extensive "Selective Resource List ." The list contains books and videos, articles, journals, and many more organizations and their websites. Conference presentations will eventually be made available online. In the meantime, the electronic journal, Workplace, has accepted half of the presentations for publication in a special cluster for its December issue.
Please send suggestions and material for posting to web manager, David Brodsky, firstname.lastname@example.org .
AAUP Dues Information
Local UMKC chapter dues
$10 per academic year. Send payment to Treasurer, Tim Thomas, 109B Spencer Chemistry Building, 816-235-2297, or email@example.com . Please make checks payable to "UMKC-AAUP Chapter." Also please send Tim your preferred mailing address(es), phone(s), and e-mail address(es).
Go to the AAUP chapter home page-- http://cas.umkc.edu/aaup/ and click on the direct link to the national dues web page; or go to the national dues page--http://www.aaup.org/duestest.htm
The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 1 (September 2000)
The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 2 (December 2000)
The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 3 (February 2001)
The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 4 (April 2001)
AAUP chapter home page