Faculty Form AAUP Chapter in Response to Health Care Program
Penn State faculty have now officially formed an AAUP (American Association of University Professors) advocacy chapter in response to the new health care program “Take Care of Your Health.” Founded in 1915, the mission of the AAUP “is to advance academic freedom and shared governance, to define fundamental professional values, and standards for higher education, and to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good.”
According to the group’s Facebook page, the chapter, open to all faculty and graduate students, was formed Aug. 19 due to concerns about shared governance.
More than 2,000 have signed a petition against the controversial health care program, which requires employees receiving health care benefits through Penn State to complete an annual wellness questionnaire and submit to biometric screenings. Faculty who do not participate will have to pay a $100 monthly fee.
Brian Curran, president of the the new chapter and professor of art history, told Inside Higher Ed he could not comment on the chapter’s intent to unionize “at this time.” But he hopes that the advocacy chapter will provide transparency and shared governance, which he said Faculty Senate does not do. Curran cited the inability to send mass emails to faculty to alert them of decisions as an example.
A university spokesman said to Inside Higher Ed in an email that Penn State does value shared governance “because we do encourage participation in many aspects of decision-making. We balance this with our need for administrative accountability.” He added that faculty and staff were told about the new health care program in 2011.