All posts by Peter Schmidt

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NLRB Clears the Way for Resident Advisers to Unionize

In an unprecedented decision, the National Labor Relations Board has held that undergraduate resident advisers are eligible to unionize, in a case involving George Washington University.


For more on the decision, as well as reaction and analysis, see this new article from The Chronicle.


In a decision handed down on Friday, Sean R. Marshall, acting regional director at the NLRB’s Baltimore office, accepted the labor organizers’ argument that the resident advisers are technically university e…

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Faculty ‘Diversity Statements’ Are Called Threats to Academic Freedom

The “diversity statements” that many colleges now require of applicants for faculty positions are coming under attack by traditionalists and conservatives as threats to academic freedom.

The Oregon affiliate of the National Association of Scholars has issued a report accusing colleges in that state and elsewhere of creating “ideological litmus tests” for faculty hiring and promotion by asking candidates for statements discussing their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“The statem…

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Adjuncts at Colorado Community Colleges Lack Academic-Freedom Protections, AAUP Says

The American Association of University Professors is citing the firing of a Colorado adjunct instructor as evidence of a broader lack of academic freedom for part-time faculty members throughout that state’s community-college system.

The case of Nathanial Bork, who lost his job at the Community College of Aurora last fall after he complained to its accreditor about a new curriculum there, “exposes the absence of adequate procedural protections for the adjunct faculty in the regulations of the …

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Arkansas Is Poised to Shield Public-College Police From Records Requests

Arkansas legislators have overwhelmingly voted to provide the campus security forces of public colleges and schools with broad exemptions from the state’s freedom-of-information law.

The unusual measure, which the State Senate voted on Tuesday to approve and send on to Gov. Asa Hutchinson, declares a host of records kept by campus police and security offices at public colleges to be confidential and exempt from open-records requests. They include any information that, if disclosed, “could rea…

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Northwestern U. Is Accused of Violating Academic Freedom

Northwestern University engaged in “serious violations of academic freedom” both in its dealings with a bioethics journal that published a controversial article and in its investigation of Laura Kipnis, a film professor whom students accused of wrongdoing over her essay criticizing its sexual-misconduct policies, a faculty panel has concluded.

In a report on its findings, the Northwestern Faculty Senate’s ad hoc committee on academic freedom urges the university to revise its sexual-harassment…

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New Study Charts Recent Proliferation of Faculty Unions

The number of faculty unions at the nation’s colleges has surged, with most of the growth the result of efforts by the Service Employees International Union to organize private colleges’ non-tenure-track instructors, a new study has found.

In the first nine months of 2016 alone, the National Labor Relations Board certified 20 new collective-bargaining units at private colleges, concludes the study, published online this week in the Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy. SEIU’s organizi…

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Colleges Are Accused of Using Civics Instruction to Promote Liberal Activism

Colleges can expect to see their civics-education offerings come under fire from conservatives as a result of a report issued on Tuesday by the National Association of Scholars, an advocacy group.

The NAS, which takes a traditionalist view of higher education, argues in its report that a “New Civics” movement in higher education has supplanted objective teaching about the United States’ system of government with efforts to encourage students to engage in liberal or leftist political activism.

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New Federal Guidance Is Hailed as Helping Adjuncts Collect Unemployment

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued long-awaited guidance clarifying when states should deem colleges’ contingent faculty members eligible for unemployment compensation.

The department’s new guidance spells out what criteria the state agencies should use in determining whether such instructors have lost their jobs — rendering them eligible for unemployment compensation — or are simply without work during the summer months. It includes criteria for determining whether colleges had previo…

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Job Market for Doctoral Recipients Remains in Doldrums

People awarded doctoral degrees at American universities last year continued to face less-certain futures than those who earned such degrees before the economy took a nosedive in late 2008, according to new federal survey data.

The survey of 2015 doctorate recipients found that 38 percent of those responding to a question about their future plans reported having no definite commitment for employment or postdoctoral study. While a slight improvement over the previous year, when 38.6 percent of re…

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Free-Speech Groups Describe Campus Media as Besieged

Colleges in every sector of higher education are threatening the independence of their student journalists, says a report released on Thursday by advocacy groups focused on free speech or academic freedom.

The report describes several recent public controversies — including those at Mt. Saint Mary’s University, in Maryland; Northern Michigan University; and Wesleyan University, in Connecticut — in which student newspapers or their advisers complained of coming under undue pressure to restrict…