AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions


WHEREAS, the AFT convention in 2004 passed a resolution entitled "Opposition to Outside Control over Academic Decision Making under the Banner of Intellectual Diversity," which included opposition to so-called Academic Bill of Rights legislation designed to "end the supposed monopoly of left-wing faculty and administrators over curriculum and teaching";  and

WHEREAS, so-called Academic Bill of Rights (ABoR) legislation has been introduced in more than 20 state legislatures, although it has not been enacted into state law anywhere thus far, due to the good work of the American Federation of Teachers and its higher education affiliates; and

WHEREAS, the AFT believes that so-called ABoR legislation would result in government intervention to ensure that more right-wing content is inserted into the college curriculum and classroom discussion and that faculty hiring and student grading are continually examined for supposed left-wing bias; and

WHEREAS, right-wing legislators have stated their commitment to continue reintroducing such legislation, and university presidents and governing boards are being pressured to adopt policies that mirror the so-called ABoR; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate have both included a Sense of Congress provision based on the so-called ABoR in proposed federal higher education legislation; and

WHEREAS, backers of the so-called ABoR continue to use this vehicle to attack the professionalism of college and university faculty members and question the integrity of higher education in general; and

WHEREAS, the women and men who serve as faculty in our colleges and universities are dedicated to educating the next generation of workers and leaders, engaging in groundbreaking research and providing service to their communities; and

WHEREAS, college professors go through a rigorous hiring and promotion process and are constantly evaluated by their peers on the basis of the quality of their scholarship, teaching and service; and

WHEREAS, higher education faculty members are trained professionals who bring a great variety of disciplinary viewpoints and knowledge to the classroom; and

WHEREAS, many mechanisms already exist at the campus level to guarantee the academic freedom of faculty and students and address grievances:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers call on Congress to remove any so-called ABoR Sense of Congress provision from new or existing legislation; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and its affiliates conduct a national campaign to educate elected officials and the general public about the importance of keeping government out of the classroom and maintaining academic freedom; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and its affiliates continue to oppose any effort to pass so-called ABoR legislation at the state level; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and its affiliates continue to oppose efforts to implement new policies that are based on the so-called ABoR at the institutional level—through president's councils, boards of trustees or boards of regents; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT continue to play a leading role in the Free Exchange on Campus coalition, a coalition of faculty, student and civil rights groups advocating for the rights of students and faculty to hear and express a full range of ideas unencumbered by political or other interference.