Wednesday, September 18, 2019

AAUP Announces the publication of Volume 10 of the AAUP's Journal of Academic Freedom and Call for Papers--“Academic Freedom on the Managed Campus"

This from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP):

We are pleased to announce the publication of Volume 10 of the AAUP's Journal of Academic Freedom. The journal features recent scholarship on academic freedom and its relation to contemporary crises of austerity, shared governance, tenure, and collective bargaining. This year's contributors draw connections between the multiple frequencies of bullying present on our campuses and the principles and practice of academic freedom and shared governance.

The volume’s eleven essays address a wide range of topics, including the use of discourses of civility and student evaluations of teaching to bully faculty, threats from on and off campus to the academic freedom of faculty of color, and the troubling legacies of historical infringements on academic freedom and shared governance. Follow the links to each article in the table of contents below or access the complete volume at

We are also excited to share a new call for papers, “Academic Freedom on the Managed Campus," for the eleventh volume of the journal, scheduled for publication in September 2020.
—Rachel Ida Buff, Faculty Editor

The Journal of Academic Freedom is supported by funding from the AAUP Foundation.

The table of Contents with links follows below.

5th Business and Human Rights Young Researchers Summit; Geneva, Switzerland: April 2 – 3, 2020

5th Business and Human Rights Young Researchers Summit
Geneva, Switzerland: April 2 – 3, 2020

The Geneva Center for Business and Human Rights at Geneva University’s Geneva School of Economics and Management, theInstitute for Business Ethics at University of St. Gallen, the Center for Business and Human Rights at New York University’s Stern School of Business, and the Business and Human Rights Journal (BHRJ) are pleased to announce the 5th Business and Human Rights Young Researchers Summit in Geneva, Switzerland, taking place on April 2-3, 2020.
The Summit will bring together approximately 10-15 excellent PhD students and early post-doc researchers (cut-off is one year after graduation) who engage in research in the business and human rights field. The objective is for participants to present their research project in an interdisciplinary, collaborative workshop setting. Scholars from all disciplines are invited to apply including ethics, law, business, and global affairs. Submissions from non-law disciplines are particularly welcome. The papers should outline research-in-progress and must be unpublished at the time of presentation. We encourage submissions from all parts of the world and strive for gender balance in our selection.
For further information on the BHR Young Researchers Summit and on how to join the BHR Young Researchers Network visit - or
To apply, please submit an abstract of no more than 600 words to Please include your name, affiliation, contact information, and curriculum vitae. For questions please contact Berit Knaak 
The deadline for the submission of abstracts is November 4, 2019. Candidates whose submissions are selected for participation in the Summit will be notified no later than December 20, 2019. Full papers will be due on March 9, 2020 and will be distributed to all participants for review before the workshop. Each participant is expected to formally comment on one other paper.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

From the American Association of University Professors--A Rich Collection of Articles and Reports from its Summer 2019 Bulletin

The Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors is published annually as the summer issue of Academe. This year's Bulletin features academic freedom and tenure investigative reports, college and university governance investigative reports, a report on the assault on gender and gender studies, a statement on dual enrollment, and annual reports and other business documents. Follow the links in this email or read the entire issue at
Links follow: 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Abusive University Administrator--Unfettered Discretion in the University and What the "Census Case" May Teach Us About Abuse

(Pix source HERE)

Those of you who follow my academic blog, Law at the End of the Day, have seen recent posting of PowerPoints through which I tried to synthesize the essence of the sub-systems that together make up the U.S. legal system.  In the process I have tried to capture for foreign lawyers the essence of the core values of American ideologies (of fairness and other baseline political principles), which are inscribed in quite different ways in the law.

One of the areas that struck my students as most curious was that of the ideologies and practice around administrative regulation.  The idea of discretion as a legal tool (outside of dictatorships and Marxist Leninist States) seemed curious. They might have treated those as political acts rather than the application of law. More curious still was the way that only recently, the Supreme Court reinforced a set of core principles through which the courts would review and if necessary overturn discretionary decisionmaking that appears to be arbitrary, capricious, or a hidden pretense.  They found it interesting to see the way that such principled constraints on exercises of discretion, even when undertaken by officials holding the highest appointed offices, could bve used to undermine important policy choices made at the highest levels of state. 

The case, of course, was the "Census Question" case: Department of Commerce v. New York, U.S. Supreme Court No. 18-966 Slip op. (Decided June 27, 2019). The PowerPoints may be accessed here.  And

What struck me more as I sought to lecture through this a as matter of public law--was the way that such constraints might well exposes the laww-less-ness of private administrators, and especially those in the academy.  Not to say that they are born bad; but merely to suggest, as the Supreme Court has just done in relation to the Secretary of Commerce, that no mere instrumentality of the administrative apparatus--public or private--ought to exist within an environment in which the core principles of fairness built into American law appear absent. 

This post considers the great principles of checks on administrative discretion and the principles underlying them (hopefully written simply and not for lawyers).  It then poses the question: to what extent do the great role models of the American Republic; to what extent to those institutions which put themselves out as the forms of social, political, and economic organization that embraces wholeheartedly the core values of this nation; to what extent to the people in control of that apparatus feel the weight of responsibility for their discretionary decisionmaking reinforced by principles and outside robust checks? 

I pose a null hypothesis--university administrators have no real constraints on the exercise of their discretion within the university that is effective, reliable, fair, or readily available to those against whom discretion is exercised. "The null hypothesis, H0 is the commonly accepted fact; it is the opposite of the alternate hypothesis. Researchers work to reject, nullify or disprove the null hypothesis. Researchers come up with an alternate hypothesis, one that they think explains a phenomenon, and then work to reject the null hypothesis." (See here). I would dearly love to see that null hypothesis disproven--and not by incantation from above. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Power of Charity and the University--A Pleasured Patron and Obliging Nomenklatura Model of University Governance

I had observing the quite emotional battle at the University of Tulsa that appears to pit the old ideals of a university against the realities of universities as businesses. That battle is raging across American academia and touches all aspects of its operation.  I have noted its particular effects in the way that universities consume their graduate students and student athletes (See, e.g., Consequences of the Growing Divide Between the Ideal of the University and its Reality: Thoughts on the Unionization of Student Labor (Graduate Students and Athletes) in this Age of the Learning Factory). Universities cling to the ancient ideals long after it has faded from living memory because its consumers and sponsors find value in the ideal detached from whatever reality is then offered by way of "application." That universities engage in this behavior ought not to surprise, especially as these institutions have been urged to adopt the outlooks and ideologies--the practices--of those businesses into which they mean to project their graduates. Like a "White Christmas" in Miami, the ideal can be consciously embraced even as the reality around it makes even the pretense of attainment laughable. 

The real issue has now shifted from even this ridiculous attempt to market the past as present to a more important one--if the university is no longer to be itself, the question becomes what ought it to be.  There have been two models competing for status as orthodox institutional form. The first s the model of the for profit business corporation. That model is appealing if only because it s ends are all bent to making money--and money is what university administrators are now trained to chase--if only for the best things that it can buy for those from whom fees and tuition (and donations later) are extracted.  The problem is that the university does not resemble a business enterprise culturally or in its operation. While it produces things (degrees,for example) it is better understood as managing people toward objectives and then placing them. The model, then, is one that is more like an administrative agency in a state bureaucracy, than of a business in a purely (of course there is no such thing as pure anything anymore) markets based environment.

The successful university administrator is one that is both fungible and anonymous.  They are cogs in a bureaucratic machine the logic of which must be furthered.They are risk averse and exercise their discretion to minimize risk and manage compliance with those rules and cultures that conform to benchmark.  They become a closed circle in which innovation is the ability to better mimic everyone else (that everyone, of course is hierarchically arranged as universities adhere to a caste culture every bit as rigid as those of ancient societies). With university administrators as a modern Western version of the old nomenklaturas, then it appears that the model most compatible with a university that no longer can afford to be itself(the old ideal),must be that of the charitable foundation. It follows that charitable foundations--institutionalized patrons, would also dominate their stakeholding classes and serve not just as a source of imitation but as the institution most likely to have influence over university administrative (and ultimately substantive) cultures.  One has seen the effects of this in other contexts (e.g., here, and here).  But the control of the ethos of a university is indeed something quite new and remarkable. Thus it is not the corporatization of the university that ought to be feared--it is the conversion of the university into a foundation overseen by a private sector regulatory apparatus in which the core administrative values of ability, risk aversion, compliance and conformity to orthodox views and institutional objectives, narrowly drawn, become the lodestars of academic culture. 

Jacob Howland has stepped into this battlefield with a great deal of vigor and much to say.  His focus ison the University of Tulsa as the great exemplar of change--and in his view not for the better. His passionate original essay, Storm Clouds Over Tulsa, was published in City Journal and appeared 17 April 2019.  It was reproduced along with my own brief comments  here (A Report From the Front Lines of the Transformation of the American University: Jacob Howland, "Storm Clouds Over Tulsa"). is reproduced (without the embedded pictures) below. 

Professor Howland continues his archeology of the university necropolis.  His current essay, Corporate Wolves in Academic Sheepskins, or, a Billionaire’s Raid on the University of Tulsa, published June 18 in The Nation magazine, delves deeper into the case study that is the University of Tulsa.  Whether one agrees or not, the story he tells must be necessarily considered.  It follows below. 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

New From Academe--The Magazione of the AAUP; Academic Freedom and Free Speech

I am happy to pass along the table of contents of the features in the latest issue of Academe--the Journal of the American Association of University Professors. 

Knowledge for the Common Good
A plenary presentation from the AAUP’s 2019 annual conference.
By Joan W. Scott
Political Interference with Academic Freedom and Free Speech at Public Universities
The threat of governmental suppression of academic inquiry.By Gene Nichol
Rebuilding "Iowa Nice" in Shared Governance: From Sanction to Collaboration
A faculty senate committee works to address governance concerns.
By Sandra Daack-Hirsch, Frank Durham, Russell Ganim, Edward Gillan, and Justine Kolker

Of particular interestare the remarks of Jopan Scott, which are reproduced below.  Joan W. Scott is professor emerita in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. She is a long-standing member and former chair of the AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Concurso Estudiantil Jorge Pérez- López 2019/ 2019 Graduate and Undergraduate Student Paper Award Competition

El Comité de ASCE del Concurso Estudiantil Jorge Pérez-López está aceptando nominaciones para el concurso del año 2019. Un panel de expertos juzgará a los trabajos sometidos basado en su relevancia, originalidad, calidad, contribución, y la claridad de su presentación. Los trabajos no deben tener como coautor a un instructor, profesor o asistente de enseñanza. Como mínimo, todos los trabajos deben incluir una declaración de la tesis, presentar pruebas o datos que la apoyan, no pasarse de 5.000 palabras a doble espacio, y estar escrito siguiendo uno de los estilos académicos estándares.

ASCE Student Award Committee is accepting nominations for the 2019 Jorge Pérez-López Student Award Competition. A panel of scholars will judge all submissions on the basis of relevance, originality, quality, contribution, and clarity of presentation. Papers should not be co-authored with an instructor or teaching assistant. At a minimum, all papers must outline a thesis statement, present evidence or data supporting it, confine to 5000 words double-spaced length, and follow one of the standard academic writing and citations styles.

More information below.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

CALL FOR PAPERS Seminar on Digitalization and Legal Culture: Western and Chinese Perspectives


Seminar on Digitalization and Legal Culture: Western and Chinese Perspectives

This seminar aims to reflect on the current discussion on digitalization, geopolitics, law and legal culture as perceived from Western and Chinese perspectives. It wants to contribute to an understanding of the processes of legal, cultural, political and societal transformations sparked off in the digital era.

China has been a frontrunner in the area of digitalization. As a global force in digital technologies, China has increasingly played an active and contested role in shaping the digital landscape through collaboration and competitiveness with western and other states. Meanwhile, advanced digitalization urges accountable up-to-date ethical and legal guidelines to address the impact of the digitalization on cultural and societal transformation globally.

At this moment, the EU has been a frontrunner in the area of legal regulation, court cases and guidelines to limit the power of the tech giants. Generally, the EU seems to be more reluctant than both the US and China in relation to the benefits related to digital technologies and their influence on individuals and societies. To some extent, this is due to historical legacies.

Digitalization and the digital revolution is changing the world in the 21st century in terms of communication, (resource) control, censorship, commerce and surveillance of people, organizations, and markets. Size matters, huge states, and private actors play a considerable role in this development, where state and private governed ‘surveillance capitalism’ and ‘social credit systems’ coexist globally. The implications of this for political and legal culture are not clear.

Monday, May 6, 2019

A Report From the Front Lines of the Transformation of the American University: Jacob Howland, "Storm Clouds Over Tulsa"

In April 2019, Jacob Howland, wrote a blistering analysis of the great institutional transformations that are occurring at the University of Tulsa. This was no ordinary Jeremiad by someone easily dismissed as a failure within the (teaching side) of the academy. Professor Howland is the McFarlin Professor of Philosophy and past Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Tulsa where he teaches in the Honors Program as well as in philosophy.

The Essay is remarkable for a number of reasons beyond the lamentation about the way in which university programs are being transformed, and the relationship of the university to its athletic and professional programs. Equally interesting to readers ought to be the way in which such transformation has been occurring without the substantial participation of the faculty. That has substantial ramifications. It evidences the continuing transformation of the education side of the university.  First it is no longer necessarily the principle undertaking of an institution--the production of athletic events and professionals readily who might be inserted into higher end portions of the wage labor markets might now be as important, if not more so. It also suggests again that markets rather than knowledge drive the business of education, and that the business of knowledge production is deeply tied to its direct power to generate revenue. While that is well known, the shift from long term to short term calculation  is less well appreciated, though its effects on the way in which American business has been shaped is well known.  Now those birds have come home to roost in the academy.  It also suggests the way that cultures of administration, rather than cultures of knowledge production and dissemination have now come to dominate the operation of the university.  The effects are profound. And apparently in the case of the University of Tulsa, the effects might not be economically viable.

But that opens the real question behind the essay--for whom is the university operated, whose interests does it serve, and to what ends is it run.  One answer may be the trustees and large foundations  who are willing to fund enterprises to please themselves irrespective of the economic (much less academic) consequences? Ironically, while this reduces the role of faculty (and the influence of the academic.side of the house to irrelevance, to a passive object of production), it also reduces administrators to a more servile role (they also perform for their masters). This ultimately provides the most interesting insight of the essay (for me at least)--is it possible that the real transformation of the American academy is not in the shifting of authority from faculty to administrators, but in the transformation of the academy itself from a self-controlled institution, to one in which authority has shifted outward. We know where some of that authority has leaked out--to the state (regulatory authorities can be as fickle and capricious as any patron, and even more politically motivated).  But authority appears also to have leaked to foundations and other actors  whose control of money increasingly shapes the academy form the outside (without preference for political ideology, just financial power politically exercised). Those are some of the ideas that swirled through my head as I read the essay.  But I leave it to readers to make what sense they can from the essay.       

His Essay, Storm Clouds Over Tulsa, was published in City Journal and appeared 17 April 2019.  It is reproduced (without the embedded pictures) below.  The original may be access here.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Without (Much) Comment: "Judge throws out ex-Penn State president’s conviction"

He shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting. Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat. Then Aaron shall offer the goat on which the lot for the LORD fell, and make it a sin offering. But the goat on which the lot for the scapegoat fell shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness as the scapegoat.  Leviticus 16:7-10
Two stories are worth consideration.  They mark the next stage of a morality tale that started with Pennsylvania's efforts to respond to the horrible events that eventually resulted in the conviction of a member of the Penn State Football coaching staff for immoral acts against children.   They remind us of the complicated relationship between the state, its institutions, and the people who populate both in the shadows of law and justice.

The stories touch on the recent decision by a judge to overturn the conviction of former Penn State President Spanier of his conviction for misdemeanor child-endangerment, the only charge that the state was able to secure a conviction in the long and tortuous process of finding administrators to bear the responsibility for failed institutional duty.  In commentary I note merely remarks made April 13, 2012: Penn State’s New Reality; Reflections by the Penn State 2011-2012 Fellows--Four Lessons Learned About University Governance in Crisis.