The Ohio Conference of AAUP (OCAAUP) has joined such groups as the Ohio Education Association (OEA), Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT), New Faculty Majority (NFM), Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association (OPTFA), and Ohio Student Association (OSA) in forming a statewide advocacy group on issues related to higher education. After taking some time to create an operating structure and to define its goals, the group held its first press conference this past week. What follows is the news items that the OCAAUP is distributing to its members.
On Tuesday, March 4, the Ohio Higher Education Coalition (OHEC) held its first press conference announcing the formation of the coalition, highlighting student debt stories, and calling for restoration of the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG), which gives need-based aid to lower income students.
One of the few Wall Street insiders to have been prosecuted for fraud related to the sale of sub-prime mortgage securities has been Fabrice Tourre, also known as “Fabulous Fab.” In 2007, just ahead of the economic collapse caused in great part by the bursting of the housing bubble, Tourre made $1.7 million largely from selling sub-prime-mortgage securities to investors—when he clearly knew that those securities were extremely over-priced and risky, if not almost certain to fail.
Worse, as an employee of Goldman-Sachs, Tourre communicated with John Paulson, who became one of Wall Street’s most prominent hedge-fund managers by promoting investments in credit-default swaps that became increasingly profitable as the housing market tanked. In effect, Tourre and Goldman Sachs identified for Paulson, then a client, which mortgage-backed securities were the most likely to fail, even as they were promoting those securities to other clients as solid investments.
Before the case could be taken to court, Goldman Sachs settled its part of it for $550 million, while asserting that the settlement agreement was not an admission of any criminal wrongdoing. Tourre, however, was tried and convicted on six counts of trading fraud.
Over this past week, “Fabulous Fab” has been in the news for two reasons. First, his appeal of his convictions to the U.S. District Court in Manhattan was unsuccessful. Judge Katherine Forrest found no basis either for summarily throwing out the convictions or for ordering a new trial. Second, he is apparently pursuing a doctorate in economics at the University of Chicago and is teaching a course there on “Elements of Economic Analysis.” Continue reading
According to a recent article in University World News, Global Edition, “China has stepped up pressure on ethnic minority students and lecturers in the restive northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, insisting that students must pass a test of political views and declare their allegiance to the Chinese state in order to graduate.”
Near the end of the article, the author quotes from Global Times, a party publication: “’The principals and the party secretaries in local universities agreed that the education system is one of the main battlefields against separatism, so being politically qualified is the prime request.’”
And the article closes with a quote from Li Zhongyao, party secretary of Xinjiang University, who was speaking at a regional education conference: “’University students should safeguard ethnic unity and oppose separatism and that is the most important task of Xinjiang universities.” Continue reading
Today, in The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof presents a column headlined “Professors, We Need You!” He wonders what has happened to those of us in academia, ending with these words:
I write this in sorrow, for I considered an academic career and deeply admire the wisdom found on university campuses. So, professors, don’t cloister yourselves like medieval monks — we need you!
One of the things this blog, Academe magazine and the entire AAUP is fighting for is just this, to bring professors out of ivory towers and into the public sphere where they belong. In the spirit of John Dewey (as I title my editorial in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Academe), we refuse to hide away, talking only to each other. Continue reading
Though she is perhaps best known for her 1966 skewering of LBJ, MacBird, perhaps all of us should be paying a little more attention to Barbara Garson today. Her book Down the Up Escalator: How the 99% Live should be out in paperback any day now. Here’s what Adam Hochschild says about it:
Garson knows that the hard times so many people are living through are not just composed of headlines about corporate profits, unemployment rates and foreclosures; they are composed of human beings. This book is a compassionate, probing, pointillist mural of the Great Recession and of the decades-long erosion of the average American’s economic position that preceded it, all told through the experiences of individual men and women. She has followed some over time, has sought out others whose lives illuminate larger injustices, and has found people whose stories will stick with you.
What has this to do with the AAUP or American faculty? Continue reading
For the past five to six months, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been confronting a seemingly ever-increasing number of legislative and legal investigations into misconduct by his immediate subordinates, starting with the politically motivated decision to close lanes leading onto the George Washington Bridge but expanding into seeming improprieties in how federal funds allocated for Sandy relief have been used to leverage private development projects and to reward political loyalists.
The national media initially paid scant attention to the story, focusing more on the then presidential frontrunner’s brusque and often derisive dismissals of the inquiries being doggedly pursued by local investigative journalists than on the crux of the matter–that Christie either has lied about his awareness of and perhaps even his direct involvement in what has occurred, or he has been woefully and inexplicably oblivious to what his most immediate, senior advisors have been doing.
Having adopted a grossly simplistic storyline about Christie, the national media was loathe to abandon it. That storyline extrapolated from two details—Christie’s literal and figurative embrace of President Obama during the Sandy crisis and at the height of the 2012 presidential election and his subsequent landslide re-election as governor in 2013. And so, in an age of entrenched political partisanship and gerrymandered political advantage, this Republican governor of a heavily Democratic state briefly became the seeming embodiment of bipartisanship, beloved by the residents of the state not in spite of his bull-in-a-china-shop persona but because of it. In a period of escalating political impasse, Christie seemed to embody a refreshing “can-do” attitude toward governing. Continue reading
When I read the headline that King Jong Un had received an honorary degree, I assumed immediately that it had been awarded by a North Korean University. I was surprised that it had been awarded by a private Malaysian University, but I was not aware that, except for China, Malaysia has maintained closer relations with North Korea than any other Asian nation.
When I realized that the honorary degree was a doctorate in economics, I was, like many others who have reacted very viscerally and vocally to the news, struck immediately by the irony that a degree in that discipline should be awarded to the head of a regime that has kept its people so economically isolated that agricultural production keeps them always on the edge of starvation and, when a crop fails disastrously, as it did several years ago, millions of North Koreans perish from starvation.
When I read that the institution conferring the degree was a private university with the dubious-sounding name, Help University, and that the name was actually an acronym, I assumed that it was all part of some strange turn of circumstance made to seem even strange in translation—if you will, a sort of unintentionally “sick joke” created by a cultural miscalculation combined perhaps with some further cultural misunderstanding. Continue reading
Whatever you might think of the American Studies Association’s stance on boycotting Israel, the attempted legal “remedies” have to be seen as worse. Pro-Palestinian, pro-Israel, or a pox on both houses… it shouldn’t matter. The implications for academic freedom carried in the various bills should bother anyone who cares about this great tradition of our universities.
Legislators in New York and Maryland are both using the occasion to restrict academic freedom… and now members of Congress are jumping on the bandwagon:
The “Protect Academic Freedom Act,” jointly filed by House Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R., Ill.) and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D., Ill.) could serve as a deterrent to other groups considering Israeli boycotts.
It would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 “to prohibit an institution that participates in a boycott of Israeli academic institutions or scholars from being eligible” to receive federal funds, according to text of the legislation.
In a bizarre reversal of logic, Roskam claims that “This bipartisan legislation seeks to preserve academic freedom and combat bigotry by shielding Israel from unjust boycotts.” Follow this logic and you will eventually come up with an Orwellian “freedom is slavery.” Continue reading
A piece by Nate Kreuter, “More Than Love,” on Inside Higher Ed today alerted me to Miya Tokumitzu’s article “In the Name of Love” for the magazine Jacobin. She writes:
There’s little doubt that “do what you love” (DWYL) is now the unofficial work mantra for our time. The problem is that it leads not to salvation, but to the devaluation of actual work, including the very work it pretends to elevate — and more importantly, the dehumanization of the vast majority of laborers.
Yes, and that’s what makes pursuing what one loves such a ticklish business. Continue reading
Dissident Voice describes itself as “a radical newsletter in the struggle for peace and justice.” It presents a perspective that most readers would describe as Far Left. Although I am generally not put off by the articles that appear in it, some of them are written from points of view that are considerably more radical than my own, and I think that it is fair to say that some are rhetorically over the top, and perhaps self-indulgently so.
Nonetheless, each day’s additions to the site almost always include at least one article that seems to me to be genuinely inspired and both intensely engaging and undeniably inspiring.
Paul Haeder’s “Wrapping the ‘Precarious’ and ‘At-Will’ Labels on 150 Million American Workers” is one of those articles. The entire text is available at: http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/01/wrapping-the-precarious-and-at-will-labels-on-150-million-usa-workers/. Continue reading