I am completing my last semester as CSU-AAUP president after four years. It has been a wild ride. First COVID, and immediately on its heels, contract negotiations. Through it all, we hung together—we learned how to organize, how to make noise, and how to be better advocates for our students and our universities. We made an impact in the media and on the Legislature. We won some substantive changes in our contract that will have a significant and positive impact on our members and, by extension, our communities. We did so in the face of unrelenting Board of Regents attacks on our collective bargaining agreement. We should all be proud and determined to improve, even more, in the coming years. Collective action is powerful, and invigorating! I look forward to continuing to serve CSU-AAUP in whatever way I can, and I am excited that Louise Williams will be taking over.
All my best,
Patty O'Neill, CSU-AAUP President
- Storytelling Workshop (open to CSU-AAUP members): Monday, Jan. 23 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
A Win at Western
One of our larger struggles so far this academic year has been at Western. Interim Pres. Paul Beran sent out a proposal to eliminate majors in anthropology/sociology, meteorology, economics and the social sciences. This proposal is meant to save costs by eliminating adjunct faculty and having full-time faculty teach lower-level courses in the subjects, which we know would be a minimal savings.
In response, we flyered the campus and had people sign a petition, garnering more than 1,400 signatures, and sent letters to Beran asking why -- why take these fundamental subjects and opportunities away from students?
This past Monday, Dec. 12, we greeted Beran with a 10-foot Grinch before faculty spoke at the WCSU University Senate meeting. The Senate voted to recommend AGAINST Beran's proposal for all of the majors.
The outpouring of support from students, faculty and alumni appears to have worked, at least for now. The majors in economics, meteorology and anthropology/sociology will be continued. The social sciences major is being discontinued, but the two options under that major will be moved under the anthropology/sociology major.
Even with this good news, we must remember to be vigilant on all campuses. CSCU Pres. Terrence Cheng appears to have given a clear directive to campus presidents to cut costs. Each president is trying a different method, but none appear to be good for us, our universities or our students.
A New President
Vice President Louise Williams, who teaches history at Central, will complete Patty O'Neill's term, which finishes at the end of the spring semester.
Williams has worked at Central and been an AAUP member since 1997. She previously served on the CCSU Executive Committee and CSU-AAUP Council starting in 2010. She was elected grievance officer for CCSU-AAUP and then president before taking office as CSU-AAUP Vice President in 2019.
"I look forward to continuing to make CSU-AAUP a democratic, member-driven union that improves the lives of faculty, students, the local community, and entire state," Williams wrote of her new role. "I also hope to contribute to the creation and protection of a world-class system of public higher education. This only can be done with a real commitment to shared governance with faculty on the part of the Board of Regents, and through the passion and activism of AAUP members. It will be rewarding to work on promoting both."
We look forward to having her as president when she starts on Jan. 1.
Biennial elections will take place in Spring 2023.
Did You Know?
CSU-AAUP has an Organizing Committee that plans direct actions for all campuses when needed. The Organizing Committee helped plan several of the actions taken during the contract campaign, as well as the recent actions taken in the fight at WCSU. If you're interested in joining the committee and helping fight the good fight, please email Cindy Stretch or John O'Connor.