What is the YCP AAUP?
We are the York College of Pennsylvania chapter of the American Association of University Professors. The AAUP was founded in 1915 in order to advocate for the profession of college educators. The statements of the national AAUP are considered best practices in academia and are followed by the vast majority of institutions of higher education.
The YCP chapter was organized in 1969 at the same time that the college was transitioning to being a four-year institution.
Why is your logo so… odd?
Despite our long history with the college, we are not a unit of the college nor a committee of the Academic Senate. As such, we have been asked to not use the official YCP logos on any of our materials. The logo we use is in compliance with that request.
Are you a union?
No. While AAUP chapters sometimes are a collective bargaining unit, we are what is termed an “advocacy chapter.” Our role on campus is to
advocate for best practices in the operation of the college, in keeping with best practices and AAUP standards.
What are you advocating for?
While the particular issue(s) vary from year to year, the constant is that the AAUP is working for the betterment of the college through an
understanding of professional standards. Central to this is are an understanding of shared governance and respect for academic freedom. AAUP standards on both aspects have been endorsed by the college. We advocate for, and attempt to ensure that, these agreed upon standards are
being followed. Additionally, we advocate for the greater inclusion of AAUP recommended practices whenever possible. This advocacy often occurs by bringing relevant statements to the attention of Senate committees investigating an issue.
What AAUP Standards has the college endorsed?
There are several statements that the college has endorsed. Other statements have served as the basis for college policy, without referencing the AAUP standard it is derived from. For a listing of accepted standards, go to this page.
What is your relationship to college administration?
In the best of times the relationship is friendly. President Miller (the first YCP president) was an associate member of the YCP AAUP chapter.
President Iosue (the second YCP president) was a regular attendee of YCP AAUP meetings. All four college presidents have participated in “off-the-record” conversations with the YCP AAUP, as have multiple dean-level administrators. A part of shared governance involves the regular and cordial exchange of viewpoints among all three legs of college governance – the faculty, the administration, and the board of trustees.
While the relationship between the YCP AAUP and the administration is not generally adversarial, multiple times over the forty-six year history of the chapter we have engaged directly with the administration in order to uphold the principles of academic freedom and shared governance. These exchanges typically occur both formally (via letters from one party to the other) and through direct conversation. Several times the administration has sought out clarification from the YCP AAUP chapter as to a policy interpretation, rather than engaging in these more contentious discussions.
What is your relationship to the Academic Senate?
The YCP AAUP is not a committee of the Senate, nor is our election process done through the Senate. Since the beginning of the chapter there has been a strong working relationship between the two faculty groups, often with officers of one group serving as officers in the other.
The structure of the Senate itself was informed by AAUP standards, and the college acceptance of the Senate having committees which address budgetary and compensation matters occurred from the advocacy of the AAUP with the college administration. Given the formal and motion driven nature of the Academic Senate, the YCP AAUP has often served as a place for discussions to occur prior to matters coming to the Senate. The chapter also routinely assists the Senate committees by providing best practice statements and suggested policies endorsed by the AAUP.
The YCP AAUP chapter has historically interacted directly with the administration when it comes to the advocacy of AAUP standards, the
interpretation of those standards, and voicing concern when agreed upon standards have not been followed. When the chapter wishes to bring forward to the administration a collective understanding of the faculty as a whole, motions are brought to the Senate for review and vote in
keeping with the understanding that only the Senate and faculty members appointed by the Senate can be understood as speaking for the faculty. When the chapter engages with the administration directly, we are most aptly understood as speaking for the profession.
The chapter is understood by the national AAUP to serve the roles as the legitimate voice of the profession of a whole, and as the local guardian and interpreter of AAUP statements and policies.
What are meetings like?
It rather depends upon the meeting itself. We attempt to alternate meetings on-campus with off-campus meetings. The off-campus meetings often end up having a more informal tone and a general discussion focused on current concerns. These generally are pot-luck events.
On-campus meetings tend to be directed more fully at a pressing concern or examination of an issue better done with the ability to see projected information. These generally do not feature refreshments.
As much as possible we endeavor to alternate on- and off-campus meetings as some members are more comfortable in one setting or the other.
What is an “off-the-record” conversation?
These are a great tradition of the YCP AAUP. Starting about five years into the YCP AAUP chapter we began the practice of inviting members of the college administration to meet with faculty and discuss candidly issues on campus. They are “off-the-record” in two ways. First, no notes are kept of the sessions. Second, there is an agreement that the exact wording of things said at the meeting will not be held as an official position. Perhaps as a corollary to these, just as the faculty do not hold the administration accountable for what they say, the administration will not hold a faculty
member accountable for a question asked or opinion offered.
These sessions are hosted by the AAUP, endorsed by the Academic Senate, and provide an excellent and friendly manner to engage in
wide-ranging discussions on matters related to the college. They are not used to “roll out” a new policy or procedure, but often have been used to discuss ideas at early stages of consideration.
Every YCP president has engaged in these conversations, in some cases several times. Dean-level administrators have also regularly been the
“invitee” of these conversations.
What does it take to be a member?
The easiest answer is to talk to one of the chapter’s officers. Our by-laws call for dues of $10 per academic year. These funds are used to pay for supplies, rental fees for off-campus events, and to provide some refreshments at off-campus events.
In order to join the national AAUP, the easiest way to do so is to join online.
All chapter officers are required to be a member of the national, and we encourage all of our campus members to belong as well.
Non-members are allowed (indeed, encouraged!) to attend chapter meetings in order to understand more fully what we do. However only
members are allowed to vote.
Will the administration know if I am a member?
No. We pass around a sign-in sheet at meetings in order to have an accurate understanding of who is interested in the work of the chapter. Those names are used to forward information that we believe is relevant (reminders of upcoming meetings, summaries of actions taken by chapter
leadership between meetings, etc.). This information is always sent by BCC so that no one who receives it is aware of others who have. Baring the college investigating the email accounts of the chapter leadership, they would not derive names.
We do not release to the administration neither the names of chapter members nor those who are members of the national AAUP.
Having said that, we do not believe that it ought to be a worrisome thing to belong to an organization which advocates for the bettering of the
college through following best practices and sound principles of shared governance and respect for academic freedom. Nor have we any reason to believe that there is a “witch hunt” occurring to determine who are members.