Washington — At its annual meeting here, the American Association of University Professors passed four resolutions on Saturday that deal with hot-button issues in academic labor, campus safety, the curriculum, and international relations.
One resolution calls on universities not to automatically terminate or decline to appoint professors who refuse to sign a “loyalty oath.” The AAUP’s action followed a controversy at California State University at Fullerton, which fired Wendy Gonaver, a lecturer in American studies, because she had refused to sign an oath required of all state employees. An agreement was subsequently reached to reinstate Ms. Gonaver.
Another measure responds to recent legislative efforts in more than a dozen states that would have allowed people to carry concealed weapons on campuses and urges state legislatures not to pass such laws. In 2004, Utah’s state legislature barred colleges from restricting the carrying of concealed guns on the state’s campuses. The AAUP resolution says that colleges “regard the presence of weapons as incompatible with their educational missions.” The only people who should be allowed to have guns on campuses, it says, are campus security and police officers.
Intelligent design and other permutations of creationist thought are the focus of a third resolution. The association urged legislatures not to pass laws that determine what kinds of theories and ideas can be taught in science classes. The resolution says that several states, including Alabama, Florida, and Louisiana, have recently taken up proposals that would allow science teachers to critique “prevailing scientific theories.” Those proposals, said the AAUP, are veiled attempts to allow the teaching of creationism.
The fourth successful resolution urges the government of Iran to “remove barriers that deny access to higher education on religious or ethnic grounds.” In particular, the AAUP wants to ensure that Iran does not keep members of the Baha’i religious community “out of universities.”
A proposed resolution on the Middle East proved too controversial for a majority of members to approve and was sent back to an AAUP committee for reconsideration. That proposal urged the government of Israel to grant exit visas to residents of the Gaza Strip who want to study abroad. —Robin Wilson