Protect Your Academic Freedom

Bargaining Update from October 2, 2015

On Friday we had our most recent bargaining session with the administration. It is clear we have very different ideas of what is important to students and faculty as a whole. A glaring difference is the fact that administrators don’t value the academic freedom of the faculty.

The gradual erosion of tenure and increased use of adjunct faculty undermines academic freedom throughout the university. In the administration’s view, adjuncts are disposable; they don’t need a reason to fire (or not-reappoint) an adjunct. The lack of job security means we are forced to be cautious about the content of our courses, our independent scholarship and practice or are public activity. None of this bodes well for the intellectual life of Bentley or the educational experience of our students.

While the administration claims to recognize the importance of academic freedom – as higher education institutions do – there is a serious disconnected between what Bentley says and what they do. The Bentley Faculty Handbook recognizes academic freedomrights of tenured faculty. The administration says this policy applies to adjuncts, but there is no recourse if our academic freedom is violated. The easy answer is to provideprotection and recourse in our union contract, but the administration refuses to agree.

Academic freedom is central to the mission of how universities across the country. If the Bentley administration can’t grant this basic right, how are we supposed to come to any agreement?