American Association of University Professors (AAUP)

And issues of academic freedom and tenure

AAUP logo

Michael was very active in the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) for many decades. The AAUP is the primary watchdog and organization for academic freedom and tenure standards for American higher education. He served as president of the Washington University chapter for many years and also served as a vice-president of the national AAUP.

For several decades he also served in an ombudsman role for AAUP & Wash U: faculty members who felt they had been treated unfairly by their departments (either by being denied tenure) would approach him. He would listen to them, advise them, and if he thought they had a case, he would advocate and mediate for them with the department or university administration. Obviously, due to the highly confidential nature of these interactions, no records remain nor are included here. But my understanding is that he helped save the positions for more than a half dozen people over the years.

In addition, he also served the AAUP in performing investigations of incidents at other universities (see below). Some of these are newspaper articles; others are final reports published in Academe, the AAUP periodical.

He continued in this role for probably fifteen years into his retirement, as well.

In July 2009, he was recognized in Academe as one of a number of fifty year members of AAUP.

From multiple Washington University Chancellors and Deans, Michael was sent private letters of appreciation for his dedication to academic freedom and demonstrated leadership on faculty governance.

Here is a sampling of some of the cases he was involved in over the years that were publicized (many were not, of course).

1975 Nature-tenure
1975-09 Nature: "Good for Science?"

rebutting tenure-reform argument
1996 Chronicle - tenure
Letter to the editor rebutting tenure weakening

1996-01 Chronicle of Higher Education
1997 WU Law Quarterly
Academic Freedom and its Defenders

1997 Washington Univ Law Quarterly
honoring Professor Dale Swihart.
Student Life- Assembly Series
2003-Sep Student Life article about Assembly Series
Speaker and academic freeom. (Michael quoted).
letter to editor
The Purpose of Tenure for Any Generation
Letter to the editor responding to "Rethinking Tenure for the Next Generation"
[contemporaneous PDF of web page]
Chronicle of Higher Education, 5 Oct 2009