American Association of University Professors Washington State University



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The American Association of University Professors was launched in January 1915 in response to the clear need for a nationwide organization that could represent all faculty, not just those of a particular discipline. From the outset its purpose was to establish a framework that would guarantee academic freedom. From that initial meeting came the 1915 Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure which explained the necessity of a system of tenure to guarantee freedom of inquiry and expression in academic life.

In April 2009, in the face of a major economic downturn with serious educational and institutional consequences, a group of WSU faculty reestablished an advocacy chapter of AAUP on the Pullman campus. We invite all current and former WSU faculty, librarians, postdocs and graduate students to join us in trying to uphold the traditions of academic freedom and shared governance.

Each AAUP chapter establishes a local Committee A which provides advice and assistance to faculty members at its institution about disputes concerning academic freedom, tenure, promotion, or other terms or conditions of employment. The WSU-AAUP board of officers serves as our Committee A.

While WSU-AAUP does not provide legal assistance, we can, on request, provide a list of local attorneys who work in the area of employment rights. Please click here for further information about legal assistance.

The WSU-AAUP bylaws are available on-line here.


  • 30 March 2016
    Letter to Chris Keene and Robert Rosenman from Donna Potts, president of WSU-AAUP:

    The WSU Chapter of the American Association of University Professors has expressed concern about how Dr. Robert Wiegus has been treated by WSU.  The faculty manual of WSU clearly states that faculty have “academic freedom… free from institutional censorship or discipline.”   Furthermore, the AAUP's founding document, the 1915 Declaration of Principles, maintains that “Once appointed, the scholar has professional functions to perform in which the appointing authorities have neither competency nor moral right to intervene.”
     In his complaint and the supporting documentation, Dr. Wiegus has detailed numerous examples of ways in which his research has been publicly questioned by WSU and/or he has been disciplined by means of restricted access to do said research for his work with the wolf pack at Profanity Peak (Ferry County, Washington), or for having expressed his opinions about the fate of said pack.   

    The AAUP calls upon the Faculty Senate and its committees to uphold the standards of academic freedom outlined in the faculty manual, based on the AAUP's 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure. 

  • Professor Nelson's 2 May talk, In the Corporate Pocket: When Profit and Secrecy Control University Research, can be viewed on the Documents page or here.
    Professor Nelson's 1 May talk, retitled What Wolves Can Tell Us About Academic Freedom, can be viewed on the Documents page or here.

  • Poster: Cary Nelson

    • 30 November 2016 Press Announcement
      Washington State University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors Supports Efforts to Create a Sanctuary Campus


    Professor Donna Potts (, WSU Pullman

    Professor Elizabeth Siler (, WSU Pullman

    Professor Desiree Hellegers (, WSU Vancouver

    Professor Michael Mays (, WSU Tri-Cities

    The Washington State University chapter of The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) stands firmly with those seeking to petition to make WSU a sanctuary campus and urges the university administration to affirm this request.  


    Across the United States, hundreds of universities have proposed officially making their universities sanctuary campuses, safe spaces in which undocumented students can study and learn without fear of deportation.  28 universities have formally offered sanctuary to their undocumented students.   Currently, at Washington State University (WSU), there is an effort to petition the university administration to make WSU a sanctuary campus.     

    This petition asks that Washington State University:


    Adopt a resolution that actively bans U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other immigration enforcement officials from this campus, 


    Block immigration officials from student information without explicit consent from the student, and


    Make a public statement indicating that the university urges the U.S. government to affirmatively protect students who are currently under DACA  (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) from removal and supports a path to permanent status for these students


    These student-centered goals are congruent with the stated university’s broader goals, explained in the Vision, Mission, and Values statement of 2014-2019 as fostering the values of Integrity, Trust, and Respect, in which WSU asserts its commitment “to ensuring trust and respect for all persons in an environment that cultivates individual and institutional integrity in all that we do.”[1] That trust, respect, and cultivation of integrity cannot be fostered in an environment in which students who have been permitted to enroll at WSU under the Washington State REAL Hope Act must be fearful of potential deportation from the university and from the country.


    Furthermore AAUP recognizes the contribution of undocumented students to helping meet our collective commitment to the value of Diversity and Global Citizenship outlined in this strategic plan.   As Dr. Kirk Schulz, our university President, has noted in a related statement on the issue of undocumented students on this campus, “It’s important to remind ourselves, too, that diversity in all its forms benefits each of us. Interacting and learning with people from a diversity of backgrounds stimulates intellectual growth, encourages collaboration and fosters innovation – essential building blocks in creating community.”[2]  Acknowledging that the WSU university community proudly “offer[s] life-changing college experiences to our undocumented students as authorized by the state,” Dr. Schulz also notes this university has developed scholarship programs for undocumented students.  


    This well-established commitment to undocumented students underscores the need to further affirm students in their efforts to achieve sanctuary campus status.


    [1] Value, Mission, and Vision. Washington State University Strategic Plan, 2014-2019.

    [2]  WSU committed to free expression, access to higher ed, WSU News, October 18, 2016



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