Introducing the 2017 WMU-AAUP bargaining team

The officers, Executive Committee, and Association Council of the WMU-AAUP are pleased to announce your 2017 WMU-AAUP bargaining team:

  • Cynthia Klekar-Cunningham, Department of English (Chief Negotiator)
  • Whitney DeCamp, Department of Sociology
  • Bruce G. Ferrin, Department of Marketing
  • Jeremy C. Hierholzer, College of Aviation
  • Michael G. Miller, Department of Human Performance and Health Education

Please join us in congratulating Cynthia, Whitney, Bruce, Jeremy, and Michael and in thanking them for their willingness to serve in these difficult and demanding positions. This is a very strong team whose members bring a lot of experience as well as complementary strengths to the table.

You can look forward to meeting with your team beginning early in the spring semester, as we schedule department meetings to discuss faculty priorities for 2017 negotiations. Stay tuned for more information.

Happy hour Friday at Arcadia Ales

All bargaining-unit faculty are invited to the WMU-AAUP Fourth Friday Happy Hour this Friday, September 23, 5-6 pm, at Arcadia Ales.

As we plan and prepare for contract negotiations next spring, these happy hours are an opportunity to enjoy the company of faculty colleagues, build solidarity, and discuss negotiation priorities in a fun and family-friendly environment.

Dues-paying members: Your first drink’s on us. Hope to see you there!

Arcadia Ales is located at 701 E. Michigan Ave. Click here for a map.

This is the first of two Fourth Friday Happy Hours this semester. The next one is Friday, October 28, also at Arcadia.

Sign up to be part of the 2016-17 WMU-AAUP contract campaign

Our 2016-17 contract campaign starts now! Sign up to get involved.

Follow the link for the committee or team you’d like to join.
For descriptions of each team’s charge, click here.

(What’s a contract campaign? Click here.)

 Team and committee descriptions:

The Contract Campaign Team:

The Contract Campaign Team develops and carries out the overall campaign plan. The campaign team’s role is to build solidarity, plan events and actions, and turn out faculty. Team members should be flexible, able to think a few moves ahead, and ready to respond to events as they develop.

The campaign team will collaborate with the WMU-AAUP bargaining team, chapter officers, Executive Committee, Association Council, staff, and other campaign-related committees as needed, but the Contract Campaign Team will have primary accountability for running the campaign and overseeing the work of the other negotiation support committees (i.e., the Communication and Media Team, FOIA Team, and “S” Committee). Each member of the Contract Campaign Team will also act as a liaison with one of the other support committees to help coordinate activities and facilitate communication.

Click here to join the Contract Campaign Team

The Communication and Media Team:

The Communication and Media Team will work with the contract campaign team, bargaining team, chapter officers, Executive Committee, and staff to craft effective messaging to articulate the faculty’s position during negotiations and in support of the contract campaign. The Communication and Media Team will prepare negotiation updates and press releases, get information out to the faculty and to the public, organize social media campaigns, as well as advise (and potentially serve as) chapter spokespersons.

Click here to join the Communication and Media Team

The FOIA Team:

The FOIA Team drafts requests for information on behalf of the bargaining team as well as follow-ups and appeals as needed. A well-prepared bargaining team needs (and is legally entitled to) a lot of information from the administration about university finances, healthcare costs and contracts, and other information. Working closely with the bargaining team, officers, Executive Committee, and chapter staff, the FOIA team will also review data received in response to information requests and help the bargaining team make the best and most efficient use of it.

Click here to join the FOIA Team

The “S” Committee:

The “S” Committee organizes actions in support of the bargaining team. Working closely with the Contract Campaign team and with the Communication and Media team, the “S” Committee prepares a plan for labor actions that may become necessary during the course of our contract negotiations. We might not ever have to take these actions, but we will need to be prepared, and the “S” Committee must be ready to move quickly to mobilize the faculty if it does become necessary to take action.

Click here to join the “S” committee

Graphic image of WMU-AAUP 2016-17 contract campaign logo with tagline "Strength In Solidarity"


The 2016-17 WMU-AAUP Contract Campaign is On!

Our next contract negotiations won’t start until the spring or summer of 2017,
but our 2016-17 contract campaign starts now!

Since our last negotiations, in 2014, we’ve seen an uptick in infringements on faculty rights to academic freedom, due process, and participation in shared governance on campuses nationwide. In this context, and in a political and economic climate of reduced legislative support for public education, WMU faculty once again face serious challenges as we approach our 2017 contract negotiations. That is why we have been working to organize a year-long campaign of events and actions to build solidarity on campus and support for 2017 negotiations.

What is a contract campaign?

A contract campaign supports the bargaining team by engaging the faculty to build solidarity. A visible, vocal, and united faculty sends a powerful message that we are determined to stand up for academic excellence, fair compensation, and appropriate working conditions. This approach worked well for us in 2014, and with lessons learned from that campaign, we are prepared to come out even stronger this time around.

Why do we need a contract campaign?

It would be great if once we won a benefit, we could consider it permanent. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. The administration comes into every negotiation demanding concessions, and we owe our success over the years in holding them off and winning enhanced benefits to the collective action of the faculty and their visible and vocal support for our bargaining teams.

What you can do:

  • Apply to serve on the bargaining team. The call for applications is coming soon, and interviews with the WMU-AAUP Executive Committee will be held in November 2016.

Serving on the bargaining team not your style? That’s OK! We have lots of opportunities to get involved, build solidarity, and cultivate leadership skills.

Click here to learn more about how you can sign up to support the bargaining team in one or more of the following ways:

  • Join the contract campaign team and develop and implement our 2017 campaign strategy. (Sign up online now.)
  • Join the communication and media team and get information out to the faculty and community. (Sign up online now.)
  • Join the “S” committee and organize actions in support of the bargaining team. (Sign up online now.)
  • Join the FOIA team and help draft information requests, follow-ups, and appeals. (Sign up online now.)

Want to help support the WMU-AAUP bargaining team but not sure you have time to join a support team or committee? Here are some other ways to help (and you can — you guessed it — sign up online):

  • Make signs and create other materials for rallies.
  • Help organize campaign events.
  • Talk to colleagues about the benefits of union membership and to friends and neighbors about our academic mission and the benefits our work provides to students and to the community.
  • Share your professional expertise with the bargaining team.
  • Write articles, blog posts, and letters to the editor in support of public higher education and the role of the faculty in the academic mission.
  • Come to WMU-AAUP events and encourage your colleagues to attend.
  • Watch for emails from the WMU-AAUP, subscribe to the blog (from the home page, look for the ‘subscribe’ and ‘follow’ buttons on the right-hand side of the page), join us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter for information about upcoming events and to make sure you never miss a call to action.

Look for sign-up sheets at WMU-AAUP meetings and events or click here to learn more and sign up online.



Deadline to RSVP for Fall BBQ is Friday, August 19

Colleagues, please RSVP by Friday, August 19, for the 29th annual WMU-AAUP Fall BBQ on Tuesday, September 6, 5-7pm, at Montague House. As always, there will be great food, adult beverages, union solidarity, and fun for the whole family.

And since we will begin negotiations in the spring of 2017, the BBQ will be the official kickoff event for our 2017 contract campaign. Please RSVP by August 19 by calling 345-0151 or emailing

Looking forward to seeing everyone on September 6!

(Note to BBQ attendees: Please don’t park in the med school parking lot behind Montague House, even after business hours. They are not good sports about it.)

Click to enlarge flier.

Flier for 2016 WMU-AAUP Fall BBQ

New Faculty and Association Council Luncheon Sept. 16

New members of the board-appointed faculty at WMU are invited to the WMU-AAUP New Faculty and Association Council Luncheon on Friday, September 16, at 11:30 a.m. in 157 Bernhard.

This is an opportunity for new colleagues to meet faculty from across the university and to get acquainted with their faculty union officers and their college and department representatives. New faculty members and WMU-AAUP Association Council representatives should have already received their invitations to this special event. (Please contact if you’re a new hire or an AC rep and have not received your invitation yet.)

The luncheon will feature special guest speaker Dr. Risa Lieberwitz, Professor of Labor and Employment Law at Cornell University and General Counsel of the American Association of University Professors. In addition to her appearance at the luncheon, Dr. Lieberwitz will also give a public presentation, “The History, Uses, and Abuses of Title IX,” at 4 p.m. on September 16. (More information about that here.)

The luncheon will be followed by the regular Association Council meeting, which begins at 1:30 p.m. and will also be in 157 Bernhard.

We understand the challenges that new colleagues can face in their first years on campus and how isolating it can sometimes feel when you’re new in the department. We are fortunate to have a wonderful community of faculty here at WMU, and we encourage our new colleagues to join us at the luncheon to meet and socialize with other new faculty and their union reps while also learning more about how the WMU-AAUP serves the faculty and the kinds of support and resources that are available to union members.

Especially in a national and regional climate that continues to challenge our claims to decent pay, benefits, and working conditions, we as university faculty must work together to make the case for higher education as a public good. As educators, researchers, artists, and scholars, professors are uniquely qualified to lead these discussions. Getting to know each other is a great way to start to come together as a united faculty who can make our case effectively, especially as we prepare for contract negotiations next year.


Labor law and Title IX expert Risa Lieberwitz to speak at WMU Sept. 16

Risa L. Lieberwitz, Professor of Labor and Employment Law at Cornell University and General Counsel of the American Association of University Professors, will visit WMU on Friday, September 16. She will be the featured speaker at the WMU-AAUP New Faculty and Association Council Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. and later on the 16th will present “The History, Uses, and Abuses of Title IX” in a public presentation at 4 p.m. Both events will be in 157 Bernhard.

Click to enlarge flier.

Flier for speaker event featuring Dr. Risa Lieberwitz, including photo of Dr. Liebervitz and information about the date, time, and location of her presentation.Professor Lieberwitz chaired the committee that produced the new AAUP report on the history and current uses of Title IX, a joint project of the AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure and the Committee on Women in the Academic Profession.

As the executive summary notes,

The report identifies tensions between current interpretations of Title IX and the academic freedom essential for campus life to thrive. It finds that questions of free speech and academic freedom have been ignored in recent positions taken by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Education, which is charged with implementing Title IX, and by university administrators who are expected to oversee compliance measures.

While successful resolutions of Title IX suits are often represented as unqualified victories in the name of gender equality, this report finds that the current interpretation, implementation, and enforcement of Title IX has compromised the realization of meaningful educational goals that lead to sexually safe campuses. Since 2011, deployment of Title IX has also imperiled due-process rights and shared governance. This report thus emphasizes that compliance with the letter of the law is no guarantee of justice, gendered or otherwise.