ACADEMIC WORKERS UNITED FOR PANDEMIC DEFENSE AND COLLECTIVE POWER
Social Media in the Post-Trump Era
Since the start of the pandemic union leaders have been more reliant than ever on digital tools and platforms to connect us to our members. Behind the scenes social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have made changes to how content is displayed. And in the most shocking (if long overdue) move of all, Donald Trump was banned from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram following the insurrection at the Capitol.
Please join us for an updated training, with Alex Palombo from AFT Communications, about how to use social media savvily and conscientiously in an ever-changing political environment. Learn strategies to Spot The Troll and review best practices for posting to ensure your union remains a trusted source of relevant information, plus new tools and strategies for reaching your audience.
Solidarity Academy webinars are free and open to all.
Watch, listen to, or view slides from earlier seminars at your convenience.
Title IX Rules: New and Not Improved
After a multiyear process the new, 2,000 page Title IX rule has been released, in the middle of a pandemic, with a requirement for campuses to be in compliance by August 14, 2020. Though the new rule covers all levels of education, there are changes impacting higher education that are particularly troubling, especially the mandate that all campuses provide a “live” hearing with cross-examination.
These rules radically weaken the federal enforcement of Title IX protections against sexual assault and other forms of sexual harassment and have faced much-deserved protest including a lawsuit.
We were joined by Shiwali Patel from the National Women’s Law Center for this discussion of the new rule, its expected impacts, and how faculty, graduate employees, and staff can navigate the ambiguity of compliance with important civil rights laws, while questioning their legitimacy.
Basic Needs Solidarity: Why Addressing Hunger and Homelessness is in Everyone’s Interest
Even before COVID19 hit colleges in the US there was a growing awareness of hunger and homelessness in our campus communities. Many of the AFT’s higher-ed locals have been involved in addressing these basic needs for students and members with initiatives like food banks and emergency funds. Now there is even greater need for a deeper and more coordinated focus on the issue of basic needs insecurity, and union involvement will be crucial to success.
AFT member and Founding Director of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, Sara Goldrick-Rab, and Director of the Local 212 FAST Fund Michael Rosen led this discussion of strategies to address basic needs insecurities (going beyond the campus food pantry), and evidence-based advocacy tactics.
Due to technical issues this video only includes the first 50 minutes of the talk.
Organizing 101: Building Power in a Crisis
A crisis that has been brewing in higher education for decades is coming to a head as the COVID-19 pandemic creates an unprecedented opening for opportunistic austerity measures. Across the US, academic workers and students have been forced to find creative ways to connect and organize in defense of their health, community, and future. However, the demands being made in response to COVID-19 are not just for short term accommodations. The call for a voice and vote for all members of the academic community in decisions that impact them has never been stronger or more urgent.
This training was led by AFTA staff and member organizers who shared best practices, examples of creative tactics, and some suggested first steps for academic workers looking to build power at work.
Unemployment Insurance and the Contingent Academic
Adjunct and graduate assistant employment is precarious in the best of times. As the COVID 19 health crisis continues, both academic and alternative academic jobs are being impacted. Please join us for this week’s seminar to inform AFT members and allies of the changes to unemployment insurance as it relates to non-tenure-track faculty and graduate employees.
As college and university concerns grow about summer and fall enrollment, academic workers’ concerns are growing as well. Even with the significant changes in federal and state rules favoring benefit awards to individuals impacted by COVID-19, unemployment insurance eligibility determinations can be difficult to navigate.
You can view the slides from this seminar here, and read the AFT’s Unemployment Insurance FAQ here.
The Impact of COVID19 on International Students & Scholars
This webinar addresses what unions can do to support and fight for international workers during this period of crisis. The discussion was led by the AFT Legal Department and leaders in AFT affiliate locals and organizing campaigns.
Participants in this webinar discussed the challenges international scholars are facing; offered up-to-date practical guidance on how international scholars can navigate the current situation; and strategized on ways we can push our universities and governments to provide the support and protection we need.
Building on the previous guidance we’ve released for international students and scholars, this webinar covers questions about visa status, work restrictions, housing and more.
An Army of Temps: Adjunct Faculty Working and Living Conditions
This seminar discusses the AFT’s new report on the plight of college faculty. The report, titled “An Army of Temps,” is based on the first nationwide survey of adjunct faculty since 2013.
The webinar covers the report’s findings on the disturbing economic reality faced by millions of contingent and adjunct faculty members at our nation’s colleges and universities, and the financial challenges that faculty face because of cuts to funding. The report details the living and working conditions of more than 3,000 respondents to a 2019 survey. It illustrates how precarious academic work was even before the coronavirus pandemic, which has now made a grave situation even worse.
Higher-Ed Federal Update: What We Know, What We Don’t, and What’s Ahead
While still incomplete the federal response to the many impacts of Coronavirus have been fast-moving and complex. There are several provisions in the recent Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that directly impact higher education including a stabilization fund with a new funding formula.
The economic rescue package has yet to be implemented and there are some unknowns, but this is an opportunity to hear the latest news and what’s ahead (a 4th economic rescue package is in the works!).
View the slides from this seminar here.
From Arts to Sciences: How can I teach this class online?
Amidst this national health emergency, classrooms may be closed, but class is still in session, and educators have gone above and beyond to ensure instructional continuity. Particular subjects, such as performance arts or lab sciences, pose unique challenges for educators.
In this webinar, you will have the opportunity to learn about some strategies to effectively teach “hard to port” courses, such as dance and lab science, online.
Online Education: The Short-Term Crisis and Long-Term Realities
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a massive scale-up of distance education at most colleges and universities with grave implications for educator control over the curriculum and intellectual property rights. This conversation about best practices for online education both now and in the future was hosted AFT Staff and policy experts from The Century Foundation.
This seminar recording is audio only.
COVID-19 Webinar on Student Loan Repayment
Struggling with your student loans? Helping a partner/colleague/friend with their student loans?
The American Federation of Teachers and the Student Borrower Protection Center presented a live webinar discussing how to manage your student loans during this public health crisis. You can watch the recorded presentation here.
- What to do if you are furloughed or out of work
- Tips for enrolling in an income-driven repayment plan
- How to get out of default and avoid federal tax refund offsets
- Options if you have private student loans
Visit the SBPC and Forgive My Student Debt for more resources.