First, let me again make it explicitly clear that UFF

  has no organizational affiliation with the American

  Association of University Professors (AAUP).  Further-

  more, while I am personally Vice President of the

  Florida Conference of AAUP, I have assiduously refused

  to speak for the conference or for AAUP on the Al-Arian

  controversy, took no part in the investigation and

  committee deliberations except as a witness to the

  investigating committee, and recused myself from

  speaking or voting at the annual meeting.  In short, I

  do not speak for AAUP on this matter.

       Nevertheless, I believe UFF's members and the

  bargaining unit we represent deserve some report on

  what I perceive to have happened, so here it is:

   1.  The tenor of the debate was that it was clear

       that the USF administration had violated the

       standards of academic freedom, the only question

       was what to do about it.

    a.  To me, the most impressive fact about the extended

        open debate was that not one of the speakers

        argued for reducing or opposing the recommended


     (1)  Not one speaker said the administration had

          performed satisfactorily and should be


     (2)  Not one speaker said that Al-Arian deserved

          whatever punishment he received because of...

     (3)  Not one speaker said that AAUP should dodge the

          issue because it would be politically unwise to

          take a stand, and the one speaker who suggested

          that someone else might hold such a view was

          chastised for heresy.

    b.  Procedural issues and AAUP's own rules dominated

        the discussion:

     (1)  The question was not whether some action should

          be taken against the USF administration, but what

          kind of action would be appropriate and consis-

          tent with AAUP guidelines.

     (2)  To editorialize slightly:  Much of the substance

          of AAUP's criticism of USF's administration

          concerned the issue of procedural justice, hence

          most members felt strongly that AAUP itself had

          a strong obligation to observe procedural justice.

   2.  The substance of the debate involved long-established

       guidelines for imposing censure and the relative

       novelty of condemnation.

    a.  The censure process has two important elements that

        were important in the discussion.

     (1)  Censure is not normally imposed until all of an

          institution's internal procedures and appeals have

          been completed.

      (a)  Administrations are not normally considered to

           have "done" something so long as it might yet be

           reversed in the normal course of events.

      (b)  Professor Al-Arian chose to appeal his case

           through the grievance procedure established by

           the emergency rules rather than through the pro-

           cedure established by the collective bargaining


       (i)   It is UFF's position that the contract is still

             in effect.

       (ii)  It is the administration's position that the

             contract is not still in effect, and so they

             refuse to process any grievances under the


       (iii) Perhaps understandably, Dr. Al-Arian and his

             attorney chose not to get caught in the middle

             of this fight.

       (iv)  To editorialize again: This may not be a coin-

             cidental problem as the administration waited

             for over a year and then terminated Dr. Al-

             Arian immediately after the date on which they

             claim to have broken the union contract.

      (c)  Dr. Al-Arian has requested, and the administra-

           tion has agreed, that his final hearing be

           delayed until after the court disposes of his


      (d)  Therefore, internal appeals have not been

           exhausted and may, in fact, never be exhausted.

     (2)  Imposition of censure normally includes specific

          recommended actions an administration must take to

          have the censure lifted.

      (a)  But the university cannot give Dr. Al-Arian his

           job back while he is in jail.

      (b)  And it cannot "retry" him under AAUP procedural

           guidelines while he is in jail.

      (c)  And it would be inappropriate to force an adminis-

           tration to remain on the censure list for not

           doing something it is powerless to do (to invoke

           Kant again, "'Ought' implies 'Can'").

      (d)  Furthermore, President Genshaft had convinced

           Committee A that USF is already implementing a

           policy that such disciplinary actions will in the

           future require a preliminary hearing before a

           faculty peer committee so there is no need to make

           such a recommendation.

             (To editorialize yet again: those of us in

           attendance from USF were amazed to hear this, as

           none of us knew of any such policy decision.  In

           fact, the only time that I know when it was

           seriously discussed occurred more than a year ago,

           when President Genshaft told the Board of Trustees

           that she was considering such a policy, the Faculty

           Senate formed an ad hoc committee to recommend such

           a policy, the committee held a hearing at which I

           agreed to such a policy on behalf of UFF and the

           administration's representatives rejected it --

           nothing more was done, so far as I know; certainly

           the union has never been consulted on such a


     (3)  Because these normal elements of censure were not

          present, Committee A recommended that censure not

          be imposed.

    b.  So far as anyone could recall, AAUP has never before

        voted to "condemn" an academic administration.

     (1)  Censure is the normal instrument for indicating to

          academia and the general public that an administra-

          tion has violated AAUP guidelines.

     (2)  But AAUP had "condemned" other individuals and

          institutions, such as the government of China.

     (3)  Committee A and the Executive Committee of AAUP

          recommended condemnation in this case because:

      (a)  Censure seemed inappropriate under the circum-


      (b)  It would also be inappropriate to allow the

           perception that AAUP had found the USF administra-

           tion's actions to be justified under AAUP guide-


   3.  The conflict in the debate was whether or not the

       recommended actions were sufficiently strong.

    a.  The plenary session clearly believed that it was

        important to take some strong action proclaiming that

        the USF administration had seriously violated AAUP

        standards for academic freedom.

    b.  The plenary session rejected Committee A's recommen-

        dation that censure not be imposed and recommitted

        the question to the committee (note the beautiful

        etymological symmetry) for further consideration.

    c.  The plenary session made it clear that they did not

        wish condemnation to be viewed as an exoneration or

        even a lesser reduced sentence for the USF adminis-


    d.  The plenary session voted almost unanimously (the

        President called it unanimous and then withdrew the

        appellation after three or four people indicated they

        had softly said 'No') for the final motion to

        recommit censure and impose condemnation on the USF


    e.  At the next plenary session a motion was briefly

        entertained, but rejected, that would have recon-

        sidered the final vote for the purpose of substitut-

        ing a motion of immediate censure.

   4.  The consequences of the AAUP actions were these:

    a.  The most respected voice of academic freedom in the

        United States has solemnly declared, in the strongest

        language available, that the USF administration vio-

        lated AAUP's generally recognized guidelines for

        academic freedom.

    b.  USF has not "escaped" or "dodged" censure -- the

        option is still open for action at next year's annual


    c.  The administration has proclaimed itself exonerated

        and "can't fathom" what the fuss was all about.

   5.  More subjective remarks:

    a.  In fairness to both the administration and the AAUP,

        it is important to remember that the university's

        actions that lie at the heart of the AAUP investiga-

        tion and discussion are those involving the original

        charges and actions against Dr. Al-Arian, not

        primarily the more recent dismissal after his indict-


    b.  Unlike one case back when I was state president of

        UFF, AAUP made no finding that the union was at fault

        in this case, although it did express the opinion

        that the collectively bargained contract is

        insufficiently aligned with AAUP guidelines (there

        are historical and systematic reasons for this, if

        anyone is interested).

    c.  Neither our students nor our faculty should feel in

        any way criticized by the AAUP's actions -- all

        criticisms were directed at the university adminis-

        tration, or at President Genshaft personally, or at

        the Board of Trustees institutionally.  In fact, the

        censure list is explicitly a list of censured admin-

        istrations, not institutions.

    d.  On the other hand, to the extent that students and

        faculty are still at risk from the consequences of

        any possible future imposition of censure, we need

        to be vigilant and firm in our insistence that the

        administration change its attitudes and behaviors.

    e.  Now that we have resolved the question of union.

        recognition, the next important interaction will be

        the negotiation of the first ever university-level

        contract.  I urge the administration to be forth-

        coming rather than hostile and the faculty to be

        engaged and supportive rather than apathetic.

    f.  We have a (somewhat) new Board of Trustees and a

        (somewhat) new Provost -- as a confirmed optimist I

        hope and expect that things will get better in the

        future and we can all get past these conflicts and

        get back to doing what we love to do: our jobs.