AAUP-CCU statement on the case of Professor Steve Earnest

At its meeting on 30 November 2021, the Executive Committee of the American Association of University Professors, CCU chapter, approved the following statement regarding the recent case of Professor Steve Earnest.

Founded in 1915, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is a national organization of university faculty that promotes and safeguards the two fundamental pillars of the academy: academic freedom and shared governance. Nationally, the AAUP’s efforts to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the academy began over a century ago, when the organization established a committee charged with “investigat[ing] and report[ing] upon […] the present or the desirable status of women in college and university faculties”. Since then, AAUP’s DEI-related mission has expanded to include work around racial justice, first-generation faculty and students, disability rights on university campuses, as well as the building of an inclusive and supportive environment for LGBTQ individuals.

The AAUP strongly believes that it is possible to pursue the principles of DEI in higher education, while at the same time safeguarding tenure, which is among the fundamental features of the academy. In the case of Dr. Steven Earnest, AAUP-CCU urges University authorities, students and faculty involved to reach a common understanding around DEI, without tampering with the rights of tenure, which AAUP’s mission is to defend. To that end, and given its history in support of both DEI and academic freedom, the AAUP is willing and able to be a constructive force of reconciliation and fairness in this and other disputes.


Author: Joseph Fitsanakis

Professor, Intelligence and Security Studies program, Coastal Carolina University