New Advice on Navigating Politics in the Classroom

January 19, 2017

The American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers have published an FAQ-style guide addressing common concerns among professors in the wake of the 2016 election. The document offers advice on scenarios ranging from an administrative ban on talking about the election in the classroom to discussing the election without appearing partisan and responding to students who express racist, sexist, xenophobic or homophobic views. It includes information on what is protected classroom speech and conduct and what is not.

The guide gives attention to non-tenure-track faculty members, saying that they “may be especially vulnerable in a highly politicized environment. All faculty must commit to ensuring that nontenured colleagues are supported and protected through enforcement of collective bargaining agreements, faculty handbooks and other actions from political and popular pressures that lead to arbitrary dismissals or nonrenewal of contracts.”

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