Some MSU Faculty Members Forming Union Local To Strengthen Faculty Voices

Mar 26, 2013

Dr. Kevin Binfield
Credit Murray State.EDU

Some Murray State faculty members are in the early stages of starting a local chapter of an educators union following a Board of Regents vote against extending current president Randy Dunn’s contract.

MSU’s Faculty Senate previously issued a letter to the board supporting a new contract for Dunn.

English Professor Kevin Binfield hosted a small group of faculty members Tuesday for officer elections to form a local chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).  Binfield says forming the union may strengthen faculty voices.

“For the past several years we have talked periodically about unionizing, although we could not form a collective bargaining unit unless we received voluntary recognition from the board,” Binfield said. “We could nevertheless have an advocacy local. So, that we could magnify faculty voices so there would be not just the faculty regent and the faculty senate as voices for the faculty but another separate entity tied to a national organization.”

Murray State is currently on an AAUP censure list dating back to actions from former MSU president and current MSU Board of Regents Chairman Constantine Curris.  The 1975 AAUP report accuses Curris of violating the academic freedom of tenured professors by firing without just cause or due process.

Although Curris was responsible for AAUP censuring, Binfield said Curris did bring to the campus better tenure policy, the creation of the faculty senate and stopped the practice of kicking out unmarried pregnant students.  

Binfield wasn’t clear on how the censure could affect the formation of a local chapter. Currently the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville host the only two Kentucky AAUP chapters.