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[xmca] What gets noticed at AERA
It sounds as if AERA is happening right now; if so, could someone keep an ear open and see if anyone has noticed what's going on in Michigan -- some language that's being attached to the higher ed appropriations bill that attempts to prevent universities from placing students in any non-profit/civic, religious, etc organization that engages in "protest, demonstration or organization against a Michigan business." This was sent to me by a colleague.
I'm curious to see if this item came up in any discussions.
> Dear Colleague,
> We write to seek your support in averting an imminent threat against the academic freedom of Michigan’s public universities.
> When the Michigan legislature returns from recess next week, it will be voting on appropriations for state colleges and universities. Recently, the following language was added to the higher education appropriations bill:
> Sec. 273a. It is the intent of the legislature that a public university that receives funds in section 236 shall not collaborate in any manner with a nonprofit worker center whose documented activities include coercion through protest, demonstration, or organization against a Michigan business.
> As described in a recent front-page story in the Lansing State Journal, this disturbing language seems to have been the result of a field placement by a University of Michigan social work student with the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan (ROC-Michigan). ROC is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving working conditions and opportunities for advancement in the restaurant industry. Among many other projects furthering fair and effective economic development in Michigan, ROC has articulated demands for fair treatment of workers in Michigan restaurants. It has been suggested that the Michigan Restaurant Association suggested the language above as a retaliatory move against ROC, its interns and their faculty advisors.
> This language is so broad that it could potentially prevent public universities from forming partnerships or placing students with virtually any civic, religious, or other non-profit organization that engages in public outreach. It represents direct interference by the legislature in the university curriculum, and thereby curtails the academic freedom of the universities, their faculty members, and students. It is essential that the fundamental academic freedom and citizen engagement that are at the heart of our universities’ mission not be held hostage to their budgetary needs.
> We are collecting individual and organizational endorsements to include on the letter which has been cut and pasted as well as attached to this document, to Michigan legislators in the appropriations and conference committees. The legislature is moving quickly, and it is critical that you respond as soon as possible.
> Please respond to the Intercollegiate Community Engagement Working Group at email@example.com to indicate your willingness to sign on to this letter as an individual or as an organization, and please include your title and organizational position for identification purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact Ian Robinson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Michelle Kaminski (email@example.com) two members of the committee who are academic professionals.
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