Civil Rights and the AAUP

Dear Colleagues:

 

AAUP Loyola joins the national AAUP in its celebration of two recent Supreme Court decisions announced last week.  The first, Bostock, clarifies that the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Acts does protect gay and transgender people from workplace discrimination; the second halts the Trump administration’s abrupt ending of the DACA program.  (Please see the message below from the national AAUP).  The current phase of the struggle for racial justice, focused on the outrageous and pervasive police violence against African Americans and other people of color, is a reminder of the importance of a just and equitable legal system that protects the rights of all.  We are proud that the AAUP filed amicus briefs in both cases, in defense of “diversity, tolerance, and openness on university campuses.”

These ongoing issues are of pressing importance to all of us as faculty members and to Loyola as an institution that showcases its commitment to social justice.  We appreciate the advocacy on behalf of the DACA recipients (dreamers) that Loyola as an institution has shown for years, and the eloquent statement made by President Rooney shortly after the announcement of the Supreme Court decision.  We wish that a similar statement had been issued about the Bostock decision, all the more so since Loyola is an institution that might well be able to take advantage of the exemptions for religious institutions  written into the decision. Indeed, Loyola’s attorneys have previously argued for such exemptions in other contexts, including in unsuccessful efforts a number of years ago to argue that the application of the National Labor Relations Act to lecturers and adjuncts violate Loyola’s religious freedom — a position that Trump’s National Labor Relations Board has just upheld.

Similarly, we welcome the numerous initiatives that Loyola has unrolled in response to the unprecedented Black Lives Matter mobilizations across the country.  But we are disappointed that Loyola’s administration has not announced an evaluation of our own campus security officers and Loyola’s relationship with the Chicago Police Department, matters to which the Black Graduate Student Alliance and other campus groups have called attention.

Progress on these three issues — institutional racism, LGBTQ rights, and protecting the undocumented — has been made possible by grassroots activism.  We encourage our colleagues to write with their concerns and requests about these issues to President Rooney and to their representatives on the Faculty Council.  And if the AAUP strikes you as an effective advocate for inclusive and just practices at universities, please consider joining.

 

Sincerely,

 

AAUP Loyola Officers

 

Benjamin Johnson, History

Ian Cornelius, English

Devorah Schoenfeld, Theology

Rhys Williams, Sociology

Sherrie Weller, English

Elizabeth Coffman, Communication

David Ingram, Philosophy

Abby Annala, Library

Reuben Keller, IES

John Pincince, History

Alec Stubbs, Philosophy

Paige Warren, English

 

Dear AAUP Member,

We want to highlight two significant and startlingly positive Supreme Court decisions that came out this week with important implications for many faculty and students—and for higher education in general. In both cases the AAUP joined an amicus brief for the prevailing side.

In Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, et al., the Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gay and transgender workers due to its prohibition of discrimination based on sex. The ruling allows employees discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or transgender status to sue. While questions remain about the rights of religious employers and practical details such as bathrooms and locker rooms, the court emphatically states that “employers are prohibited from firing employees on the basis of homosexuality or transgender status.” Read a summary of the decision and amicus brief.

In Department of Homeland Security et al. v. Regents of the University of California et al., the Supreme Court blocked the current administration’s attempts to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The DACA program allows undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to remain in the country legally and expands access to higher education by providing eligibility for in-state tuition and state-funded grants and loans to participants. However, the ruling leaves open the possibility that this administration may try again to eliminate DACA. As the court states, “The dispute before the Court is not whether DHS may rescind DACA. All parties agree that it may. The dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so.” Read a summary of the decision and amicus brief.

The AAUP applauds these rulings and believes they provide critical support for members of the AAUP community and the students it serves. We emphatically support protections against discrimination, and our legal work reflects our commitment to promoting diversity, tolerance, and openness on university campuses.

The AAUP

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