Publication Date

March 1, 2004

The AHA Council accepted the following resolutions which were adopted at the 118th Business Meeting of the Association on January 10, 2004:

1. Resolution affirming rights of free speech and open access to records

Resolved, that in view of current efforts to restrict free speech in the name of national security, the American Historical Association affirms the sanctity of rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, the decisive importance of unfettered discussion to the pursuit of historical knowledge, the necessity for open debate of United States foreign policy and other public issues in order to safeguard the health of democracy and of our profession, and the need for open access to government records and archives.

2. Resolution regarding Yale University and the Graduate Employee and Students Organization (GESO)

Whereas, Yale graduate employees have been trying to unionize for 12 years; and Whereas, whatever our opinions on unionization, we believe that discussion around this question should occur in an atmosphere which reflects the values of the academy; and

Whereas, an academic labor panel was convened on September 20, 2003, to consider charges of intimidating and coercive behavior by the Yale administration and some faculty, particularly in science departments. The panel consisted of: Fred Feinstein (chairman), former National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel; Cynthia Estlund, Professor, Columbia Law School; Kari Klare, Professor, Northeastern University School of Law; Adolph Reed, Professor, Department of Political Science at New School University; Robert B. Reich, Professor, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, and former U.S. Labor Secretary; and Emily Spieler, Dean, Northeastern University School of Law; and

Whereas, their statement notes, "The fact that so many students reported threatening and intimidating experiences . . . raises a serious concern;" and

Whereas, the statement concludes, "we note with regret that the consequence of the administration's position, if sustained by the NLRB, is that the serious charges of intimidation and interference with expressional freedom raised by GESO's supporters will never receive any sort of adjudicative hearing," therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Yale administration and the GESO should, as recommended by this statement, “find a mutually acceptable forum for reaching some understanding about conduct that members of the Yale community regard as a genuine threat to their freedom of belief and expression. That forum could be the NLRB if all parties conceded its jurisdiction; or it could be another forum devised by the parties.”

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