AHA Supports University Professors and History Departments under Threat
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the AHA remains committed to supporting historians and the study of history—in January, the AHA condemned the report of “The [Former] President’s Advisory 1776 Commission,” defended university professors and history departments under threat, and supported historians conducting LGBTQ-oriented research.
AHA Condemns Report of Advisory 1776 Commission
On January 20, the AHA issued a statement condemning the report from “The [Former] President’s Advisory 1776 Commission.” “Written hastily in one month after two desultory and tendentious ‘hearings,’” the AHA writes, “without any consultation with professional historians of the United States, the report fails to engage a rich and vibrant body of scholarship that has evolved over the last seven decades.” As of February 11, 46 organizations have signed onto the statement. See page 8 for the full statement.
AHA Calls for University of Kansas to Preserve Employment Protections for Faculty
On January 25, the AHA issued a letter urging the University of Kansas to reject a Kansas Board of Regents policy that would “temporarily allow public institutions of higher education to terminate or suspend employees, including tenured faculty, without declaring a financial emergency.” “As historians,” the AHA writes, “we are especially aware of what can happen when principles of academic freedom in higher education lose the essential protection of tenure.” The university should “reject this extraordinary departure that would enable the university to enact drastic and arbitrary personnel actions while bypassing the process of formally declaring financial emergency.”
AHA States Concerns Regarding History Program and Faculty Cuts at University of Evansville
On January 26, the AHA issued a letter expressing grave concern regarding the proposed removal of the history major and termination of two tenured history professors at the University of Evansville. Calling the process leading to the proposed cuts “an especially striking embarrassment for an institution whose stated values emphasize ‘a culture of trust,’” the AHA urged the university to “consider the educational and community impacts of this shortsighted plan for realignment, which will serve to weaken the preparation of your students for the global citizenship imperative to economic and civic accomplishment, as well as the lifelong learning essential to professional success.”
AHA Urges California Legislature to Amend AB1887 for Scholars
On January 28, the AHA sent a letter requesting that the California State Legislature amend the list of exceptions to AB1887, a law that bans state-funded travel to specified states with anti-LGBTQ laws. While the AHA “support[s] the principles underlying AB1887,” it is concerned that the boycott “restricts the work of graduate students and early career scholars, preventing them from completing research that would actually showcase the significance of LGBTQ life, among other pressing subjects, in targeted states.” The AHA urged the legislature to “permit state-funded travel for research and educational initiatives related to the discipline of history, broadly conceived, including LGBTQ culture, health, law, and politics.”
AHA Signs onto ACLS Statement Urging Kansas Board of Regents to Uphold Employment Protections for Faculty
On January 28, the AHA signed onto a statement by the American Council of Learned Societies urging the Kansas Board of Regents to withdraw its endorsement of a proposed policy that would “ease the path to suspending, dismissing, or terminating employees, including tenured faculty members, without undertaking the processes of formally declaring a financial emergency.”
Gabriella Virginia Folsom is communications and operations assistant at the AHA. She tweets @gvfolsom.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Attribution must provide author name, article title, Perspectives on History, date of publication, and a link to this page. This license applies only to the article, not to text or images used here by permission.
Please read our commenting and letters policy before submitting.