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Boston University's (B.U.) chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) filed unfair labor practice charges against the B.U. administration with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Wednesday.
B.U. trustees filed identical charges against the B.U. faculty February 3, saying the faculty is "holding a strike over our heads unless we share managerial power with them," Ted Fredricksen, spokesman for the B.U. administration, said last week.
An AAUP officer who is a tenured professor at B.U. and asked to remain unidentified, said yesterday the faculty intended to postpone classes starting April 4 if bargaining did not proceed.
"'Strike' is the administration's word, chosen for its obvious inflammatory connotations," he said, adding any cancelled classes would be made up when the dispute is settled so students will not suffer.
The faculty union charged the administration with "failure to bargain in good faith," citing administration reluctance to agree to satisfactory negotiation arrangements.
A recent U.S. District Court order required B.U. to recognize the 300-member bargaining unit, the union spokesman said. The NLRB will conduct independent investigations of both sides as a result of the charges, he added.
Arthur Metcalf, chairman of the board of trustees and Wesley Christensen, spokesman for the administration, both declined comment on the union's latest action, but Christensen said last week the university was not willing to "bargain away our power to a minority union."
About 40 per cent of the 850-member B.U. faculty belongs to the AAUP. The majority of the members are tenured professors, according to AAUP figures.
More non-tenured faculty would belong to the union but they fear that joining would hurt their chances of being granted tenure, a B.U. assistant professor who asked to remain unidentified, said yesterday. "Some departments explicitly state that AAUP membership is considered a black blot on your record," he added.
Detlev Vagts '49, professor of Law and former president of Harvard's AAUP chapter said about half of the more than 400-member Faculty belong to the AAUP, but they have never felt the need for collective bargaining because of Harvard's system of de-centralized administration.
"Faculty members here participate in decisions routinely through their departments," he said, adding, "It's easy to see why faculties at large, centrally controlled schools might need union representation and collective bargaining to help promote their interests."
Lee Brotherton, a B.U. junior and delegate to the College of Liberal Arts Forum, a B.U. student government organization, said yesterday student support of the faculty was widespread.
"The professors give us our education. The administration just gives us headaches and bills. Most students naturally support the professors," he said, adding that a "teach-in" will be held February 14.
The Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts said on February 5 it will investigate charges that the B.U. administration has violated the principles of academic freedom.
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