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UHPA Supports AFT’s Endorsement of Biden/Harris Ticket

The most important election in our lifetime

Do you cherish academic freedom, tenure, and worker rights? Do you believe in science? Do you believe in democracy and justice?  If you said yes, you know the next five months will be filled with the most important and critical moments in our collective lifetime and modern history.  We face an existential threat to our nation’s democracy which could reverberate for generations to come if Donald Trump is elected as President.  We all know that decisions made in the Oval Office ultimately affect faculty and universities across the nation, including UHPA members.

If Trump gets elected again, he will take extreme steps and implement radical reforms in education and the academy.  As recently reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education, an article entitled IF TRUMP WINS highlights the plans that the Trump presidency would use to reform higher education institutions based on policies and guidance produced by The Heritage Foundation, The Goldwater Institute, and The Manhattan Institute, to name a few.  Unfortunately, for those in higher education, our current institutional leadership is not only “ill-prepared” but, more likely, unable to defend itself and prevent such a drastic overall change.  

While we won’t know the exact methods to be employed, we do know that Trump plans on deconstructing higher education once he takes office, and that it will involve the drastic expansion of the federal government’s oversight of colleges and universities.  The writing was on the wall during his last administration when, in Trump’s last budget proposal to Congress, he called for a 7.8% (or $5.6B) cut in the Department of Education budget, much of which focused on reductions for public-service loan forgiveness as well as Pell Grants for low income students.  

Trump’s policies will certainly parallel the policies already circulating in the public domain amongst the far right.  Consistent with their interests, we will likely see moves to focus on a conservative education, void of ethnic and gender studies, along with the termination of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and programs. Trump will force the hand of universities who are dependent on the federal government for research grants and financial-aid funding. 

Recently, the Trump campaign set forth two far-fetched proposals on his plan for higher education. One, to create a federally funded tuition-free, open-access online national university, funded primarily by taxes on existing universities’ endowments; and two, to “fire” any existing, what he alleges as, ‘radical left’ accrediting organizations, and replace them with new accreditors who would impose different accreditation standards on all colleges and universities.  

By contrast, President Joe Biden is making historic investments in education at all levels, including higher education. He is funding more fellowships for STEM research and expanding research facilities. He is also increasing access to career and technical education and making sure the public service loan forgiveness program is working to make college more accessible.

This is why UHPA is joining AFT’s endorsement of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for a second term as US President and Vice President. UHPA faculty recognize that we are an ocean away from the continental US and not part of the seven important “swing-states.” UHPA faculty will not, however, bury their heads in the sand just because Hawaii has only four electoral votes.  UHPA faculty care and will fight and do their part to protect their academy and democracy.

UHPA’s affiliation with AFT is the first critical step to help UHPA faculty protect our University and academy. Our affiliation strengthens AFT’s presence, impact, and joint campaign in critical swing states. Our affiliation adds more strength to AFT’s 1.7 million members to protect our University and the academy.  UHPA faculty are committed and if we are faced with the inevitable, our affiliation with more than 1.7 million AFT members will become ever more meaningful and important as organizing to fight the good fight will become necessary.

In Solidarity We Stand With AFT.