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Promoting Quality Higher Education– An Investment in Oregon’s Future


Solidarity and Mutual Aid in Times of Crisis

May 03, 2024 / PSU-AAUP

Dear Colleagues, 
I write with a tremendous mix of emotion, but the prevailing one is deep grief. Our campus, which should be a place for the exchange of open ideas, debate, dialogue, healthy disagreement, and growth, became a place of violence this past week– violence against students, violence against people’s religious, ethnic, and racial identities, and places of origin. And this was centered in the heart of campus - the Branford Price Millar Library - which feels devastating to our community. 

As a union family, we take care of each other in moments of rupture. It is important that we do so with as much compassion for each other as we have for our students. Please check in on one another. Please offer support, even if it’s just a 5 minute conversation that begins with, “how are you doing today?”

PSU-AAUP is a labor union. And labor unions are groups that offer mutual aid and uplift every worker. It is where we come together to improve our working community.

There are also formal ways our union family can support each other.

  • The PSU-AAUP Family Friendly Fund can reimburse you for any care giving costs you may have incurred during unexpected interference with work demands such as costs for alternative childcare arrangements. Please apply for reimbursement using this form as soon as you are able.  

We have been and are feeling deep grief this year, including bearing witness to the use of force on our own campus. Our students are feeling it, too. I know that some of our colleagues were on campus during these protests in an attempt to de-escalate, to protect students’ protest and free speech rights, and to ensure that the actions of PSU’s Community Public Safety Officers, Portland Police, and the Oregon State Police were nonviolent and lawful. And I want to acknowledge this display of dedication and deep care of our students that we all feel. 

In the future we hope that University Administration will remember to call upon the expertise of our staff and faculty in times of crisis. This week faculty and staff experts in conflict resolution, negotiation, and mediation could have provided human-centered support for our student protestors and Administration to resolve the Library’s occupation. We have so many experts on campus. We are disappointed and frustrated that we were not called upon to be of more help.

The events of the past week have felt surreal. We watched as students enacted their free speech rights and acted out of their deep compassion and grief and efforts to enact real change in the world. Many of us were alongside them peacefully protesting. AAUP National defends these rights as do we. Last Monday we put out a reminder - Know Your Rights: Protest, Free Speech, Political Speech, and Academic Freedom. Nationally, we’ve seen academic workers’ contracts be violated inside this moment of rupture. Multiple higher ed union locals have filed unfair labor practice charges to enforce members’ contracts.

Should the administration make any violations of your rights, PSU-AAUP will vehemently defend you. PSU-AAUP is also present for your questions, concerns, and consultation over these matters. if you would like support.

Let’s use these moments of grief to build upon our already existing ethic of mutual aid and care.

Let’s participate in solidarity and unity.

Let’s take care of each other.


In Solidarity,

Emily Ford

PSU-AAUP President

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