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Federal Elections

Statement of the Executive Council of the Rutgers AAUP faculty union regarding the 2016 presidential race, October 6, 2016

The Executive Council of the Rutgers AAUP-AFT concurs with the endorsement of Secretary Hillary Clinton for president of the United States, as promulgated by the national American Federation of Teachers. We excerpt below the most relevant clauses of that resolution:

WHEREAS, Hillary Clinton has spent her entire career, both in the private and public sectors, working to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to climb the ladder of success; and

WHEREAS, Hillary Clinton has a proven record in leading the fight for high-quality healthcare, including proper staffing levels; for high-quality public education for all, starting with our youngest children; was an original co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act; defended public service workers who came to our nation's defense on Sept. 11; and has a deep and long record on economic and social justice issues—from voting rights to immigrant rights to women's rights to
worker rights—earning a 100 percent AFT voting record during her time in the U.S. Senate; and

WHEREAS, Hillary Clinton has pledged to help build an economy that produces good jobs and rising wages, and will work with educators, telling the AFT, "It's just dead wrong to make teachers the scapegoats for all of society's problems. Where I come from, teachers are the solution. And I strongly believe that unions are part of the solution too"; and

WHEREAS, the stakes are critically high in this election, when corporate-backed politicians want to preserve today's status quo—a rigged, trickle-down economic system—and to do that, they want to eviscerate unions; and

WHEREAS, these politicians know that unions give working people power at the bargaining table and the ballot box; and

WHEREAS, Hillary Clinton is a tested leader who shares our values, is supported by AFT members, and is prepared for a tough fight in order to champion the interest of students, families and communities:

Since the AFT endorsement, Hillary Clinton has adopted a “debt-free college” plan that would exempt families earning below $125,000 per annum from paying tuition at public institutions.  Such an initiative would transform Rutgers and, indeed, revive higher education as a driver of political and economic enfranchisement.  We embrace this proposal wholeheartedly.

Additionally, and in our specific capacity as scholars and teachers and advisors of students, we wish to express our alarm regarding the candidacy of Donald Trump.  Mr. Trump presents an unprecedented triple threat to higher education in the United States:

1. Mr. Trump practices a blatant disdain for facts, science, and analysis.  Presumably, an executive branch run by Mr. Trump would denigrate knowledge, education, and intelligence altogether.  Such an attitude would seem to exclude faculty and the Academy from their traditional role of informing public discussion and policy-relevant debates.
2. According to his own campaign promises, a Trump administration would deport 11 million undocumented US residents its first days.  We shudder to imagine police raids on our campus and in our classrooms. At Rutgers, we support and value our undocumented students and are proud of their accomplishments. To  make matters worse, a Trump administration would, for an unspecified period of time, interdict the entry of Muslim faculty, postdocs, and students.  As a plural, international institution, Rutgers could not function under a Trump administration.
3. Although his fiscal policy remains murky, Mr. Trump appears to wish to cut corporate and other taxes dramatically for those in the highest income brackets.  The resultant reduction in the federal budget would surely prejudice funding for research and student financial aid – not to mention numerous other social services upon which we and our students rely. In this same, mean spirit, Mr. Trump has failed entirely to address issues of student debt and college affordability.

Altogether, we cannot abide the anti-intellectual, bigoted, and selfish outlook Mr. Trump would bring to Washington. In particular, the next President will exercise lasting influence over judicial appointments, including to  the Supreme Court. In the face of such high stakes, Hillary Clinton presents the best alternative.  The Executive Council, therefore, urges members to join with her campaign in canvassing, phone banking, and getting out the vote. Shortly, we will
inform members of suitable opportunities to engage in such activities. We pledge to push President Hillary Clinton to support public education, working families, and the rights of labor unions. 

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