Tres Pyle is an Associate Professor in the Department of English.
The Politics Committee helps foster and coordinate our union’s efforts toward the aim of reclaiming public higher education in Oregon. Numerous issues threaten our ability to provide a first-rate, affordable and equitable education in Oregon. These include rising tuition, rapidly increasing student debt, lack of funding for academic programming, shrinking support for primary research, and the retention of faculty.
Higher education is further threatened by disappearing resources for public K through 12 education in the state, leaving students unprepared for college. Finally, several ongoing political currents threaten the future and vitality of public higher education, among them the national trend toward the real or de facto privatization of public colleges and universities; the ever-escalating pressure on colleges and universities to quantify the unquantifiable benefits of higher learning; and the long-term campaign to dismantle or abolish collective bargaining rights for faculty and for public employees generally.
Our goals are to shift legislative priorities in Salem toward better funding for higher education, making it more available for Oregonians of all social, economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds to achieve a quality college education. To this end, we work to make our voices heard by elected representatives, to work with allies around the state on strategies reinvigorate public higher education, to educate the public on these issues through writing, speaking, and agitating. We work to engage our fellow union members in this mission and invite you to join us.
These priorities indicate a number of concrete strategies. Most immediately, our goals call for the engagement of our union members in political action. Such action includes contributing to our Political Action Fund, which helps us advance our aims by supporting actions and political candidates who share our values. It also includes contacting public officials, reaching out to fellow Oregonians, and participating in campaigns around issues that will shape the future of public higher education in this state.
The Politics Committee will also forge alliances with colleagues and bargaining units at other public universities, large and small, throughout the state (Portland State University, Oregon State University, Western Oregon University, Southern Oregon University, and the Oregon Institute of Technology); with colleagues and bargaining units at two-year community colleges throughout Oregon; and with the state-wide organizations sharing our goals and representing our interests—AFT-Oregon, AAUP-Oregon, the Association of Oregon Faculties (AOF), and the Oregon Education Association (OEA).