Academic Freedom policy (APM-011) now active

Important deadline approaching fast for represented librarians

The newest addition to the Academic Personnel Manual, APM-011 (titled “Academic Freedom, Protection of Professional Standards, and Responsibilities of Non-Faculty Academic Appointees”), became official UC policy on February 1st,  2020, which is wonderful news.  UC-AFT welcomes this needed policy change, and we are monitoring how policies and procedures are implemented to address, and when necessary adjudicate, librarian-related disputes and challenges to academic expression.  We look forward to working with University administration, the Academic Senate, and LAUC to make sure librarians’ interaction with the policy is handled optimally for all involved.

But time is of the essence: any represented librarians who have had their academic freedom suppressed in any way in the last 10 months must take action by the end of February.

UC-AFT’s current contract includes a side letter which states: “Between the time of ratification of this Agreement and the issuance of APM-011, if a Professional Librarian believes that a violation of APM-011 occurred which adversely affected the Professional Librarian’s then-existing terms or conditions of appointment, the Professional Librarian shall have thirty (30) calendar days following the issuance of APM-011 to file a grievance pursuant to the terms of APM-011.”

In other words: the current librarian contract allows Unit 17 librarians to file a grievance on any alleged AF violations which occurred between April 1st 2019 (when the contract was ratified) until the policy issuance date of February 1st 2020, as long as they file the grievance within 30 calendar days from the February 1st 2020 launch date. 

The UC President’s office issued an advisory notice regarding this 30-day window to Human Resources representatives on each campus.  It’s unclear if such a message has reached the correct administrators on every campus (typically within the Academic Senate offices).  We can verify that one campus Senate (UCLA) is offering our librarians assistance with instructions on how to file grievances, while still awaiting further guidance on how to handle such grievances.

While the policy covers the entire UC system, local campus procedures will dictate how Academic Freedom challenges are addressed, and these procedures will vary by campus. We urge any Unit 17 members with Academic Freedom issues to seek out the campus process that is available to faculty, and begin inquiring how librarians may file any necessary grievances before the end of the 30-day window.  When the basic procedures for filing are determined on your campus, please make sure your entire membership understands how to take action within this 30-day window. 

By the way – that 30-day window would end on March 1st, 2020.  Because that is a Sunday, we advise you to submit any grievances prior to that date, by Friday February 28th.

The Academic Freedom grievance process is separate from and not covered by union grievance procedures. Nevertheless, UC-AFT librarians and staff are gathering information on librarians’ issues and challenges including with Academic Freedom, and are monitoring the University’s development of procedures to handle librarians’ Academic Freedom claims. We encourage anyone intending to file a grievance to contact the librarian contract administration group and/or your UC-AFT representative.  

In Solidarity,

Librarian contract administration group: 

UC-AFT field representatives:


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