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[VIRTUAL] The Common Room: Free Speech and Adjunct Faculty

An online forum co-hosted by PEN America’s Campus Free Speech Program and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

Can I say that or will I lose my job? Too many adjuncts are asking themselves this question, fearful that colleges and universities are under little pressure to uphold their commitments to academic freedom for all their faculty. And as non-tenured faculty have made up an increasing proportion of the collegiate teaching force, this tenuous relationship appears poised to be being tested further. How can we further cement academic freedom protections for adjunct faculty today? And what specifically can contingent faculty do when facing censorship and threats to their free speech rights?


Join Jonathan Friedman, director of PEN America’s campus free speech program, for an interactive forum to discuss these issues with special guests Preston Mitchum, director of policy at URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity; Nicole Monnier, teaching professor of Russian and associate dean for undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri College of Arts & Science; and Hans-Joerg Tiede, director of research at the AAUP.

The Common Room is a weekly series for faculty, administrators, staff, and students to explore issues at the intersection of free speech, academic freedom, diversity, and inclusion in higher education. PEN America Members, supporters, and friends, including the general public, are invited to attend.


Jonathan Friedman headshotJonathan Friedman (he/him/his) is the program director for campus free speech at PEN America, where he oversees PEN America’s advocacy, analysis, and outreach in the national debate around free speech and inclusion in higher education. He served as lead author on PEN America’s 2019 report, Chasm in the Classroom: Campus Free Speech in a Divided America, and on the production of its digital Campus Free Speech Guide. Friedman holds a PhD in international education from New York University, and he has previously received awards for his teaching, research, and leadership.


Preston Mitchum headshotPreston Mitchum (he/him/his) is a Black and queer civil rights advocate, writer, and public speaker who uses critical thinking and intersectionality in his writing and analyses. He brings nearly a decade of legal and policy experience to his role as the director of policy at URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity. As director of policy, Mitchum shapes state and federal strategies and policies that center the voices and leadership of young people in the South and Midwest. Prior to joining URGE, Mitchum served as senior legal and international policy analyst with Advocates for Youth, the senior policy analyst at the Center for Health and Gender Equity, the judicial law clerk to the Honorable S. Pamela Gray and the Honorable Errol R. Arthur, and was a policy analyst with the Center for American Progress’s LGBT research and communications department. Mitchum also serves as adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, teaching LGBT health law and policy.

Nicole Monnier headshotNicole Monnier (she/her/hers) is a teaching professor of Russian in the School of Languages, Literatures, and Culture at University of Missouri (MU). As a non-tenure track (NTT) faculty member on the MU Faculty Council from 2010 to 2016, then-chair of the campus NTT standing committee, she worked for NTT voting rights, longer contract lengths, and other benefits. She has also served on local, state conference, and national AAUP committees, before moving into her current role as associate dean for undergraduate studies in the MU College of Arts and Science in fall 2018. She continues to teach courses in Russian literature and culture and to work (very slowly) on a monograph on death and the Chekhovian ending.

Hans-Joerg Tiede headshotHans-Joerg Tiede (he/him/his) is the director of research at the American Association of University Professors. He conducts quantitative research on academic freedom, tenure, and governance. He has also written articles and a book on the history of the AAUP and the development of academic freedom, tenure, and governance in the United States. Before joining the staff of the AAUP, he was a professor of computer science at Illinois Wesleyan University. He is the editor of Policy Documents and Reports (the AAUP “Redbook”) and author of University Reform: The Founding of the American Association of University Professors (both Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015).