46 Virtual Teaching and Copyright Concerns: An Interview with Aaron Nisenson, AAUP

Published in Landslide® magazine, Volume 13, Number 4, a publication of the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law (ABA-IPL), ©2021 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.
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Virtual Teaching
and Copyright
An Interview with
Aaron Nisenson, AAUP
Aaron Nisenson (anisenson@aaup.org) is senior counsel and director of the
legal department for the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).
He joined the AAUP in January 2013 and speaks and writes extensively on higher
education, faculty rights, constitutional, labor, and employment law.
Could you tell us a little bit about the American Association of University
The AAUP is a nonprot professional association that has faculty members
throughout the U.S. We also have some graduate student members and other pro-
fessionals at universities. Our membership is open to faculty and others at public
and private universities. Our members tend to be in traditional higher education
campuses and community colleges. The AAUP is headquartered in Washington,
D.C., but we generally operate through local chapters. Members can gather and
form a local chapter and then ask for a charter from us, and then they have a local
chapter. We also have a national at-large chapter that includes retirees and other
faculty who do not have a home chapter. Much of our work is done through local
chapters that exist at colleges and universities and centers around helping our
members advocate for benecial rights on their campuses.
What types of issues does the AAUP address on behalf of its faculty
We typically see a couple of different things that faculty are interested in.
One is at their particular institution. For example: What are the policies? What
are the academic freedom rights? Many of our chapters are collective bargain-
ing chapters, so they might bargain wages and benets for the faculty. Faculty
also often have a more national perspective on academic freedom, faculty
advancement, pay for faculty—things like that that might be more nationwide.
Local chapters can be involved in both. The national chapter tends to be faculty
and retirees who are more interested in the national issues and not as much in
the issues on their particular campuses.
We’re also very active in setting standards and policies
for the profession, and in some instances, we’ve worked with
college and university groups to do that. Our statements on
academic freedom and on tenure and governance have been
adopted by the AAUP, but also by hundreds of university higher
ed organizations. And we have specic guidance that we provide: we have
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