AAUP Capitol Hill Day – Thursday, June 12, 2014
Twelve members of the Connecticut State Conference-AAUP participated in AAUP Capitol Hill Day on Thursday, June 12, 2014. Our goals were to discuss with our two Connecticut Senators and 5 Representatives or their aides on several talking points, including Access and Affordability for College Students, Political Interference on Academic Research, Sensible Regulations that Protect Students and Taxpayers, and other issues related to faculty working conditions and security.
The group was able to talk directly with Senator Chris Murphy
Irene Mulvey of Fairfield University and Flo Hatcher, Executive Director, Connecticut Conference-AAUP, arranged the office visits and were our group leaders through the hallways in the Capitol and other buildings.. John W. Curtis, Director of Research and Public Policy, American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and Brian Turner of Randolph-Macon College developed the talking points and position papers for our discussions. Irene also developed the photo record of our visits.
Some observations from 2014 AAUP Capitol Hill Day.
- It is useful to purchase a SmarTrip Metro car for $2 and add credit on it electronically. The paper tickets are charged $1 for each trip.
- The Senators are in the Hart Building, probably not named after Philip A. Hart, past senator from Michigan, not Gary Hart. The Congresspeople are in the Rayburn House Office Building, named for Congressman Sam Rayburn of Texas. The Rayburn Building has better air-conditioning.
- Senator Blumenthal’s reception area was covered with flyers of the new UCONN Huskie logo and visitors were encouraged to sign the wall.
- Senator Murphy came out of a committee room discussion on Iran that had changed to a talk on the changing situation in Iraq. He looked like he was ready to appear on television.
- The Senator and Congressional cafeterias are fine places to relax and have refreshments.
- There are lots of subways, underground hallways, connecting the office buildings and Congress. There is a subway, a train that has a 1/3 mile track, between an office building and the Capitol but tourists are not invited to take a ride.
- Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty’s office features photos and paintings of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Congressman Jim Himes’ aides remind visitors of his efforts for Bridgeport. Congressman Joe Courtney’s office features a photo of Eastern’s library; Joe regularly talks on radio and appears on CSPAN. Congressman John Larson’s aides remind visitors of his background as a high school teacher. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro’s office walls are covered with a photographic record of her historic connections during her career and her roots in American Labor.
- It was interesting to see how congressional aides and others reacted to a discussion on recent events at Quinnipiac University. One aide suggested that since Quinnipiac University was in Congresswoman DeLauro’s district that perhaps her office might organize a Connecticut delegation letter. Her aide suggested that perhaps more fact-finding by the staff in her district office and an informal call to the university might be more effective.
- The annual meeting is a good place to meet diverse faculty members, who represent a wide-range of faculty issues and types from all over the nation. For example, Dr. Nyo Chung, a Korean language professor at St. John’s University in Jamaica, NY, joined our delegation’s visits to Congress.
- The fine reception at the end of the visits was organized by AAUP and Congressman Courtney’s staff. We joined members of other AAUP delegations from Ohio, California, New York, and Alaska in the celebration of Representative Peter Welch of Vermont, who chosen as the recipient of the American Association of University Professors’ 2014 Henry T. Yost Congressional Recognition Award. A video of the presentation earlier in the day was shown. Congressman Courtney had received the award in 2013.
- The AAUP annual meeting is held in a union-staffed hotel and has been at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel near DuPont Circle. The hotel has an interesting museum of its connections to historic events on its mezzanine.
- CT-AAUP covered the use of wi-fi in the hotel rooms.