UC Berkeley Faculty Association

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History of the BFA

About the Berkeley Faculty Association

In March 1972, the Berkeley Division Committee on Senate Policy presented a report warning of “the danger that the faculty’s present authority is being subjected to erosion.” That same year, at the May 30th meeting of its Representative Assembly, the Berkeley Division adopted (by a vote of 102 to 22) a resolution instructing the Committee on Committees to appoint a seven-person interim Executive Board to an organization of Berkeley Senate faculty to be known as the Berkeley Faculty Association (BFA). Within a year, the Association was operational and had reached its initial membership goal of 400.

Though originally established by the Senate, the Berkeley Faculty Association became an independent faculty organization in 1979, as a result of the passage of AB 1091, also known as HEERA (Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act). Working with faculty associations on other UC campuses, BFA’s leaders helped draw up this law to ensure that the university would not be able to prevent faculty from forming, joining, and participating in organizations of their own choosing, like BFA, to advocate on university and faculty welfare issues independently of the Academic Senate.  This law regulates employee unions as well as faculty associations in all of California’s institutions of public higher education.

BFA was founded to advocate for the interests of Berkeley faculty.  It has a long history of doing so.  In addition, we coordinate with other UC Faculty Associations on matters of concern that we share with faculty on other campuses.  We are a founding member of the Council of UC Faculty Associations and work closely with it on matters related to the future of the University of California as a whole.  CUCFA coordinates the individual faculty associations, while gathering and disseminating information on issues before the legislative and executive branches of California’s government, other relevant state units dealing with higher education, the University administration, and the Board of Regents.  It also represents BFA and the other Faculty Associations in Sacramento on issues of common concern to state- and university-wide agencies, lobbying on behalf of UC faculty over a wide range of issues.  Among CUCFA’s many accomplishments on our behalf was its successful co-sponsorship and advocacy of legislation that specifies that individual professors, not UC, own their lectures, which is very important now as UC tries to move courses to the web. We urge you to visit the two websites that are maintained by CUCFA, Keep California’s Promise http://keepcaliforniaspromise.org and www.cucfa.org for a full archive of videos, position papers, interviews and analyses.

Membership in  our organization has always been voluntary and open to members of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate. Over the years, BFA’s membership base declined–complacency being perhaps the best indicator of our Association’s success in safeguarding faculty prerogatives over the years. In March 2000, the BFA entered into a partnership with the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), as part of a broader effort by the BFA’s leadership to revitalize the Association and increase membership by providing staff support and enhanced member services.  This partnership ended in early 2012 when it became mutually clear that it was not working in the way originally envisioned and no longer necessary.

A new leadership group successfully revitalized our Board in response to the furloughs instituted in 2009 by UC President Yudof,  a development that brought home to many faculty the  university’s increasingly precarious financial situation as well as a range of other policy and leadership issues and challenges. We continue to advocate for the interests of our faculty, including matters relating to our pension and health care benefits, promotion processes, budget cuts, salary inequities, staff and campus services restructuring, and faculty rights of academic freedom and political speech. Although we are no long formally associated with AAUP, we also continue to participate in broader movements to educate the public about the value of public higher education and the threats it faces today through our evolving partnership with CUCFA, AAUP, the California Faculty Association (of the CSUs) and the national Campaign for the Future of Higher Education.

In 2015, CUCFA and AAUP agreed to form a partnership together as independent but allied entities. By partnering with AAUP, CUCFA will be better able to advance its goals in the defense and promotion of academic freedom, shared university governance, and the economic security of all those engaged in teaching and research in higher education. AAUP will also gain from the valuable experience and ideas of CUCFA’s members and leadership and from CUCFA’s promotion of these goals on the University of California’s ten campuses. As a member of a UC Faculty Association, which is a chapter organization of CUCFA, you will now automatically enjoy a connection with AAUP through CUCFA. To receive the full rights and privileges of individual AAUP membership, however, you can, as a supplement to your campus Faculty Association membership, join AAUP at special rates.