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At this moment in history, we are witnessing an upsurge of anti-apartheid student activism, just as we honor the 30-year anniversary of the fall of apartheid in South Africa. As campuses become 21st century sites of direct action at the People’s University, it is important that faculty know our rights as unionized workers and as members of our campus communities.

In addition to the preamble of our 2022-2025 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which guarantees our academic freedom, faculty enjoy additional protections in our new agreement, specifically relating to our interactions with campus police.

Given that police are violence workers – whose origins and legacies include patrolling and capturing enslaved African and Native people and breaking workers’ strikes, and who continue to enact alarming forms of white supremacist and sexual violence – as an anti-racist union, CFA members have secured additional language in the CBA which begins to limit police power on our campuses. This language exists in Article 37, Health and Safety precisely because CFA recognizes police presence on our campuses as a threat to the health and safety of communities of color, queer and trans people, and women/femmes.

As police descend, with varying degrees of violence, on university campuses across the US, faculty should be aware that as a unionized faculty member, you have the right to refuse to talk to campus police. Article 37.10 secures this right for us, and reads as follows:

37.10   All people have constitutional rights when it comes to interactions with police officers. CSU employees have those same rights when it comes to interactions with University Police. When University Police seek to interview a CFA represented employee, the employee has no obligation to participate. If, however, the employee chooses to participate, the employee may request to be accompanied by a union representative.  If the request for a union representative is denied, the employee has no obligation to participate. Nothing in this provision shall limit the rights of employees to be represented by an attorney when interacting with University Police.

If, for example, you find yourself on campus at a demonstration or teach-in, and campus police ask to speak with you, perhaps to find out who or what you know about the protest happening, you have no obligation to speak with police.

If you agree to speak with police, we urge you to request a union representative to be present.

Protect yourself and each other, and be aware of your Article 37.10 rights to not speak with campus cops!

Want to learn more? Become active with your local CFA chapter Faculty Rights team. Find your representative here.

  • Browse the faculty contract here.
  • See an archive of Faculty Rights Tips.
  • If you have questions about a faculty rights tip or would like to suggest a tip, please write us with the subject line “Faculty Rights Tip.”
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