Congratulations, Chancellor Robinson

UA-Fayetteville Education Association / Local 965, the labor union of the University of Arkansas, congratulates Charles F. Robinson, Ph.D., for his Nov. 16, 2022, appointment to chancellor of our campus.

Chancellor Charles F. Robinson, Ph.D., of the University of Arkansas.
Chancellor Charles F. Robinson, Ph.D., of the University of Arkansas. Photo by Russell Cothren

Some members of the Local 965 have known him since he was hired in 1999 as an assistant professor of history in the Fulbright School of Arts & Sciences. His academic achievements include honors for teaching, authoring books on the Black experience, and leading the African and African American Studies Program, helping prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at the university. The last post led to successive administrative roles — vice provost, vice chancellor, provost and executive vice chancellor. The UA System named him interim chancellor starting Aug. 16, 2021, exactly 15 months before UA System trustees elected him unanimously.

Local 965, the sole higher education chapter of the Arkansas Education Association/National Education Association, looks forward to working with Chancellor Robinson to continue UA improvements in meeting staff and faculty needs and rights.

Local 965 Secretary Ben Pollock greets interim University of Arkansas Chancellor Charles F. Robinson Aug. 24 at the 2022 Razorbash on the Fayetteville campus as 965 Vice President Mike Pierce listens.
Local 965 Secretary Ben Pollock greets then-interim University of Arkansas Chancellor Charles F. Robinson Aug. 24 at the 2022 Razorbash on the Fayetteville campus as 965 Vice President Mike Pierce looks on.

Higher Ed Union Endorses 2 Local Candidates

For the first time in several years, the labor union of the University of Arkansas is endorsing candidates in the 2022 general election.

Sloan Scroggin

Sloan Scroggin, a candidate for Ward 3, Position 1, of the Fayetteville City Council, has received the endorsement of UA-Fayetteville Education Association / Local 965. At its October meeting, members agreed he is the best candidate to represent University of Arkansas employees as well as residents of his ward and indeed the city. Scroggin is a Local 965 member.

Sloan, an instructor in Fulbright College’s Department of Mathematical Sciences has served as a council member since 2019. The other candidate for Ward 3 is funeral home owner Scott Berna, whom Local 965 opposes in this race.

Josh Moody

Josh Moody, Democratic nominee for county judge of Washington County, has been endorsed by UA-Fayetteville Education Association / Local 965. Union members at their meeting Thursday, Oct. 20, called Moody the superior candidate to manage government operations as well as work for the best interests of residents throughout the county.

Josh has been a teacher in the Fayetteville School District and Washington County Juvenile Detention Center. The other candidate for county judge is District 5 Justice of the Peace Patrick Deakins, whom Local 965 opposes in this race.

Local 965’s “Area Voting Info for 2022” can help you locate your municipal and legislative wards and districts, polling places and related information.

Specialists Discuss Local Impact of Dobbs Ruling that Ended Roe

Almost 200 people attended the Sept. 6, 2022, panel discussion on “The Fight for the Future of Reproductive Health at the University of Arkansas,” either in person at the Fayetteville Public Library or streamed virtually on YouTube Live.

UA-Fayetteville Education Association / Local 965, a chapter of the Arkansas Education Association and National Education Association, hosted the 90-minute program.

Local 965 hosts University of Arkansas specialists discussing the local impact of the Dobbs Supreme Court ruling that ended Roe at the Fayetteville Public Library on Sept. 6, 2022.

“I was riveted by what everyone had to say — the politics, the medicine, the legal aspects — going far deeper than I knew,” said Local 965 President Bret Schulte. “The conversation was raw and sophisticated, and it created a safe space for audience members to share their fears and to ask important questions that the UA has ignored.

“I’m overwhelmed with gratitude to everyone who participated and organized, and I am proud of what we accomplished.”

Local 965 began organizing the program within one day of the 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, handed down June 24, 2022. Its news release details panelist biographies with highlights of the union’s resolution.

Panelists included state Rep. Nicole Clowney, D-District 86, UA Law Professor Jill Wieber Lens, J.D., and Kathleen Paulson, M.D. Moderator was UA Political Science Professor Karen Sebold, Ph.D. UA History Professor Michael C. Pierce, vice president of Local 965, welcomed the panel.

We are pleased to present this video of the program for all who couldn’t have been there Tuesday. The library’s skilled tech staff produced the multicamera recording. About 70 people attended the program in the library’s new main auditorium, the Event Center. More than 100 viewed the stream on YouTube Live or watched later Tuesday night when it transitioned into a recorded video.

The Fight for the Future of Reproductive Health at the University of Arkansas

Experts to Discuss Impact of Dobbs Ruling on Sept. 6 in Fayetteville

On June 24, a 6-3 Supreme Court vote voided Roe v. Wade. As fall semester begins, we’re uncertain how this further partitioning of health care will impact UA students and employees who use gynecological services available on
campus and elsewhere in the region.

As a free public service, UA-Fayetteville Education Association/Local 965 has invited specialists in law, health care and politics to discuss “The Fight for the Future of Reproductive Health at the University of Arkansas” 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022, now in the Event Center of the Fayetteville Public Library. That’s the new large auditorium. Live-streaming the program is planned, with details announced on the Local’s social media before the event.

Panelists on the impact of Dobbs v. Jackson (Mississippi) Women’s Health Organization include Jill Wieber Lens, J.D., Kathleen Paulson, M.D., and state Rep. Nicole Clowney, D-District 86. Moderating will be Karen Sebold, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science.

The knowledge and analysis from our panel will help the greater community plan and act in the near future.

Rep. Nicole Clowney, Law Professor Jill Lens, Kathleen Paulson, M.D., and Political Science Professor Karen Sebold
Rep. Nicole Clowney (from left), Law Professor Jill Lens, Kathleen Paulson, M.D., and Political Science Professor Karen Sebold

Professor Jill Wieber Lens is the Robert A. Leflar Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Research & Faculty Development at the University of Arkansas School of Law. She is an expert on reproductive rights and justice, specializing in pregnancy loss, especially stillbirth. Her work has appeared in the Vanderbilt Law Review, Washington University Law Review, Iowa Law Review, and Boston University Law Review. She has also recently published pieces about the intersections of abortion and pregnancy loss in the New York Times, Time magazine and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Dr. Kathleen Paulson is a board-certified gynecologist and fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, She earned a Doctor of Medicine at Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus then completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at University of Missouri-Columbia. She joined the Gyn Clinic of the university’s Pat Walker Health Center, in 2017, having been in private practice in the area previously. 

Nicole Clowney, J.D., is a lecturer in the World Languages program of the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. She received a bachelor of arts in Classical Studies from the University of Chicago and J.D. from Yale University.  After a few years of practicing law, she earned a master of arts in Classics from the University of Kentucky. She has served the Fayetteville area in the Arkansas House since January 2019. 

Karen Sebold is an assistant professor of Political Science in Fulbright College. She earned a doctorate in public policy and master’s in political science from the U of A, and bachelor of science from Oklahoma’s Rogers State University.

Local 965 protested Dobbs shortly after its issuance with “Resolution for Bodily Autonomy,” which concludes:

The union opposes laws and policies that restrain campus health care professionals. The union supports UA health care professionals to avoid self-restraint or self-censorship in treating and advising women, due to fear of possible legal action or employment sanctions.

The ruling, concurring and dissenting opinions, and related essays can be found in the Dobbs section of SCOTUSblog. 

Media queries should be directed to Local 965 President Bret Schulte in care of Local 965. Schulte is an associate professor of journalism in Fulbright College’s School of Journalism and Strategic Media, whose reportage has been nationally published.

Three Cheers for NEA — Ra Ra RA

UA Takes Its First Seat at NEA Convention

By Ben Pollock, Local 965 secretary

This report first was published in the July 2022 newsletter of UA-Fayetteville Education Association / Local 965.

Lots of us this summer have had to consider both mass shootings and reproductive rights. I ended up diving headfirst into both over July 4 in Chicago.

When the Local 965 officers asked for volunteers this spring to represent the union at the annual National Education Association convention, I expected serious intensity and not enough free time (as that’s how conferences usually go) but not four 12-hour days of debates and electronic votes among nearly 6,000 colleagues.


Nor did I expect the honor of being the first University of Arkansas representative and the first higher-education delegate for the whole state at the NEA Representative Assembly, the convention’s official name.

Gun violence topped the July 3-6 agenda even before the Fourth of July mass shooting in suburban Highland Park — 30 miles from the gathering. RA delegates were told not to leave the McCormick Place hall in the hours the suspect was at large.

The first resolution, including a budget to fund it, begins:

“The NEA shall issue a National Call to Action to ensure that all students, educators, schools, campuses and communities are safe from gun violence.”

The measure, passed overwhelmingly, authorizes nearly a half-million union dollars to execute the call’s seven points, which are detailed along with the other approved New Business Items in the last issue of its daily convention newsletter RA Today (PDF).

Masking and social distancing were enforced at Chicago’s McCormick Place as well as during state caucuses held in delegates’ hotel meeting rooms before the RA convened daily. Covid-19 was such a concern the NEA staff continuously screened at the entrances everyone attending with a mobile phone app that green-lit completed vaccination records and negative, recent test results.

At the first Arkansas caucus July 2, I was elected its secretary. It was like being jury foreman in that no one knew me yet seemed a reasonable choice. I took minutes starting at 6:30 a.m. for the coordinating committee then the caucus at 7:30. We were bused to McCormick Place around 9 a.m., returning after 7 p.m.

While there was token parliamentary opposition to finding ways to promote and lobby about gun controls, a vocal minority made points about abortion, chiefly why is the public educators’ union stepping there and whether a pro-abortion stand is worth some member resignations.

Yet New Business Item 34’s two votes were 74 percent and 76 percent in favor:

“NEA will publicly stand in defense of abortion and reproductive rights and encourage members to participate in activities including rallies and demonstrations, lobbying and political campaigns, educational events, and other actions to support the right to abortion, contraception, and a person’s decision about their health.” The cost for its promotion beyond the already set NEA budget is just $4,500.

The assembly adopted, with minimal opposition, three measures that variously supported expansion of and opposed restrictions to LGBTQ+ rights.

For me, the 2022 RA with some dozen and a half miked lecterns throughout the audience (the hangar-like McCormick felt like the wings of two 747s wouldn’t touch) provided almost surreal observations of real mass democracy in strict parliamentary practice, noisy and orderly, exhausting but riveting. In queue two-plus hours for Secret Service body and bag searches July 5, when Vice President Kamala Harris spoke, became part of the spectacle.

All was comprehensively reported July 7, 2022, in Education Week at “Abortion, Anti-LGBTQ Bills, and Safe Schools: 5 Things to Know From NEA’s Annual Assembly” by Madeline Will, who noted in apparent response to Fox News comments, “This year Education Week was the only news outlet covering the entirety of the assembly.”

Note: Caption for the two photos: Ben Pollock of UA-Fayetteville Education Association / Local 965 takes the minutes July 3, 2022, (left) of the morning Arkansas caucus meeting July 3, 2022, at Chicago’s Drake Hotel. At right, Pollock listens to debate July 4, 2022, at the NEA Representative Assembly at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention complex. Photos by Kyle Leyenberger, AEA communications director.