PSU faculty express concern about HigherOne

Faculty members at Portland State have some serious concerns about the university’s new ID cards provided by the HigherOne company, leaders of the local chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) say.

Members of the executive council of the AAUP have met to discuss issues with the university’s relationship with HigherOne,

The company, which will provide IDs to students and will also allow students to open checking accounts that are connected to their IDs, may eventually expand the program to university faculty as well.

Cathy Dyck, interim vice president for finance and administration, Christy Harper, president of Associated Students of PSU and Tony Rasmussen, communications director for ASPSU presented information at the meeting regarding the controversial new student ID debit card program.

Thus far, the executive council’s response has been nearly unanimous.

“Like virtually every other faculty member, I am in opposition. Opposition is an understatement – outraged is more like it” said Gerry Sussman, Executive Councilor with the PSU chapter of the AAUP.

“You are going to see a lot of faculty resistance.”

According to Sussman, the AAUP hasn’t had enough time to come to a formal conclusion about its stance on HigherOne, but he was compelled by the presentations given by Dyck, Harper and Rasmussen.

“Christy and Tony seem to be on top of it as far as the facts go. Cathy Dyck didn’t refute any of them,” Sussman said.

Martha Hickey, vice president for collective bargaining with the PSU Chapter of the AAUP, expressed serious concerns over the presence of choice in the new HigherOne card.

“It doesn’t seem to involve a real choice” Hickey said, “We would want to see much more obvious choices offered to faculty than were offered to students.”

Differing staff and faculty unions are going to be talking with each other on the matter, according to Hickey.

Perhaps the most poignant concern voiced by both Sussman and Hickey is the apparent corporatization of education and PSU specifically, a process of which the HigherOne question seems to be a symptom.

It puts faculty into teaching within a culture that corporatizes it’s relationship with students” Hickey said.

“Personally, I see it as a microcosm of larger concerns – the commodification of education” Sussman said.