Committee on Freedom of Research and Teaching

COFRAT is concerned with the maintenance of academic freedom among sociologists and with the development and maintenance of fair and equitable procedures and practices for employing, promoting, and terminating the employment of sociologists in the Western region of the United States. This committee may investigate complaints referred to it by members, shall develop appropriate procedures for conducting such investigations, and shall report to Council results of all such investigations with recommendations for Council action.

The Committee on the Freedom of Research and Teaching consists of six members of the Association. Membership of the committee is recommended to Council by the Committee on Committees and appointments are made by the President and/or Council for a three year term of office. Each year two members begin and two members end their term of office. While members of COFRAT may recommend prospective members of the committee to the Committee on Committees, they do not select their own members. They do, however, elect the committee’s chair. The Chair of the Committee on Freedom of Research and Teaching is elected by committee members from among their ranks and must be someone who will be a continuing and active member of the committee for at least one year. The chair is elected at the scheduled meeting of the committee and serves for one year. Chairs can be reelected if continuing as a member of the committee for a least one more year.

  1. Responsibilities, Procedures, and duties of the committee other than those specified in the Constitution. It is the chair’s responsibility to see that these are initiated and followed through on.
    • Conference session organization. COFRAT sponsors sessions at PSA’s annual meetings that are both specific to annual topical concerns, and that provide an opportunity for discussion of ongoing COFRAT concerns. Again, early calls for papers and active recruitment of participants is most effective. These session proposal forms are usually due by May 1.
    • Procedures for taking committee action. Generally, the Chair solicits input from committee members throughout the year as items are dealt with. This is often done via email. During the annual meeting of the committee, decisions are made by the majority of those present.
    • The Chair of this committee develops the agenda for the committee meeting and its annual activities. It is the chair’s responsibility to communicate meeting results and action items to others, including PSA Council. The chair maintains communication with committee members throughout the year. The chair also determines the calendar of activities for the committee. The chair maintains the committee’s archive and makes certain that the new chair receives it. Ideally, the archive should be handed to the new chair during the committee’s annual meeting. The chair will normally use email for correspondence between committee members during the year. It is important to keep all committee members informed of schedules, activities, and deadlines.The chair also writes a report of committee activities for publication in the May online newsletter, due date, May 1. The report contains sessions created for committee sponsorship and highlights activities the members have participated in through the year which relate to the activities of the committee.

2016-2017 Committee Members
Ann Strahm (18) CSU Stanislaus, Chair
Bob Palacio (17) CSU Fresno
Jennifer Whitmer (17) University of Nevada Las Vegas
Katherine Everhart (18) Northern Arizona University
To begin service at the 2017 conference:
Allison Ford (19) University of Oregon
Berch Berberoglu (19) University of Nevada Reno

2015-16 Committee Members

Lori Cramer (16) Oregon State University, Chair
Mark Cohan (16) Seattle University
Bob Palacio (17) CSU Fresno
Jennifer Whitmer (17) University of Nevada Las Vegas
Ann Strahm (18) CSU Stanislaus
Katherine Everhart (18) Northern Arizona University

2014-15 Committee Members

Susan A. Miller  Palomar College (Southern)
Ann Strahm  California State University, Stanislaus (Central), Chair
Michelle Robertson  St. Edwards University (Southern)
Regina Davis-Sowers  Santa Clara University (Central)
Mark Cohan  Seattle University (Northern)
Lori Cramer  Oregon State University (Northern)