We are starting a mutual aid housing network for our scholarly community, to request and offer housing as the economic crisis unfolds. Fill out survey here!
It is becoming clear that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic crisis will have lasting and potentially devastating effects on our discipline: the already precarious job-market is likely to shrink even further; many contingent faculty and graduate students will be left with even fewer resources necessary for their housing, medical, and other basic needs; even those with full-time positions may find their jobs at risk. For many, continuing to teach and produce scholarship in this situation will prove untenable. This will spell a tremendous loss not just for individuals in our profession, but for our entire field.
It is important to recognize and ground our actions in an awareness of the danger that each and every member of our field faces. The dissolution of the Russian major at Ohio University and termination of affiliated Russian faculty is a disquieting example of the austerity measures that are likely to follow at universities throughout the country. As the situation at Ohio University demonstrates, our programs will likely be among the first targeted for layoffs when administrations begin making cuts.
WHO WE ARE:
We are a group of REEES scholars (an extended network of over 90 supporters in the discipline) who have begun organizing to support those most affected by the fallout of the current crisis. Rather than looking on in horror as the crisis makes its way to our discipline, individual departments, and livelihoods, we propose to unite forces in concerted action before the crisis worsens.
WE PROPOSE TO:
-Establish a mutual aid fund and related initiatives: In this situation of crisis, already limited resources are becoming even more scarce–supporting those who need them most would be crucial for the survival of our discipline and scholarship. We propose coordinating mutual aid efforts to share housing and office space, library access, food, transportation, mentorship, information, etc.
-Work with and through ASEEES and AATSEEL to organize discussions of equity in academic labor, to conduct surveys, and create a support network.
-Advocate for transparency in individual departments and professional associations regarding funding and austerity.
-Coordinate with our existing departments and regional studies centers to offer the most effective support to our colleagues in need.
-Support colleagues advocating for better conditions in their universities.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Our first priority is organizing a broad solidarity network before the impacts of the crisis take full effect, so visiting our website or joining our group on Facebook are easy ways to keep informed and contribute. We have several subcommittees (contact Zach Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved with the graduate subcommittee or Robyn Jensen at email@example.com to get involved with the contingent subcommittee) that welcome your participation.
We invite you to attend our biweekly meetings (here is the link for the next meeting, which is scheduled for tomorrow, July 17, 12pm EST), forums, and teach-ins as your schedules allow.
Finally, recognizing the urgent pressures faced by our colleagues, we are moving forward with the planning stages of our housing campaign. Our hope is that this project will facilitate mentorship and intellectual exchange. We propose to coordinate between those who can offer housing and those who need it, based on the mutual trust and common values of our scholarly community. Do you have a guesthouse, a cabin, or a spare bedroom for a graduate or contingent colleague at risk of losing their employment? Are you anticipating or experiencing a housing need? Please fill out this survey to offer or request help.