Scholars Threaten Boycott in Solidarity with Graduate Students & Non-Tenure-Track Faculty

A number of scholars, including over forty philosophers, have signed onto a statement saying they “will not accept invitations for speaking engagements, workshops, and conferences” at universities and colleges that have failed to include non-tenure-track faculty and graduate students in their pandemic-prompted plans for extensions and accomodations to tenure-track and tenured faculty.

The statement applauds how “hundreds of U.S. universities have offered year-long extensions of the tenure clock to assistant professors” in recognition of the disruptions caused by the pandemic, but note that the “uneven application across academic ranks” of these accomodations “is inequitable and unfair”:

Without extending the same measures to non-tenure track (NTT) faculty and to graduate workers, universities leave unprotected the most precarious academics, including those who shoulder the greatest teaching burden. NTT faculty and graduate workers are facing the same challenges as tenure-track faculty: adapting to remote teaching, massively increased caretaking responsibilities, lack of access to libraries, labs, and archives, and the foregoing of professional opportunities. They are also faced with an anemic job market that will only get worse as universities announce hiring freezes for the coming years.

The statement says that universities should take “immediate steps to protect all members of our academic communities”:

We therefore call on all universities that have offered extensions of the tenure clock to include all academic workers employed for fixed terms in this extension—and regardless of institutional position on the “employee status” of graduate students. Whether it is the “guaranteed” package of funded years for graduate employees or the capped terms of lecturers and preceptors, all academic workers deserve the relief of knowing that they have job security  and the opportunity to complete their projects in more favorable conditions. 

The signatories then declare an intention to boycott schools that fail to include non-tenure-track employees and graduate students in their accomodation plans:

Standing in solidarity with all academic workers, we invite our colleagues in graduate school and in NTT positions to submit the names of their institutions with evidence that they have failed to include NTT faculty and graduate workers in extensions of fixed term contracts. We, the undersigned, will not accept invitations for speaking engagements, workshops, and conferences at named institutions. By signing we commit to observing this policy for the 2020-2021 academic year. We will reassess pending future developments. We also commit to doing all we can to ensure that our own universities—wherever they are—make the most progressive and equitable possible provisions for all of their staff, graduate students and contingent faculty. In applying this policy, we realize we may need to exercise our discretion when it comes to academic institutions, especially state institutions, which are chronically underfunded.

You can view the statement and the list of signatories, as well as sign the statement yourself or name non-complying institutions, here.

(via The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Art: Maarten Baas, “Grandfather Clock”

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