Queer beached whales at the Inauguration of Jonathan Lash, washed ashore by the waves of uncertain divisional committees. Does Al Gore care about these whales? Or are we just An Inconvenient Queer?
April 27th, 2012
Noon to Midnight! Students of color will be talking about race, racial profiling, ethnic studies, and other issues that are happening on Hampshire College Campus.
Dear “The Queer Does Not End Here,”
Thank you for writing about your concerns regarding the future of Queer Studies at Hampshire. As you know, we have finally begun to build up a Queer Studies program in the last years. We will continue to do so.
We made a number of advances over the past two years. Two hires are worth noting. Recognizing the emergence of Queer Studies over a year ago, and eager to experiment, the deans and I crafted a visiting position during a very tight budget year. We hired Professor Jaclyn Pryor as a half time visiting faculty member in Queer Studies and Public Practice for 2011-2012. The year before, The Five College Deans approved funding for a new position in Feminist Science Studies. Professor Angela Willey also started in this position this AY (2011-2012) and is a recognized expert in Queer Studies. Professor Willey’s permanent position is shared by Hampshire, Mt Holyoke, and UMASS. I worked to make sure that Hampshire shared this permanent faculty position.
This year we have had NYU Law Professor Gabriel Arkles to campus twice to conduct sessions to educate the faculty and administration about gender identity, we have reviewed bathroom signage policy campus wide, and we are currently working on a college policy regarding preferred names and pronoun usage. These efforts are a start and will continue in years to come. I deeply appreciate the collaborative work of the students, staff and faculty on the Transworking Group on the bathroom signage policy and the preferred names and pronoun. Last, the Five College Deans/Chief Academic Officers and Hampshire’s Education Policy Committee recommended and the Hampshire Faculty passed the Five College Queer and Sexuality Studies Certificate.
Next year I also expect the following.
First, Hampshire will continue to explore academic aspects of Queer Studies. I hope that we can use the beginning of the year to continue to educate the community about the diverse intersections of Queer Studies and about the field itself. This exploration might take the form of a series of workshops and lectures. In addition to Professor Willey, many of you have heard that we have hired a Five College Pre-doctoral Fellow, Aniruddha Maitra. Mr. Maitra’s background is in Feminist and Queer Studies, based in a number of fields and theoretical orientations including but not limited to media studies and critical theory within diasporic and transnational frameworks. He will be teach one course, most likely in HACU, offer some public presentations and will be additional full time resource on campus. I do not want to overburden him with committee work, since the main goal is to finish writing his dissertation (a second goal is to familiarize a scholar who would add diversity with teaching at Hampshire). Mr. Maitra may serve on some Division II and Division III committees. He will enrich us and I hope you will warmly welcome him.
Second, the deans are deeply concerned about finding good committees for every student. Each semester, this is one of our greatest challenges in many areas of study. Visiting faculty leave, regular faculty retire, go on leaves and sabbaticals, and sometimes unpredictable life events make it impossible for them to maintain their committee obligations. In each case, CASA, usually by following the leaving faculty member’s recommendations, and in consultation with school deans, helps students to find other advisors and committee members. The process is often upsetting, but it is part of the way Hampshire functions and has been successful. The institution is firmly committed to placing all students who are losing faculty committee members with new members.
Finally, as the deans have written in March, 2012, we are going forward with a permanent position in Queer Studies through an open national search under affirmative action guidelines. A position description will be drafted in the next few weeks. The regular position, pending budget and board approval in May, would allow us to search for the position in 2012-13 with the hope of the successful candidate beginning as our first permanent, full time faculty member in Queer Studies on July 1, 2013.
This was presented to at the end of the student meeting with Alan Goodman on April 24th.
Dear Dean Alan Goodman,
Thank you for your prompt response to our e-mail regarding the status of Queer Studies at Hampshire. We sincerely appreciate the advances the school has made thus far in building up a Queer Studies program. In response to your letter, we have a few specific points we would like to raise.
First, we appreciate your work in securing a permanent position in Feminist Science Studies. However, Professor Willey has expressed that she is a 25% Hampshire faculty, and does not have the capacity take on any new students in the coming year; she was already in full demand her first year working in the Five Colleges (her Hampshire class had a waitlist of 36, she has served on a few Div 2 & 3 committees, as well as advising several independent studies) and therefore should not be expected to take on Professor Pryor’s students.
Second, although we certainly look forward to working with Mr. Maitra and what he has to offer us, he can in no way fill the role of a Queer Studies professor and advisor, capable of examining students in Queer Studies. From our understanding, it is not within the job description of the Five College Pre-doctoral Fellow to serve on committees. Since he cannot replace Professor Pryor on our Div II and III committees, the most pressing concern we have, that of having a chair or member who can examine and advise us in Queer Studies, will not be addressed by his presence.
Third, you assert the institution’s commitment to finding good committee members and chairs for all students. We argue the only feasible way this can be guaranteed for the next academic year is by keeping Professor Pryor on so that her Division III advisees can graduate on time and her Division II students can pass Div II or be passed directly from her hands to the capable hands of the new permanent Queer Studies professor to be hired in July 2013. Several faculty members have expressed that they are already overworked in their formal areas of training, and will not and can not advise the committees that Professor Pryor will be leaving.
Finally, we are ecstatic about the national search process and look forward to participating in any way we can to find the best candidate to fill the permanent Queer Studies position. However, leaving us without a Queer Studies professor or advisor who is capable of serving on our committees for the next year would create a huge rupture in our academic and personal lives.
After weighing our options and engaging with faculty and staff throughout this process, we sincerely believe that offering Professor Jaclyn Pryor a new contract as Visiting Assistant Professor in Queer Studies and Public Practice is the only way for us to seriously continue our Division 2 concentrations and Division 3 projects in Queer Studies. Professor Pryor’s presence on campus has been intellectually stimulating and life transforming for many students who have her on their committees or have taken one of her innovative and immersive classes.
Thank you for your ongoing receptivity, your willingness to hear our voices and your commitment to taking our concerns seriously.
The Queer Does Not End Here
Thank you to Hamlet for drafting this template!!
Please personalize this to your hearts content…
To whom it may concern:
It has come to my attention that a change in the faculty at Hampshire College may endanger my child’s education. My child, ______________, a Div I/II/III student at Hampshire, is interested in/currently studying Queer Theory/Performance Studies under Dr. Jaclyn Pryor. Dr. Pryor is a member/the chair of my child’s Div II/III committee/My child intends to have Professor Pryor on their Div II/III committee.
It is my understanding that Dr. Pryor is exceptionally beloved by her students, that she is actively invested in making Hampshire a safer space for queer and trans* students, and that she engages them academically, politically, and personally. It is upsetting that Hampshire would see such an astounding professor as disposable. I am deeply concerned and hope you reconsider your decision.
Queer studies… is it an academic concentration or an admissions marketing ploy?
If you would like Professsor Jaclyn Pryor on your committee for next semester, list her on it on theHub and make the contract viewable by faculty so that the Dean of Faculty Alan Goodman will be able to see how much support she has.
Send e-mails to the Office of the Dean of Faculty. There is a create-your-own form letter, which can come from a parent or from yourself.
Create a 2-3 minute video about what Queer Studies means to you and submit it to thequeerdoesnotendhere.tumblr.com
Reblog this post and spread the word to other Hampshire queers that Professor Pryor MUST stay for next year