As an organization, the SSSP has consistently participated in ongoing social justice efforts. Below are some of the actions that SSSP has been involved in the past.
Letter to President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Secretary Azar regarding the proposal by the Department of Health and Human Services that seeks to define gender as simply female or male
The SSSP Board of Directors wrote to President Donald J. Trump to express opposition to the proposal by the Department of Health and Human Services that seeks to define gender as simply female or male, or as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth. The letter strongly encourages the President not to put forth, advocate for, or support any proposals that limits the definition of sex or gender, and instead allow individuals to define their own gender identities, so that they too can benefit from all of the opportunities, rights, and privileges that our country affords its members. To read the entire letter click here.
Letter to President Trump Opposing Family Separations, the Indefinite Detainment of Migrants, and the Criminalization of Refugees and Undocumented Immigrants
On behalf of SSSP’s Board of Directors, President Luis Fernandez, Vice-President David Embrick, and Executive Officer Héctor Delgado sent a letter to President Donald J.Trump to add their voices to those opposed to family separations, the indefinite detainment of migrants, and the criminalization of refugees and undocumented immigrants. This letter urges the Trump administration to take every step necessary to reunite children with their families, to ensure that children in custody receive the best care possible, to end the criminalization of refugees and undocumented immigrants, to ensure that individuals seeking asylum receive fair and impartial hearings, and to cease the xenophobic rhetoric that serves only to divide the country. To read the entire letter click here.
Letter to Dr. M. Brian Blake, Provost, Drexel University regarding the suspension of Professor George Ciccariello-Maher
On behalf of SSSP’s Board of Directors, President Luis Fernandez, Vice-President David Embrick, and Executive Officer Héctor Delgado sent a personalized letter to Dr. M. Brian Blake, Provost, Drexel University, regarding the suspension of Professor George Ciccariello-Maher on October 9, 2017, and the recent attempts by some individuals and groups to suppress the free expression of ideas by faculty whom they oppose on ideological grounds. Additional letters were sent to Dr. Donna Murasko, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences and Dr. George Ciccariello-Maher. To read the full letter sent to Provost Blake, please click here.
Letter to President Trump and Congressional Leaders regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program
On behalf of SSSP’s Board of Directors, President Luis Fernandez and Executive Officer Héctor Delgado sent a letter to Congressional leaders and selected members of Congress urging them to find a way to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The letter contains survey data gathered from over 3,000 DACA recipients and highlights the ways in which the program has been beneficial to both its recipients and the country as a whole. A copy of the letter was sent to President Donald J. Trump. Click here to read the full letter to Congressional leaders. Click here to read the full letter to President Trump.
Letter to President Trump and Congressional Leaders regarding Charlottesville
On behalf of SSSP’s Board of Directors, President Luis Fernandez, Vice-President David Embrick, and Executive Officer Héctor Delgado sent a letter to President Donald J.Trump to express the SSSP’s disappointment with his response to the recent neo-Nazi and white supremacist rally that occurred in Charlottesville. Another letter was also sent to Congressional leaders from both parties, expressing concerns with the muted or absence of a response by many members of Congress to the President’s failure to condemn white supremacy and white nationalism more swiftly and unambiguously. Additionally, both letters extended condolences on behalf of SSSP to the family of Heather Heyer and to the others injured in this domestic terrorist attack. Click here to read the full letter to President Trump. Click here to read the full letter to Congressional leaders.
Follow Up Letter regarding the University of Massachusetts Labor Center
On behalf of SSSP’s Board of Directors and the Labor Studies Division, President Donileen R. Loseke and Executive Officer Héctor Delgado sent a letter to the Provost of the University of Massachusetts urging the university to restore funds to the Labor Center that have been cut in recent years, including funds for graduate students and part-time faculty. The letter emphasizes how students from working- and middle-class families will be denied the opportunity to do graduate work in labor studies at UMass if these funds are not restored, contrary to the university’s mission to provide access to all students, regardless of their financial means. Click here to read the full letter. Click here to read the follow up letter sent to our Board of Directors.
Victory at Trininty College
On July 5, 2017, we sent a letter to Dr. Joanne Berger-Sweeney, President of Trinity College, expressing concerns about the suspension of Dr. Johnny Eric Williams. Executive Officer, Héctor L. Delgado, received a response from the American Association of University Professors on July 14, 2017 regarding Dr. Williams. Click below to see a copy of the letter and the response.
Letter to Dr. Joanne Berger-Sweeney, President of Trinity College
On July 5, 2017, we sent a letter to Dr. Joanne Berger-Sweeney, President of Trinity College, expressing concerns about the suspension of Dr. Johnny Eric Williams. Below is our letter sharing the concerns of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).
Click here to view the letter.
Response to SSSP Statement on President's Immigration Executive Order
On January 31, 2017, we sent a letter to the White House and selected members of Congress expressing concerns about the President’s immigration executive order. Below is a response from Senator Durbin to our letter.
SSSP Issues Statement on President's Immigration Executive Order
The SSSP issued a statement calling for the immediate rescission of President Donald J. Trump's Executive Order barring immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries and suspending indefinitely the Syrian Refugee Program.
Click here to view the statement.
Letter to Members regarding the Political Climate
On behalf of SSSP’s Board of Directors, President Donileen R. Loseke and Executive Officer Héctor Delgado wrote to the SSSP membership to express concerns regarding significant cleavages that continue to exist along racial, ethnic, religious, and gender lines in the United States and in other parts of the world. In the wake of a very contentious and divisive U.S. presidential campaign and election, the role of social scientists and educators has never been more important. Members are encouraged to initiate and/or participate in a dialog on the Society’s listserv, report hate incidents to the Southern Poverty Law Center or the Anti-Defamation League, and submit a resolution for the Montreal Annual Meeting next August.
Click here to read the full letter.
Letter to the Commissioner of Major League Baseball regarding the nickname and logo of Cleveland’s MLB team
On behalf of SSSP’s Board of Directors, Executive Officer Héctor Delgado sent a letter to the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Robert D. Manfred Jr., urging him to use the power of his office to change the nickname and logo of Cleveland’s MLB team. The letter emphasizes how published research findings from a wide variety of academic disciplines clearly demonstrate the problematic nature of Native American sport nicknames and logos. Furthermore, the importance of this matter to SSSP was indicated by resolutions passed in both 2007 and 2010. Click here to read the full letter. You can also view the 2007 resolution and the 2010 resolution.
Letter to the University of Massachusetts Regarding Labor Center
On behalf of SSSP’s Board of Directors and the Labor Studies Division, President Donileen R. Loseke and Executive Officer Héctor Delgado sent a letter to the Provost of the University of Massachusetts urging the university to restore funds to the Labor Center that have been cut in recent years, including funds for graduate students and part-time faculty. The letter emphasizes how students from working- and middle-class families will be denied the opportunity to do graduate work in labor studies at UMass if these funds are not restored, contrary to the university’s mission to provide access to all students, regardless of their financial means. Click here to read the full letter. For more information please visit SavetheLaborCenter or Facebook. Want to get more involved? Consider signing the petition available at Change.org.
Letter to Tennessee Legislature Over Defunding Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
On behalf of SSSP’s Board of Directors, President David A. Smith and Executive Officer Héctor Delgado wrote to urge the Tennessee’s Legislature not to defund the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The letter emphasizes how UTK has a responsibility to prepare students to work and live in a world that will require them to be knowledgeable about and sensitive to the dramatic demographic and other changes our society has undergone in the past fifty to seventy years. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is a vital component of fulfilling this responsibility. Click here to read the full letter.
Letter to the Board of Trustees of the College of Saint Rose Over Eliminating Academic Programs
On behalf of SSSP's Board of Directors, Executive Officer Héctor Delgado wrote to express grave concerns about the decision made by the Board of Trustees of the College of Saint Rose to eliminate 27 academic programs, including Sociology, and to terminate the Sociology Department’s newest tenure-track professor. Click here to read the letter sent to the College of Saint Rose President Carolyn J. Stefanco and Chair of the Board of Trustees Judy Calogero.
Letter Commending Governors and Legislators Who Advocated Removing the Confederate Flag
SSSP President Marlese Durr, Executive Officer Héctor Delgado, and Vice-President Nancy Mezey wrote on behalf of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) to commend governors and legislators who have advocated removing the confederate flag and urge those opposed to its removal to consider seriously and humanely what that flag represents to so many people in the country, but especially African Americans. Click here to read the full letter.
Letter Addressing Concern for the Grand Jury decision in the death of Eric Garner
SSSP President Marlese Durr, Executive Officer Héctor Delgado, and Vice-President Nancy Mezey wrote on behalf of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) to express deep concern with a recent Grand Jury decision in Staten Island not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaloeon for the choking death of Eric Garner, despite the fact that the event was caught on tape. The letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder and President Barack H. Obama insists that if states and municipalities cannot protect the civil and legal rights of their citizens regardless of race or ethnicity, then the federal government must step in, as it has in the past, to protect these rights. The letter applauds the Justice Department’s investigation of these events, and states that we hope that it can help to restore the trust in our criminal justice system lost in communities of color by these events. Click here to read the full letter.
Click here to view the response from Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta.
Concern Regarding the Disappearance of 43 Students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico
SSSP Executive Officer Héctor Delgado and President Marlese Durr wrote on behalf of the SSSP Board of Directors Board of Directors expressing its deep concern regarding the forced disappearance of 43 students of the “Raúl Isidro Burgo” Teachers College located in the rural town of Ayotzinapa in the Mexican State of Guerrero. The letter calls on the Federal Authorities of Mexico to investigate and prosecute the actors and authors of the criminal forced disappearance of students at Ayotzinapa to the fullest extent of Mexican law and as obligatory under the international laws to which Mexico is signatory. The letter also calls on the US Department of State to reiterate its concern to the Federal Government of Mexico and to remind it of its obligations under international law. Click here to read the full letter.
Concern Over Lay-offs
On behalf of SSSP's Board of Directors, Executive Officer Héctor Delgado wrote to express grave concerns about the University of Southern Maine's decision to lay-off tenured and tenure-track faculty and to close academic programs on a scale rarely seen, especially in higher education. Click here to read the letter sent to University of Southern Maine President Theodora Kalikow.
Concern Over Due Process and Academic Freedom - The Case of Dr. Patti Adler
In December of 2013, Dr. Patti Adler, a tenured professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, received word that she may be asked to retire from her position following complaints about a lesson from her class "Deviance in U.S. Society." The lesson focused on prostitution and featured a skit put on by Dr. Adler's teaching assistants dressed as a variety of prostitutes and sex workers. Although the University recently reversed it course of action against Dr. Adler, the approach to Dr. Adler's case garnered wide attention from a variety of academic communities in and outside of the University of Colorado at Boulder. On behalf of the SSSP, Executive Officer Héctor Delgado wrote a letter to University Provost Russell L. Moore, voicing concern over due process and academic freedom.
Click here to read the full letter.
Concerns Over the Implementation of CUNY's General Education Requirements
In December of 2012, SSSP Executive Officer Héctor Delgado wrote on behalf of the SSSP Board of Directors to express concern about CUNY’s plan to implement a new system of general education requirements and transfer guidelines (Pathways) in the fall of 2013. The SSSP wrote not to express an opinion on the initiative itself, but rather to express concern about the manner in which the initiative was developed and the opposition that it is receiving, principally from CUNY's faculty and staff.
Click here to read the full letter.
Academic Freedom of Michigan's Public Universities
In the spring of 2012, a higher education appropriations bill was introduced to the Michigan state legislature that could potentially threaten the academic freedom of Michigan’s public universities. The following language was added to the bill:
Sec. 273a. It is the intent of the legislature that a public university that receives funds in section 236 shall not collaborate in any manner with a nonprofit worker center whose documented activities include coercion through protest, demonstration, or organization against a Michigan business.
This language is so broad that it could potentially prevent public universities from forming partnerships or placing students with virtually any civic, religious, or other non-profit organization that engages in public outreach. This section of the bill represents direct interference by the legislature in the university curriculum, and thereby threatens in a very tangible way the academic freedom of universities, their faculty members, and students.
Upon the request of the Executive Officer, the Board of Directors authorized him to join other organizations and individuals in signing a letter urging legislators to strike Sec. 273a from the bill. Also with Board approval, the Executive Officer wrote a separate letter on behalf of the SSSP membership urging Michigan State Legislators to strike Section 273a from the bill. The Administrative Office distributed the letter to all Michigan State Legislators on April 19, 2012. Click here to read the letter in full.
Demonology as Propoganda: The Attacks on Frances Fox Piven
For the past two years, Glenn Beck has made Dr. Frances Fox Piven, a respected scholar, public intellectual, and former president of the SSSP and the American Sociological Association (ASA), the object of unwarranted and unprovoked attacks, in which he has mischaracterized her work, and that of her late husband, Richard Cloward, and which have caused her to receive death threats from individuals who give currency to Mr. Beck's baseless accusations.
SSSP members responded with several actions and discussions to support not only Dr. Piven, but the free and honest exchange of ideas. Click here for more on this action.
SSSP Responds to Topeka's Decriminalization of Domestic Violence
On October 11, 2011, the City Council in Topeka, KS voted 7-3 to repeal an ordinance making domestic violence a crime, in response to the County District Attorney’s decision not to prosecute domestic violence cases in Topeka because of budget cuts to his office. By repealing the local ordinance, however, the City Council forced the D.A.’s hand. After the City Council repealed the city’s ordinance, the D.A. announced he would prosecute these cases, but noted that he would have to do so with limited staff. The SSSP Board and Executive Office expressed its concern to the City Council, the Mayor, City Manager, and District Attorney in letters that were sent to them the week of October 24.
Click here to read a copy of the letter the SSSP Executive Officer sent to City Council members. In addition, the Executive Officer had a telephone conversation with one of the council members who voted against repealing the ordinance. She expressed gratitude to the SSSP for caring about the issue and more importantly for speaking up. The SSSP will continue to follow up on the situation and has offered its assistance to individuals in Topeka working to get the council to reverse its decision.
Rescission of Arizona Senate Bill 1070
In 2010, the SSSP membership passed a resolution calling for the rescission of Arizona Senate Bill 1070. Although the SSSP recognizes the need for immigration reform, the SSSP membership, along with many other humanitarian, social justice, and anti-racist organizations and individuals, did not believe Arizona Senate Bill 1070 to be a just or long-lasting policy that will accomplish immigration reform. Through the resolution, the SSSP declared that no annual meetings or business would be conducted in the state of Arizona by the SSSP.
Click here to view the letters sent to various public officials and media sources.
Click here to read the full resolution.
Troy Davis Case
At the 2009 SSSP Business Meeting, an additional resolution was presented and passed regarding Troy Davis's case. The SSSP joined the collective voice of many other groups, calling for a new trial for Mr. Davis. Mr. Davis, an inmate on death row in Georgia, was convicted largely on the basis of (typically unreliable) eyewitness testimony. Virtually every eyewitness has recanted their testimonies. It was determined that the Administrative Office would send a letter to the District Attorney, Larry Chisolm, registering the concerns of the Society copying Governor Sonny Perdue.
The SSSP remained engaged in the Troy Davis case until his execution on September 20, 2011. While the SSSP never took the position that Mr. Davis was innocent, the position it took was that there was more than enough doubt to commute the sentence to life in prison.
Below are the various letters and statements the SSSP made regarding Troy Davis's case.
Click here to view the letter sent to the District Attorney in 2009.
Click here to view a letter and petition to the SSSP membership.
Click here for the final statement on the case from the SSSP Executive Officer.