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 Raisi (5/15/22)
As the Executive Officer of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP), an interdisciplinary organization of scholars, students, activists and practitioners committed to applying critical, scientific, and humanistic perspectives to the study of vital social problems, Dr. Héctor L. Delgado has written to express deep concern for Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali's health and to ask that President Raisi use his authority to suspend Dr. Djalali's execution on May 21, as reported by a number of news outlets.
While Dr. Delgado, and many others, are calling for his outright release, they are urging President Raisi, at minimum, to suspend the execution and to ensure that Dr. Djalali is permitted access to his lawyer and family in Iran, to call to his wife and children in Sweden, and to receive the medical care that he so urgently needs.
Click here to view the letter.
Higher Ed Labor Summit (7/15/2021)
In July of 2021, a group of higher education unions, student groups, and individuals, including members of the SSSP’s Labor Division, participated in a summit to lay out a vision of higher education as a social good and universal right. The result was the vision statement linked below. Upon request of the Chair of the Labor Studies Division, the Board of Directors voted to add the Society’s name to the list of organizations supporting the statement.
Link to Higher Ed Vision statement:
Laurentian University Letter (5/24/21)
The Society for the Study of Social Problems [SSSP] is an international professional organization of social scientists who believe our teaching, research, and publication should aid society in the pursuit of a better, more humane world. We are particularly keen to track and act on changes within our own institutions of higher education and do what we can to resist the degradation of our craft and our profession. We have followed the tragedy occurring at Laurentian University and feel the necessity not only to express our outrage at the undemocratic processes used to decimate the institution’s mission but also to bear witness at the resulting human misery it has caused for faculty, staff and students.
We ask that all public officials take immediate steps to reduce the suffering and insecurity caused by these actions while also adopting longer range plans to restore Canada’s commitment to public education, democracy, and a society based on human rights, dignity, and well-being.
Click here to view the letter.
Voting Rights Letter (4/8/21)
As one of the oldest and most respected social science organizations in the United States, the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) condemns the concerted attacks against institutions and laws that form the bedrock of our democratic system. The newly enacted Georgia Voting Bill and similar legislation introduced in 42 other states; resistance to the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, designed to combat racial discrimination in voting by restoring and strengthening the protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965; and the anti-legal protest bills championed by Florida’s Governor and Legislature; all demonstrate efforts to degrade democracy and disenfranchise our most marginalized citizens. These negative legislative actions are accelerating at an alarming rate and demand swift and concerted responses.
Click here to view the letter.
Anti-AAPI Hate Letter (4/1/21)
The Board of Directors of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) has written a statement condemning the rise in anti-Asian racism in the United States, expressing solidarity with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI), and sharing its grief with those impacted by the subsequent racial violence. The statement also calls attention to the fact that this brutal act targeted Asian American women principally; a group targeted historically by racial and gender violence accompanying colonial and cultural conquests, and by what Asian-American feminists have called the “everyday experiences of sexual violence” among Asian American and Pacific Islander [AAPI] community women. The statement was sent to prominent AAPI social justice organizations, Congressional leaders, the leaders of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and the White House. Click below to read the statement and sample cover letters. Provided as well is a link to resources for members who wish to get more involved on this issue.
Click here for SSSP's Anti-Asian Hate, Discrimination, and Violence Statement.
Click here for SSSP President Dr. Corey Dolgon and SSSP Executive Officer Dr. Héctor L. Delgado's Letter to the AALDEF.
Click here for SSSP President Dr. Corey Dolgon and SSSP Executive Officer Dr. Héctor L. Delgado's Letter to President Joseph R. Biden, Jr."
Capitol Letter (1/13/21)
On January 6th, thousands of domestic terrorists stormed and vandalized our two houses of congress in an effort to stop the constitutional process of confirming the democratic election of a new President. This attempted insurrection was incited by an unprecedented and vile assault on truth and facts. And the centrality of white nationalism and racism characterized not only the mob’s core message, but the differential treatment they received from police and security officials who, only months earlier, attacked peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors with chemical gas, rubber bullets and batons.
Moore and Thomas Letter (9/21/20)
On Monday of last week (9/21/2020) the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that two Sociology professors and SSSP members, Dr. Wendy Leo Moore of Texas A&M University and Dr. James Michael Thomas of the University of Mississippi and were both being threatened with termination and/or financial penalty for their participation in #scholarstrike activities. Inspired by increased resistance to police violence against African Americans—protests that included professional athletes’ work stoppages-- #scholarstrike was a national effort to raise awareness and educate students on the long history of white supremacy and policing, as well as the long struggle of African Americans and others to achieve racial equality and civil rights. These educators’ actions were supported by our own organization and many other professional groups of educators around the United States and Canada. In fact, dozens of colleges and universities acknowledged their faculty’s rights to such actions and even lauded their professors’ efforts.
The Board of Directors of the Society for the Study of Social Problems stands behind its members and calls on the President of Texas A&M University and the Chancellor of the University of Mississippi to issue statements of support for Professors Moore and Thomas respectively. We would also like to see ANY investigation or procedures related to their employment be transparent to them and the community. We believe that professors Moore and Thomas are being unfairly targeted for political reasons, and without regard for the highest principles of academic freedom and human rights, for their participation in an action designed to bring attention to social injustice.
We stand in solidarity with Dr. Wendy Leo Moore and Dr. James M. Thomas.
TWO-DAY SCHOLAR STRIKE: SEPTEMBER 8-9, 2020: #ScholarStrike (09/08/20)
The Society for the Study of Social Problems [SSSP] began as a group of sociologists who believed that a professional organization could both support the activist work of its members as well as be more engaged in the research and action necessary to address social problems and fight for social justice. Two of the major issues the organization set its sights on was the issue of racial inequality and the academic freedom of its membership. It is in this spirit that the SSSP issues this statement of support to the two-day strike of college faculty currently being organized by Dr. Anthea Butler of the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Kevin Gannon of Grand View University under the hashtag #ScholarStrike.
The strike organizers have issued the following statement:
Given the recent events of police brutality, most recently the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha Wi, and the murders of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN, and many other police shootings during the summer of 2020--an intensification of the trend we’ve seen in recent years--we can no longer sit quietly amidst state violence against communities of color.
We believe that it’s of crucial importance for those of us in higher education to take a stand in solidarity with our students and the communities we serve. We also see the need to affirm protestors, workers for social justice, and activists who are crucial parts of making our communities better places. To that end, we propose a General Strike (for those who are working Union contracts, working to the clock) for 48 hours, to take place immediately after Labor Day, on September 8-9. We believe that it is long past time for us to make a collective stand against police violence (particularly against communities of color) in the United States. We will refrain from teaching and all administrative duties for this entire 48 hour period. We will use this time as a public teach-in about police brutality and violence in our communities from both historical and contemporary perspectives. We plan to use our social media platforms and all other venues available to us to get the message out.
We support this statement and would support all faculty (but particularly our own membership) who take part in this labor action and teach-in. Actions such as these demonstrate the power of workers and the power of educators who are prepared and willing to address this very significant social problem. Police brutality and the militarization of policing—especially as they terrorize communities of color—must end.
Board Resolution in Honor of Representative John R. Lewis (07/23/20)
On July 17, 2020, the Honorable John R. Lewis, a giant of civil rights and social justice in the United States, died. The same day, another civil rights icon, the Reverend C.T. Vivian, passed as well. Three months earlier we lost the Reverend Joseph Lowery, one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), its President for twenty years, and considered by many the Dean of the Civil Rights Movement. At a time that the country is deeply divided racially, their passing should remind us that racial and other forms of social justice do not come easily – they require work, dedication, and sacrifice.
The Board moved quickly to adopt a statement in the form of a resolution on these civil rights activists’ passing, that included a provision urging the Society and its members to re-dedicate themselves to these struggles, as an organization and as individuals in our own communities and institutions. We need to do what we can to ensure that their work and sacrifices, and that of so many other activists and protesters, including Black Lives Matter and other activists today, is not in vain. We urge you to recommit yourselves politically to the struggle for civil rights and social justice, to which John Lewis, C.T. Vivian, and Joseph Lowery dedicated their lives.
On behalf of the Board, we have sent letters (and a copy of the resolution) to the President of the United States and Congressional leaders, urging them to expand voter rights, to enact criminal justice system reforms, to assist states with federal funds to ensure fair and safe elections in November, to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge the John R. Lewis Bridge, and to replace the statue of Alexander Hamilton Stephens in the Capitol with one of John R. Lewis. We have sent letters to John Lewis’s staff in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. expressing our condolences (and asking them to convey our condolences to his family) and to the Governor of Alabama and legislative leaders in the state urging them to rename the Pettus bridge the John R. Lewis Bridge.
To read a copy of the Board Resolution in honor of Representative John R. Lewis click here.
To read the letter to President of the United States and Congressional Leaders click here.
To read the letter to the Governor of Alabama and Alabama Legislature click here.
To read the condolences letter to John R. Lewis’s staff click here.
Coronavirus Pandemic (06/4/20)
The uncertainty of the Coronavirus pandemic means that many students will delay or forego their education, leading to large declines in enrollment for many institutions. In addition, public institutions anticipate lost revenue as states, facing their own revenue losses, make deep cuts in higher education funding. The $14 billion allocated to higher education in the CARES Act was a useful first step in helping higher education weather the crisis. The American Sociological Association has drafted a letter calling for the allocation of additional relief funds to higher education and ensuring that these resources are distributed to the students and institutions who need them most.
To read the entire letter, click here.
To read SSSP's June 1, 2020 letter calling for the inclusion of DACA to the list of relief recipients, click here.
Travel Ban Letter (02/17/20)
On February 17, the Society for the Study of Social Problems sent a letter to the President of the United States and Congressional leaders, expressing concerns about the administration’s decision to add the countries of Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, and Tanzania to the restricted travel list; thereby raising the number of countries on the list to thirteen. While acknowledging the administration's responsibility to ensure the country’s security, the letter, approved by the Board, expresses the belief that this approach is short-sighted and will, in the long run, make us more isolated and, consequently, less secure.
To read the entire letter, click here.
National Labor Relations Board (01/24/20)
SSSP believes that all workers deserve the basic right to a union—including graduate assistants at private universities. For many years, graduate student workers across the country have been exercising these rights at the public and private universities where they are employed while they pursue their education. Through unionization, graduate employees have secured fairer living wages, healthcare benefits, a voice in shaping their working conditions, and important protections regarding discrimination and harassment. SSSP fully supports and endorses student workers' rights.
Click here to read the full NLRB statement of support.
Highlander Center Fire (03/29/19)
On Friday, March 29, the main office of the Highlander Center for Education and Research burned to the ground. There is some indication that this was due to arson. This fire comes simultaneous with Highlander’s project of rebuilding their library, a crucial resource for all.
The Highlander Center has been an important actor in Southern progressive action for 87
years. During that time, it has functioned as a social movement school, and as a main actor in pushing forward a version of participatory action research. The Highlander Center has played an important role in the Southern labor movement, the civil rights movement, and every progressive activity since those times, including working in the immigrant rights movement, the LGBTQ rights movement, and most recently in the Movement for Black Lives. It is a crucial resource for progressive and action oriented people, activists and scholars alike.
Please feel free to reach out to the Highlander and tell them how much they mean to you. They have stood with progressive political movements for decades; now it is time for us to stand with them.
Thanks for anything you can do.
Knoxville News Sentinel post:
04/0 3/christchurch- shooter-used-racist-symbol-found-at-highland-center-fire-iron-
Continue to share the Highlander’s official statement and Facebook live video, and be on the lookout for more updates. Links are here:
Tell your Highlander stories. If there was ever a time to share what this place means to you, and what is possible because it has and will continue to exist, it is now.
Click here to download this information.
Letter to President Trump Regarding Concern and Consternation Over the Deployment of Active Duty Troops To the U.S.-Mexico Border and the Denial of Asylum Eligibility for Refugees (11/16/18)
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 (10/31/18)
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 (06/26/18)
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 (10/20/17)
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 (09/11/17)
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 (08/24/17)
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 (07/21/17)
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 (07/05/17)
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 (07/05/17)
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.
SSSP Issues Statement on President's Immigration Executive Order (02/17/17)
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.
Response to SSSP Statement on President's Immigration Executive Order (01/31/17)
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.
Letter to Members regarding the Political Climate (12/02/16)
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 (12/15/16)
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 (09/13/16)
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 (03/15/16)
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 (01/08/16)
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 (07/28/15)
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 (12/19/14)
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 (11/07/14)
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 (04/02/14)
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 (12/23/14)
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 (12/11/12)
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 (04/19/12)
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.
SSSP Responds to Topeka's Decriminalization of Domestic Violence (10/11/11)
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.
Troy Davis Case (09/20/11)
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.
Demonology as Propoganda: The Attacks on Frances Fox Piven (01/31/11)
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.
Rescission of Arizona Senate Bill 1070 (06/11/10)
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.