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The Executive Committee of the SCS has issued the following statement:
For several years, serious issues have arisen concerning online communications within the classics community. The SCS reminds its members to respect the dignity of one another in professional and private communications. These communications include, inter alia, social media posts and direct messages, private emails, and messages posted to email listservs. In view of these concerns the SCS Professional Matters Division is preparing guidelines for social media and other online communications.
Academic freedom and tenure are of fundamental importance, indeed the basis upon which America has achieved pre-eminence in higher education. Without its protections, faculty are at constant risk of arbitrary termination, with chilling and destructive effects on their ability to conduct groundbreaking research and provide state-of-the-art teaching. To enable termination of the appointments even of leading faculty members at any time and for any reason would inhibit the free flow of ideas, the building of stable departments, and the continuity necessary to conduct quality research and effectively teach students. The result for the university would surely be difficulty in attracting and retaining talented faculty, in securing research funding, in assuring current and potential students of a high-quality education with teachers and mentors who can be counted on to be there when they need them, and in living up to the expectations of our broader society, not least the citizens of Kansas. Academic freedom and tenure should be a line that no institution should be tempted to cross on any grounds short of actual exigency. Furthermore, members of the faculty accepted their positions in reliance on the existing policy, which was that in place at other institutions; this change is deeply unfair to them. Of course, the pandemic has caused financial crises in higher education, but that is why the policy allows for the declaration of financial exigency.
The SCS board of directors has endorsed a statement issued by the Middle East Studies Association on a proposed rule by DHS that would limit the duration of student visas. The proposed rule, if adopted, would mark the most sweeping change to student visa rules in decades. You can read the statement here:
Faculty, their administrations, and non-profit organizations, including SCS, around the country are engaging in the necessary work of addressing racism within their institutions. In recognition of this work and in support of it, the Executive Committee of SCS is reiterating the board statement of June 3, 2020:
From the SCS Board of Directors, approved 6/3/20
The Society for Classical Studies condemns the relentless horror of police brutality and murder of black men, women, and children, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Rekia Boyd, Sandra Bland, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Rodney King, to name just a few of the victims. Brutality perpetrated by the police and others stands with mass incarceration and unequal access to healthcare, education, and housing as symptoms of longstanding systemic, structural, and institutional racism in American and European cultures. These are deep problems in society that will not be fixed without radical policy changes at every level of government and across all institutions.
The SCS Board has endorsed a statement from the American Sociological Association calling on higher education administrations to revise a number of their academic policies.
Two main policy recommendations include recommending "that institutions make temporary adjustments to timelines for student progression and completion, including revising funding timelines as appropriate" and to adjust "expectations for learning and scholarship during this period...[including] alternate grading options or amended graduation requirements."
You can read the full statement here.
The SCS Board of Directors has endorsed a statement by the American Sociological Association on faculty review and reappointment during COVID-19.
Read the statement and full list of signatories at this link
As of Friday March 13, 2020, SCS staff will be working remotely until further notice. We have taken this step in order to comply with the current policies of NYU, our host institution. Fortunately, we expect there to be little disruption to our operations. You can still do the following online:
- Access all portions of our website as usual
The best way to contact us during this period is at email@example.com. We will respond promptly. To reach us by phone, please use 646 939 0435. We plan to check our physical mail on a regular basis but would prefer members to use online communication if possible at this time.
As the COVID-19 virus becomes more widespread in the US and in many other countries, the SCS office and the Board of Directors are making plans to deal effectively with disruptions to all our operations and programs.
Since many academic institutions are now placing restrictions on domestic travel, cancelling trips and programs abroad, and even teaching online due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the SCS Board of Directors has approved, effective 3/6/20, the deferred spending by award winners of short-term award and grant funds for travel, programs, and events. Winners of the Frank M. Snowden Jr. Scholarships (formerly the Undergraduate Minority Scholarships), Coffin Fellowship, Pedagogy Awards, Koenen Fellowship, and Classics Everywhere micro-grants will be allowed to postpone their awards until 2021, subject to terms that will be included in all award letters going forward. Detailed instructions will be included in all award letters. SCS will continue to receive applications for these programs in accordance with posted deadlines, and 2020 winners may use funds in 2020 if they are able to do so.
The following was approved by the SCS board of directors on February 7, 2020.
The Society for Classical Studies joins the Society of Architectural Historians in opposing the proposed Executive Order “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again.” As students and scholars of the ancient Greco-Roman world and its ongoing cultural impact, we recognize that classical antiquity provided some of the many traditions that have shaped this nation, and we appreciate the examples of neo-classical architecture, both public and private, to be found throughout the United States. But we firmly believe that the architectural style of public buildings should not be dictated in advance, but rather freely and deliberately chosen in view of all relevant considerations, and we reject the supposition that a style derived from classical models is necessarily better suited than any other to express the history, values, and aspirations of the American people.
Please see the letter below from the Society of Architectural Historians and a number of other scholarly societies, including SCS.
February 10, 2020
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Re: Opposition to proposed Executive Order “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again”
Dear Mr. President,