Letter from President Mary T. Boatwright

As some of you witnessed personally and all can now read (see, e.g., The Chronicle), the 150th Annual Meeting of the Society for Classical Studies last weekend in San Diego was disgraced by two shocking incidents. One occurred when an independent scholar attending a panel told Princeton Assistant Professor Dan-el Padilla Peralta that he got his job because he is black. The SCS, after consulting internally and in accordance with our annual meeting harassment policy, notified the scholar that she should no longer attend SCS sessions and events in San Diego. In the other incident, the founders of the Sportula, two students of color, were questioned by a hotel staff member about their presence at the conference. We are in contact with the Marriott. We have reached out to the students to express our support. We also understand that the Marriott has contacted them to better understand their experience and apologize.

But these and other immediate responses, such as the Board statement the SCS passed on the meeting’s last day, by themselves can do little to redress the real and deep-seated problems the incidents disclose about not only US society but also about our field. The events reveal fears, resentments, and anger among our members. Dan-el Padilla Peralta makes the case on Medium that our field “lacks the courage to acknowledge its historical and ongoing inability to value scholars from underrepresented groups.” Other colleagues also express despair at the incidents, which resonate with micro-aggressions, and worse, that they themselves have experienced.

We must confront, meet, and remedy the problems so appallingly revealed in San Diego. It is more than ironic that the accusation of preferential job treatment on the basis of race was made at a special Sesquicentennial panel on “The Future of Classics,” and that the two students representing Sportula had received awards from WCC and LCC for advancing equality and diversity. The future of our discipline depends on expansion and inclusion. Just as importantly, the integrity and value of the Society and of all classicists are inseparable from equity and respect for everyone.

The SCS has been working consciously towards expansion and inclusion since the 1970s, if not before, through changes such as anonymous submissions for the program, the creation of committees to safeguard the rights and promote the interests of specific groups of our members, and the establishment of policies against harassment. There is obviously very much more to be done. I am working with the SCS Past President (2018) and President Elect (2020) Joseph Farrell and Sheila Murnaghan, with the SCS Executive Director Dr. Helen Cullyer, and with the Board of Directors. But everyone must work together and we must listen to one another honestly and openly, for the SCS and our discipline to move forward. In the meantime, we deeply regret the insulting events that occurred at the 2019 SCS annual meeting, and we recommit to effecting change in the field.

Sincerely,  

Mary T. Boatwright, President of the SCS, 2019

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The APA is a member of Coalition on the Academic Workforce (CAW)—a coalition of organizations working to address deteriorating faculty working conditions and their effect on college and university students in the United States.  CAW has released the results of a recent survey of contingent faculty members. Designed to address the lack of data on contingent academics and their working conditions, the survey received more than 10,000 responses from faculty members who were teaching part-time in fall 2010. These responses provide the basis for a detailed portrait of the work patterns, remuneration, and employment conditions for what is now the largest part of the academic workforce.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 06/20/2012 - 12:29pm by Adam Blistein.

Do you know an outstanding classics teacher at the pre-collegiate level? Consider nominating him or her for the APA Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Pre-Collegiate Level.

Ronnie Ancona
APA Vice President for Education

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 06/08/2012 - 5:01pm by .

I met Gary in 1987 when we were both starting our careers as Visiting Assistant Professors at Union College in Schenectady, New York.  He died on December 31, 2011, after a brief battle with cancer.  The facts of Gary’s life as a classicist are clear: After earning a double Ph.D. in Classics and Comparative Literature at Yale, he went on to teach at some excellent places: Union College, George Washington, Eckerd College—where he held an endowed chair—and finally, Villanova.  His numerous publications include his excellent Euripides and the Poetics of Nostalgia, published by Cambridge University Press in 2006. Gary was a conscientious, witty, and imaginative teacher, who earned the loyalty and devotion of many of his students.     

Gary led a rich and noteworthy life. He enjoyed and took pride in his family: his two daughters, Emily and Rebecca Meltzer, their mother and his wife, Jill Ross Meltzer, his sister and her husband, Dale and David Stempler, and his array of cousins. He could not have been more devoted to Emily and Rebecca.

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Mon, 06/04/2012 - 1:36pm by Adam Blistein.

From the Harvard Gazette:

Before their degrees are formally conferred at Morning Exercises, three Harvard men still have one test left to pass. Each will speak for their class before a crowd of thousands in Tercentenary Theatre, an honor given to three graduating students each year.

Once a series of thesis defenses, often presented in Latin, Greek, or Hebrew, Harvard’s Commencement orations have evolved into succinct five-minute speeches. Each spring, the Harvard Commencement Office hosts a competition to select an undergraduate student, a graduate student, and an undergraduate speaking in Latin for the occasion.

Here, the Class of 2012 orators share their stories — and a glimpse at the words of wisdom they plan to offer.

Read more at http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/05/in-full-regalia-and-ready-to-regale/.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 05/27/2012 - 1:38pm by Information Architect.

From News at Princeton

When Princeton University senior Elizabeth Butterworth was in middle school she immersed herself in the richly imagined world of J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings." The experience sparked her fascination for stories from other eras, along with an abiding passion for delving into texts.

"I fell in love with that book. It made me interested in mythology and epic stories," she said.

Read more at http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S33/76/30M58/index.xml?section=topstories.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 05/27/2012 - 1:35pm by Information Architect.

… at the bottom of the third column on page 79 of the May 21, 2012, edition:

DEPT. OF HIGHER EDUCATION

From the Transactions of the American Philological Association

     Valerius's allusive gestures thus problematize Venus's argument by drawing attention to the intertextual connection between Georgics 2.140 and Aeneid 7.281, texts that have very different things to say about the existence of fire-breathing animals in Italy.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 05/24/2012 - 2:10am by Information Architect.

Dirk tom Dieck Held, the Elizabeth S. Kruidenier ’48 Professor of Classics at Connecticut College in New London CT, died of a cerebral hemorrhage on March 21, 2012. He took his A.B. and Ph.D in Classics at Brown University.

Joining the faculty of Connecticut College in 1971, he held the Chair of the Classics Department for thirty-two years.  Professor Held presented and/or published over one hundred learned papers on a wide variety of topics.  He was widely known and respected for the quality of his scholarship and his dedication to the field.

Colleague Robert Proctor, Professor of Italian, remarked, “Dirk Held lived the liberal arts ideal. His scholarship was both profound and wide-ranging, from Plato’s understanding of love to Nietzsche and the reception of classical antiquity in the modern world. He was a modern exemplar of ancient Roman humanitas: culture, kindness, generosity, and wit.”

Some of his recent published works include:

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Tue, 05/22/2012 - 12:28pm by Adam Blistein.
I write with disappointing news regarding the effort to prevent a large garbage dump from being sited at Corcolle, near Hadrian's Villa: Giuseppe Pecoraro, the Extraordinary Commissioner of Rubbish for the Regione Lazio, has announced his final decision to recommend going forward with the Corcolle site. The Board of Directors authorized me to write on behalf of the APA to Prime Minister Mario Monti to protest this decision and to find an alternative site.  In this protest we join many other individuals, organizations, and communities in Italy and around the world.
 
View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 05/22/2012 - 12:19pm by Adam Blistein.

From the Associated Press, via Yahoo.com:

For years, Gac Filipaj mopped floors, cleaned toilets and took out trash at Columbia University.

A refugee from war-torn Yugoslavia, he eked out a living working for the Ivy League school. But Sunday was payback time: The 52-year-old janitor donned a cap and gown to graduate with a bachelor's degree in classics.

As a Columbia employee, he didn't have to pay for the classes he took. His favorite subject was the Roman philosopher and statesman Seneca, the janitor said during a break from his work at Lerner Hall, the student union building he cleans.

"I love Seneca's letters because they're written in the spirit in which I was educated in my family — not to look for fame and fortune, but to have a simple, honest, honorable life," he said.

His graduation with honors capped a dozen years of studies, including readings in ancient Latin and Greek.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 05/14/2012 - 1:55am by Information Architect.

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