Supporting WGS and Strategy Voting Results

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TRU stands in solidarity with the Program for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality (WGS). Recently, the Deans of KSAS announced the cancellation of graduate teaching fellowships for this program. This was done without consulting WGS-affiliated faculty and without consideration of the current or former Teaching Fellows. Many graduate students depend on these fellowships for funding, and graduate teaching labor comprises the vast majority of WGS classes taught on campus.

Here’s a letter from former and current WGS fellows explaining the details: https://wgsjhu.home.blog/2019/11/07/women-gender-and-sexuality-studies-teaching-fellowships-an-open-letter-to-the-deans-of-johns-hopkins-university/ 

Last night, members of TRU attended a town hall with Vice Dean for Graduate Education and Centers and Programs (what a mouthful) Matthew Roller. We received very unsatisfactory answers to our questions. We still don’t know where the money they are taking away from WGS would go to. We don’t know why WGS has been singled out form all programs that offer their own fellowships. We don’t know why Hopkins feels it is necessary to go after a program which amplifies marginalized voices on campus. We also still don’t know why WGS isn’t an independent and fully supported department, as it is at many peer institutions.

The town hall was covered by the Hopkins News-Letter:

We also encourage folks to continue to sign the following petition to show support: https://www.change.org/p/the-deans-and-president-of-johns-hopkins-university-saving-women-gender-and-sexuality-studies-scholarship-at-johns-hopkins 

In addition, we are pleased to report the results of the strategy vote from the online votes and from the general body meeting last night. After counting the votes, the union has chosen to move forward with a voluntary recognition campaign in which we push for a contract. Thanks so much to all of you for voting! Stay tuned for updates and plans for future actions!

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TRU Stands in Solidarity with Christine Blasey Ford

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A group of people, dressed predominantly in black, stands under the columned porch of Gilman hall. Some individuals have black tape over their mouths, while others hold signs saying things like "#MeToo" or "Believe Women"

Members and representatives of TRU attended the September 27 silent vigil in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and all survivors. One representative of TRU spoke at the event. The JHU News Letter covered the event.

TRU stands in solidarity with all survivors of sexual harassment and assault. Unfortunately, sexual harassment and assault is no stranger to academia or the Johns Hopkins campus. And even just hearing about sexual assault (in the media or elsewhere) can be traumatic for survivors and their loved ones. Below are some resources that may be helpful to those in the Hopkins and Baltimore community.

  • SARU (Sexual Assault Response & Prevention) is autonomous & student-run. Their 24/7 private hotline can help direct you to further resources. The support line number is 410-516-7887 and the SARU email is jhusaru@gmail.com. SARU’s training is similar to that at RAINN.
  • JHU Counseling Center runs a 24/7 helpline, staffed by an on-call counselor. The number for the Sexual Assault Helpline is 410-516-7333 For more information see http://sexualassault.jhu.edu/ 

Note that everyone is obligated under Maryland law to report child abuse, but otherwise SARU staffers are not mandated reporters. Be aware that some Hopkins staff are mandated reporters.

For information on reporting via the OIE, see: https://sexualassault.jhu.edu/file-complaint/index.html

  • In the wider Baltimore area there is also CHANA. Helpline: 410-234-0023, CHANA offers a Jewish community response to the needs of those who experience abuse, trauma and neglect.
  • And TurnAround, Inc. provides 24/7 crisis intervention, trauma therapy, victim advocacy, community education and training, accompaniment services and shelter. (Hotline: 443-279-0379, For crisis intervention&referral 410-377-8111) 2300 North Charles Street, Bmore. Their website is: https://turnaroundinc.org/

Parental Resources have Improved, but Still a Long Way to Go

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cllose up on graph showing hopkins offers nothing in child support suoth

As a result of collective organizing, Hopkins implemented a new parental leave policy in the summer of 2017. However, as TRU member Joanna Behrman notes in an interview with the JHU News-Letter, many improvements are still needed. For example, the university has almost no lactation facilities or changing stations. Child care also remains prohibitively expensive for graduate workers.

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TRU connects gender and labor relations at JHU on International Women’s Day

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Grad speaks into megaphone at rally

Teachers and Researchers United (TRU) marked International Women’s Day with the announcement of a new subcommittee, new organizing goals, and new demands, while some of our members participated in a local march honoring working class women. The JHU News Letter covered the events of the march.

First, TRU announced the work of its recently established Gender Equity Subcommittee. Since 2014, TRU has been speaking to graduate students about working conditions, revealing a host of issues relating to gender, from sexual harassment and high attrition rates to lack of healthcare and services. TRU’s gender equity organizing seeks to address these problems and fight for justice and fair treatment within our workplace, as well as ensuring that gender equity guides the principles and workings of our own organization.

In conjunction with TRU’s ongoing healthcare campaign, the Subcommittee took International Women’s Day as an opportunity to draw attention to one glaring issue: childcare. While other universities offer support to parents, at Johns Hopkins graduate workers pay thousands out of pocket for child care expenses. Flyers posted around campus drew attention to this disparity and demanded that the university administration take steps to offer real support to graduate parents.

Posters hung up around campus showed how little Johns Hopkins supports grad student parents in comparison with peer institutions.

In addition to TRU’s organizing, a group of TRU members joined in the Baltimore International Working Women’s Day March. The march, which was sponsored by a number of undergraduate organizations and activist groups, rallied in front of the Eisenhower Library. There, various speakers took up a number of issues– from dealing with anti-Semitism and racism in the United States, to struggles of women in Palestine, Syria, and elsewhere in the global south facing the brunt of climate change, exploitation, and military violence – highlighting the multitude of experiences and struggles that define International Women’s Day.

From the university, marchers proceeded to the People’s Park, and shouted chants supporting Black and Trans lives, calling on the US to condemn fascism and welcome immigrants, and an end to police violence.

At the park, additional speakers focused on issues that intersect with the aims of TRU’s gender equity organizing. First, from Maryland where the lack of a just minimum wage forces many women to work multiple jobs to support their children, to the Philippines where the legacy of US military occupation force women to work overseas to support families back home, gender relations are labor relations. Second, that gender equity is not limited to cis women, but must aim for a much more expansive and complex idea of justice and liberation.
(Photo credit Valeria Villanueva)

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