higher education

36 petitions

Update posted 3 days ago

Petition to Charlie Baker, marty meehan, Robert Manning

Fund the William Joiner Institute, Keep Your Promise to Veterans

Since 1982 the William Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences has served veterans, refugees, and their families whose lives have been scarred by war. Its groundbreaking programs of research, teaching, advocacy, international educational and cultural exchange, and art programming have received recognition locally, nationally, and internationally. The Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Lannan Foundation, Boston Foundation, the U.S. Department of State, International Research Exchange (IREX), Mass Cultural Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities have all supported their programs. Now, however, suddenly, the Institute faces the prospect of extinction, a casualty of the budget crisis at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where systemic problems have led to severe cutbacks that threaten the urban mission of the university. Early in its history the Institute received funding from the Commonwealth through a discreet line item in the state budget. Later, the Institute’s budget was folded into the university’s budget with an agreement that it would absorb cuts and increases in the same proportions as the campus’s budget overall. Over time that agreement was slowly eroded. This past week, the university presented the Institute with a budget that would reduce staff levels from the 2017 level of 5.5 positions to 1.5 beginning July 1st, 2018. No position would be full-time. The director position would be funded at 80% time, an administrative assistant at 45% time, and a project coordinator at 30% time. Over the next years, the university will continue to withdraw state supported funding from the Joiner to practically zero. We believe these cuts to the Joiner Institute to be extreme, disproportionate, and inequitable, a betrayal of the university and the Commonwealth’s commitment to veterans and their families and a truly backward step in a community’s much needed efforts to generate useful research, scholarship, teaching and programming addressing the continuing impacts of war and violence. We ask: - At a time when an estimated 22 veterans commit suicide each day, - At a time when veterans of wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan become ill and die each day from exposures to toxins, - At a time when the gap in the experiences and understanding between military and civilians is growing wider and wider, - At a time when the United States is involved in conflicts around the world and operates bases on most every continent, with annual budgets amounting to billions to operate them, often receiving little oversight, - At a time when the structure of our largest system of health care delivery and the source of services for millions of veterans around the country is being threatened by underfunding and moves toward privatization, - At time when each day nuclear war seems less and less impossible, Why are we eliminating support for a unique Institute founded by veterans that seeks to examine the social and health consequences of war and ways to address these issues and bring veterans, refugees, and citizens together in dialogue? For thirty-five years the Joiner Institute as an integral part of UMass Boston has been saving lives, educating citizens, serving veterans, and mentoring them into leadership positions. We believe that veterans are more than the dollars their GI Bills bring to university coffers, seeing them not as consumers, but as contributors and creators. In the most immediate future, these funding cuts will impact our annual Writers' Workshop (now in its 31st year), our "Humanizing How We Teach about War and Violent Conflict" High School Teachers Workshop, our Music Therapy programs for veterans, our research into the health effects of the Iraq War, our collaborative and creative exchanges with the countries of Iraq and Vietnam, as well as numerous other programs such as our Speaker Series, translation projects, veterans outreach support programs, which address the long term impacts of war and the possibilities of healing, reconciliation, and the transformation of trauma and conflict through creative arts. We ask that you sign our petition to demand restoration of full funding for the Joiner Institute to continue its ongoing mission to address the social and health consequences of war through research, education, advocacy, and outreach support. Our Joiner friends, supporters, and members have always been our greatest asset as an organization and we owe our existence and ongoing programs to the tireless work and support of so many from our community. Whether you attended a Writers' Workshop, a lecture, were part of our veterans’ support programs, fought for recognition of the devastation of Agent Orange on veterans’ lives, or have contributed a financial donation, we owe our legacy and public work to you. We ask again for your support to keep the legacy of the Joiner Institute alive and thriving. In an era of continued violence, wars that seem never ending, in times of dramatic increases in refugees fleeing from war torn countries, the work of the Joiner Institute is as vital as ever and even more needed. Please sign your name, leave a comment, share this campaign, call your local senator, representative, or the president of the UMass System to share your support for the continued work of the Joiner Institute and for its future. We are grateful for your support and advocacy. We will be planning more actions in the coming days and weeks so stay tuned.   Sincerely, The Staff of the William Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences Thomas T. Kane, PhD, DirectorKevin Bowen, Former Director and FounderPaul Atwood, Founding Co-Director 1982-85, Interim Director, 2011-14Nguyen Ba Chung, Research FellowMitch Manning, Program CoordinatorPatrick McCormack, Business Manager

Joiner Institute
4,121 supporters
Update posted 3 weeks ago

Petition to Loyola University Chicago Administration

Support our LUC non-tenure track faculty on April 4th!

After almost 2 years of negotiations with Loyola administration, the non-tenure track faculty union here at Loyola (comprised of adjuncts, lecturers, and other non-tenure track faculty) announced on Friday that they have voted to authorize a 1 day strike on Wednesday, April 4th if they are not able to agree on a contract by that date.  As educators, we have committed ourselves to providing the high quality Jesuit education our students deserve. The working and living conditions of our NTT and adjunct faculty impact the learning conditions of Loyola students. It is our responsibility to our colleagues in higher education, and it is also in the best interests of our students to ensure that our NTT and adjunct faculty receive the wages and benefits they have been negotiating for. If the strike goes forward, I commit to do at least one of the following: Attend the university-wide rally on April 4th at 12:00 PM (1032 W Sheridan Rd) Join NTT and adjunct faculty at the picket line Not cross the picket line Cancel any classes or discussion sections I teach on Wednesday, April 4th Refuse to attend class Ask professors in my department to cancel class Talk to my colleagues about how they will participate in the strike As grad student workers, we will stand in solidarity with our non-tenure track and adjunct faculty and demand that the university recognize our rights as workers by meeting us at the bargaining table and negotiating a contract with graduate student workers. Furthermore, as a democratically elected, legally-recognized union, it is our right to demand the working conditions we deserve. No matter what school, program, career track, or degree type, we are all in this together.

Yiran Zhang
54 supporters
Started 1 month ago

Petition to MCCC Foundation, Dr. J. Brandon Shaw, Dr. Mark Harris, Ed Gwazda, Dr. L. Diane Campbell, Jianping Wang, Ed.D., Reverend William E. Coleman, Jr., Ilyndove Healy, Jim Gardner, Ann M. Cannon, Clinton Calabrese, Michael Patrick Carroll, Thomas P. Giblin, DiAnne C. Gove, Amy H. Handlin, Patricia Egan Jones, Gabriela M. Mosquera, Sandra B. Cunningham, Nellie Pou, Chris A. Brown, Thomas H. Kean, Paul A. Sarlo, Shirley K. Turner, Reed Gusciora, Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, Linda R. Greenstein, Wayne P. DeAngelo, Daniel R. Benson


From March 6 through March 29, Mercer County Community College (MCCC) in Trenton is staging a photographic exhibit that extols the “exclusive culture” of cockfighting.* The message between the lines is that anyone who opposes cockfighting is narrow-minded and culturally biased. And that the right “activism” and “social change” is to legalize cockfighting. One by one, Domanick Muñoz pulled bloody and battered rooster bodies out of a pile of feathers, claws and beaks. The birds that were still gasping for life he put out of their misery, plunging a syringe of drugs into their gouged and lacerated bellies. Animal-cruelty officers with Dallas Animal Services took those that were already dead and gingerly placed them into large, black plastic garbage bags. Nearby, Sgt. Alfred Nuñez of the Dallas police surveyed abandoned cars, empty beer bottles, boxes of razor blades, syringes, liquor bottles, marijuana and dozens of cages and makeshift coops with roosters inside. This is one huge mess,” he said over the cacophony of crowing birds. Minutes before, the police had broken up a cockfighting ring in this working-class neighborhood in southeast Dallas. The fight organizers and dozens of spectators quickly scattered into the woods, leaving plenty of evidence. Dozens of birds were dead or dying. Others were juiced up on drugs, ready to fight to the death inside a dirt-floored pit for onlookers wagering which bird would kill the other first. Also left behind were a list of bettors and the box of admission money. 3/12/2018 Cockfighting Outfits Evade the Law, and Continue to Prosper - The New York Times. A federal prosecutor once observed that animal fighters “have earned the lowest place in hell.”  It’s hard to believe that an educational facility of any merit would extol cockfighting and, effectively, the gambling, drug dealing, illegal gun sales and murder that go with it, to impressionable young students. The romanticized if graphic photographs featured in the exhibit do not depict the wholesale carnage, inhumanity, filth, and crime deeply associated with the horrific activity. Instead, MCCC uncritically presents "a fascinating look" at felony animal fighting as an “exclusive,” and “rich,” tradition. The exhibit curator says that the photographer’s goal was to produce images that “respect the island’s cockfighting tradition without imposing a westernized ideology on it.” Far from “neither condemning nor condoning” cockfighting, the photographer is a cockfighter who has said that  he is “captivated” by it. The exhibit urges “activism” and “social change.” It doesn’t mention the birds. Failure to acknowledge that it’s against the law. MCCC promotional materials advise students that cockfighting is “still very popular in some parts of the world – and still legal in some parts of the unincorporated U.S territories.” Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states. In 40 states, it’s a felony. Pending federal legislation will extend cockfighting prohibitions to U.S. territories. With underground animal fighting a thriving industry, with cockfighting raids in Newark and Paterson, with convicted felony animal fighters in New Jersey, the MCCC promotion repeatedly emphasizes cockfighting as “part of community life,” a “rich heritage,’ and “an important part of [my] Hispanic family heritage.” Emerging in Florida, the newest animal fighting trend is trunk fighting: “Two dogs are put in trunk, bets are made on which animal will survive and the car is driven around until no noises are coming from the trunk. The ringleaders then open the trunk and see which dog is still alive.” MCCC’s response. Alarmed animal protection organizations demanded that the school pull the promotion and/or at the very least include the animal welfare and law enforcement perspective. Acknowledging only that cockfighting “may be unpleasant,” the MCCC president wrote: “…. [W]e offer these exhibits [on “controversial subjects such as racism, gun violence, and the Holocaust”] without commentary, trusting the viewer to absorb the information presented and to arrive at the proper conclusion.” (The MCCC does comment, both above, and in a statement at the exhibit, and its purpose is unmistakable. The “proper conclusion” is accepting cockfighting.) But that statement is not true. The MCCC exhibit on gun violence was not neutral, let alone promotive. It clearly advocated against gun violence, and it certainly didn’t encourage “respect” for shooting sprees. MCCC’s other example, "From Warsaw Ghetto to Darfur,” obviously emphasized the horrors of the Holocaust and genocide, and encouraged learning from them so that they never happen again. What is equally obvious: Nowhere were gun violence, the Holocaust, or Darfur genocide heralded as “exclusive,” a “rich tradition” or an “important family heritage.” And nowhere did MCCC argue that such atrocities should be “respected without imposing a westernized ideology on [them].” These and other statements condone cockfighting. As is patently clear, “neither condemning nor condoning” the barbarity described by the New York Times is taking a position. We value the First Amendment and know that the arts are an important part of free speech. Nonetheless, there are serious, concomitant responsibilities when the subject is incontrovertible animal cruelty, violence, gambling, and homicide. The MCCC cockfighting project is devoid of humane sensibility. The primary victims are not “just animals” whose suffering warrants nary a mention. Horrifically abused roosters can be rehabilitated. MCCC ignored suggestions that humane organizations be allowed to present information addressing animal fighting cruelty and law enforcement. Underground animal fighting is thriving. It is highly irresponsible of MCCC to present felony cockfighting in a desirable light. Whether the exhibit is a tasteless attempt to be “provocative” or edgy, a bid for publicity, or an objectionable effort to evangelize cockfighting as a mere cultural difference, it is at the expense of animals who cannot help themselves.   *To avoid hoped-for publicity, we’re not using names or promoting the gallery.  Photo credits: Top: Lisa Howard. Bottom: Jamie B. Nash. Courtesy of United Poultry Concerns. Welcome photo: Doris Lin, Esq.

League of Humane Voters, New Jersey
1,507 supporters
Started 1 month ago

Petition to Urban Redevelopment Authority, City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office, Allegheny City Central Association, Mexican War Streets Society, R. Daniel Lavelle, Darlene Harris

Citizens Against the Demolition of 4, 6, and 8 West North Ave

Please sign this Petition to take a stand against the demolition of 4, 6, and 8 West North Avenue. Our community's history and architecture is what makes our community unique. That history is worth fighting for and is not worth destroying in a short-sighted bid for a quick fix. This is not a binary choice between preservation and development. We can work together as a community to develop this block AND preserve these historically significant structures. We cannot give in to the siren sound of short-sightedness and quick fixes. If demolition of these buildings occurs, their historical significance will be lost forever with little to nothing gained. This Petition is being circulated to send a loud and clear message to the ACCA, URA, and City of Pittsburgh that our community supports development of the Garden Theater Block that preserves our history and opposes demolition that will result in the irreparable destruction of our history. On the evening of March 12, 2018, a small number of the more than 3,000 residents of the Mexican War Streets and broader Central Northside voted in favor of a motion for the Allegheny City Central Association ("ACCA") to take a formal position in support of the demolition of 4, 6, and 8 West North Avenue. The small number of citizens who voted in favor of advocating demolition is not representative of the more than 3,000 residents of the Mexican War Streets and broader Central Northside.  What was abundantly clear from the discussion at this meeting in advance of the vote is that ACCA has no plan whatsoever for what will happen after the proposed demolition of the buildings in question. In essence, the the argument that emerged from the ACCA Executive Board during the meeting is they supported this motion to try to make something happen whatever that may be. There is literally no plan what comes after the destruction of these historically significant portions of our community. What also emerged from this meeting is that the URA continues to work with Trek to try to develop feasible plans for the preservation of these buildings and development of the block. The URA has not taken a position in support of demolition. Furthermore, no other signatory or consulting party to the MOU governing the development of the Garden Theater Block has taken a position in support of demolition. Chuck Alcorn (representative of the URA) explained during the meeting that the URA is working on plans for preservation and the budgeting necessary to close the existing funding gap for such a project. He further explained that even if demolition of 4, 6, and 8 West North Avenue occurs, there will still be a funding gap in the path toward development. Regardless of whether the buildings are preserved or demolition occurs, there will still be a funding gap--rendering demolition nonsensical, short-sighted, and utterly pointless. The three buildings in question should be preserved for future generations because of their historical significance to the history of our City: 8 West North Avenue: The building now known as 8 West North Avenue served as an academic building for three different institutions of higher education in the late 1800's and early 1900's--the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, the Western University (University of Pittsburgh), and the Park Institute. The building was owned by the Reformed Presbyterian Church for a period of several decades. This building served as one of the academic buildings for the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary. After the academic building of the Western University (University of Pittsburgh) in downtown Pittsburgh burned down in a fire in 1882, the Western University was relocated to two buildings on the Northside, one of which was 204 North Avenue (today 8 West North Avenue) and was operated out of those buildings for several years. Shortly after the Western University relocated to 204 North Avenue, a controversy ensued because the State Legislature proposed giving the land where the Western Penitentiary was located (currently part of the park today) to Western University to expand its presence in the Northside. Ultimately, opposition to giving the land to the Western University prevailed and the university relocated to Observatory Hill after several years in the Northside. Once the Western University relocated, the Park Institute began to operate classes out of this building. In essence, the Park Institute was a preparatory school that prepared students for pursuing higher education at colleges and universities. One of the Park Institute's early students who attended classes in this building went on to become the very first African American graduate of the Western University (University of Pittsburgh). The Park Institute operated for several decades on the Northside. 6 West North Avenue:  The building currently located at 6 West North Avenue is a beautiful row house similar in architectural style to many of the row houses that are located in the Mexican War Streets. 4 West North Avenue: The building currently located at 4 West North Avenue was the home of Sarah J. Carson-a strong, independent First Wave Feminist of Allegheny City who bucked against the patriarchy years before women even had the right to vote. Despite the onerous legal restrictions placed on women's rights at the time, Ms. Carson was a business woman who financially supported herself without the assistance of any man by running a hotel in Allegheny City. Her level of independence was groundbreaking given the legal restrictions placed on women at the time. In the early 1900's, she became embroiled in an extensive legal battle with her husband over the ownership of a certain property in Allegheny City. The case was ultimately appealed to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, where she succeeded in obtaining a favorable decision finding that she-and not her husband-had the sole legal right to own the property in question. Ms. Carson pursued legal status of "femme sole trader" in the courts-which at the time allowed a married woman to engage in business and financial transactions independently of her husband. Eventually, she pursued legal divorce from her husband long, long before women became empowered to leave their marriages if they chose to do so. The litigation before the Supreme Court, divorce, and disputes with her husband were the subject of news articles of the time. In her younger years, Ms. Carson also served as a nurse in the Civil War. Ms. Carson lived in the building currently located at 4 West North Avenue until she died at home in 1914.

Steven Winslow
922 supporters