We write today to reaffirm our core values of intellectual freedom and education as a public good, and to invite you, our members, to use these two networks, HASTAC and the Futures Initiative, to fight for those values, especially at this time when they are being severely threatened. We are urgently aware, at the present moment, of the recent violations of our students and colleagues resulting from the current U.S. administration’s Executive Order on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements. We write with that urgency in mind.
Higher education is under attack on many fronts—and yet it also needs massive transformation. While HASTAC and the Futures Initiative have distinct goals and program areas, both are committed to advancing equity, inclusion, innovation, and interdisciplinarity in higher education. We celebrate the creative and powerful thinking that results when we work together across all kinds of difference. Both networks are dedicated, fundamentally, to bold and meaningful teaching, learning, and research with the aim of contributing to a more just society and greater opportunity for all.
Amidst ongoing uncertainty, we want to affirm that these values will not change, no matter what the political climate. With the acknowledgement of centuries of Black and Indigenous leadership, recently manifested in Black Lives Matter, the Water Protectors opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline, and Idle No More, just to name a few, we stand in solidarity with communities that are made vulnerable by Islamophobia, xenophobia, white supremacy, misogyny—and more broadly, by ongoing violence and infringement on basic human rights. We denounce these forms of violence, and we commit to supporting all of our students and colleagues, especially those who are most deeply affected, including immigrants with or without documentation, indigenous peoples, black and other people of color, and LGBTQIA people.
We are especially concerned with ways that this violence can unfold in educational spaces. For the past two years, we have jointly run the University Worth Fighting For, a series of events focused on complex problems in higher education and exploring the ways we can connect engaged teaching, learning, and research with social justice and institutional change. Some of the critical topics that we have examined in the past and that are on our minds as we look to the future include intellectual freedom, federally-funded research programs, net neutrality, data and surveillance, public education (K-12 and beyond), racism and xenophobia, immigrants’ rights, women’s rights, LGBTQIA rights, economic inequality, decolonization, reparations, abolition, accessibility, environmental studies, media responsibility and accuracy, and arts and humanities funding as they pertain to our work and goals within higher education.
We feel a renewed sense of urgency in that mission, and today we invite you to use the framework of the University Worth Fighting For as a community platform to take action, organize, share resources, and reflect. For those who wish to engage publicly in this way, we welcome you to join the University Worth Fighting For group on HASTAC where you can post or request resources, issue a call to action, or announce events. HASTAC and the Futures Initiative are committed to providing you with as safe and secure an environment as possible for action and reaction. Like all public spaces (online or off), HASTAC is susceptible to monitoring and intrusion, so we pledge to remain as vigilant as we have always been in protecting the space from antagonistic, abusive behavior.
We continue to be inspired by you, the HASTAC and Futures Initiative communities. We take hope in the work you do and the ways you connect with one another and with the world.
The HASTAC and Futures Initiative teams
If your organization would like to co-sign this statement, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.