Saving the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s Women’s Studies Dissertation Fellowship Program

This petition needs less than 300 signatures in order to hit its goal!

Basically, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation has cut its women’s studies fellowship because of budgetary reasons. From their statement:

We are sorry to have to report that, as a consequence of the larger economic downturn, the endowment for the Women’s Studies Dissertation Fellowship has generated insufficient funds to cover program costs over the past several years. The Woodrow Wilson Foundation has thus decided to suspend the competition for the 2012-2013 year while we explore options to ensure that the program will continue to flourish in the future. During the coming year we will engage in a careful review of the Fellowship’s goals and structure, with a view toward achieving greater financial stability and success in the future.

Professor Janet Golden notes that:

[N]either she nor the assistant  to the WWF President will give us a date certain as to when the  program will be restarted, they have not responded to our offer to  help them work on fundraising, and letters to the President of the  Foundation, Arthur Levine, have not been answered by him but by an  assistant.

Knitting Clio breaks it down, emphasizing that:

Suspending this program is a terrible blow to scholars and students.  It reflects very poorly on the foundation.  Why was this decision made?  Why weren’t members of the final selection committee, the past recipients, and leaders in the women’s studies community consulted? Surely they could have worked together to find ways to keep this magnificent program alive. The foundation claims there have been insufficient endowment funds for the past three years.  If that is the case, why wasn’t a full public effort made to address the problem and garner support?  More critically, what is the plan of action going forward?  What steps are underway to build the endowment and get the program back up and running?  We ask the foundation to reach out to us—we are ready to help.

 Real talk moment: Women’s studies  addresses a devastating intellectual and cultural gap in an otherwise monochromatic and heteronormative Ivory Tower. Please sign this petition if you’ve ever been jazzed by feminist research, been thrilled by a feminist/academic blogger, or brought to tears by a lovingly rendered critique of gender.

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