BELIEVERS PAGE

We’re still looking for more submissions for our “Believers” page, and what better time than over break to write in about our favorite memories of Vassar’s writing program??

DO IT!

Please?…

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Lip Service

I was pleased to open my e-mail this morning and find a note from President Hill, only four days after writing a direct message to her. I believe the turnaround on my first e-mail was about six days, so it’s clear that they’re making an effort to respond to our concerns.

“I am sorry not to be able to reply in detail and individually to each of the messages I have received recently concerning academic staffing plans for next year and how those plans affect various academic programs and departments.  Please know that your concerns have been registered and contribute to our understanding and appreciation of the issues.  We continue to develop those plans in consultations with the chairs of departments and programs.”

This “consultation” process sounds great, but it’s glossing over some things. It’s glossing over the fact that adjunct professors who were assured of their “moral tenure” a year ago are now being brushed aside. It’s glossing over the fact that this fight is headed for lawsuits, not “consultation”. This is going to get ugly, and it should get ugly. There is more behind this than we are seeing in the President’s words, and it’s clear that she and the administration are hoping that the alums and the students on campus forget about this over the break.

To those with friends in the media – contact them. Jon and I have contacted a few people who will hopefully be able to bring more publicity to this, but nothing will make that need for publicity more clear than if newspaper reporters are hearing from many, many people. I’ve heard about all the kind e-mails and letters that faculty have received, and we know how moved they have been by our enormous show of support. Now is the time to get this issue in the papers, to apply public pressure to what has been a private campaign so far.

-Austin Murphy ’05

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Remember, We’re on Twitter

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By following us on Twitter, you’ll help us expand our message and network.  We need your help.

Twitter name: fireatvassar

Link: http://twitter.com/fireatvassar

FOLLOW US LIKE YOU GIVE A DAMN!

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Administration Rejects Proposal

vassar-englishDuring a meeting with the Administration, faculty collectively proposed to take pay cuts and to with-go bonuses in order to pay for the salaries of Professor M Mark and Julie Rose.  The Administration refused, suggesting that the proposed layoffs by the Administration is not about academic downsizing but that an alternative “agenda” might be at play.

The Pro: The English Department faculty have united against President Cap Hill and Dean of Faculty Jonathan Chenette. The Con: The Administration is stubbornly steadfast, does this remind you of President Bush’s Administration?

DON’T LET THIS ISSUE FIZZLE OUT OVER BREAK.  I CALL ON THE MISC NEWSPAPER TO DIG DEEPER INTO THIS ISSUE WHEN SCHOOL COMMENCES IN JANUARY. WHAT ARE OTHER COLLEGES DOING?

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New Page – Believers

Yesterday I put out a call to all who’ve been inspired by the Vassar Creative Writing program to put those writing skills to good use, to explain what made Vassar’s writing classes so special to them. Our new Believers page will house any essays, poems, stories, plays, grocery lists, receipts, or credit card bills I receive. Please send all submissions to fireatvassar@gmail.com for immediate posting. Maybe eventually we can print them out and share them with the administration? I picture a scene like “Miracle on 34th Street”, with bags and bags of writing being brought in to President Hill’s office. Keep the submissions coming!

-Austin Murphy ’05

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Letter to the Editor

picture-1Another letter sent to Vassar’s Newspaper. This time by a current student.

“I understand that due to the unfortunate financial situation right now, sacrifices need to be made, but I wonder if there aren’t other ways to make the school more cost-efficient without sacrificing the livelihoods of these professors. It is also my hope that reducing the faculty is not an ultimate goal, but rather a measure that seems necessary in the given situation”

by Natalie Chomet ’09

Read the full letter here.

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Writing to Save Vassar’s Writing Program

Since Tuesday, the Facebook Group “Don’t Let Vassar Silence Writers” has grown exponentially (the group boasts 473 members as of this writing). The Fire! at Vassar blog has generated almost 2,000 hits in that same time, much of which can be credited to our mention in the Miscellany News. I’d also be remiss not to mention the MadsVassarBlog, a valuable resource for those of us no longer on the Vassar campus.

Along the way, I’ve seen many ideas about what we can do to further our cause. We can donate money to the college. We can propose alternative budgetary solutions. We can shut the Hell up and let the administration do their job.

I am not wealthy. I do not have a great economic mind. I am not connected to any halls of power. So for me, while these solutions do all contain some valuable truth (save the last one obviously), I do not feel that they speak to me and what I can do to actually help save the creative writing program.

Since Wednesday, I’ve e-mailed several of my favorite professors, and what has struck me most is how much I still remember about what they did to help me develop as a writer, a thinker, and a human being. To those of us who are committed to saving the writing program, I suggest that its time we start thinking very specifically about what we learned about writing. I suggest that we use writing to save writing. Whether it be a personal essay, a memoir, a narrative, or a poem, we all have a story about what Vassar and its creative writing program means to us. I call upon us all to start drafting our own stories, to show that we can make a case for saving the arts by producing the kind of art that wouldn’t have been possible without those classes and professors that we hold dear.

If Vassar’s Creative Writing program ceases to exist, what would the current and future Vassar students be missing out on? It’s time to use our memories and writing skills to try to answer that question.

-Austin Murphy ’05

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