Monthly Archives: January 2017

The AFT and Executive Orders

The American Federation of Teachers has been active and loud recently, and I love it. Their newest document is entitled “AFT opposes Trump executive orders: Information and resources“. Here’s an excerpt:

The order affects approximately 25,000 people holding student and work visas, and as many as 500,000 people who are permanent legal residents of the United States. And it comes days after an order threatening to withhold federal funds from the more than 300 U.S. cities that have declared themselves sanctuaries for our immigrant students and members and their families. Trump also took action on building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Trump’s orders will harm many AFT members and millions of our students, patients, families, friends and neighbors.

We—our country and our union—are better than this.

Damn right we are.

Please call the AFT at (202) 879-4400 and thank them for standing up for professors, for graduate students, and for their children.

As a side note, some of you may know that I work for Harvard. While I don’t agree with everything that has come from the administration this past year, I do want to acknowledge and appreciate the e-mail that went out to our community this past weekend. Here’s an excerpt from that:

Our robust commitment to internationalism is not an incidental or dispensable accessory.  It is integral to all we do, in the laboratory, in the classroom, in the conference hall, in the world.  It fuels the capacity of universities to spur innovation, to advance scholarship and scientific discovery, and to help address society’s hardest challenges.  It is a crucial ingredient in making American higher education a singular national asset, the destination of choice for countless scholars and students whose contributions serve our nation and our world.  …  Nearly half of the deans of Harvard’s schools are immigrants—from India, China, Northern Ireland, Jamaica, and Iran.  Benefiting from the talents and energy, the knowledge and ideas of people from nations around the globe is not just a vital interest of the University; it long has been, and it fully remains, a vital interest of our nation. 

It’s good to wake up to some support. You might want to check out, where the university is providing legal resources for its undocumented immigrant students.


Cabinet reminders

As a reminder, hearings are continuing this week on President Trump’s cabinet nominations. Please call your senators. This is one of the most effective things you can do to support those who are doing the right thing, and to sway those who are about to make a mistake.

Under consideration this week are Ms. DeVos (Education), Mr. Price (HHS), and Mr. Pruitt (EPA), and they are homophobic, anti-healthcare, and a climate-change denier, respectively.

If you need a script to help when you call, I highly recommend the guide at

If you need a phone number, you can call 202-224-3121 to get a switchboard that will connect you to the senator of your choice, or you can check the Senate Phone Directory if you’d rather call directly. You can also call their state offices if you prefer.

Health and Human Services

It’s really difficult to teach a starving student.

It’s hard to teach a sick student, or one who hasn’t gotten enough sleep. They’re low on energy. Their minds are slower. They forget more easily. They miss classes or fall asleep during them.

It’s even harder when a student drops out of school to provide for an ailing parent. It’s heartbreaking.

This is one reason to oppose Rep. Tom Price’s nomination as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Tom Price has worked – and is still working – to repeal the ACA, which provides healthcare for some of our most vulnerable students. Millions of students rely on programs like Medicaid, which Mr. Price is also working to dismantle. Millions more of their parents do as well.

If we want a healthy school, full of bright, alert students, we can’t do that without someone taking care of them at home.

The AFT has started a petition to oppose Rep. Price’s nomination. You can also contact your senator or representative and ask them to involve themselves in the support of the ACA, Medicaid, and other health programs.