April 25, 2018

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: DSOC students and alumni condemn proposed College of Social Sciences

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To the Editor:

We, the undersigned students and recent alumni of the Department of Development Sociology, unequivocally condemn the proposed integration of DSOC into a new social sciences-specific college.

The word “sociology” in Development Sociology does not mean that DSOC is a conventional social science in the vein of anthropology or linguistics. The word instead stems from the department’s commitment to rural sociology — a unique discipline that studies access to natural resources and sustainable livelihoods, particularly in communities on the peripheries of global capitalism. DSOC is an applied form of sociology that concerns itself with critical issues surrounding agricultural and community development, making the the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences its perfect home.

Crucially, DSOC enjoys exceptionally synergistic relationships with other CALS Departments that also center the empathetic study of the Global South, including International Agriculture & Rural Development and Global & Public Health Sciences. It’s not uncommon for DSOC undergraduates to double-major in peer CALS programs such as Environmental & Sustainability Sciences, a further reflection of the department’s interdisciplinary nature and fundamental importance to the larger CALS community.

We believe that extricating DSOC from an impressive array of top-ranked and interconnected development-focused programs in CALS would irrevocably damage the college’s excellence in purpose-driven science. Further, we refuse to let this misguided merger proposal interrupt our department’s cutting-edge research on global problems that threaten us all: anthropogenic climate-change, natural resource maldistribution, destructive market inequalities, disruptions to food systems and so much more.

As DSOC students concerned with maintaining the integrity of our department, we stand in solidarity with the Stop the Merger campaign organized by members of the ILR, Human Ecology, DSOC and Communication communities. In the wake of such resounding opposition, it is abundantly clear that the Committee on Organizational Structures in the Social Science’s proposed “College of Social Sciences” is a project that will only harm our various disciplines. We hope that the campus community will join us in opposing the merger, and in opposing all attacks on the integrity and independence of academic departments that center the betterment of human lives over the maximization of profits.

Sierra Murray DSOC ’17
Samantha Kreda DSOC ’17
Sonya Qamar DSOC ’17
Christopher Hanna DSOC ’18
Tessa Schneider DSOC ’18
Paige Wagar DSOC ’18, ESS ’18
Maia Kunzman DSOC ’18, ESS ’18
Ana Lopez DSOC ’18
Ismini Ethridge DSOC ’18
Emily Slifkin DSOC ’18
Kathleen Donnelly Moran DSOC ’18, IARD ’18
Anne Brenna DSOC ’18
Evelyn Sanchez DSOC ’18
Vanessa Amankwaa DSOC ’18
Nina Möger Bengtsson DSOC ’18
Elizabeth Gorman DSOC ’18
Keshara Senanayake DSOC ’18
Gillian Cowley DSOC ’18
George Liu DSOC ’19
Francesca Viazzoli DSOC ’19
Xavier Salvador DSOC ’19
Shivani Parikh DSOC ’19
Amanda Sudilovsky DSOC ’19
Dana Gelb DSOC ’19
Noelle LaDue DSOC ’19
Stevanica Augustine DSOC ’19, ESS ’19
Deborah Glick DSOC ’19
Anastashia Alfred DSOC ’20
Minnie Jung DSOC ’20
Oluwafunke Akinkuolie DSOC ’21
Liam Sherer DSOC ’21
Jenna Winocur DSOC ’21
Christine Johnson DSOC ’21
Hailey Andress DSOC ’21
Esuvat Bomani DSOC ’21