SKAT Council Publishes Statement on Trump Administration and Congress

On February 14, 2017, the SKAT Council voted unanimously to adopt the following policy statement. 

Statement of American Sociological Association Section on Science, Knowledge, and Technology (SKAT) Regarding Recent and Future Actions of the Trump Administration and Congress

The free exchange of ideas is a core value of democratic societies and the foundation of research and academic scholarship. In recent weeks, this principle has come under sustained threat by the new Trump Administration. The immigration ban issued by the Administration on 27 January prevents the movement of international students and scholars into the US, undermining the scientific community’s vibrant internationalism and broad commitment to equality. Confirmation of several Cabinet-level appointments threatens a future in which informed public policy is based on the findings of scientific and scholarly research. Similar threats from Administration officials target the well-established need for affordable healthcare for all Americans and a global commitment to reduce the human causes of climate change. Perhaps most concerning of all, these threats are often aimed at the public institutions that ensure open debate and a respect for empirical evidence: the academy, the media, and the judiciary.

We oppose these threats to equity, justice, internationalism, and the collaborative, free exchange of ideas that must underlie democratic decisions. We reaffirm our commitment to the values and practices that sustain and nurture the scholarly pursuit of knowledge and education of the citizenry, as well as citizens of other countries.

The central purpose of SKAT is to promote scholarly research and professional activity relating to sociology, science, knowledge, and technology. Our section’s social responsibility at this critical moment is twofold: to uphold and defend the principles of academic scholarship and to document, through sociological investigation, the Trump Administration’s effects on science, knowledge, and technology and on the broader causes of social equity and justice. These responsibilities are intertwined and inseparable.

To date, our section has encouraged members to prepare essays on the 2016 campaign and post-election environment and post them to our online blog [https://asaskat.com/blog/]. We have also invited members to contribute relevant teaching and research materials to the section website [https://asaskat.com/]. We will continue to develop programmatic actions as opportunities present, and we welcome member suggestions [email skatpubcomm@gmail.com]. We also encourage members to take action together and individually. In the face of these emerging challenges there are many ways to contribute and participate. Please monitor the SKAT website for a listing of online resources.

For the SKAT Council,

Scott Frickel, Chair
Steven Epstein, Past Chair
Alondra Nelson, Chair-Elect

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