Update: Here is what the Foundation sent out to supporters of the program:
We are sorry to have to report that, as a consequence of the larger economic downtown, 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.
In its thirty-seven-year history, during which we have awarded over five hundred Women’s Studies Fellowships, the Women’s Studies Program has made a significant contribution to the field. We take great pride in the Fellowship’s accomplishments, and we will proceed thoughtfully as we undertake this review.
We are grateful for your dedication to and support of this program and will keep you informed as we move forward.
The Woodrow Wilson Foundation has suspended its Women’s Studies Dissertation Fellowships program. For twenty-five years this program enabled women’s studies scholars to do the work that enriched so many disciplines and reshaped the curriculum of in secondary schools, colleges and universities. 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.
Let’s start by making our voices heard. If you care about Women’s Studies you can write to the President of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, Arthur Levine (Levine@woodrow.org) and tell him why the program is so vital and ask that immediate steps be taken to ensure its continued existence. Please also sign this petition at Change.org