November 7, 2023

MSS Statement regarding LGBTQ Rights and Recent Iowa Discriminatory Legislation

As the Midwest Sociological Society, we are deeply committed to the principles of inclusivity, diversity, and social justice. Our organization's mission centers around creating a welcoming and accessible community for all of our members. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a challenging situation where discriminatory laws are being enacted in the very states where we hold our annual meetings - the places many of us call home. 

We want to make it unequivocally clear that the Midwest Sociological Society neither supports nor tolerates these discriminatory laws. We stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ+ members and the broader community affected by such legislation. Discriminatory laws threaten the safety and well-being of our members, and this is completely contrary to our values. 

We also recognize the importance of our continued existence and our role in advocating for positive social change. We understand that our presence and advocacy are vital in spaces where our members may not feel completely protected. 

As members of an organization with more than 800 members, with a presence in states within and beyond our region, we understand that we are uniquely positioned to create safe spaces in our workplaces, classrooms, and in the broader society, to guide others towards fact-based and supportive resources, to advocate for institutional, local, state-wide, and national protections, and to be affirming to the members of the LGTBQ+ community.   

We are committed to using our platform and resources to address these issues head-on, engage in meaningful dialogue, and work towards a more inclusive and equitable society.  To demonstrate our support and care, we will continue to do a number of things.  During our annual in-person meetings, we offer all-gender restrooms; we regularly have a full slate of posters and sessions that showcase the diversity of work done by queer scholars and with LGBTQ communities; we provide formal and informal networking opportunities for LGBTQ students/community members/scholars/practitioners, and we have recently created a committee called QuEST (Queer Engagement, Scholarship, and Teaching), with members leading the charge in educating our membership about ways to support the LGBTQ community and how to actively engage in the most pressing issues in the community.




November 20, 2022

MSS Statement regarding the events at Emporia State University

The Midwest Sociological Society and its members have long supported the broader mission of higher education, including the practices of shared governance, administrative transparency, and faculty rights.  We recognize the key role played by faculty in fulfilling this mission, and the importance of tenure which enables them to do so.  We also recognize the need for a just and transparent procedure for faculty evaluation and retention.

The Board of the Midwest Sociological Society firmly condemns recent actions taken by the Kansas Board of Regents against the faculty at Emporia State University.  While political interference with the mission of higher education is not unique, the cynical extension of a “temporary” action to remove financial exigency as a determination for faculty tenure and retention is unwarranted.  The dismissal of tenured faculty, who have served the university and its mission, is especially egregious.

We call on the Kansas Board of Regents and the administration at Emporia to adhere to the principled practices of higher education. Reinstatement of the Emporia faculty and a return to shared governance, administrative transparency and faculty rights can be the only just outcome.