As an organization, the SSSP has consistently participated in ongoing social justice efforts. Below are some of the actions that SSSP has been involved in the past.
Demonology as Propoganda: The Attacks on Frances Fox Piven
For the past two years, Glenn Beck has made Dr. Frances Fox Piven, a respected scholar, public intellectual, and former president of the SSSP and the American Sociological Association (ASA), the object of unwarranted and unprovoked attacks, in which he has mischaracterized her work, and that of her late husband, Richard Cloward, and which have caused her to receive death threats from individuals who give currency to Mr. Beck's baseless accusations.
SSSP members responded with several actions and discussions to support not only Dr. Piven, but the free and honest exchange of ideas. Click here for more on this action.
Rescission of Arizona Senate Bill 1070
In 2010, the SSSP membership passed a resolution calling for the rescission of Arizona Senate Bill 1070. Although the SSSP recognizes the need for immigration reform, the SSSP membership, along with many other humanitarian, social justice, and anti-racist organizations and individuals, did not believe Arizona Senate Bill 1070 to be a just or long-lasting policy that will accomplish immigration reform. Through the resolution, the SSSP declared that no annual meetings or business would be conducted in the state of Arizona by the SSSP.
Click here to view the letters sent to various public officials and media sources.
Click here to read the full resolution.
Troy Davis Case
At the 2009 SSSP Business Meeting, an additional resolution was presented and passed regarding Troy Davis's case. The SSSP joined the collective voice of many other groups, calling for a new trial for Mr. Davis. Mr. Davis, an inmate on death row in Georgia, was convicted largely on the basis of (typically unreliable) eyewitness testimony. Virtually every eyewitness has recanted their testimonies. It was determined that the Administrative Office would send a letter to the District Attorney, Larry Chisolm, registering the concerns of the Society copying Governor Sonny Perdue.
The SSSP remained engaged in the Troy Davis case until his execution on September 20, 2011. While the SSSP never took the position that Mr. Davis was innocent, the position it took was that there was more than enough doubt to commute the sentence to life in prison.
Below are the various letters and statements the SSSP made regarding Troy Davis's case.
Click here to view the letter sent to the District Attorney in 2009.
Click here to view a letter and petition to the SSSP membership.
Click here for the final statement on the case from the SSSP Executive Officer.
SSSP Responds to Topeka's Decriminalization of Domestic Violence
On October 11, 2012, the City Council in Topeka, KS voted 7-3 to repeal an ordinance making domestic violence a crime, in response to the County District Attorney’s decision not to prosecute domestic violence cases in Topeka because of budget cuts to his office. By repealing the local ordinance, however, the City Council forced the D.A.’s hand. After the City Council repealed the city’s ordinance, the D.A. announced he would prosecute these cases, but noted that he would have to do so with limited staff. The SSSP Board and Executive Office expressed its concern to the City Council, the Mayor, City Manager, and District Attorney in letters that were sent to them the week of October 24.
Click here to read a copy of the letter the SSSP Executive Officer sent to City Council members. In addition, the Executive Officer had a telephone conversation with one of the council members who voted against repealing the ordinance. She expressed gratitude to the SSSP for caring about the issue and more importantly for speaking up. The SSSP will continue to follow up on the situation and has offered its assistance to individuals in Topeka working to get the council to reverse its decision.
Academic Freedom of Michigan's Public Universities
In the spring of 2012, a higher education appropriations bill was introduced to the Michigan state legislature that could potentially threaten the academic freedom of Michigan’s public universities. The following language was added to the bill:
Sec. 273a. It is the intent of the legislature that a public university that receives funds in section 236 shall not collaborate in any manner with a nonprofit worker center whose documented activities include coercion through protest, demonstration, or organization against a Michigan business.
This language is so broad that it could potentially prevent public universities from forming partnerships or placing students with virtually any civic, religious, or other non-profit organization that engages in public outreach. This section of the bill represents direct interference by the legislature in the university curriculum, and thereby threatens in a very tangible way the academic freedom of universities, their faculty members, and students.
Upon the request of the Executive Officer, the Board of Directors authorized him to join other organizations and individuals in signing a letter urging legislators to strike Sec. 273a from the bill. Also with Board approval, the Executive Officer wrote a separate letter on behalf of the SSSP membership urging Michigan State Legislators to strike Section 273a from the bill. The Administrative Office distributed the letter to all Michigan State Legislators on April 19, 2012. Click here to read the letter in full.