Good morning, friends,

Yesterday was international workers’ day, and we’re taking it as an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the everyday work of fighting for the right to a better working life.

Today we extend gratitude to everyone who is putting in the time to unionize their workplace, to use their union to advocate for change, and to take grassroots action when unions are not possible, or not enough.

In particular, we want to acknowledge the graduate student workers at NYU, who are currently on strike. Thank you for showing us how to fight for better labor conditions through courage and collective action.

We also want to acknowledge everyone who is doing a less visible kind of organizing by shaping and participating in the financial, logistical, and emotional networks of mutual aid and collective support on which so many of us depend.

In solidarity with everyone in higher education who is overworked, underpaid, silenced, and forced out. We see you.

Hannah for the VFC

This week in feelings

Take this week's feelings survey

I forgot to tweet out the feelings survey so we got fewer responses than usual this week. I’m tired too, y’all.

Failure is not an option. But my absolute best isn't exactly on the table either.

I'm too tired to have feelings any more. I'm just blank. It's all too much.

I feel you, anonymous friend. I really do.

As I write this, I'm startled to realize that I'm longing for a rescuer.

Hoping you find your raft. 💕

nyu grad students are on strike

Donate to the NYU hardship Fund | Learn about the union | Read about the strike in the nytimes | View the workers’ demands | Follow the strike on Twitter and Instagram


On an interpersonal level, I become a political coward for my fear of deportation. I become an unethical shopper for my fear of starvation. I become a lazy grasshopper for my lack of a savings account. I become an incompetent job seeker for my lack of options on the job market. I become an uninformed foreigner for my silenced voice. I become an anti-social character for my inability to afford drinking at bars, eating at restaurants, and partying with peers. I become the doctoral candidate who needs to “get [herself] together” and stop wasting time worrying about Trump’s Muslim Ban. I become the person who always makes the wrong choices…

Saeide Mirzaei on life as an international graduate student

vfc affirmations: what we believe

  • The humanities have transformational power and are of vital importance.

  • Higher education should be for the public good, and the work of the humanities should be conducted for and with our communities.

  • Humanities labor must be carried out under conditions that do not put our lives or our health at risk. 

  • Humanities labor is valuable, and must be credited and compensated fairly and equitably.

  • The systems in higher education that depend on labor exploitation, racism, sexism, ableism, xenophobia, and other forms of oppression must be dismantled.

  • In the absence of top-down leadership or accountability, change in higher education must be driven by all of us, including from the bottom-up.

  • We can create change by improving institutional transparency, creating compassionate communities, and taking collective action to build a better future for higher education.