Videos from “Organizing to Confront Academic Disaster Capitalism in the Age of Pandemics” (November 13, 2020)

A free, online, interactive organizing summit to begin building power across the Pacific Northwest to radically re-envision higher education as equitable, sustainable, affordable, and accessible to all.

Sponsored by PICOC

With support from Oregon AAUP and Oregon AFT; Portland State University Department of Urban Studies; PSU AAUP; OEA Community College Council; WSU Collective for Social and Environmental Justice (CSEJ); the University of Washington AAUP; and United Faculty of Western Washington (UFWW).

Keynote by Jose Padin, Ph.D.

From Puerto Rico, José is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Portland State University and an active member of the academic labor movement in Oregon. José has been involved in the labor movement at all levels, from organizing a strike campaign at Portland State, to supporting union campaigns at other universities, to being an elected member of the Executive Committee of the national AAUP-Collective Bargaining Congress. From 2016-2020, José was also president of PSU-AAUP, the union representing faculty and academic professionals with more than half-time appointments at Portland State University, and has been on the Portland Workers’ Rights Board since it was formed in the late 1990s.

In addition to Jose Padin, featured speakers include:

Jean Dennison on “Decolonizing Higher Education”

Jean Dennison (Osage Nation) is co-director for the Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies and an Associate Professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Washington. Her book Colonial Entanglement: Constituting a Twenty-First-Century Osage Nation (UNC Press 2012) speaks directly to national revitalization, one of the most pressing issues facing American Indians today. She has also published widely, including pieces in Visual Anthropology, PoLAR, American Indian Quarterly, the American Indian Culture and Research Journal, American Ethnologist and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Journal. Jean’s current research uses grounded ethnographic methods to understand the most pressing issues facing the Osage Nation government today. The primary goal of her academic endeavor is to explore how Indigenous peoples negotiate and contest the ongoing settler colonial process in areas such as citizenship, governance, and sovereignty.


Red Hamilton on “Public Safety vs. Community Safety and Mutual Aid

Red Hamilton is a Portland State University alum with a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Development. They are active in the DisarmPSU campaign and the movement to end anti-black racism. Currently they sit on the board of OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon as the Research and Advisory chair. Red is a small business owner of Red Dawg Pet Care and has been a human rights activist for over a decade.


Michelle McKinley on “Labor, Care Work, Adjunctification and Exploitation”

Michelle McKinley is the Bernard B. Kliks Professor of Law at the University of Oregon Law School and director for the Center for the Study of Women in Society.  McKinley has taught on the faculties of the University of Hawai’i, Universidad de los Andes, University of Kansas, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, and Princeton University. She teaches in the areas of Public International Law and feminist studies. Professor McKinley attended Harvard Law School, where she was Executive Editor of the Harvard Human Rights Journal and graduated cum laude in 1995. Professor McKinley also holds a Masters Degree in Social Anthropology from Oxford University.

McKinley has extensively published work on public international law, Latin American legal history, and the law of slavery. Her monograph, Fractional Freedoms: Slavery, Intimacy and Legal Mobilization in Colonial Lima, 1600-1700 was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016. The monograph examines enslaved women in colonial Lima who used ecclesiastical and civil courts to litigate their claims to liberty. Fractional Freedoms received the 2017 Judy Ewell prize for best work in women’s history from RMCLAS, and an honorary mention for the best work in sociolegal history from the Law and Society Association..

Prior to joining the academy, Professor McKinley was the former Managing Director of Cultural Survival, an advocacy and research organization dedicated to indigenous peoples. She is also the founder, and former director, of the Amazonian Peoples’ Resources Initiative, a community based reproductive rights organization in Peru, where she worked for nine years as an advocate for global health and human rights.


Samantha Edgerton on “Austerity, Student Debt, and Structural Adjustment

Samantha Edgerton is a second-year PhD student studying modern U.S. history with Dr. Laurie Mercier at Washington State University (WSU).  Her research interests include gender, race, ethnicity, and popular culture in the post-World War II American West, with a specific focus on violence against women.  Her MA thesis was a regional case study of the battered women’s movement in Oregon and Idaho covering the period 1975 through 1994.  She has also worked on a digital public history project, Fallen Cougars, which honors former WSU students who died during World War II. Edgerton is Vice President of the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA), the representative body for the graduate and professional students at WSU. GPSA advocates on behalf of graduate and professional students at the university, local, state, and federal levels to increase affordability and accessibility; provide academic, professional, and financial support services for graduate and professional students; and facilitate interdisciplinary communication within the graduate and professional student community.


Brett Coleman on “Intersectionality, Academic Freedom and Justice

Brett Russell Coleman is Assistant Professor of Health and Community Studies at Western Washington University where he teaches interdisciplinary, social justice oriented courses in the Human Services program. His work in and out of the academy interrogates the intersections of race and power in community settings. Dr. Coleman’s research addresses the context and consequences of racial identity and racial socialization at multiple levels and life stages, including individual identity development among youth of color, whiteness and knowledge of racism as a systemic process, and the role of neoliberal ideology in youth development policy and practice. He has published studies in the American Journal of Community Psychology, the Journal of Community Psychology, Social Psychological and Personality Science, the Journal of Research on Adolescence, the Journal of Black Psychology, and Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research. Much of his work is informed by lived experience, including over two decades in urban youth development spaces in Chicago. He received is PhD in Community & Prevention Research from the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2016.


Breakout Sessions (which were not filmed) focused on the following topics:

  • Labor, care work, adjunctification, and exploitation
  • Health equity, disability, access, and inclusion
  • Austerity, student debt, and structural adjustment
  • Public safety vs. community safety & mutual aid
  • Intersectionality, academic freedom, & justice
  • Decolonizing higher education
  • Fossil Fuel Divestment and Reinvestment