November 2018 marked one year since the layoff news hit 58 faculty at STLCC. For some, it’s been about eight months since the end of their final teaching semester, endured with the layoff looming over every class period, every student conference, and every committee meeting. For others, a slew of not-technically-fored early retirements meant getting reinstated in the positions that had just been yanked away, leaving teachers scrambling to abandon their job searches and resume class planning and promotion applications—not to mention dealing with their emotional upheaval. Retirements and recalls rolled out all spring, keeping everyone in knots and leaving just under 20 of us without jobs in the end.
Michaella A. Thornton’s article, “Pink Slips: How Layoffs Create Double Jeopardy for Working Mothers,” revisited the STLCC layoffs in the context of how layoffs impact women more severely, how gender roles and expectations shape our responses to layoffs, and how layoffs neither help businesses nor refrain from punishing women harder than men. I was so pleased to be interviewed for the article, and to appear among Michaella’s intensive research, compelling narrative, and palpable passion.
The layoffs received some news coverage in 2017 and 2018. But somehow it never felt like the full story was told. I’m grateful for Michaella’s article–it’s willingness to continue reckoning with this story and re-examining this an wound, to put our story into a larger context, to shine a light on the often overlooked layoff disparities for women and mothers.
For more background and context, here’s some of the layoff news coverage from 2017-2019.