Friday, January 30, 2015

ASEEES Clarification Regarding Cohen-Tucker Fellowship Program Negotiation

In the light of recent press coverage and circulations by email, we would like to clarify the position of the Board and Executive Committee with regard to the negotiation between ASEEES and the KAT Charitable Foundation to establish the Stephen F. Cohen-Robert C. Tucker dissertation fellowship program in Russian historical studies. 

The ASEEES governing bodies and the donors set out in good faith to establish a graduate fellowship program that would help to replace the shortfall left by the loss of Title VIII funding in 2013. Negotiations between the Executive Committee and the donors progressed smoothly until August 2014. Unfortunately procedural and other concerns raised by members of the Board at that stage, and in particular, the absence of a formal Gift Acceptance Policy, generated an unavoidable delay in formal consideration of the proposal by the full ASEEES Board until the annual Board meeting in November. We deeply regret the pain and anguish the delay caused Professor Stephen Cohen and Ms. Katrina vanden Heuvel, who decided to withdraw their offer in September. The Board’s attempt to reopen negotiations in November added to the distress of the donors, a development that we also greatly regret.

We are currently working on a constructive way forward. For now, please know that all actions of the ASEEES governing bodies were taken with the interests of ASEEES foremost in mind. 

A key aspect of the Association’s priorities has been to advocate for and provide financial support for graduate students. To this end, we have been advocating tirelessly and diligently for re-appropriation of the Title VIII funding. We can report that Congress included support for the Title VIII program in its 2015 budget omnibus bill that was passed, and signed by President Obama, in December.  Also, the Board approved establishment of the ASEEES Dissertation grant program, funded by the ASEEES general endowment. The announcement of the program is forthcoming. In addition, we launched a new mentoring program for graduate students and junior scholars in 2014, as a way to provide professional development support. 

We are now busily working on the 2015 annual convention in Philadelphia, with the panel/roundtable deadline just around the corner on February 15.  We look forward to another productive and lively convention.


Members of the Executive Committee

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