Dear UFVA Members,
It is an honor and privilege to serve as the UFVA 2022-2024 president. Following the initiative set by my predecessor Dr. Christina Lane, Miami University, our goal is to attract more Artists, Scholars of Asian American, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Middle Eastern, and minority serving institutions to join our community.
As an organization for creatives, we are committed to actively promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our goal is to support each other and celebrate the successes in all areas of specializations. It’s our priority to value DEI in all aspects of our operations; in our membership population, our policies, and practices and to encourage an inclusive culture that is vitally important to the present and future success of our membership serving educational organization.
Patricia Aufderheide, American University, invited UFVA to endorse the press release of the Documentary Accountability Working Group’s first public iteration of its framework. This document aims to orient documentary filmmakers to be mindful when working with vulnerable and marginalized subjects and/or community. Along with the UFVA it has also been endorsed by the MacArthur Foundation and Kartemquin Film.
Our Freedom of Expression Committee members have generated the following statement to reaffirm our support of Academic Freedom as it framed by AAUP.
The University Film and Video Association reaffirms our 2021 “Response to Recent Legislation Limiting Academic Freedom” statement, as more states pass legislation that explicitly limits and infringes upon our member’s academic freedom to provide media education as they, and the field, see fit. For example, see summary in Tennessee’s SB2290/HB2870.
The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) provides valuable information about reporting academic freedom violations for investigation on your campus. Members can directly contact the AAUP’s Academic Freedom department with violations here firstname.lastname@example.org
Additionally, the AAUP’s Professional Liability Insurance Program might be worth investigating if you feel you are at risk.
https://www.aaupmercerinsurance.com/business-insurance/professional-liability/professional-liability/professional-liability.html This is especially important if your institution has made no commitment to support and defend rights that could be threatened with lawsuits. We encourage department heads and deans to investigate purchasing and paying for professional liability insurance for all faculty, including adjuncts.
AAUP academic freedom link: https://www.aaup.org/our-work/protecting-academic-freedom
In October 2022, we kicked off the first annual UFVA and HBCU event. Teresa Dowell-Vest, board members, Prairie View A&M University, created the symposium “Nightmares from Monkeypaw: A Virtual Symposium on the Works of Jordan Peele & Black Horror Cinema”. Many of our members presented in the symposium, Dr. Don Diefenback, University of North Carolina at Asheville, Nicholas Smith, State University of New York Fredonia, Chrissy Guest, Ithaca College, Heather Addison, University of Nevada Las Vegas, the collective-founders of EDIT Media, Jennifer Proctor, University of Michigan-Dearborn, and Miranda Bank, Loyola Marymount University .
The UFVA board is working on ways to recruit HBCU institutional members by offering online programming and conference attendance to reach a wider range of membership opportunities with a goal of creating racially conscious, culturally informed spaces year-round with events, workshops, and virtual gatherings.
To further achieve our goal, we aim to prioritize and promote actions that will grow our membership base through efforts such as bringing both virtual and in-person attendance of the annual conference to our members. For over 25 years, UFVA members have supported and mentored me in my journey as a filmmaker and academic as well provided a collaborative space to celebrate my artistic, scholarly, and other creative pursuits. It’s my pleasure to give back and to serve as your president.
Wenhwa Tsao, MFA
University Film and Video Association