PITCH: WOC Writer Seeks Legal Action against MFA Program by Morgan Jerkins
Zoe Mungin, a former student of the UMass MFA for Poets & Writers, was allegedly targeted and harassed by white classmates, both inside and outside of workshop, for her characters who were often deemed “too aggressive.” When Mungin and her supporters took to social media to spread a letter around campus about what had occurred, the UMass administration pushed back: threatening suit for libel and cyberbullying and removing the vocal students from their workshop. As a result, Mungin, as well as her allies, have been severely ostracized and the subject of institutional retribution: faculty neglect, job rejections, and opportunity withdrawals. They met with the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity in January to file a formal complaint. It has now been several months, and the Office has still done nothing — despite monthly requests for results from Zoe and her allies. They are now preparing to take their case to a higher authority, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.
I’d like to investigate Zoe’s story — whose allies came to me with the story — , interview her allies, and research the history of this MFA program, and bring to the forefront the institutional barriers WOC artists face. I have already done preliminary research such as statements from one of her allies, Molly McArdle, and one from the administration.