Thanks to the post-academic blogosphere, postacademic, and the many others who tweeted my blog post, I got a very considerate note from Rosemary Feal, Executive Director of the MLA. I sent her the complaint I had already written to another MLA official.
While the national organization is obviously not responsible for the interviewing practices at individual colleges, it is nice to know that they care. The real lesson, though, is that by getting the word out about our experiences on the market in these times, we can at least hope for some modicum of human decency and respect. As commenter Arnold Pan noted, that’s social networking at work.
Here’s Ms. Feal’s note:
Thank you for sending this letter to me. You indeed sent it to the right people on the MLA staff. When departments choose to work outside the system we have carefully built over decades to assist interviewers and candidates, disasters of many kinds can happen. It looks like the hotel room was not in either of the names that you were given — I wonder whether the interviewers even registered for the convention.
You will hear directly from my colleagues on staff. In the meantime, it dismays me greatly that such a situation arose. As you note on your blog, with all the difficulties in today’s job market, there is no excuse for such shabby treatment. There’s no excuse ever!
With thanks for letting me know,
Rosemary G. Feal
Modern Language Association