Nine years ago, Katrina Hoop earned tenure at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, a small private institution. It had been a long road to get there: Six years in graduate school, then another six on the tenure track. She committed herself to Saint Joseph’s, becoming chair of the sociology department, expanding its reach to students in crucial majors like nursing, and serving on numerous committees for the day-to-day work of the college.
With the distinction of tenure, she thought she’d earned a permanent place at the college.
But the end came quickly: Last March, as the pandemic shuttered colleges across the country, administrators at Saint Joseph’s decided to close the sociology program and others. In a letter that struck Hoop as devoid of the empathy she expected from the Sisters of Mercy institution, she was laid off, along with seven others across the campus, including a Catholic sister.