1. I propose that doctoral-granting institutions should commit to providing full funding to attend the MLA for all of their students on the job market.
2. I further propose that those institutions should do so until those students receive tenure-track positions or otherwise signal that they no longer wish funding.*
3. Michael Berube has informed me that the MLA can't enforce anything. However, the MLA can certainly maintain a freely-available database (i.e., one not behind a members-only paywall) that would make such information available.
4. I propose that departments that refuse to provide such funding should be asked to justify their position, and that their explanation should be included in the database.**
5. I propose that any national rankings of departments should take into account whether or not this funding is available.
6. Finally, I propose (and do not claim that this is original to myself) that the MLA should cease to be a hiring convention.
*--This would no doubt require departments to set aside a pool of money specifically for this purpose.
**--Strictly speaking, if the answer is "we cannot afford it," then the proper response should be "then reduce your intake until you can." However, nobody is going to enforce that, unless accreditors decide to make a stand.