Women’s Studies in jeopardy

13 02 2009

Florida Atlantic University is one of the select few universities in this country that offers an Advanced degree in Women’s Studies. However, university officials have proposed a suspension on the Women, Gender and Sexuality department due to budget cuts. If the suspension is approved then it will be enacted in Fall 2010 for an indefinite period of time.

Budget cuts are not a legitimate excuse. The Women, Gender and Sexuality program only utilizes .00025 percent of the university’s total education budget. As one department representative states:

At a university where the average salary of a male professor is $16,000.00 higher than the average salary of a female professor, how else are we to interpret the proposed suspension of the Women’s Studies Center and M.A. program than as an attack on women? 

Eliminating Women’s Studies is a misogynist move that attempts to maintain the status quo by trying to further marginalize an already marginalized discipline. Women’s Studies isn’t perceived to be “necessary” or “practical” and therefore ends up being shoved to the side. Furthermore, the wage gap is still an unfortunate reality. It exists here at Tufts too.

If the purpose of higher education is to broaden students’ perspectives, to challenge traditional modes of knowledge production, and to introduce new ways of thinking, then institutions should not be trying to eradicate Women’s Studies, or other academic disciplines such as cultural studies, that dare to subvert the dominant paradigm.  

There is a facebook group to Save the Women’s Studies program at FAU! that has a link to a petition circulating to protest the administration’s decision.


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