Saturday, May 3, 2014
The 5 Takeaways on administrative help from the federal Department of Education to the institutional enforcement against campus assault.
1. Dept of Ed will issue FAQ to guide schools in following Title IX
2. Creation of new website NotAlone.gov to compile previously scattered best-practice resources that has the potential to be a game changer for transparency and awareness.
3. Dept of Ed will collect and disseminate list of schools' Title IX compliance officers
4. Plans to survey more students on campus
5. Model policies and protocols for colleges
Friday, May 2, 2014
On Tuesday, the Obama administration released the first report from the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault, which was created in January, issuing guidance to schools on collecting data, establishing better prevention programs and responses to assaults, and announcing a new federal website that will be a clearinghouse of information and a public source of enforcement data. On the same day, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a new “questions and answers”document clarifying schools’ obligations under Title IX as it pertains to sexual violence. Title IX is a federal law prohibiting gender discrimination.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
A former history professor at the University of Pennsylvania is suing the school, claiming she was denied tenure because she took time off to have and care for her children.
Kristen Stromberg Childers, who taught at the Ivy League college from 2002 until 2010, contends in the federal discrimination lawsuit that her family-leave periods were the "determinative and motivating factors in the decision to deny tenure."
Childers took maternity leave during the 2003-2004 and 2007-2008 academic years for the births of her two children; she also took half-time, half-pay family leave in the 2008-2009 school year due to medical and educational issues her older child was having, the suit says.
She was denied tenure in February 2008 and again after submitting a new application in 2010.
Childers filed a grievance, and a panel in May 2011 found that the review process unfairly considered statements about the assistant professor's child-care leave in making its decision.
According to the lawsuit, the grievance panel found that the chairwoman of Penn's School of Arts and Sciences' personnel committee "inappropriately" wrote to the school's dean that "committee members found it especially hard to judge productivity in light of Dr. Stromberg Childers' family leave time and her junior leave." The dean later said in a letter that it was "difficult to give a balanced assessment" of the professor's productivity "because of the amount of family leave she has had."
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
The federal law that protects students from sex discrimination, Title IX, also protects transgender students, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights formalized in new guidance issued Tuesday.
In new guidance from education officials on the topic of sexual violence in schools, the Department of Education, for the first time, made clear its position that transgender discrimination in schools is included under what it considers as sex-based discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
“Our federal civil rights laws demand that all students — women and men; gay and straight; transgender or not; citizens and foreign students — be allowed to learn and participate in all parts of college life without sexual assault and harassment limiting their opportunities,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights, in a statement. “The Office for Civil Rights stands ready to enforce this core principle to ensure all students’ safety in schools.”
Thursday, April 24, 2014
The Family Law Prof Blog posted Even in Academia, Dads Don't Do Diapers. The assumption of this study was that if there was gender equality in parenting anywhere, it would be in academia where men have more flexible time at home. But, no.
Most of the academics in our study said they believe that husbands and wives should share equally, but almost none did so.” To be precise, only three men out of 109 reported that they performed half the child-care work. One possible explanation, according to the father-and-son duo, is that women derive a higher enjoyment of many of the activities involved in the care of small children. The Rhoads asked the men and women to report their level of enjoyment in performing 25 different tasks—everything from playing with the baby to washing his clothes. On almost every count, women said they experienced a higher level of satisfaction. Steven Rhoads admits the discovery that mothers enjoy changing diapers was, to his own mind, the most surprising aspect of his findings. “It shows you gender roles go pretty deep,” he says.
Are you kidding me?!? The conclusion is that we enjoy changing diapers! Please. The entrenched gender role is not that women enjoy such crappy duties. (Ok, I couldn't resist.) But that they are socially conditioned not to show dissatisfaction with mothering or towards their children under threat of the "bad mother" indictment.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
From her dissent in Tuesday's decision in Schuette v. BAMN, upholding Michigan’s state ban on race-conscious (and gender-conscious) admission decisions. (Citations omitted).
Race matters. Race matters in part because of the long history of racial minorities’ being denied access to the political process. And although we have made great strides, “voting discrimination still exists; no one doubts that.”
Race also matters because of persistent racial inequality in society—inequality that cannot be ignored and that has produced stark socioeconomic disparities.
And race matters for reasons that really are only skin deep, that cannot be discussed any other way, and that cannot be wished away. Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes, no matter the neighborhood where he grew up. Race matters to a young woman’s sense of self when she states her hometown, and then is pressed, “No, where are you really from?”, regardless of how many generations her family has been in the country. Race matters to a young person addressed by a stranger in a foreign language, which he does not understand because only English was spoken at home. Race matters because of the slights, the snickers, the silent judgments that reinforce that most crippling of thoughts: “I do not belong here.”
In my colleagues’ view, examining the racial impact of legislation only perpetuates racial discrimination. This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination. As members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carry out the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society. It is this view that works harm, by perpetuating the facile notion that what makes race matter is acknowledging the simple truth that race does matter.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Women have made gains in the workplace but there's still a wage gap. Although attending college costs the same for both genders, women are more burdened by student loan debt after graduating. They spend a higher proportion of their salaries on paying off debt because, well, they have lower salaries to work with than men — from the very start.
Saturday, April 5, 2014
When I used to teach, I did an exercise that required students to analyze my gender performance (thank you, Judith Butler). Students judged how feminine, masculine, or androgynous I was by paying careful attention to my appearance, affect, and personality. To make it easier for them, I wore a skirt, flowery tops, sparkly accessories, high heels, and more make-up than usual. By exaggerating my femininity, I helped them realize how pliable and deployable gender....
Almost every semester, a couple of students would raise their hands to tell me that I didn’t “look” like a professor....When I pressed them on why I didn’t look the part, they explained that professors seemed to be male, older (or younger), bearded, and white. Their vision of the professoriate startled me.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
The girls’ cause is about much more than the right to bear L’eggs. By emphasizing the disruptive consequences of leggings, administrators are attempting to fix boys’ juvenile behavior by placing an unfair burden on the girls who are supposedly distracting them. (As Hasty put it: “Not being able to wear leggings because it’s ‘too distracting for boys’ is giving us the impression we should be guilty for what guys do.”) The result is that the school is actually preventing these girls from focusing on their schoolwork by asking them to pay more attention to their own bodies.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
The Seventh Circuit decided Hayden v. Greensburg Community Schools, ___F.3d___ (7th Cir. Feb. 24, 2014).
On behalf of their son, [parents] challenge a policy which requires boys playing interscholastic basketball at the public high school in Greensburg, Indiana, to keep their hair cut short. The Haydens make two principal arguments: (1) the hair-length policy arbitrarily intrudes upon their son's liberty interest in choosing his own hair length, and thus violates his right to substantive due process, and (2) because the policy applies only to boys and not girls wishing to play basketball, the policy constitutes sex discrimination. The district court rejected both claims and granted judgment to the Hayden ex rel. A.H. v. Greensburg Cmty. Sch. Corp., 2013 WL 1001947 (S.D.Ind. Mar. 13, 2013). We reverse in part. Because the hair-length policy on its face treats boys and girls differently, and because the record tells us nothing about any comparable grooming standards applied to girls playing basketball, the evidence entitles the Haydens to judgment on their sex discrimination claims.
It's Hard to Call Myself a Male Feminist at University. I Blame Lad Culture. The perspective of a male student.
I think the main reason so few male students identify as feminists is because of the spreading virus of lad culture at university. Lad culture is the idea that overt acts of masculinity prove some form of superiority over others.
The reality is that lad culture is a prominent part of university life. Club nights often encourage the sexualisation and degradation of women through dress code, and lad values tell male students it's important to get drunk, pull women and act like a noteworthy lad.
Lad culture means that male students are less likely to call themselves feminists for fear of embarrassing themselves, even if they believe in gender equality.
It's hardly laddish to try and deconstruct a patriarchal system. Lad culture at university makes many potential male feminists feel demeaned; it can be hard to fit in if you don't keep up with "the lads".
Monday, February 17, 2014
Call for Papers: Feminist currents to be published in Frontiers, A Journal of Women's Studies, The Ohio State University.
The Question: In an era of tightening budgets and renewed fiscal conservatism, how committed are institutions to our research and teaching, or students to the critical lenses developed in our classrooms? We inhabit a time of policies mandating that retirees not be replaced and that academic units be consolidated. Circulating in the states are proposals to charge differential fees by majors and academic units in order to encourage supposedly practical preparation for the workforce. Thus, for our next question, we propose to continue this conversation by asking you: What’s the impact of today’s neoliberal political economy on programs and departments in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and what strategies work to cope, confront and survive?
Replies: Email your reflections, from 30 to 300 words, to firstname.lastname@example.org later than March 15, 2014. In your subject line please type "Feminist Currents." Unless you notify us otherwise in your email, your response signifies that we may paraphrase your thoughts, quote directly from them, and use your name and affiliation. Make sure that you include your affiliation, if applicable. For more information, please see: http://frontiers.osu.edu/feminist-currents
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Motion for Preliminary Injunction Granted to 7th Grade Female Student to Join All-Male Wrestling Team. Lawyers "were successful in obtaining a preliminary injunction requiring Line Mountain School District in Herndon, PA to allow seventh-grader Audriana Beattie to be part of the Line Mountain all-male wrestling program. Beattie has wrestled competitively, against boys and girls, since she was in third grade."
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
From the Telegraph UK, a story about higher education in Britain:
In at least 20 institutions, there are twice as many female full-time undergraduates as males. The growing divide in further education follows a similar trend at school level, where girls now outperform boys in all age groups and subjects.
The head of UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, sort of like our College Board) said:
“Young men are becoming a disadvantaged group in terms of going to university and this underperformance needs urgent focus across the education sector.”
And concluding thoughts: "The growing divide is becoming a more pressing issue than the number of applicants from poorer homes, said the chief executive of Ucas, the universities admissions service."
Thursday, January 23, 2014
A high school junior gets the sexist implications of her school's dress code, even if the principal doesn't. She writes:
The new principal at my school used two phrases while addressing new dress code rules to a class: "Modest is hottest" and "boys will be boys."....
My body is not a sinful temptation that needs to be hidden.
My body is not your personal, sexual object.
My body does not overshadow my character.
My body is not any more sexual than a man's body.
My body is not here to look "hot" for you....
Being a boy refers to your gender. That's all. It does not make you constantly sexually aroused, animalistic or sexually uncontrollable, but for some reason society has come to the conclusion that you are this stereotype. This is extremely sad. This gender stereotype is unfair to all men. By telling them who they are as a man you are absolutely taking away their moral agency
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
From York University in Canada:
After refusing to honour a male student’s request to be separated from his female classmates for religious reasons, a York University professor has found himself at odds with administrators who assert he broke their “obligation to accommodate.”
The student offered this explanation:
“One of the main reasons that I have chosen internet courses to complete my BA is due to my firm religious beliefs, and part of that is the intermingling between men and women,” he wrote, adding “it will not be possible for me to meet in public with a group of women (the majority of my group) to complete some of these tasks.”
Prof. J. Paul Grayson, who teaches said student, responded as follows:
The unusual request immediately troubled the professor. In a 12-page paper documenting the episode, he expressed his worry about becoming an “accessory to sexism” and, in a letter to the campus’ Centre for Human Rights, declared “I doubt that we would sanction a student refusing, for religious reasons, to interact with Blacks in classes even though Biblical justification could be found.”
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
AAUW (American Association of University Women) has Live Blogging of the regulatory meetings needed to implement the new campus safety provisions that were included in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) update that passed in March. Schools will rely on the details in these regulations to update their policies on campus, improve their disciplinary proceedings, provide better prevention training to students and faculty, and ensure that survivors have the services they need.
"Making regulations isn’t always exciting, but anyone can join in the dialogue and these rules will be key to getting the law implemented. You can learn more about how things will go by checking out the Department of Education’s website:" http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2012/vawa.html.
Thursday, January 2, 2014
In what has been noted as one of the top articles of last year, Ms. explains the harm from reinforcing gender stereotypes through dress code policing. What Do Dress Codes Say About Girls' Bodies
The concern for overly exposed young bodies may be well-intentioned. With society fetishizing girls at younger and younger ages, girls are instructed to self-objectify and see themselves as sexual objects, something to be looked at. A laundry list of problems can come from obsessing over one’s appearance: eating disorders, depression, low self-worth. Who wouldn’t want to spare her daughter from these struggles?
But these dress codes fall short of being legitimately helpful. What we fail to consider when enforcing restrictions on skirt-length and the tightness of pants is the girls themselves—not just their clothes, but their thoughts, emotions, budding sexuality and self-image.
Instead, these restrictions are executed with distracted boys in mind, casting girls as inherent sexual threats needing to be tamed.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Mary Pat Treuthart (Gonzaga) and Stephen Rosenbaum (Berkeley) have written Engendering a Clinic: Lessons Learned from a Domestic Violence Clinical Course in Qatar.
Domestic violence, a serious problem around the world, remains a hidden concern among the Islamic Gulf States. Yet signs indicate the situation is changing. A team of American lawyers and professors, responding to student initiative and the Qatari development strategy, recently initiated Qatar’s first law school clinic, focusing exclusively on domestic violence. By highlighting the students’ experience, this article outlines the issues involved and the problems that were encountered, and resolved, during the development of this clinic. The students first studied the issue of domestic violence, then made presentations to the larger community to raise awareness of the topic. Subsequent to a review of international law, the Qatari criminal code and model domestic violence statutes from other jurisdictions, the students drafted legislation designed to criminalize domestic violence in Qatar. Finally, they developed what they called An Action Plan to Stop Domestic Violence in Qatar. This article also explores
how the clinic’s work was informed by the sex-segregated educational environment, by Islamic culture at large, and by feminist and traditional interpretations of the Qur’an. The authors offer reflections on the lessons they learned and propose suggestions about how such pedagogy might proceed in future.