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Jose, Can You See?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

UNC-Wilmington decided recently that the way to bolster its failing diversity program is to dump more money into it. Without any help from the Bush administration’s financial advisors, they have decided that rewarding failure is a good way to ensure success. That’s why they created a new Associate Provost of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion position. And that’s why they paid big bucks to Jose Hernandez to fill the slot.

According to a university press release, the new tolerance czar will focus on four areas of “diversity and inclusion” including the following: Centro Hispano, the Multicultural Center, the African-American Cultural Center, and a new Women's Studies unit.

Before the university starts to construct separate (but equal) bathrooms for “colored” people, I’m interested in speaking to Jose about a group that already has separate bathroom status. I’m talking, of course, about women – an historical “minority” of close to 70% on our almost entirely white campus.

As a first order of business, I would encourage Jose Hernandez to take a look at the lack of “diversity and inclusion” in the Women’s Studies Minor (WSM). Recently, I went to their web page and started looking at the faculty who teach in that program. Then, I did a search of the voter registration data base in North Carolina. The results were quite interesting.

Below, I’ve cut and pasted the names of the women teaching in the WSM followed by the Women’s Resource Center’s descriptions of their contributions to the program. I’ve changed just one thing. In the place of their departmental affiliation, I’ve superimposed their political party affiliation, if any.

Kathleen Berkeley (Democrat): Teaches the history of women in America from the era of pre-contact to the present, with a special emphasis on the interactions among gender, race, class, and ethnicity, and the influence these variables have on expressions of power and sexuality in American society.

Maria Cami-Vela (Not registered to vote): Teaches literature and film courses focusing on gender, class, and sexuality. Her current research explores the representation of desire and sexuality in films directed by women.

Cara Cilano (Democrat): Teaches courses in women’s literature from around the globe, with a particular emphasis on third world women’s literature. Her research focuses on issues of nationhood, cultural production and reception of texts, and globalization.

Eleanor Krassen Covan (Democrat): Teaches courses on women and aging. A sociologist by discipline, she is editor of the journal Health Care for Women International.

Andrea Deagon (Democrat): Teaches classical studies. Her research interests include women’s dance and women’s experience of the sacred.

Janet Ellerby (Democrat): Teaches courses that focus on women writers, issues of gender, and the memoir. She is currently working on a cultural analysis of adoption practices in literature and history.

Elizabeth Ervin (Democrat): Teaches courses in education, professional writing, and feminist theory. Her research explores connections between public discourse, feminism, and activism.

Jennifer Horan (Democrat): Teaches courses focusing on the status of women in the American political system. Her current research interests include environmental policy and policymaking in Latin America and the impact of environmental degradation on women in the developing world.

Leslie Hossfeld (Democrat): Teaches sociology courses focusing on gender and society. Her current research interests include worker displacement and gender and job loss.

Donna King (Unaffiliated Marxist): Teaches sociology courses focusing on gender, race, and class. Her current research interests include eco-feminism and feminist critiques of consumer culture.

Patricia Lerch (Democrat): Teaches courses on women in such diverse cultural settings as Brazil, Barbados, and North America. Her research focuses on women and religion, tourism, and economic development.

Diane Levy (Democrat): Teaches courses in the sociology of the family, gender and society, and the sociology of work and occupations. She is interested in gender and globalization, tourism, and women’s travel accounts.

Katherine Montwieler (Democrat): Teaches courses related to gender and literature. Her current research interests are eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women writers and constructions of gender and sexuality.

Diana Pasulka (Not Registered to Vote): Teaches courses on women and religion. Her research focuses on gender representations in world religions as well as religion and popular culture.

Lisa Pollard (Not Registered to Vote): Teaches courses on Muslim, Jewish, and Christian women in the modern Middle East, and courses on gender. Her research interests focus on gender and nation building in 19th and 20th century Egypt.

Colleen Reilly (Democrat): Teaches courses in professional writing and computers and writing, including a course in gender and technology. Her current research explores how gender and sexuality help to construct and are constructed by technologies.

Karen Sandell (Unaffiliated): Teaches social work courses focusing on issues relating to women, children, and society. Her current research interests include teaching innovations in social work education, technology and social work education, and feminist practice.

Kindra Steenerson (Democrat): Teaches a wide variety of topics including the construction of gender, institutional sources of oppression, and feminist scrutiny of the media.

Anita Veit (Democrat): Teaches courses in the sociology of gender, children, family, sport, and birth and death.

Barbara Waxman (Democrat): Teaches literature by and about women, multicultural autobiography, fiction, and autobiography about aging and Victorian literature. Her research examines memoirs of the bilingual/trans-cultural experience.

For those not counting, the party affiliation tally of the 20 professors (now 19, as one recently passed away) teaching in the WSM is as follows:

Democrats 15
Not Registered 3
Unaffiliated 2
Republican 0

This all reminds me of the time when the aptly named Dick Veit (English Department) falsely accused the College Republicans of trying to exclude blacks and Jews from their club. At the very time of his accusation, the English Department had thirty-three professors, none of whom were Republicans. Veit insisted that his department was always professional and never tried to exclude anyone.

I guess the questions for Jose Hernandez are really quite simple: What happens when you flip a peso 20 times and it never comes up heads? Can Jose see that the system has been rigged? And, will he have the courage and integrity to create real diversity and inclusion in Women’s Studies?

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