1 Education Drive

Room F-3293 Garden City, New York 11530

Reflections on a Lost Women’s History Month

In the spring 2024 semester, the WGS project did not host a Women’s History Month due to lack of release time for coordinating the Women and Gender Studies’ project. Over the course of the last decade, release time had been increasingly cut, and this spring no release time was provided by administration to not only schedule classes and faculty development but also for the very time-consuming coordination of a month of talks and activities. It might also be noted that CAO Conzatti did not address Women’s History Month in emails to the campus-wide community, as, indeed, she had also not done with commemorations such as Hispanic Heritage Month and Black History Month.  

We publish below a reflection by the faculty of the Women and Gender Studies Project.

For thirty years the Women and Gender Studies Project (originally known as Women Studies Project) has served the students of Nassau Community College, offering them resources not prominently available in any other courses, events, or clubs. The project’s classes have invited students to consider the psychology, politics, and sociology of stereotypes and discrimination. One of the aims of our courses is to empower women, men and and non-binary people through engagement with such pressing topics as sexual harrassment, domestic violence, sex work, sexual assault, body image, job discrimination and reproductive rights. 

In addition to the classes, the project has presented a wide range of programming during Women’s History Month. In that way, the project reaches a larger campus audience and also helps students recognize an interest in a WGS class that they might not realize is available or of interest to them. The month of events has been an opportunity to bring outside and prominent voices such as Roxane Gay, Carmen Marie Machado, and others to campus to supplement faculty knowledge. It has also served as a celebration of the important work done by the WGS project, to celebrate the ability of the project to transform our students’ lives. 

Unfortunately, many of our students report “gender trouble” in the form of having been stereotyped, harassed, or worse, victims of assault or domestic violence. Our classes and programming serve as a “lifeline” for students. The lack of administrative support to continue the Women and Gender Studies Project has wiped out this chance for our students. We have witnessed students finding the power to get restraining orders, speak up in a workplace and have a sexually abusive boss fired, and take control of their rights in very difficult situations while attending our Women and Gender Studies classes. Many of them have told their WGS faculty that being part of the class and the project literally changed their lives for the better. 

An administration that in writing puts its students at the center would support the WGS Project, and the fact that they do not puts into question the authenticity of the claim, “students first.”

4 Responses

  1. As the first male Professor who taught At the (then) Women’s Studies Project (circa Sp-2000), I feel really sad see what is happening to this and other great (interdisciplinary) Academic Programs. Very sad indeed 🥲

  2. The lack of support for the WGS project is yet another reason for a Vote of No Confidence in the current administration. The erosion of legal protections, access to certain aspects of health care, and even basic safety and well-being for women and for the LGBTQ+ community makes WGS more essential than ever.

  3. This is puzzling at a time when the majority of the student body is female. These, like the majority of the administration’s policies, are to blame for the decrease in enrollment. For example, Suffolk Community College has seen an increase in enrollment. I’m not saying it’s because they have a traditional WGS program with a director, but it certainly is not discouraging students like the policies at NCC.

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