Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Cuts at Columbia College hit LGBT-related course
by Matt Simonette
2014-11-09

This article shared 6314 times since Sun Nov 9, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Cuts to the number of sections offered for a popular LGBT-related course at Columbia College, which school officials attribute to declining enrollment numbers, helped ignite a controversy that has left some faculty and students questioning the college's commitment to diversity.

Two sections of the course Introduction to Gay and Lesbian Studies had been offered for several years, and taught by Victoria Shannon, an adjunct instructor. She said the course usually had a waiting list, and had never been lacking for interested students.

But Shannon was informed—only when new class schedules were published for the entire college, she said—that the class would be cut back to only one section in the second semester of this academic year.

Shannon called the section cut "an attack on diversity" at Columbia and calls into question the college's professed aspirations towards reflecting diversity within its students, faculty and course offerings.

"People are simply outraged," she said. "Enrollment is down 600 students this year, but these classes fill up every semester."

Columbia, like many colleges, places great weight on the idea of exposing students to a diverse array of communities and experiences through its course offerings and programming. Its website states, "We … believe that a diverse campus is central to our ability to produce high caliber, versatile artists and communicators of all races, cultures, and ethnicities. As educators, we place great importance on racial and cultural diversity in our classrooms, residence halls, and various organized activities. It is our individual differences that help enliven classroom discussions and social interactions."

Shannon's classroom has been a safe space for students, enabling many to come to terms with their own identity or at least gain perspective on LGBT individuals. "I've had six transgender students decide to transition after they've taken the course," she added, noting that she tries to offer a variety of speakers, many of whom she pays with an honorarium from her own pocket, to give students a broad and robust impression of the LGBT community.

"I usually have a transgender speaker come in each semester. I've had ( Chicago Police Department LGBT liaison] Jose Rios come in to speak. I've had Sissy Spastik come in to speak about drag queens," she said. Since the number of sections will be cut back, she'll be able to afford fewer speakers.

Columbia administrators maintain that the cut in sessions happened as part of a larger, across-the-board cut to 10 percent of Columbia's course offerings in the second semester. According to Stanley T. Wearden, Columbia's senior vice-president and provost, the cuts had to come in the spring semester, when enrollment usually dips an additional 10 percent.

"The cut is the result of a very complex process," said Wearden, who oversees Columbia's academic affairs and enrollment management. "In the spring, we have 90 percent of our revenue to work with. If we didn't do this, we would have a cost structure that would be crushing."

Wearden said that the college's administration asked department chairs to make the recommendations for the section cuts, adding that a number of diversity-focused courses—including LGBT-related courses—remain. "They tried prioritizing diverse offerings of individual courses."

But Diana Vallera, a photography instructor who heads up Columbia's adjunct instructors' union, said that the cuts came without any consultation with adjunct teachers, most of whom will bear the brunt of the cuts. The union has a history of tumultuous negotiations with the Columbia administration; their most recent contract, finalized in August 2013 came after four years of litigation and accusations of bad-faith bargaining, and Vallera maintains that the college is not living up to their side of the agreement.

"The contract was supposed to be a renewed commitment to treat us with value and respect," she said. "I have not seen the administration step up. … There are a lot fewer courses being offered."

Vallera said that the cuts will have a devastating impact on some of the instructors. "I know someone who will likely lose her home over this."

Shannon added, "It's hypocritical. These administrators have no idea of what we do and who we are. By cutting these classes, they're treating adjunct faculty, especially senior adjunct faculty, like second-class citizens."

Both Shannon and Vallera said that older, female adjunct instructors were disproportionately affected by the cuts, though Vallera noted she was still running numbers on how many instructors were actually affected overall. Wearden said, "I've heard that concern, and I take those concerns seriously. I will certainly take a hard look at that."

Vallera added that, despite the administration's protestations about revenue concerns, courses like Shannon's that address the concerns of vulnerable communities need to be regarded as more than revenue generators. But Wearden said that that sentiment was probably shared by numerous Columbia faculty and staff affected in one way or another by the cuts. "The thing is, any course dealing with 'diversity' is a special course," Wearden said.

Supporters of Shannon and other affected faculty and students posted an online petition on change.org to restore the cuts.

"While college president Kwan Wu Kim declares the necessity of, '… honoring the voices of those who have been marginalized,' [Humanities, History & Social Sciences Chair] Steve Corey has slashed classes on race, gender and LGBTQ issues," said the petition, which, as of Nov. 9, had 442 signatures. "On October 29th, 2014, Columbia College Provost Stan Wearden publicly defended the Spring 2015 course reductions by lamenting declining student enrollments. Is it possible that there is a link between declining enrollments and fewer, less popular course offerings? Additionally, we feel some alarm regarding the loss of classes normally assigned to women in the department. Every senior adjunct who has lost courses appears to be a female who has been with the department for many years."

The Columbia administration has also called for a public forum to be held on the matter Nov. 18.

"I encourage anyone with an interest in this important diversity issue to attend this forum," wrote Wearden in the announcement for the event. "The forum will not focus on whether a section of a particular class should or should not be scheduled. For those not involved in scheduling, it appears easy to suggest that another section simply be added. Scheduling, however, is a complex process that involves estimating enrollment and demand based on past history, current enrollment, and known patterns of enrollment from semester to semester. It also requires the balancing of interests and of important areas of instruction across an entire department, school, and college curriculum so that we are able to serve a diverse array of instructional needs."

Vallera said she was going to keep working on the matter, and had a meeting scheduled with Kim for Nov. 11. She added, "I'll ask him to step in, and hold true to his word."

The change.org petition can be viewed at chn.ge/1ynbQ6t . The Open Forum on LGBTQ Cultural Competency is scheduled for Nov. 18, from 2:30-4 p.m., at Stage Two, 618 S. Michigan Ave.


This article shared 6314 times since Sun Nov 9, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

MUSIC Aimee Mann to perform April 29-30 at Old Town School of Folk Music
2022-01-19
Musician Aimee Mann is slated to perform April 29-30 at Old Town School of Folk Music's Gary and Laura Maurer Concert Hall, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave. After several albums with 'Til Tuesday (with songs like "Voices ...


Gay News

Texas' anti-trans youth sports law goes into effect
2022-01-18
A new Texas law bars transgender student athletes from competing on school sports teams that align with their gender identity, Houston Public Media reported. House Bill 25 is one of several laws that went into effect ...


Gay News

Chicago Public Schools to reopen Jan. 12
2022-01-11
Following a deadlock that spanned four school days, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) approved a proposal for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to resume in-person classes Wed., Jan. 12, The Chicago Tribune reported. The delegates also voted ...


Gay News

LGBTQ+ and BIPOC Youth Led Study on Youth and Young Adult COVID-19 Vaccination Finds Surprising Results
2022-01-10
—From a news release - BOULDER, CO - Out Boulder County in partnership with El Centro AMISTAD and Unwoven Ventures with the leadership of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) youth created ...


Gay News

Lightfoot, CTU still stuck in stalemate; classes canceled Jan. 10 [UPDATE]
2022-01-08
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) are still stuck in a stalemate over remote versus in-person learning, with classes canceled again for Jan. 10. ...


Gay News

Laws targeting TGNC youth already proposed in several states
2022-01-08
In the first week of 2022, officials in at least seven states have already proposed laws that would limit the rights of transgender and non-binary youth, The Hill reported. Legislators in Arizona, Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, ...


Gay News

CPS canceling classes Jan. 5-7 after union votes to go virtual [UPDATE]
2022-01-05
Classes have been canceled Jan. 5-7 in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) after the teachers union voted to refuse to appear for in-person work, The Chicago Tribune reported. Mayor Lori Lightfoot criticized the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) for ...


Gay News

Monks separate from school after it hires coach in same-sex marriage
2022-01-05
The group of Benedictine monks governing Lisle's Benet Academy announced it will cut ties with the school after the hiring of a lacrosse coach who is in a same-sex marriage, according to Naperville News 17. Benet ...


Gay News

Nothing but net: Swish creates space where BIPOC queer athletes can 'feel good in their bodies'
2021-12-30
Swish—a basketball club for BIPOC queer and trans casual players—came into being because Jamiece Adams wanted a less competitive, more supportive space to play a sport she picked up in high school. She also wanted a ...


Gay News

Actor, poet, arts activist Jerrie Johnson talks new Amazon show 'Harlem,' other work
2021-12-20
Jerrie Johnson's mission to book a series regular role six months after finishing graduate school came to fruition when they (Johnson uses they/them pronouns) were cast as Tye, a lesbian dating app creator/CEO (who uses she/her ...


Gay News

NATIONAL New Jersey, Audre Lorde, LGBTQ book, youth items
2021-12-19
In the face of growing anxiety over the Supreme Court's conservative bent, state lawmakers in New Jersey are moving to pass marriage-equality legislation, Gay City News reported. According to Garden State Equality, the New Jersey Assembly's ...


Gay News

Pritzker signs bill repealing Parental Notification Act
2021-12-17
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has signed House Bill 370, which repeals the Parental Notification Act (PNA). According to a press release from his office, "Rescinding the PNA ensures that while a pregnant minor can choose to ...


Gay News

CPS schools' restrooms now gender-inclusive
2021-12-14
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has directed school leaders to post signs the district said "makes it clear that our restrooms are open for use to anyone who feels comfortable in that space," The Chicago Tribune reported. ...


Gay News

NBJC, for 18th anniversary, gives micro-grants to Black LGBTQ+/SGL Youth-serving groups
2021-12-08
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC — In celebration of the 18th anniversary since its founding, the National Black Justice Coalition will provide tens of thousands of microgrants to youth-serving organizations supporting Black LGBTQ+ ...


Gay News

DANCE Joffrey's Winning Works winners named
2021-12-01
The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, announced the recipients of the twelfth annual Winning Works Choreographic Competition: Audrey Ipapo Baran, Joffrey Company artist Edson Barbosa, Taylor Carrasco and Derick McKoy Jr. ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.