Caucus is sad to announce the death of one of
our members. Heather had volunteered to serve on the Caucus Executive
this year but was prevented from doing so when she was diagnosed
with cancer this summer. In her memory Caucus has made a donation
to the Canadian Cancer Society. The following is excerpted from
the Halifax Daily News.
HUESTON, Heather Patricia - passed away in the
QEII Health Sciences Centre on October 4, 2001 at the age of 39.
Courageous daughter of Geraldine Dunnigan, Bedford and Terry Hueston,
Fairview. Loving sister of Lisa, Seattle, Wash.; Adam, Vancouver;
and D'Arcy, Kentville. Heather was a student at the University of
Western Ontario where she had completed the first years of the Masters
Program in Classics. Prior to returning to school, Heather was a
journalist in Vancouver, White Horse and Halifax where she worked
as a reporter for the Halifax Herald. Heather was a graduate of
Dalhousie University and served as editor of the Dalhousie Gazette
and the University of Kings College. Memorial service will be held
9 a.m. Tuesday in St. Ignatius Church, Bedford. Interment will be
in Heather's birth place, Ottawa, at a later date. If desired, remembrance
may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society. The family wishes to
thank the Oncology Staff of 8A of the Centennial Building, QEII
for their outstanding care and kindness. Arrangements have been
entrusted to T.K. Barnard Funeral Home, Bedford.
As many of you no doubt know, UWOSA had been
facing the prospect of striking or being locked out over the Christmas
holidays. Happily, last minute negotiations over the weekend have
resulted in a tentative agreement. The strike vote that had been
scheduled for Friday afternoon has been replaced by a ratification
information meeting. At that time, the negotiating team will present
to the members of UWOSA, in detail, the tentative agreement that
was reached on Saturday evening. In addition, members will be given
a synopsis of the changes that have been brought about by these
negotiations as they arrive at the meeting on Friday. More information
can be obtained at the UWOSA website.
"On "The Dynamics of Power,"
A Presentation by Jane Elliott"
An audience numbering an estimated 300 attended
a lengthy presentation on October 17 by the dynamic diversity trainer
Jane Elliott. The event was part of a speaker's series organized
by four London consultants under the name "Rekindle the Excitement",
with support from the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services
and 23 southwestern Ontario agencies.
Unlike much corporate diversity training, Elliott's
focus is on changing racist and sexist behaviour rather than attitudes.
In challenging discrimination that occurs through everyday behaviours,
Elliott seeks justice and respect, not love or tolerance, across
the boundaries of race and gender. She emphasizes that each person
is responsible for dealing with his or her own racism and sexism:
"to sit back and do nothing is to co-operate with oppression",
and amounts to a choice to practice racism and sexism. Challenging
the assumptions that "differences don't matter" and that
"we're all the same under the skin," Elliott observes
that "white people discussing racism have an experience of
Elliot's message grows out of her efforts to
understand and deal with the racism in her own life and background
in the U.S. She introduces herself as a 67 year old white woman
born in a racist society, educated in racist schools and churches,
and schooled in myths of white superiority.
Elliott's career as anti-racism speaker began
with an experiment that Elliott, a former elementary school teacher,
conducted with her third grade class over thirty years ago in the
farming community of Riceville, Iowa. She created the experiment
as a personal response to the assassination of Martin Luther King,
in an effort to help her class to understand how racism harms individuals.
Elliott divided the class of 16 by eye color, telling the class
that blue-eyed people are superior and brown-eyed people are inferior;
the next day, the tables were turned. Elliott was shocked at how
quickly the children appeared to become what she, the teacher, told
them they were. Children labeled as inferior responded with tears
and anxiety while those labeled superior adopted behaviours of dominance
and abuse of power. She stopped the exercise earlier than planned
because "too many ugly things were happening in the classroom."
The children expressed relief and a sense of freedom when the experiment
was ended, however Elliott and her family had to face the rage of
their community in the aftermath of her experiment. In her London
presentation Elliott showed the film "The Eye of the Storm",
now dated, but still an absorbing depiction of her experience. She
suggested that there were long-term positive effects on the children
who had participated.
The impact this experience had on Elliott's
students raises the question of what we are doing in our university
classrooms to challenge our students and confront their biases.
One wonders what could be accomplished in our university classes
if we had the courage and commitment to our students' learning to
attempt such creative experiential pedagogy.
Jane Elliott is a provocative and entertaining
speaker with a personal, humorous and interactive style. She invited
a man and a woman from the audience to join her on the stage and
participate in her exploration of how maleness, tallness and whiteness
confer power and privilege in interpersonal interactions. Commenting
on a man's admission that his gender gives him power, she pointed
out that "holding people who have power responsible for what
they do with that power is not male-bashing".
Elliott's concern is individual behaviour and
self-examination, rather than social structure and social change.
Her presentation does not clarify the "dynamics of power"
and the relationship between racism at the individual or interpersonal
level and racism as structural, systemic or institutionalized. Her
message is one of personal transformation: "each of us has
a civil rights movement going on inside us, and as we progress in
that movement we move the whole society".
Concerning Women's Caucus
Potluck/Brainstorming Session January 22, 2002
Members, as many of you know, Caucus has a Chilly
Climate account made up of funds collected from our percentage of
the sales of the videos. There are restrictions on the account:
the money may only be used towards chilly climate projects. Last
time we wanted to spend some of these funds, a bunch of people got
together for a potluck-brainstorming session. The result was the
Backlash to Change videos. Well, we've still got a healthy sum,
and it's probably about time we took another stab at doing something
about the chilly climate. So, there will be a potluck and brainstorming
session at my house, 279 Hyman Street, upper unit, on Tuesday, January
22 at 6:30 p.m. I'll circulate a notice closer to the date. Please
plan to be there!- Tracy Isaacs, Caucus President
Each year, Caucus presents the Montreal Memorial
Award to a female engineering student entering her second year.
This year we were pleased to award the prize to Karen Dawson. Karen
achieved the highest average amongst a very strong cohort of women
in the first year engineering class.Congratulations, Karen!
This is the last year I will be putting the
newsletter together (really!). In the hopes of fostering a smooth
transition for whoever takes over I am hoping that someone will
come forward now. This way I can show her the way I do it and she
can figure out how to do it better before she even begins. Putting
the newsletter together is not overly arduous (at least, not when
one is using an email format). It's a great way to find out all
sorts of interesting things about stuff happening on campus and
off. It's also a satisfying job for someone like me who is a control
freak, though I imagine other kinds of people might find it satisfying
too. I like to think the newsletter is an important part of the
Women's Caucus. If you agree the best way to say it's worth doing
is offering to do it yourself! - Letitia, Newsletter Editor (but
not for much longer!)
The impending stewardship of the chilly climate
tapes and a request for poetry (as yet undiscovered) published in
a newsletter roughly 20 years ago has prompted much discussion in
executive meetings about putting together an archive. As it stands,
such archive as we have resides in bags, boxes and folders hidden
deep within the bowels of Alumni Hall. It is, however, incomplete.
So, if you have Caucus materials that go back some years let us
It's not too early to be thinking about the
Women's Caucus Essay Award. Packages have been sent out across campus
to instructors who may have student essays eligible for the award.
The packages consist of a letter about the award and the process,
a flyer, and rave cards that can be attached to any promising essay
prompting students to submit. Both graduate and undergraduate students
are eligible. Submissions should be sent to Romayne Smith Fullerton,
Faculty of Information and Media Studies, Middlesex College. The
deadline is not until May 31, 2002 but essays from the fall term
can be submitted now if students wish. Three printed copies are
Caucus Members' Activities
Kathy Kopinak has been awarded a fellowship
at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California
at San Diego, and will be spending the first six months of next
year in La Jolla, California. The title of her project is "The
Environmental Impact of Rapid Industrialization in Baja California,
and Citizen-led Efforts to Reduce and Avoid Its Risks." From
her previous research and in developing the proposal, she has learned
that "Citizen-led Efforts" usually means women and minority
Caucus Members - Your Dues Are Due
Two years ago the Women's Caucus instituted
a policy whereby all membership renewals would come due each September.
This has greatly facilitated the administration of Caucus finances
and the membership list. September has come and gone and so all
members who wish to renew their membership, but haven't done so
yet need to do so now. You may either send a cheque to the Caucus
treasurer, Stephanie Macleod in Education FEB 1001.
New Caucus Members
Anyone employed either part-time or full-time
by the university or its affiliates is eligible for membership.
The current membership includes staff, graduate students and faculty
members representing most academic and non-academic departments.
If you have comments or concerns regarding the
format or the content of the Women's Caucus Newsletter, please feel
free to contact me, Letitia Meynell. Thanks to Jenifer Meynell for
her assistance with the newsletter.
Newsletter html file created and posted on the
web by Sylvia Burrow