Western's Caucus on Women's Issues

Fall l-1999 Newsletter

Greetings from Caucus President, Margaret Kellow
This year marks the twentieth anniversary of Western's Caucus on Women's Issues. Among those women who came together in the late 1970s to give women a voice on this campus were Ann Bogan, Mary Campbell, Sara Shorten, Barbara Houston, Kathleen Ohkrulik, Connie Backhouse, Gillian Mitchell, Ann Harley, Peggy Watts, Ann Straulman, Cindy Miller, Louise Forsythe, Marianne Ayam, Nancy Kendall, Gail Hutchinson and Roma Harris. I personally did not know many of these women. I was a part-time undergraduate here at the time and raising a family. At that point, my feminist consciousness, such as it was, was raw, painful and unformed, focussed mainly on my personal situation, but even I knew that universities had not been designed with women in mind. Over the last twenty years, my education has continued and Caucus has been and continues to be an important part of that process. When I returned to Western to teach in 1988, Western's Caucus on Women's Issues was the place I experienced a community of women working together to achieve shared goals, the place I experienced female mentoring, and the place where I began to understand the institutional culture of the university. Largely because of Caucus, for me at least, Western is a better place now than it was then.

So, when I was approached last spring to take on the presidency of Caucus, I was very conscious of the long line of distinguished women who had preceded me. They imagined that Western could be a better place for women, and although we are still a long way from equity, let alone paradise, I think we can take pride in their vision and their accomplishments. Caucus hopes to mark their achievements in a number of ways this year, celebrating the outstanding women who have given so much to build a community of women here at Western and renewing our commitment to their ideals. At this point I would like to invite our members to share their memories and their suggestions for ways in which we might mark this occasion, and to share with us their ideas about what they would like to see Caucus undertake in the next twenty years. Much remains to be done and we have an important and distinguished tradition to maintain.

PRIDE LIBRARY:Great things are happening at the Pride Library. Thanks to two generous grants from the President's Committee on the Safety of Women on Campus, the Pride Library has added an important new collection to its holdings and has begun integration of its collection into UWO library's On-Line Public Access Catalogue.
The first grant received allowed the library to start the Lesbian Safety Collection. At roughly 160 volumes (and growing), the collection, primarily authored by lesbians, covers a broad range of subjects. Homophobia, heterosexism, hate crimes, domestic partner abuse, censorship, parenting and family issues, coming out, lesbian social and political issues, gay and lesbian youth issues and health issues that are of particular concern to lesbians are among the subjects covered in this collection. The books, important in their own right, also help to diversify further the Pride collection, which has been built solely from donations.

The titles in the LSC were chosen by an acquisitions advisory committee composed of graduate students, professors and members of the London community outside the ivory tower, all women, with the exception of Dr. James Miller, who is the director of the PL. An effort was made to purchase the majority of the books through businesses run by women. Womansline's Sharon Collingwood proved invaluable in both in researching books for acquisition and acquiring them, providing a generous reduction in price.

The PL was also able to obtain a number of journals which are not presently available from the central library system. These include The Journal of Lesbian Studies, The Gay and Lesbian Quarterly, and The Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy. Of particular interest is the Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review, as it provides reviews of the latest publications in Gay and Lesbian Studies. Although the collection is not yet accessible through UWO's Catalogue it is online at . A small portion of the grant money has gone to produce a pamphlet about the Lesbian Safety Collection, which is available in the PL. We hope to make it available at the fall meeting of the Women's Caucus on October 5.

The second grant from the President's Committee is providing the financial foundation for integrating the PL collection into OPAC. Starting with the Lesbian Safety Collection, the grant will cover the cost of cataloguing a third of the Pride collection. Twenty-five books a week are being whisked away to the Technical Services Department of the University Library System (located in Elborn College) for librarians to do their cataloguing magic. Location codes have already been chosen (PRISTK for stacks, PRIPER for periodicals, PRIAVC for audio-visual, PRIREF for reference works and PRISPE for special collections) and, thanks to efforts of work study students, summaries of the books will be included in the entries, as will enhanced key terms for searches. The catalogue entries will also mention the name of the collection and the name of the donor, so eventually a search done using 'Lesbian Safety Collection' or 'President's Committee on the Safety of Women on Campus' will provide OPAC access to the entire collection. Already, some volumes are accessible through such searches.

Although the Pride collection is being integrated into the system, it is not being assimilated. The Pride Library Board still has complete control over future acquisitions and general policy. Administrative autonomy does, however, have its drawbacks, as the PL still needs another $9000 to complete the cataloguing of the collection. Dr. Miller remains hopeful, however, that the donations will appear and the PL collection will be completely accessible through OPAC within the next few years.

Plans are being made to celebrate the completion of the cataloguing of the LSC later this fall--a kind of virtual coming-out party for the PL and, indeed, Gay and Lesbian studies at UWO. Dr. Miller has sent out a warm invitation to this celebration to all Women's Caucus members. In the meantime, we are encouraged to peruse the collection at the PL and hang out for a while. The hours are 9-5 on weekdays--occasionally subject to the timetable restraints of the work study student librarians--and it is located on the third floor of the Modern Languages Wing (central block) of University College. Maps to the PL may be found just inside all the main entrances to UC.

DEAN KATHLEEN: We could hardly let the first Women's Caucus Newsletter since her appointment go by without some recognition of Dr. Kathleen Okruhlik's appointment as Dean of Arts. Kathleen has been a member, a supporter and a leader in the Caucus for a number of years and a staunch advocate for women's concerns at UWO. As a group we send warmest congratulations and hopes that her five year term (through the double cohort and beyond) won't be as rough as Mike Harris is threatening to make it.

NAC DONATION: At last week's meeting of the Women's Caucus Executive it was agreed that we would participate in NAC's Campaign 5000, making a commitment to give $100 a year to NAC, on top of our $100 annual membership fee. This is a way of forestalling future funding crises similar to those that NAC has recently suffered. The goal of Campaign 5000 is to get 5000 individual women to pledge $100 per year to ensure NAC's viability. We encourage those women on campus who can to become sponsors individually. Clearly, it is important that NAC has the resources to allow it to continue to do its work on behalf of all Canadian women. More information on the campaign is available from NAC's National Office at 1-800-665-5124.

FALL MEETING:Women's Caucus Fall General Meeting. The Fall General Meeting will be held October 5, 4 p.m. in the Faculty Lounge on the 3rd Floor of the Social Sciences Building (that's just by Bicotti's). Come out and meet your Caucus and hear what has been planned for the upcoming year (our 20th). Refreshments will be served.
UWOFA'S STATUS OF WOMEN COMMITTEE: The Faculty Association is seeking new members for the UWOFA Status of Women Committee for 1999-2000. Faculty Members both part-time and full-time from all departments and faculties are invited to participate. For further information, please contact Aniko Varpalotai (UWOFA Past President, and Chair of the Status of Women Committee) at: or at 661-2087 ext. 8601 (Faculty of Education). For information on other committees please visit the UWOFA web site or contact the UWOFA office at: 661-3016 or UWOFA@julian.uwo.ca. Please join a committee and participate as we work toward our first contract!
NEXT NEWSLETTER: Watch for the winner of the Women's Caucus Essay Award. Watch for information on December 6 ceremonies. Submissions for the Newsletter will be due by November 22 (although everyone is welcome to send them well ahead of time). They should be sent to Letitia Meynell at or through the Philosophy Department. E-mail submissions or submissions on disk (saved as RTF or TXT files) are strongly preferred. The tentative date for the release of the next Newsletter is November 29.
UPCOMING EVENTS: Mark your calendars and watch for details on the following upcoming events:
23 November 1999 -- Caucus marks the Year of the Older Person with a presention of Barbara Metcalf's play "A Modern Tragedy", Mc Kellar Rm, UCC, 4:30.
4 February 2000 -- Caucus Celebrates 20 Years! -- details to follow.
BREAST CANCER AWARENESS: On Friday, October 1 the London Middlesex Unit of the Canadian Cancer Society will present its annual Breast Cancer Awareness Breakfast at the Delta London Armouries. The theme is supportive care and complementary therapies for breast cancer patients, featuring Dr. Margaret Fitch, Oncology Nurse Researcher at the Toronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre. The Breakfast will be held from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. and the cost for the hot or cold breakfast buffet is $20 per ticket or $180 for a table of 10. For information and tickets call the Canadian Cancer Society or email .
SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVORS: On Friday, Oct. 1 the Committee for Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse will present a workshop led by Gail Fisher- Taylor, a feminist therapist in Toronto: FROM DEPLETION TO STRENGTH; PHASE-ORIENTED PSYCHOTHERAPY WITH TRAUMA CLIENTS. Gail is an expert educator in the field of sexual and sadistic abuse. She has been quoted and cited in a number of books, professional reports and journals about trauma, dissociation, violence and abuse issues. The workshop will include a lecture, discussion and experiential exercises. At the Four Points Hotel in London (Wellington Road, across from White Oaks Mall). Registration: 8:30- 9:30am. Morning agenda 9:30-12:30. Lunch 12:30-1:15 Afternoon agenda 15-5:pm. Cost: $75 (lunch included). The workshop will include a lecture, discussion and experiential exercises. For more information contact Shirley Scarrow, 8 Glass Ave, London N5W 1Z5; Phone/fax 1-519-453-8894; email sscarrow@execulink.com. (Courtesy of 'The Monthly', the Womansline newsletter.)
DISASTER RELIEF: The Toronto Disaster Relief Committee is planning a DAY OF ACTION on housing and homelessness. They are hoping that groups in other cities will plan their own actions, and as those groups form we will post information on the Womansline website. The details for Toronto are as follows: start at noon at Allan Gardens, a part of Toronto where homeless people have historically taken refuge, then walk through this neighbourhood, one of the worst sites, where large numbers of the homeless sleep in the parks, alleys and stairwells. The march will end in the St. Lawrence neighbourhood, an area dominated by successful non-profit, co-op and Cityhome housing. There will be music, speakers and food during the event. For more information, contact TORONTO DISASTER RELIEF COMMITTEE, c/o 168 Bathurst Street, Toronto M5V 2R4. Phone (416) 703-6190 ext. 411, or fax (416) 703-6190, or email to: tdrc@hotbot.com. Updates will be available on the Womansline web page . (Courtesy of 'The Monthly', the Womansline newsletter.)
BREAST FAIR: On Saturday, October 23 CAW Local 88 Women's Committee presents a BREAST HEALTH EDUCATION FAIR. Noon to 4 pm at the CAW Local at 364 Victoria Street, Ingersoll. Womansline will be there too, with a book display. It's informative and informal, and all are welcome. Call 537-7745 for details. (Courtesy of 'The Monthly', the Womansline Newsletter.)
NEW SITE: There's a new site just started on the internet offering information on child language development: http://www.tyketalk.com. This site brings together existing resources and services in a dynamic community partnership of agencies throughout the Thames Valley Region. It's part of a province-wide government initiative to enhance preschool speech and language services, and to ensure that every preschool child has access to these services. The focus is on early identification and treatment. If you think your baby or child is not learning to communicate at her/his age- appropriate level, call Thames Valley Preschool Speech and Language WARMLINE (519) 663-5317. They will refer you to someone who can help. (Courtesy of 'The Monthly', the Womansline newsletter.)
For more community news check out the Womansline web page

Margaret Kellow, President...mmkellow@julian.uwo.ca
Angela Schneider, Vice President... aschneid@julian.uwo.ca
Sara Steers, Past President...ssteers@julian.uwo.ca
Adeline Falk Rafael, Secretary... arfalkra@julian.uwo.ca
Stephanie MacLeod, Treasuer...smacleod@julian.uwo.ca
Janice Wallace, Membership...jwallace@julian.uwo.ca
Alison Lee, Essay Award...alee@julian.uwo.ca
Tracy Isaacs, Safety Committee Rep... tisaacs@julian.uwo.ca
Letitia Meynell, Newsletter, Publicity and Grad Student Rep....lmmeynel@julian.uwo.ca
Susan Abercromby, Publicity and Grad Student Rep. ...sabercromby@odyssey.on.ca
The position of Programs Executive is still open and we invite all interested parties to get in touch with Margaret Kellow at mmkellow@julian.uwo.ca.

We welcome your membership renewal and hope that you will encourage new members to join the Women's Caucus this year. Information brochures and membership forms will be available at the October annual meeting.

In order to streamline membership procedures, as of September 1999, all caucus memberships will remain current during the academic year and will be renewable in October of the following academic year. For example, if your membership is new or renewed during the academic year of 1999/2000, your membership will come due the following October, 2000 at the time of the annual Fall meeting for the year 2000/2001.

This change in membership procedures may mean that some of you may feel caught in the transition. For example, those of you who renewed your membership or took out new membership in 1999 may have, quite understandably, understood that your membership covered 1999/2000. Others of you, however, were simply renewing or taking out new membership for 1998/99 rather late in the year. Therefore, we will count all new or renewed memberships in 1999 as current for 1999-2000 and leave it up to your discretion whether you wish to renew for the current year, 1999-2000, or not. In subsequent years, however, all memberships will be valid only until the end of September of the academic year in which the membership was taken out or renewed.

Thanks for your understanding as we make these changes which we believe will be beneficial to the work of the caucus. Membership fees remain the same: Graduate student = $5.00, Modest income = $10.00, Regular member = $20.00, Sustaining member =$30.00, Charter member = $50.00. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me. Membership Co-ordinator, Janice Wallace, Faculty of Education, 661-2087 Xt. 8608, jwallace@julian.uwo.ca.


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