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Women's Studies Dept Likely to be Axed at Cabrillo College

Cabrillo's Curriculum board met today to decide the fate of the Women's Studies Dept at Cabrillo and the outlook isn't good. The Dept will be notified of the board's decision on March 21st, so time is short. Article includes contact info for decision makers.
As a result of state wide budget cuts, Cabrillo College is responding by looking closely at many of its programs. Several classes will be cut, but today at a meeting of the curriculum planning board, the Women's Studies dept. was forced to defend its very existence. Though the dept. presented a compelling argument the feeling from the board wasn't good.

To begin the meeting the board asked the Women's Studies dept. representative three questions:

1) Why shouldn't the program be cut?
2) Is there a way to make the program more cost effective?
3) Is there a portion that should be kept if only partial cuts were made (a core)?

The dept argued that the women's studies dept. has traditionally strong support at Cabrillo. Recruiting has been challenging since the board decided five years ago both to close the women's center at Cabrillo and to cut the women's reentry program. These two things effected the enrollment in women's studies classes, but since then the numbers have steadily improved.

The program has respectable class sizes it argued, especially considering they typically only draw from half of the college population (women).

The dept argued that women's studies is not a "Dying Major." Actually there are 600 WS depts throughout the country. UCSC is even developing a WS Phd program. Cutting Cabrillo's WS's programs after this commitment from UCSC shows Cabrillo's lack of solidarity with UCSC and seems foolish considering many at Cabrillo transfer there.

NPC, Cabrillo's sister school, is also facing women's studies cuts, but they might perhaps lose two or three classes, while Cabrillo is considering cutting the whole dept. The result of this is that they plan to shake up and redistribute those faculty that they can't simply lay off.

The dept argued that the program is popular. It encompasses History, Sociology, Psychology, but also self-defense, self-esteem, eating disorders and domestic violence, to name a few.

The Watsonville campus features "recruitment" classes, where the women's studies subject matter attracts re-enty female students who might otherwise not have gone back to school. The dept said "recruitment" classes get students back into school and these women then often move into other areas like traditional science, humanities, or vocational classes.

The dept. worried about the future of the WS conference the college has hosted for the past three years.

The dept argued that High Schools don't teach WS and that to many, Cabrillo College is their first experience with course matter that wasn't male-centric.

The board will notify the program of its decision to cut all or some of the women's studies dept on March 21st.

I'll try to get a copy of the packet that the women's studies dept passed out to board members to defend its case and post it here soon.

In the meantime, try contacting these faculty senate members:

Faculty monitor of "the Voice" school newspaper:

Neu, Andre anneu (at)

Student Senate Representative:

Jeff Hickey Student Senate President jehickey (at)

Executive Committee:

O'Brien, Rory Vice-President roobrien (at)
Brown, Nancy President nabrown (at)
Hodges, Steve Treasurer sthodges (at)
Hill, Bill Secretary bihill (at)

SEIU liaison & Student Development Faculty:

Jara, Helene hejara (at)

Some other members if you have time:

Hill, Bill bihill (at)
Niven, Kathy kaniven (at)
Hodges, Steve sthodges (at)
Vogel, Christy chvogel (at)
Nunn, Dorothy donunn (at)
Belliveau, Kim kibelliv (at)
Compogonis, Louis locompog (at)
Rabinovitch, Celia cerabino (at)
Abbott, Jamie jaabbott (at)
Garcia, Mario magarcia (at)
Thompson, Laura lathomps (at)

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women's study program

I feel that the women's studies program should be cut. The first time I ever heard of such a program of study I thought it was some kind of joke. I think that Santa Cruz is an extremely "female-centric" community and guilty of reverse sexism. Women issues are constantly being forced on me here. I have NEVER felt that I have been treated as less for being a woman in my entire lifetime. It makes me angry that some women think the should be treated better than men and be given more privileges just because they are female.

In my household I am the bread winner and my husband stays home to raise and teach our son, my husband is also disabled. I could support a "peoples reentry program". A "women's reentry program" is chauvinistic.

Most of the women I know make more money than their husbands. But in modern society men are still pressured to support the family. Men are not even allotted paternity time from work to experience the joy of a new child. Whereas, women can get several months. I also have several female friends offered high paying/top positions in companies, who turn down the jobs because they don't want to put in the overwhelming time or have added stress. But the opportunities are there for us if we are motivated and want them!

In fact, I find the the idea of women's studies demeaning to women. As if we can't make it in this world with out special treatment. Like we are handicapped and not equal men. As a child I was is girl scouts for 8 years, in school I learned about plenty of important women in history and society. I hope to see a day when all people are truly treated equal, because as it is now, I think that men are given less opportunities and are made to feel guilty for being born male. I think it's horrible that my son will have to register for the draft, but women won't.

Proud to be a woman, but not a Nazi-feminist,
Rebecca Swift


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