To the editors:
The President’s Advisory Committee on Gender and Wellesley has been charged to examine the question of what it means to be a women’s college in the 21st century. In this exploration, the Committee will focus most immediately on two areas: future policies on admission and graduation. The Committee’s work is to research gender scholarship, gain perspective on these issues, and present findings on who should be able to apply to Wellesley, given our firm identity as a women’s college, and who should be eligible to receive a Wellesley College diploma. Once we have reported on these two areas we will continue to discuss and report on other aspects of gender and Wellesley. It is important to note that any findings and decisions made as a result of our work will not impact current Wellesley students’ graduation eligibility. All students currently enrolled at Wellesley College, regardless of gender identity, are eligible to receive diplomas from the College.
The Committee is made up of representatives of four main constituency groups: students, faculty, administration, and alumnae. The student representatives are Sofie Werthan ‘18, Anna Thomas ‘17, Aggie Rieger ‘17, Sam Mincheva ‘17 and Kayla Bercu ‘16. Our role in the Committee is not only to act as a voice for the student body, but also to serve as a resource to our fellow students. It is our job to make sure that students have the support they need to learn and form opinions about these issues.
As part of the second goal, the Committee is conducting a survey (which students will receive in their Wellesley emails) to gain a sense of the school’s climate surrounding this conversation and where the general student body stands in their knowledge of this topic. The survey’s main purpose is to help us understand what issues are most important to students and to make any necessary accommodations to ensure an inclusive learning environment. Your responses will also help us plan specific events that will benefit our community. We would appreciate if students took the survey after reading this article. We will accept responses until the Wednesday after Thanksgiving (12/3).
Each constituency group in the Committee is responsible for organizing events to educate their peers and foster dialogue. We, the student representatives, will be hosting a workshop called Talking About Gender 101 on Wednesday, December 3rd from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Knapp Atrium. The event’s goal is to provide a welcoming space for students to develop a common foundation of knowledge about transgender issues. The event will focus on learning about key concepts and gaining a vocabulary to talk about this subject. All students who would like to participate are welcome and encouraged to attend.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email the Committee directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or approach any of the student members when appropriate. Because we are here to represent the entire student body, your opinions and perspectives are extremely important in the work we are doing. We look forward to working together in our efforts to advise the president on what is best for Wellesley not only as an institution, but also as a community.
The Student Representatives of the President’s Committee on Gender and Wellesley