Speech for Women's Studies presented to Senate

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Written by Molly McManus

This speech was delivered to Senate from the visitor's gallery by Molly McManus on April 7th's meeting where the decision was ultimately made to eliminate the Women's Studies program.

Good Evening. My name is Molly, and I am a first-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree.

My greatest concern throughout this process of eliminating certain programs and all minors has been the complete lack of communication. I will be referring mostly to the decision to eliminate Women's Studies but only because that is the issue I am most informed about. You will find, however, that I am not well informed about this either. If I were to speak about the issue concerning Organic Agriculture, minors, or others I would have nothing to say because I know basically only what I read in the Integrated Plan.

This is a huge issue. These decisions affect my education. Students were not adequately informed about the process or reasons of eliminating the program. Forget consulting us, at the very least we could have been informed.

The rallies that happened today and in the previous weeks have been the result of concerned individuals doing their best to get the word out about what is happening. Countless hours have been put in purely trying to understand what is going on. The only sort of direction I personally could find was accessing the Integrated Plan and the BUGS and Senate agendas, minutes, policies and by-laws. I have some experience working with policy and by-laws from high school and from sitting on the CSA Board of Directors. These documents are not the most readable or accessible things in the world. The Administration should not rely on us to be able to decode them in order to tell students what is happening. They should be telling us.

The University of Guelph has access to the emails of all undergraduate students in addition to a website. I recognize that some attempts have been made to inform the community about the budgetary decisions, such as Alastair Summerlee's video podcast. In the most recent one he said "I have long believed Universities should be the moral and social conscience of society, and that means we need to engage in open debate." Where is this open debate? On the floor of Senate or in the room of the BUGS meeting? Explain to me how this is an open debate? Open to whom? How can we debate if we are not given the space, time, or information to do so?

Please keep this in mind when making your decision tonight, make it for the right reasons with the right information. This sets a precedent for future cuts, making decisions without informing those who are impacted by them.

I will leave you with the words of Alastair Summerlee from his video podcast again, but only because he says so well what I want to say. "I am confident that working together, we will continue to push the boundaries and make the University of Guelph proud of the institution that we have become". Thank you.

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  1. Posted by: Veronica on Apr 8, 2009 @ 7:22pm

    You get 'em, Molly.

  2. Posted by: justathought on Apr 13, 2009 @ 4:20pm

    Molly - I liked your points all around, but regarding student responsibility to seek out answers versus administration's responsibility to give them...

    I'd be interested in hearing - where do you think the "middle of the road" is? I agree with you, Senate pointing to confusing meeting times and heavily-worded policies leaves the student body severely wanting more information that they can actually understand.

    At the same time, do you not think students should be engaged in their institution to begin with? Rallies should not have to be scrambled to be hosted one week before a large decision. Being informed of what's going on on-campus is as much the responsibility of the students as it is the responsibility of the administration's, no?

  3. Posted by: Student on Apr 13, 2009 @ 10:47pm

    Should the CSA be responsible for making this information more accessible to students?

    The university administration is not directly concerned with being accountable to us (fact of life)... But we have a student government whose purpose seems to be to improve students' experience at UoG.

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