We're living in the age of gender studies, but the University of Wyoming may transition to agender.
The Equality State's Senate recently approved a 2023-24 budget addition indicating that not all majors are created equal.
From February 25th's amendment, sponsored by Rep. Sen. Cheri Steinmetz:
As a condition of these appropriations, the University of Wyoming shall not expend any general funds, federal funds or other funds under its control for any gender studies courses, academic programs, co-curricular programs or extracurricular programs.
Given our current academic climate, it's a major move. And the school isn't willing to go quietly — hence its website heralding, “[The School of Culture, Gender & Social Justice] and Gender & Women's Studies Stand Firm in the Face of Attacks.”
U of W offered wiry words:
In the face of [the] vote, we have been asked to stay silent, to stand down, to remain in our place. … One may think that this is not a big deal, that it is just further marginalization of already marginalized people. But tyranny and dictatorship begin with the quashing of dissent. Its evil roots take hold and flourish in the landscape left by silence.
Rather than abject wickedness, however, the amendment may have been motivated by mere practicality.
Courtesy of The College Fix:
Students at the University of Wyoming have already determined they are not interested in the program – only six total bachelor degrees were awarded in the major in 2021.
Five of those were secondary degrees awarded to students who majored in another program as well. With approximately 2,200 undergraduate degrees granted, WGS majors comprise .02 percent of diplomas.
Six degrees is a high amount of the program – in 2020, the WGS department awarded three degrees, the same as it did in 2019.
Still, the legislative chamber was enlivened by horn-locking.
Per the Washington Examiner, Rep. State Sen. Charles Scott failed to see “any academic legitimacy” to “an extremely biased, ideologically driven program.”
Democratic State Sen. Chris Rothfuss called to consistency:
“I think it would really be disappointing if the university would go down that path where we started to decide what can and can't be taught, which books we can and can't read. Those kinds of things — they're just not consistent with the mission of a university.”
If such studies are eliminated by the Republican-run government, fret not: In the area of liberal academics, the University of Wyoming boasts a bold Black Studies Center.
Per the official webpage:
The…Black Studies Center (UWBCS) remains dedicated to culturally responsive teaching, rural community-focused engagement, and evidence-based research to add to the [school's] tapestry. America's current social atmosphere of political populism and blatant racism has emboldened a critical mass of individuals and organizations to engage in racist, assaultive, divisive, and sometimes violent acts under the guise of “Making America Great Again” and misguided patriotism.
Back to gender studies getting gutted, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports a potential reprieve:
The prospect of losing…funding was eased Friday when the Joint Conference Committee altered the amendment to instead require UW to report to the Legislature numbers of students who take noncredit, non-required or incentivized coursework on behavioral and sexual health. Now, the university also would have to report the effect of school policies on students' choices to study subjects covered by the program.
Some may say such modern degrees are a waste of education, as they lack value in the real world.
But I believe they're mistaken.
There was a time when people predicted participation trophies would produce a generation unable to keep a job. But the job world has evolved to accommodate them.
It's a similar case with progressive diplomas.
Society has changed. What once was superfluous is now considered essential. Schools and other entities have established departments to oversee social issues in an unprecedented way.
And the work has only just begun:
The social justice majors of today will fill the power positions of tomorrow.
Maybe once those graduates are all in place — in the event that Women's Studies has been 86'd — they'll reinstate the program…if there's still such a thing as women.
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