This letter reflects the opinions of the Women’s & Gender Studies Department and Triota submitted April 19. Letters to the editor do not reflect the opinion or editorial coverage of Mustang News.
To the Campus Community:
Teaching, learning and doing in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at Cal Poly is designed to promote scholarly inquiry, education and activism. On behalf of the Women’s & Gender Studies Department and Triota – Cal Poly’s Womxn’s & Gender Studies Honor Society and Feminist Activist Community – we write to share the Solidarity Statement released by the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) in January 2015 and to affirm our commitment to, as the NWSA describes in this statement, “an inclusive feminist vision that is in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and sovereignty rights globally, that challenges settler colonial practices, and that contests violations of civil rights and international human rights law, military occupation and militarization, including the criminalization of the U.S. borders, and myriad forms of dispossession.”
As scholaractivists in Women’s & Gender Studies we stand in solidarity with the Black Student Union and the Drylongso Collective. We write to publicly commit to amplifying the voices, experiences, and knowledge of students, staff, faculty, and alumni of color in our social change work at Cal Poly and in the San Luis Obispo community. We further publicly commit to centering the work of scholaractivists of color in Women’s & Gender Studies as a field, and, specifically, in all components of Women’s & Gender Studies at Cal Poly. Finally, we publicly commit to supporting all actions necessary to create a more just and equitable Cal Poly and world.
Leilani Hemmings Pallay (she, her, hers) President, Triota
Katie L. Ettl (she, her, hers) Vice President, Triota
Dr. Elizabeth Adan (she, her, hers) Interim Chair [Winter/Spring 2018], Women’s & Gender Studies Professor, Art & Design
Dr. Jane Lehr (she, her, hers) Chair [on sabbatical Winter/Spring 2018], Women’s & Gender Studies Professor, Ethnic Studies
National Women’s Studies Association Solidarity Statement January 19, 2015 The National Women’s Studies Association releases this statement:
- In light of endemic racialized state and extrajudicial violence within the U.S. and at its borders;
- Following on the 2014 NWSA conference in Puerto Rico, an occupied territory where sovereignty struggles continue; and
- Following on the conference plenary on Palestine, wherein there was a strong show of support by a majority of more than 1,000 plenary attendees for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, and for including injustices in Palestine among the issues we study and teach about.
As the largest feminist academic organization in North America, NWSA is dedicated to leading Women’s and Gender Studies, a transformative and critical field animated by the recognition that systems of oppression are interlaced and must be thought through and addressed together. Our members actively pursue a just world in which all persons can develop to their fullest potential: as feminist scholars, educators, and activists, for example, we advance critiques of misogyny, gender violence, settler colonialism, homophobia, Islamophobia, ableism, classism, and all forms of racism, including antiSemitism and antiArab racism.
NWSA members have long challenged multiple forms of oppression and violence, including racialized state violence and sexual and genderbased violence, that disproportionately impact disenfranchised groups and communities within the U.S. and transnationally. NWSA members have also long been committed to solidarity politics as a means to contest and dismantle multiple systems of domination. NWSA is thus committed to an inclusive feminist vision that is in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and sovereignty rights globally, that challenges settler colonial practices, and that contests violations of civil rights and international human rights law, military occupation and militarization, including the criminalization of the U.S. borders, and myriad forms of dispossession.
As an organization that seeks to promote scholarly exchange, research and teaching collaborations, and educational opportunities for all, NWSA issues this solidarity statement. In so doing, we distinguish between institutional critiques and critiques of individuals working within those institutional contexts. Furthermore, we acknowledge Israeli and Jewish scholars and students who are critical of Israeli state policies that systematically discriminate against Palestinians and that violate international law. Finally, NWSA recognizes that systemic forces continue to negatively impact Palestinians’ political and human rights and educational opportunities and that the U.S. plays a significant role in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the expansion of settlements and the Wall.
Given our longstanding commitments to eradicating injustice as feminist scholars, educators, and activists, and in recognition of resonances and connections across borders and contexts, NWSA reiterates its support of academic freedom, political dissent, and the pursuit of education and research without undue state interference or repression.
“The Imperial Politics of Nation States.” NWSA Annual Conference, San Juan, Puerto Rico: Saturday, November 15, 2014. Featuring Angela Davis, Islah Jad, and Rebecca Vilkomerson with Chandra Talpade Mohanty as chair/moderator. The idea of a solidarity statement was also raised at the Membership and Delegate Assemblies and subsequently discussed by the Governing Council and the Executive Committee (which, in response, worked collaboratively to issue this statement).
*This letter has been edited for clarity.